You know you’ve missed football when a 4-0 friendly gets you excited again. Whether you are preparing your fantasy team or thinking about the shirt you will buy or even daring to dream about a trophy we’ve waited a long time to have.
I grew up in Cyprus, a gorgeous heaven on Earth, and one of my favorite activities in the late 80’s and early 90’s was the football matches. I fell in love with Liverpool because they had the ‘coolest’ fans and because of one John Barnes. Back then things were simple. Get players, trust the manager, and win in great style.
Fast-forward to this era where every fan has a working understanding of the impact of the wage bill, the draw of the Champions League and the simple equation of more money actually means trophies (ManU, ManC, Chelsea). Up until recently, even though we never spent as much on transfers per player, our average wage bill was always top 4 and this was a worry for me which I only understood later.
It used to bother me that we never spent as much as the other teams even though I was sure that we had more fans and a richer history. Then I started playing the Football and FIFA Manager games and it also showed me the crazy mafia that we call football. My trick was to sell everyone not named Gerrard, Carra or Reina and start with a youngish team and get progressively younger each year. I invested in the youth teams and bought studs. I also always, always ensured that the team had a low wage bill, as when compared to other teams. I focused on pace and skill and got coaches who helped bring out the best in my teams and I inevitably produced all-stars by the 3rd to 4th year. Even though I’m not English, I then ensured that my first 15-18 players were English by the 8th year to ensure a better team for the World Cup, but I digress.
I learned this tactic from Barcelona. Up until recently, they sucked. Perennial second place to Real for EVER and they never kept the talent, see Maradona and Ronaldo, long enough to create dynasties. So they set a plan to build a team, realize the fans would always be there as they are not bandwagon fans, and with lucky breaks (Ronaldiño and Messi)created the behemoth known as Barca.
Even the years Sir Alex knew he would not win the trophy, he built his team and transfer strategy for the next year. It was a pipeline that started with Hughes, Cole, Cantona et al and had roots in Giggs, Scholes, Becks et al. He created a blueprint for a machine that never stopped. Yes he had money, yes he bought a Veron for every Cristiano! But he spent more shrewdly, spending 29 million on a defender who stayed and was a fixture as opposed to 29 million on 4 defenders in 3 years (dramatizing but for good effect) and still not solving the problem.
The thing I respected about BR from the onset was that he at a 180-odd page document showing how he planned on bringing about this change. We are buying young, fast players (I cannot emphasize how speed has become the name of the game in today’s game) who can be groomed to excel in a system-albeit one still growing as BR comes to grip with LFC, how to maximize his current team, and how to buy smart.
I see Liverpool finally catching up to the rest of the Titans of football and start to ‘update the software’. We are gonna have mistakes, rebel players and maybe not ever see SG lift the one trophy that would cement his place in British Football as a man who took a team by the scruff and lead it to every trophy he could.
This new generation of imports that started in January shows that We are starting to have the makings of an exciting squad, Suarez notwithstanding. Analytics ensure that we are not behind anymore in that respect. Let’s finally START a year strong this year rather than always finish it strong!
The bookies seem to agree so if you were planning on laying a wager on the next match there are details on the extra features from william hill on Freebets.
We are moving ladies and gentlemen. We cannot believe that we are entitled a Premier League title. It’s been too long. We cannot look at our trophy cabinet. Let’s earn it by smart growth and a plan to create a new Legacy at Anfield that will burn bright and remind all that:
You’ll Never Walk Alone.