Archive for February, 2011
Following our victory against Sparta Prague we head down to London for an early kick off against West Ham.
The Hammers have been struggling this year and are in danger of relegation however they can still be a threat. Former Red Robbie Keane will likely not feature due to injury however they still posses enough fire power to cause us some trouble.
As far as we are concerned Kenny now has Luis Suarez available while Andy Carroll and Steven Gerrard might also feature. I have a feeling that Daniel Agger and Martin Kelly will be both rested as they both took knocks last Thursday.
Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Jamie Carragher, Fabio Aurelio, Steven Gerrard, Raul Merieles, Maxi Rodriguez, Dirk Kuyt, Luis Suarez
We will also feature another contest to win a “Anfield is my church” shirt from the EOTK Shop. Instructions will follow later.
Kick off is at 1:30PM GMT
Follow on Twitter @empireofthekop
Following up on my previous post about how LFC support and efforts make a mutual effort of not doing anything for each other, I would try and enlist some ways of tackling the situation here.
A. What can the club do?
1. MERCHANDISING: To reiterate, there is very little that is being done in terms of marketing the club in India. What is there as of now is one little campaign by Seagram’s Fuel (the campaign’s punchiness is quite sad, to be honest), a newspaper column every week in a national daily by Standard Chartered and some scattered efforts. There was a small promotion on liverpoolfc.tv at the beginning of the season too. What they can rather do is increase the presence of the club in media and retail. Adidas as an outlet, has a very unremarkable stand for LFC jerseys with limitations is sizes and other merchandise usually in shortage. The bags, bottles, t-shirts, flip-flops, shoes, beanies, jackets, fleece etc are usually absent or have limited presence. Other things like stickers, decals, banners, scarves, mats, mugs, phone sleeves etc are all absent from the market. What it also does is that it fuels the unlicensed goods’ market. While an LFC store is a good option but considering the size of the geography, one store would not suffice. Not sure if the ROI would justify opening multiple stores given the high real estate prices. But joint retailing with concepts like ‘store-in-store’ and having visibility campaigns like a cardboard Shankly gate in adidas stores near the Liverpool inventory. Ensuring the availability of LFC gifts, souvenirs, stickers, posters etc is paramount.
2. BAR: LFC bars in major cities is a huge requisite. I hear people wanting to go to the MU bar. That may not entirely be contributed to the fact that people want to go to ‘enemy land’ but more so because those bars are football flavored. The fans need to be able to go to a place to connect with people of similar interest. As of now, there are very few supporter groups who organize some screenings but that’s not visible to people unaware of the group. The culture of sports bars is picking in India. Converting an existing bar into a themed sports bar should be a low investment affair ranging around 2.5 – 3.0 Million Rupees and the interested franchisees would be more than willing to shell the money in return for recognition. I am sure there is a model in place to take care of royalties, franchisee fee and other such commercials.
3. OFFICIAL SUPPORTER GROUPS & MARKETING: It doesn’t take much put a fan group in place as far as the club is concerned. With the lack of official supporter groups, there are several tiny groups that keep popping now and then. While the intentions of these groups are honest, they cannot attract fans in the absence of marketing to making themselves known and the lack of official recognition. A few groups in major cities like Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore, and Calcutta should take care of the organization of fans. The onus is entirely on the club to introduce these groups to the fans in India. More than anything else, it would certainly help the census. These groups can in turn market the club, organize screenings/meetings, can get in touch with major associates to organize competitions and trips to Anfield etc. etc. The scope is vast and only sky is the limit.
4. APPEARANCES: Making your audience feel special is something that goes a long distance in ensuring loyalty. One or two visits from a player or two of the starting XI, some training camps, some space on the webpage, a few shouts on twitter should do the trick. I am not going overboard to call for a friendly here, but the little things would go a long way.
Of course, the club can also do the easy thing of winning a couple of big trophies to win thousands of new fans.
B. What should the fans do?
1. Spread the word: Like they say, no advertising is better than word of mouth advertising. It’s like a religion where bringing more people to the faith would help the good karma.
2. Refrain from buying fake merchandise: If someone is making money selling the crest or the name of your beloved club, you need to ensure that a part of it is going to the development of the club. If we fail to do it, we’re just wrong. I’ve personally never bought any fakes or counterfeited merchandise. I did not even buy from the official site when H&G were in charge. And I was one of the first ones to place an order on the website when FSG took over (although the flat 20% off that Mr Henry put up on the site helped a lot).
3. Stand up and be counted: The fans need to be present on as many fora as possible and be counted. Helps determining the fan-base and should help the club in determining the market size.
