No More Apathy - Time for a United Front ...

Posted by Mark_P on June 3, 2008, 04:51:47 PM

The month of June is a strange one for football fans. 

No fixtures for the Reds mean that feigning interest in an international tournament is needed to give fans a fix of games.  Every time Sky Sports use “Breaking News” you sit up with excitement awaiting the confirmation of the Lionel Messi deal your best mates’ Dad’s plumber told you about.  Every hit of the ‘refresh’ button on a website is an expectant one, every far off rumour, normally treated with contempt, is automatically fact.  Every city in the World goes into rumour mill overdrive.

Look at June 2007 alone.  Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o, Thierry Henry, Florent Malouda, Gabriel Milito – I could go on and on.  All names that were being banded about this time last year amongst the media and fans.  Thierry Henry was spotted at Melwood a million times.  Eto’o – secretly having a pint in the Sandon.  And, of course, Gabriel Heinz was completing the £70m spending spree, just as soon as he finished off his £2s worth of golf balls at Netherley Driving Range.

What about this year though?  What has happened to the June of wild speculation, of excitement at the flurry of internationals that were on their way to Anfield, normally an annual occurrence?  This year has not been about excitement.  It hasn’t even been about every conversation amongst Reds ending with “This will definitely be our year”.

“Sell before he can buy”, “Raise some funds” and “Fucking skint” have all become June 2008’s buzz phrases.

Because, at the moment, there is a bigger problem at Liverpool than the need for a new left back.  A bigger problem than the need for a right winger.  The apathy towards on the pitch matters stem from the fact that we cannot compete with the £60-70m Manchester United and Chelsea will spend.  The apathy comes from the fact that we know we’ve not only be lied to, but we bent over and let two liars use their spin so much we stumbled about in a daze. 

We all remember the ‘Snoogy Doogy’ spiel we received from one George Gillett.  So, what happened there?  People point to the £20m signing of Torres, and the £17m (including wages) signing of Javier Mascherano as evidence of the two Americans putting their hands in their pockets and backing up their promises.  The fact that loans paid for the majority of these fees, plus Rafa’s net spending only just amounting to more than the prize money he and his side received for reaching Athens, tells its own story. 

The signing of Bosman transfer Phillipe Degen has not been met with the usual “Okay, he’ll be a good squad player”, but as a sign of the times.  Of course, it’s unfair to slate Degen before he’s kicked a ball with a Liverpool shirt on, but a player who Dortmund deemed to be not good enough for a new deal isn’t a title winning change.  But, our expectations of our two owners and our beloved Chief Executive mean that the usual excitement has gone.  Accept mediocrity, because that’s what these are willing to bankroll appears to be the attitude.

It’s like two business partners taking over a pub.  They promise a revamp, a hugely expensive renovation, but fail to deliver.  The popular manager or manageress has his or her position undermined as they tried to get one of their mates in, only going back on that when the customers kicked up a fuss.  While every other pub around them is making huge changes and giving their pubs funds to make it better for customers, the two partners are loaning money against the pub, putting fuck all in themselves.

The result would be simple.  No customers.  But, Gillett and Hicks know this couldn’t happen at a football club.  They know it’s not a case of trying to make those who make them money happy, but they will have us filling grounds week in week out.  They have our fans queuing up at half twelve at night to get the latest piece of tat they churn out for forty quid.  They can piss us off all they want, but they know we’ll always go back, and with little dissent. 

But, they are also probably wise to the fact that, as Liverpool fans, any attempt to fight this situation we’re in will always see faceless fans hiding behind an internet pseudo name arguing about petty things.  Protest marches will be met with people asking “This again?”  While everyone wants them out, they still take tabloid agenda driven journalist’s views at face value, and let petty squabbles hinder views. 

We were great at being together and strong when the initial anger and frustration came to the fore in January.  Great at all giving our backing for Rafa before the Porto match.  But, has it really come to the point were Gillett and Hicks are being given an easy time because we’re all not too bothered anymore?  Has the apathy that seems to occur every time a Liverpool fans group has been set up – almost a “They don’t speak for fucking me” attitude that has accompanied every group – spread towards the Spirit of Shankly group?  A group that is there to look after the interests of fans?

While June should be time to look forward, this year there’s a difference.  Excitement has been replaced with a nasty American-style taste in my mouth.  It’s been like an election campaign at times, with apparent custodians of the club taking the roles of snidey, spin-driven politicians.  Hicks with his mug and his feigning of interest at a match.  Gillett’s attempts at singing YNWA.  The embarrassing Tom Hicks Jnr drinking in the Sandon debacle.  It seems that actually following the club and talking about on the field matters has taken a backseat – and all because of those we should be driving out.  Or this spin culture will continue at our club for years to come.

So, let’s put down any petty squabbles that rear their ugly head every time we get ourselves organised.  It’s not “Scouse vs Wools”, “Singer vs Non-Singers” “Fuck that they wear colours the match look shite”.  It involves all of us.  From the now famous “Dave from Dorset” to lads from L4. 

Let’s hit the ground running next season.  Tell your friends.  This is probably the most important season in the history of our club.  If the Yanks get an easy ride that will only get easier as time goes on.  If they’re still here by June 2009, it’s likely they’ve well and truly rode the storm. 

Let’s make sure the two cowboys are merely a blemish in our history book rather than those who run us to the ground to make themselves a few ‘bucks’ in profit and pay for Foster and Tom Jnr’s college fund.

We owe it to those who went before us and those who will follow. 

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