Listening to the Kop Choir’s tune, The Fields of Anfield Road, brings shivers to my spine. This is a song that underlines everything that is Liverpool Football Club, the glory days associated with a glamorous past, the wonderful managers that have taken the club through thick and thin and the players who earned a living playing the wonderful game. It’s a different scenario nowadays. We no longer tune to the BBC to listen to second half live commentary, and programs such as Big League Soccer have no place anymore in a society interconnected by radio frequencies and computers.
Players and managers are paid millions each year in salaries and the football spectacle is no different than the Keegan, Dalglish eras – is no different maybe too lenient-a-word as the number of players who truly wear their socks off for clubs in Europe would probably not exceed the twenty mark. Sky-high salaries have only led to the game being seen as a hobby by many players, the result of which is a laid-back attitude, living through their football careers with the sole prerogative of securing cheeky turnovers. The mammoth increase in wages has resulted in an apparent divide between fans and players who will never stomach those not performing to required standards and we need not mention that such standards are terribly high at Liverpool. This was never a concern in the past as salary adjustments reflected player performance, which is how the rest of the employment sector more or less still operates. Football is different and has been taken over by business moguls interested in overnight profits which leaves us fans at the mercy of those who dictate the rules.
Word has it that Konchesky’s mother has a grudge against Liverpool fans and the club. This brings me to another aspect of this column which aims to highlight the damaging effect the Internet has had on football, more so lately with the advent of social networking websites. The notion that the club never washes dirty linen in public, the ‘Liverpool Way’ of solving problems some may add, has been thrown out of the window when anyone connected to the club today can, in a few seconds, post influential content on the Internet for millions to read. I will extrapolate this to a host of websites which continuously expose the club to ridicule, by providing all and sundry easy methods of posting comments in an effort to increase on the hit counter. If the situation was not precarious enough, players are now posting thoughts and feelings for everyone to feed on and regurgitate back.
Shanks once said that the three pillars of a football club are the manager, players and the fans. In today’s scenario, these pillars are structurally incapable of shouldering the burden which is the inherent hefty stature of a club, once an ambassador of English football. All share equal faults which is not what the new owners NESV bargained for. Hodgson needs to act as an emotionless disciplinarian (and ensure the team goes on a long winning run), players need to have it drummed that wearing the Liverpool shirt on match day is tantamount to being thrown in the thick of a battle, and fans must learn to stick by the club, cut the insipid and dross comments and help spread optimism instead of doom and gloom. The going is getting tough, has been for sometime now, and it is in such circumstances that fans must unite behind manager and team. We can only hope that the storm is weathered and if not, I’m positive Mr Henry knows how best to ring changes. NESV are here for the long-term and will want a return on their investment at some point. But they are also aware that Rome wasn’t built in a day and the previous ownership cancer which was let to wreak havoc for a good three years needs time to be completely wiped out.
Hodgson is a man under great pressure at the moment. I’m sure he never expected the feat to be so daunting. One could notice he cut a pale, shocked, stressed figure during the game against Utrecht. I kept on saying to myself that this was it for Roy and dismissal news would have followed. This was not to be but I’m positive Roy has been tipped on the not so mind-boggling fact that results must improve instantly or risk facing the wrath of owners who can’t let the club slip into obscurity. The club is hanging by a thread, approaching the perilous rim of a devouring whirlpool and we all know once this fine line is surpassed there’s no way back.
The games against Fulham, Blackpool, Wolves and Bolton will be season shaping. Lose one and I’m sure the buck stops here with Hodgson, and, it must be said, with some players. We couldn’t give a flying hoo-ha about players posting on social networks; that’s all a waste of time and an uncalled for distraction. What we’re interested in is players managing to complete a string of passes, pressing, marauding and opening up defenses. We want to see towers of strength in defense. We need Torres to stop acting a frustrated figure. We need players to live for and love the club. We need fans attending matches to produce deafening chants, high decibel sounds levels. We need to show the younger generation, the kids, that this club is not finished; that we’re not a laughing stock and that there’s light at the end of every dark tunnel.
Good luck Reds.