Sunday Mar 25Posted by: joekilty  45 Comments »

Why Does Andy Carroll Keep Getting Dropped?

Liverpool are a much more effective team with Andy Carroll than they are without him. That is not an opinion, it is a fact. With Carroll starting, Liverpool’s record is W13 D4 L4 – a 62% win percentage. When he hasn’t started, it drops to W8, D6, L7 – a 38% win percentage.

This is not a coincidence. The work he does off the ball, dragging defenders out of position and generally being a nuisance, creates the space for the likes of Suarez and Gerrard to exploit. In the 3-0 win against Everton he was a constant menace, jumping for just about every ball that went up in the air and not allowing either of the central defenders any time to settle.

In their first start together, Suarez, Carroll and Gerrard showed that together they could offer Liverpool a formidable attacking threat. It is therefore very surprising that Carroll has not started a game in the league since. Less surprising, given the stats above, is the fact that we lost the subsequent games without him.

So, if it is not his performances on the pitch that are getting him dropped, what is it?

Carroll has yet to start more than four consecutive games for Liverpool. For a young player trying to find his way into a new team, these stuttering appearances cannot be helping his development as a player. When you consider that he is getting dropped even when he plays very well, it is bound to also be affecting his mentality.

He has had well publicised off the field issues since he started his career and it could well be that there are things happening off the field that are stopping Kenny from giving him a good run of games.

I would be interested to know your views on why Carroll isn’t a regular starter, because it is a mystery to me.

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Saturday Feb 18Posted by: joekilty  52 Comments »

Suarez’s Old Friends Show His New Employers What Loyalty Means

Read the rest of this entry »

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Monday Feb 13Posted by: joekilty  27 Comments »

Suarezgate: Why FSG Finally Got Involved

The silence from Fenway Sports Group since the Suarez race row began has been deafening. Where did they stand on the scandal? Did they back Kenny, or were they embarrassed by the whole episode? As they never publicly commented on it, we will never know.

One thing we can be pretty sure of is that, in the hours following Suarez’s refusal to shake Evra’s hand, FSG finally said to the Liverpool management “enough is enough.”

Looking at the incident itself, Suarez’s refusal to shake Evra’s hand was not such a big deal. It was far less controversial than the racial abuse allegation which started it all. It was also less provocative than the T Shirts worn by the Liverpool players in support of Suarez. In many ways, it was a storm in a tea cup.

So why did that incident finally force FSG into action?

Firstly, there was the reaction of the players on the pitch, including their bust up at half time. The Manchester United players were in no mood to play the incident down and actively sought out a confrontation with the Liverpool players in the tunnel. The police got involved and the finger of blame was pointed at Suarez and his handshake snub.

All this occurred during the biggest game of the season, with a worldwide television audience of half a billion watching. Whoever was to blame, we did not portray the global image John W Henry had in mind for the club when he bought it.

Secondly, the media and social network sites turned the storm in a teacup into a hurricane. This lead to John W Henry’s Twitter feed getting completely bombarded by a general public who had been whipped into frenzy by Sky Sports. In simple terms, Henry will care more about the global image of the club than he will about a local rivalry. The feedback he was getting on Saturday night was that our global image was in tatters.

Thirdly, and crucially, the New York Times decided to have their say.

Although they recently reduced their share from 17.75%, The New York Times still owns 7% of FSG. Therefore, when they speak Henry and Werner listen. In a direct challenge to their fellow board members, the Times position was as follows: “If the Fenway Sports Group is to be the responsible team owner in soccer that it has proved to be in baseball, it needs to get hold of Liverpool, its club in England’s Premier League, and repair its global image fast.

“On Saturday, Liverpool lost at Manchester United, 2-1, allowing United to temporarily move into first place in the Premier League. There is no disgrace in such a loss; United, the defending English champion, is vying to keep that title this season, and it very rarely loses at home.

“But there was disgrace, witnessed by television viewers around the world, in the refusal of Liverpool’s Luis Suarez to shake the hand of United’s Patrice Evra before kick-off.”

Their final message was as follows: “It is time for John Henry and Tom Werner, leaders of the Fenway Group that controls Liverpool, to state clearly the direction the team will take on this issue.”

Within hours of this article being published, all the defiance in Liverpool’s dressing room had disappeared. Ian Ayre put a statement out which directly attacked Suarez. Kenny Dalglish sided with his managing director. Suarez fell into line, issuing his own unreserved apology.

It was a turn of events that demonstrated where the real power at Anfield lies: thousands of miles away in Boston. It will be very interesting to see how events transpire.

For the first time in his second reign as manager, Dalglish has had his collar felt by his paymasters. For the first time in his Anfield career, Suarez cannot count on the unconditional support of his club.

Crucially, for the first time it is being seriously questioned whether Suarez and Dalglish will make it through the year as employees of Liverpool Football Club. It is that serious.