The market in India is anyone’s guess. But the most conservative of guesses would yell that it is HUGE. Football is not completely tapped and the awareness is on the rise. There are people pleading ESPN to not dedicate all their channels to cricket during the cricket world cup. The TRPs for the FIFA world cup were very very high. People from India are traveling to England, South Africa and other countries to watch football. The population is 1.2 Billion with a massive young urban class with money to spend. The appetite is on the rise. Over to you Misters Henry, Werner and Ayre…
Notwithstanding the fact that the Reds have endured a horrific start to the 2010/11 season, the advent of new owners, coupled with the return of Kenny Dalglish (and another less famous Scot in Steve Clark) at the helm of the squad, has seen the team have a run of unbeaten games which has propelled them into 6th place in the PL, with a remote yet mathematical possibility of clinching the coveted 4th spot and CL football for next season. The possibility of a new era and cycle at the world-famous and universally respected Club has had the domino effect of having some of the best players linked with a possible arrival at Anfield. The prospect of playing for Liverpool has again become an enticing proposition for top players, even though the participation in next year’s CL is far from certain.
The likes of Coentrao, Kjaer, Mertesacker, Enrique, Izaguirre, Cahill, Dann, Adam, Matuidi, Maveaux, Young, Afellay, Elia, Honda, Zarate, Winjaldum and Gervinho just to mention a few (lol) have all been somehow linked to the Reds, and that’s about half the candidates.
Recent comments on EOTK have sent almost half the squad in front of the firing squad, with Konchesky, ElZhar, Insua, Aurelio, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Jovanovic, Poulsen and Degen favorites to be gotten rid of, and some went as far as including Ngog, Maxi, Kuyjt and Joe Cole in the list, while Aquilani is somehow destined to remain at Juventus. While it is highly unlikely that all the above will be shown the door, objectively, Konchesky, El Zhar, Insua, Kyrgiakos, Jovanovic, Poulsen and Degen, together with Aquilani could well be on their way out and if that is the case, it would be nothing short of an organized exodus.
The fact remains that if the intention is for LFC to be competitive on all fronts come next season, especially with regards to an attempt to get back into the Fab 4 Club on a permanent basis and possibly challenge for PL honours, there will be a need to have quality depth in squad. That would mean at least two quality players for every position. We will need to buy players, but we also need to push the upcoming stars like Kelly, Spearing, Shelvey, Wilson, Ayala, Darby and Pacheco into first team activity with more frequency, and further on the likes of Sterling, Mavinga, Coady and Suso. We need to valorize the potential we already have in-house. By doing that you do not need to play a round of the League Cup with 8 of the rising stars! What you need to do is to insert those that are ready for the leap gradually, as has been the case with Kelly and also with Shelvey and Spearing to a slightly lesser extent.
The signs all point to the intentions of adding quality and depth to the squad, so we just have to wait and see what NESV and Kenny come up with. We have already hit rock bottom, and we have already has out share of gloom. What we all need now is an era in which our Reds are capable to seriously challenge for honours and silverware, where the Reds evoke fear like they used to, and where the Club is in a position of financial tranquility which is the basic foundation of success.
Kuyt “Liverpool deserved the victory over Sparta” more…
Spearing talks about how great it is to be back more…
(Welcome back, YNWA)
Pepe Reina warns about complacency more…
Stevie G is likely to return for the game against West Ham more…
(Excllent, we need him)
More talk on Georginio Wijnaldum more…
(His name is starting to get mentioned alot)
And our friends at Give Me Football have linked us with Chelsea’s Zhirkov more…
(What? Roman is not making his comrade happy?)
Rio Ferdinand should feature against us more…
(bring them on)
If you missed what John and Linda had to say about last night’s victory here…
And finally the Bundesliga has gained a new Champions league slot while the Serie A has lost one more…
(The Serie A is dead)
On Twitter @empireofthekop
This article is about 2-3 days late, but as they say, better late then never. And it does not make it any less readable, being a couple of days late.
After the game this thursday night, I had not just lost my voice(because of joy and fear) but also my faith in some players in Liverpool FC. I am not only very disappointed at many of them, I am also a bit ashamed that the world got to see the poor perfomences from some of the players.
Because the game against Sparta, at home, at Anfield, with a massive support, a great atmosphere, a great feeling, was their chance to show us, the supporters and Kenny Dalglish why they deserve to wear that beautiful red shirt millions of us have, hanging in our closets or on the wall, prodly showing of the only team we support.
Because it is Saturday, and most of us are either hung over, still drunk or have lost both their cellphones and keys, a short comment on every player on the pitch is the easiest and most comfortable thing for you to read …
Reina – He did what he had to do. A plus to his enourmse freekicks, to bad no one took adventage of them.
Kelly – The best player on the pitch in the first half. Too bad he had to be replaced. The lad is improving!
