In Times of Troubles

Posted by WOOLTONIAN on February 24, 2004, 02:02:25 PM

Like many others I look to my Father for guidence. After all, he's been there and done that, even before I was created in his "Nut Sack".

Funny that Mark Platt from official site should be looking at the 44th anniversary today, that of Shankly's first signing Sammy Reid, who never made the grade at Anfield. At the same time I've been looking at events 50 years ago.

I've just spent a couple of days, looking at doing this piece. It's something I tend to do when things are looking gloomy. History usually brings a smile to my face.

1953 saw my father serving national service in Malaya, Singapore and all points east. I thought writing the piece might bring back happy memories and also cheer him up as he is at an all time low, as a Liverpool supporter. So off I trundled to get the basic skeleton of the piece i.e. actual events surrounding LFC just six years after we won the first post-war title.

1953 - 1954 highlights
10-1-1953, we were knocked out of FA Cup by Gateshead. We finished the 52/53 season in 17th place.

Ah well I thought, things can only get better.

2-9-53 lost 4-0 at Newcastle
5-9-53 lost 5-1 at home to Preston

Two away defeats at Wolves and Spurs, both 2-1. September ended with us being beaten 6-0 at  Charlton. At the end of October Chelsea humped 5 goals up us. November brought three consecutive defeats Sunderland, Arsenal and Cardiff. Roll on December eh?

Portsmouth beat us 5-1, so did Man Utd. West Brom beat us 5-2 and this was the beginning of 15 games without a win. Sadly one of them was a FA Cup exit to Bolton. The season ended with a 3-0 defeat at Blackpool. We were of course RELEGATED that season!

With all the facts in hand, I usually try to "put flesh on the bones of the story". I decided, not to bother. How would this possible cheer me arl fellah up? Then I thought, well, at least it would put the current plight into perspective.

So I rang him.

Yes, he said I remember it well, the bloody board didn't listen to the fans then either. The writing had been on the wall for a while at that time, but they chose to ignore it. Their thoughts at the time must have been "it can't get any worse". They brought in a bunch of mediocre players on the cheap, instead of replacing the older squad players with equal or better.

Having an all time great like Liddell was not enough, just like having Steven Gerrard isn't now. The then manager Mr Welsh (the one we did sack), spent half his time at Anfield with his hands tied behind his back. It was the board that picked the team, it was the board that decided who we bought. But it was Don Welsh who carried the can for the deficiencies of the club.

History has a habit of repeating itself and although the chances of us being relegated this season is nil, we must recognise we are on a slippery slope. Surely the current board are not going to wait until we are relagated? They must start addressing the problem before it's too late.

Looking across the park at Everton's demise must be ringing alarm bells in the ivory tower. No matter what others tell you, they were a great club once, who failed to recognise they were entering a downward spiral. They swapped competing at the highest level with relegation battles because they reacted too slow to the game changing.

It's bad enough we cannot compete with teams on the park, but when little clubs like Arsenal (yes, Woolwich Arsenal from Islington) are showing Liverpool the way off the park, it's time to take a good hard look at what's going on. The new "state of the art" stadium they are building will put the new Anfield to shame, based on the designs I've seen.

When Cardiff's Millennium Stadium was built it should have set a new bench mark for stadiums as the minumum requirement. We won't reach that requirement with the new stadium. Similarly the 1966 World Cup should have seen a big kick forward in stadium design and improvements - most of our best stadiums stood still - Goodison in particular.

So if we accept that Arsenal are an upwardly mobile club, or at least have reached the plateau of success, where are we?

We are half way down the plug hole of obscurity. We are in need a massive financial injection. Can the current board inject such an amount? NO.

We are owned by a bunch of private investors, who added together cannot come up with the sum required. We have two options on how to raise the cash sum required, FLOAT or succumb to a billionaires whim. Neither are acceptable to the fans apparently. I wonder whether relagation would suit them better?

We averaged about 36,000 at home in the old Division 2; do you think the fickle fans of today will still turn out in the Nationwide? Again NO.

Football is an industry. We are acting like a "cottage industry", forever dipping our toe in the waters instead of diving in and leading the way.
The time has come to ACT NOW, not suck and see how things turn out. We are in a position, where can become the next Everton or the next Arsenal. We can ill afford to stand still and hope that everything in the wash turns out ok.

Will we learn anything from the events of 50 years ago? Only time will tell. But time is running out.

Will players leave if things dont improve? "Will rats leave a sinking ship?" is the response - of course they will.

Will Liverpool replace seasoned pro's with "maybe's"? We already are!

Will the maybe's eventually be replaced by cheap journeymen? Ask Evertonians or West Ham fans and you'll get your answer.

Our choice is simple. Act now or accept our slide into the abyss of mediocrity.

I have always wanted to walk in my Father's footsteps. I doubt whether I could fill his boots. I certainly dont want to spend as much time as he did, watching our team play  "Down Amongst The Dead Men".

Ever considered how low we are capable of sinking under the current regime? The word RELEGATION cuts deep and for those who respond, "Never!" take a long hard look at events 50 years ago.

© Wooltonian 2004

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