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Thursday Jan 19Posted by: joekilty  10 Comments »

Through The Fog: What Makes Liverpool FC Unique

In the wake of weeks of PR turmoil for the Liverpool FC, with the Suarez race scandal and the abuse of a black player at Anfield confounded by a national press with an anti-Liverpool agenda, us fans did what we do best. We came together as one.

Anne Williams has been waiting 23 years for justice for her son, Kevin, who died needlessly at Hillsborough. The government’s e-petition scheme finally gave her the opportunity she needed to force those responsible for Kevin’s death to be held to account. Together, we have helped Anne take a big step along the road towards getting that justice.

The campaign started really slowly, with just a few thousand of the 100,000 signatures needed. Some notable journalists, like Tony Evans, were behind Anne’s quest for justice from the very start. However, the national media in general ignored it. Supporting Liverpool FC in the wake of all the scandal was not very fashionable on fleet street.

There are a lot of comments made mocking the so-called “LFC Family” on Twitter, but that is the best way to describe how thousands of Liverpool fans have united behind this common cause over the past week. Together, our voice was too loud to ignore and, slowly but surely, the mainstream media started to sit up and take notice.

Last night and this morning, watching as 60,000 names turned to 100,000 with breathtaking speed, I felt a sense of pride to be part of this family. When the chips are down, and the world is against us, we stand together as one. Bob Paisley, who knew the club and fans as well as anyone, summed it up perfectly when he said, “When you’re lost in a fog you must stick together. Then you don’t get lost. If there’s one secret to Liverpool, that’s it.”

Over the past week, we have shown that our spirit makes us truly unique. We’ve shown once again that together, Liverpool Football Club can achieve absolutely anything. Just like we did in Istanbul, just like we did in Rome. Just like we have done on countless occasions on the fields of Anfield Road. And just like we will do again.

For more information on why the fight for justice is so important, visit this website http://www.contrast.org/hillsborough/

 

Saturday Jan 14Posted by: joekilty  1 Comment »

Urgent: Help Kevin Get His Inquest.

Kevin Williams was pulled out of the crush at Hillsborough alive. His life could have been saved. His mum, Anne, has fought tirelessly for an inquest into Kevin’s death. Now, we all have the chance to help. You can help get justice for Kevin in a very simple, but incredibly powerful way. It will take you just three minutes.

Anne has established from evidence and credible witnesses that Kevin was lifted from the pen at 3.28pm and laid on the pitch, alive but weak. She took a statement from Special Constable Debra Martin, who was among those ferrying the dead and injured to the ground’s gym. Debra told Anne, ‘I stayed with Kevin. I felt for a pulse at the base of his neck and…there was a slight blip…I picked him up in my arms and he opened his eyes. I’ll never forget the look in that little boy’s eyes. And he just said, “Mum” and carried on looking for a few more seconds.’

Debra established that Kevin died around 4pm. The official view, however, is that all the victims were brain-dead by 3.15 from traumatic asphyxia which left their bodies blue and bloated. ‘But those markings weren’t on Kevin,’ Anne says. Her pathologists argue that broken bones in Kevin’s neck caused his airways to swell.

A simple rubber tube down his throat would have saved him.

But he died. The police held a fleet of ambulances outside the ground, so medical help did not reach the injured. What Anne has been fighting for ever since is ‘official recognition that Kevin died needlessly.’

Time is running out. Anne needs 80,000 names in five days. Please do not ignore this. It literally takes three minutes to fill the form in.

Please click this link. It is vitally important that you do.

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/19149

(Some of the text above is from The Daily Mail’s interview with Anne Williams)

Sunday Jan 1Posted by: joekilty  31 Comments »

