With all the furore in the media about Raheem Sterling wanting out – and being vilified for it – I honestly don’t see what all the fuss is about. In fact the real culprits are silent. Let’s face it, if he want’s to go, then let him. If his heart isn’t in it, then Liverpool only have themselves to blame. Not the 20 year-old.
The latest piece of madness I hear is that the clubs supporters booed him as he collected the club’s Young Player of The Year Award. This is something I completely don’t understand and only serves to show how short-sighted some of the club’s fanbase can be. In my personal opinion, then good luck to the boy. My son is the same age as Raheem Sterling and I’d advise him not to take Liverpool’s offer either. For the talent that he has, I expect him to be well rewarded for what he’s achieved so far – comparable to others of a similar stature. I couldn’t give a flying toss what the press and LFC think. If they don’t want to pay the going rate, then that’s their loss. Ultimately, I don’t believe this story is as one sided as people so blindly accept.
There is a well known expression widely used when a young player is excelling and not getting his just reward in terms of a first team or England call-up. “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough”. We all know it. It’s as big a cliché as clichés get. Aren’t we forgetting something? If that’s the case, shouldn’t that give you the right to earn the going rate that being good enough dictates? The fact is, Sterling, at 20 years-old has been one of the leading performers at Liverpool for the last two seasons. Add to that the fact that he was the only England player to turn up for that dismal dross of a World Cup showing last year, and the good enough element comes into perspective.
If the likes of Paul Pogba can reportedly command a salary running double the offered £100k, why shouldn’t Sterling? Don’t forget, the Frenchman is only 22! Liverpool fans bemoan the fact that they’re not in the running for players like him but he wouldn’t come to Liverpool for the money the club are paying Sterling. I don’t believe the club can’t afford him – they spent more than Chelsea last summer, they just simply won’t pay the wages. Liverpool Football Club need to take a good long look at their part in all of this. In football, like anything else in life, you get what you pay for. Deal with it.
The general perception is that FSG being owners of the club and providing funds for Brendan Rodgers to buy players can thus do no wrong. Realistically, it doesn’t matter what you pay for a player. The deciding factor for the player apart from the stature of the club is what’s in it for him financially. This, and the reluctance of John W. Henry & Co. to accept it is in my view, the crux of the issue here. An average to good Baseball player in the US MLB earns around $50m per year, or £32.5m. That’s over £600k per week! The European game is heading for these kinds of salaries so Mr. Henry and his crew had better get used to it. It wasn’t so long ago, the press was raving that ex-Red John Barnes signed a contract for £10k a week!
The manager is not in charge of the contract negotiations, FSG are and their clear lack of knowledge of the European game is holding the club back. We all bemoan Rodgers for buying mediocre players. It seems to me that these are the only players prepared to play for the club for what the club is prepared to pay. Did anyone see John W. Henry or his sidekick Tom Werner at Steven Gerrard’s last game at the weekend? You didn’t… Because they didn’t turn up. They have one of the greatest players in their club’s history playing his last game in front of their own fans, and they don’t bother to show! This for me does not send the right message at all. But, a 20 year-old who deserves better, and the coach who is not given the tools to compete take all the flack.
Rodgers has his hands tied, and for all the flack we give him, I think it’s about time we look upstairs at the goings on in the boardroom, instead of down at the shop floor. There is more going on here than meets the eye and it’s about time both Sterling and Rodgers were given a break and focus was turned to the real mechanics of what is going on.
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