Kyrgiakos – Iron man or what? Blood and stiches couldn’t keep him off the pitch. As usual, the dominant one in the air, should probably have had a penalty in connection with a corner kick.
Agger – Did look strong and did some good things with the ball.
Wilson – Originally a central defender, but played as leftback. He is sucure, not very good, but not very bad either. Didin’t do what a leftback is suppose to do, that is, making offensive initiative, but the lad did the best he could.
Kuyt – Saved me, the team, all the ones in Anfield and all supporters in the world. He scored, and that’s the most important thing.
Poulsen - Where shall I begin? Is it even necessary for me to start enumerate every single thing he did wrong on the pitch? I could do a whole article about it. Was not good with the ball, and not without it either. Shame on you.
Leiva – Considering playing with a horrible player like Poulsen, he did a good game. But not more. Expects more from him nowadays.
Cole – He tried. At least he tried. Yes he did not score, but you can not argue with me, when I claim that you did see his potential - his fantastic techinique and speed with the ball. He lacks match tempo, but with that and self-confidence hopefully growing, maybe he can change the fact that he is a total flop.
Meireles – Had some good corner kicks and free kicks, did an okey match.
N’gog - I am ashamed that all the world’s football fans saw the player we choose to play as our top striker. I was speechless after the game and frankly, I hardly know where to start with the criticism. He missed too many shots, fired intp the empty air, took a ball from Cole, which certainly had been a goal, he did awful long shot and if that’s not ehough, he was terrible near the goal too. So, what is up with N’gog? Somebody answer me. My grandmum, who has a wooden leg, is 86 years old and haven’t played football a day in her life, would have scored at least 2 goals with N’gog chances.
Carragher - Felt good when Dalglish put Carra on the pitch, always feels secure when he is on. Did some ghastly passes though.
Skrtel – Didin’t play long enough.
Spearing - The fresh breeze Spearing. He did everything right. He wanted to go forward with the ball and outshone Poulsen. Next match Dalglish should choose Spearing instead of Poulsen, if he is faced with choosing between them.
And was I the only one, just waiting for Pacheco to come in? I just saw the time passing by, and still that scorer namned N’gog was on the pitch. Scorer in my ….
Although, he was not on the pitch, Gerarrds celebration of the goal has earned him a special line in this article. namely the last one. Because he did show us, as many times before, his feelings for the club. That he doesn’t just stand there, clapping his hands like a normal player would do, because instead, his reaction to the goal was similar to most of ours. He is such a good player, but more important, he is such a good human being. For Captain Fantastic, YNWA!
Follow me on twitter @Nezik_keshto
2nd May 2010.
I wanted Liverpool to lose.
I’d never said that before. And I’ll probably never say it again.
But for those of you who don’t remember, Liverpool had to play Chelsea at home that day. Furthermore, we were in the position where if we had beat Chelsea we would have practically handed the title to Manchester United. Their 19th title. That meant we would have helped them to overtake us and become the most successful team in England. So although it felt strange and I wasn’t proud of the fact, I wanted my own team to lose.
This will sound crazy to most people, a Liverpool fan wanting Liverpool to lose, but unless you support Liverpool or United it’s impossible to comprehend the bad blood between the two clubs.
Over the next couple of weeks there is a similar situation. Chelsea play Manchester United and so do we. Now on the one hand, if Chelsea win it could hand the initiative to Arsenal and help stop United from winning the league; especially if we also take three points off them the following week. But after our resurgence over the last seven weeks, we now have a chance of finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season’s Champion’s League; only a slim chance, but a chance nonetheless.
What’s the worst outcome for Liverpool – Chelsea beat Man United and finish 4th, meaning we spend another season out of Europe’s premier competition; or United win and go on to claim the title, breaking our record in the process? Neither scenario appeals to me but I am now of the opinion that Liverpool supporters should focus on our team doing the best it possibly can and not worrying about what other teams do. As John Henry said when he bought the club, if United win their 19th league title we’ll just have to win two.
Kenny Dalglish has brought back a lot of the old Liverpool traditions since he took over from Roy Hodgson. The return of our pass and move style, the ability to keep clean sheets and an end to the habit of airing the club’s dirty laundry in public are all examples of positive changes that have been evident since he became the manager. I believe Kenny will also get the club back to letting other teams worry about what we are doing rather than the other way around.
If Liverpool don’t make it into the Champion’s League there is the chance that certain players will want to leave and it will be harder to persuade other top players to join the club. So if United were to do us a favour and beat Chelsea, whilst I won’t be celebrating, I won’t be as disappointed as I usually am when they win. Instead I’d look to our next game – against them – and the opportunity to say thank you by winning the game, denting their title prospects but most importantly, enhancing our chance of finishing in the top four.
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