Suarez, Evra and Reliable Witnesses

The verdict in the Suarez case hung on the reliability of the witness testimony. In blunt summary, the FA decided that Evra was a more reliable witness and therefore found Suarez guilty. Here are the crucial parts of the testimony with some analysis…
Is the Word “Negro” Racially Offensive?
The panel of language experts used by the FA described the connotations of the word “negro” as follows:
 “It is important to grasp that the word “negro” is ambiguous in all countries and regions of Latin America. The word “negro” is by no means, however, always used offensively. The term can also be used as a friendly form of address to someone seen as somewhat brown-skinned or even just black-haired. It may be used affectionately between man and wife, or girlfriend/boyfriend, it may be used as a nickname in everyday speech, it may be used to identify in neutral and descriptive fashion someone of dark skin; several famous people in Uruguay are known as “el negro/la negra such-and-such”.
The experts concluded that if the panel believed Evra’s version of events, they could assume the word “negro” was used in a racially offensive way. However, they say of Suarez’s version of events:
“The experts concluded their observations on Mr Suarez’s account as follows. If Mr Suarez used the word “negro” as described by Mr Suarez, this would not be interpreted as either offensive or offensive in racial terms in Uruguay and Spanish-speaking America.”
The panel therefore needed to deem one of the accounts to be false in order to establish guilt, since Suarez’s defence was proved to be inoffensive in racial terms.
How Events Transpired
The conversation began with Evra saying “Concha de tu hermana” which translates as “your sister’s pussy”. Evra says he meant “fucking hell”. There is no dispute about who started the argument: it was Evra. There is no dispute about who threw the first insult: Evra. The dispute is whether Suarez’s reaction used racially offensive words. The FA ruled that it did.
So, how unreliable a witness was Suarez, and how reliable was Evra?
Immediately after Evra’s insult, the video evidence that can be lip-read shows Suarez saying “What did you say?” Suarez told the FA his words were “What did you say?” That is a reliable statement.
They both agree that Evra then said “Why did you kick me?” What they dispute is the answer. Evra claims Suarez said “Because you are black”. Suarez claims he said “it was just a normal foul” then shrugged his shoulders. The video evidence shows Suarez shrugging his shoulders, backing up his testimony. So far, the video evidence supports Suarez.
Next comes the crucial piece of Suarez evidence, the part the FA panel relied heavily on to find him guilty. Suarez said in his statement “I was trying to defuse the situation”. Under cross examination, Suarez more or less admitted that he was not trying to defuse the situation. The FA used this admission to discredit Suarez as a witness.
The really important thing he says comes just after this comment: “Under no circumstances was this action intended to be offensive and most certainly not racially offensive. It was not in any way a reference to the colour of PE’s skin.” This, the FA deemed, was also untrue.
The other evidence the FA panel relied on was the fact that Suarez’s story changes slightly. However, all of the changes can be fully explained by the fact that the situation happened very quickly and the fallibility of memory means that the exact sequences of events often merge into one. The FA acknowledge this as a possibility but do not accept it as an excuse.
There are inconsistencies in Evra’s testimony. In his evidence, Evra states that he told the players after the game that Suarez said he kicked him “porque tu eres negro” (“because I am black”). None of the four Spanish speaking Manchester United players recalled Evra saying this in their witness testimonies. In the FA’s report, they confirm this is the case but state that it is possible the players simply forgot he said it. They do not point to the other possibility: that he did not say it. Under this scenario, it could be used as evidence that Evra is an unreliable witness.
There were four pieces of evidence presented by Suarez’s lawyer to the FA that suggest Evra is an unreliable witness. The interesting one is the coin toss. Here is the transcript of that incident:
“Mr Marriner explained that he used a FIFA coin which is blue on one side and yellow on the other. He asked Mr Evra, as the visiting captain, to call the colour. Mr Marriner tossed the coin, it came down yellow, and he awarded it to Steven Gerrard who elected to stay in their current ends. Manchester United had kick off. Mr Evra remonstrated that he had called correctly but, Mr Marriner said, he had not. Mr Evra then spoke to Ryan Giggs about it, and Mr Marriner walked over to Mr Evra to assure him that he (Mr Marriner) had got it right. Mr Evra’s evidence was that when such a coin was used, he always called yellow given that the alternative, blue, is a Manchester City colour, which he would never call. The toss came down yellow and so Mr Evra knew that he had won it. He particularly wanted to change ends at the start, he explained to the referee that he had called yellow, and why he had done so. Mr Evra was angry but the referee did not change his mind.”
Evra either could not remember what colour he chose or lied about it afterwards. This at best questions his reliability as a witness and at worst suggests he is willing to lie to gain an advantage. Crucially, he reacted outwardly far more to the coin toss than he did in the goalmouth when he claimed that Suarez used the word “negro” five times. Had that really been the case, surely Evra’s reaction would have been much stronger?
Another inconsistency is Evra’s use of the term “ten times” to describe how many times Suarez allegedly said “negro”. Evra has retracted this claim and said it was a “figure of speech”. Really?
What about previous form? Suarez has no history of any form of racism and is an ambassador for racial equality. Evra, on the other hand, has been at the centre of a racism scandal in the recent past. It was alleged that ground staff at Chelsea racially abused Evra in 2008. The allegation was thrown out and here is how the panel described Evra’s testimony:“We find Mr Evra’s description exaggerated… There was no good reason for Mr Evra to have run over and barged Mr Griffin as he did. It was unnecessarily and gratuitously aggressive of Mr Evra… Mr Evra’s suggestion that he was concerned about Mr Strudwick’s safety is farfetched. They were two grown men having an apparently strong verbal disagreement but no more than that. The clear implication by Mr Evra that Mr Griffin’s pitchfork gave some reason for concern about Mr Strudwick’s safety is ridiculous…We find Mr Evra’s account exaggerated and unreliable. It is an attempt to justify a physical intervention by him which cannot reasonably be justified…”
Compare this to the conclusions drawn by the panel in the Suarez case:
“We considered it improbable that Mr Evra would act in such a dishonest way in order to damage the reputation of a fellow professional whose footballing skills he admires, with whom he had had no previous run-ins, and who he does not think is a racist.”
There is therefore evidence to suggest that both Suarez and Evra made statements that were not 100% true during this case, and that Evra has a history of doing this. By using Evra’s account as “the truth”, the FA have concluded that Suarez’s entire evidence can be completely discredited whilst the inconsistencies in Evra’s testimony, and past, can be ignored.