The manager conundrum – Pick your pill and Enter the Matrix

Posted by Farman on May 8, 2004, 12:32:57 PM

“This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends; you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes”.

Morpheus’ question to Neo in the epic trilogy ‘The Matrix’ represents the key moment in Neo’s life. All else that follows is profoundly affected by this one decision. Neo knew things weren’t as they should be; events in his life kept getting stranger and harder to understand until the time came when the resistance knew he was ready to be approached to make the decision.

This summer, the board of Liverpool Football Club have a similarly momentous decision to make, one that will alter – or maintain – the direction we are going in, for better or worse. The finely balanced debate regarding the pros and cons of Gerrard Houllier keeping the top job is not for this piece; rather I’d like to concentrate on the options available if David Moores takes the blue pill, and Houllier’s story ends. Supporters have been eager to put forward a range of names as potential replacements, yet, strangely, each candidate seems to provide close links with a variety of other pills or illegal drugs. Just take a look at the similarities here:

Martin O'Neill - Ketamine: Proven emphatic effects for very little money; however is also likely to make everything two-dimensional. Used as a horse tranquiliser, one gets the impression that Emile is tranquilised enough already as it is.

Jose Mourinho - Cocaine: Latin origin, the big new thing on the European scene. Especially sought-after by the West-London glory boys. Talks a great game and having great, if short-term, effects currently. Much to our amusement has already got up Fergie’s nose. As well as Rio’s. Allegedly.

Kenny Dalglish - Ecstasy: Had us all jumping around and hugging each other a few years ago, but has since fallen from favour. A few die-hard sentimentalists want a return. In MDMA has also fathered a beautiful daughter, currently all the rage on the media scene.

Fabio Capello - Heroin: Expensive and difficult to get hold of, but capable of giving strong feelings of warmth and contentment. Fans have however suffered serious withdrawal symptoms which could cause long-term damage if you can’t keep the habit.

Ronald Koeman - Marijuana: One of the reasons Amsterdam is so great.  Distinguished career over a number of years with proven versatility and popularity, as schooling in Total Football proves. Celebrated international experience. Free kicks a speciality (if you have the right friends).

Claudio Ranieri - LSD: Can become confused and disorientated. Communication can be a real problem, and at risk of losing track of what exactly you’ve got for your money. Unlikely to last more than 36 hours. Always entertaining when used by others. Users can experience unpleasant hallucinations of grandeur, often with flashbacks.

Phil Thompson - Speed: A poor man’s cocaine; popular with the city working classes. Pleasant uplifting feelings, but side effects can include verbal and physical aggression. Useful at times, but passion prevents clarity of thought. Use often results in an unpleasant nose.

The board may still, as they see it, play it safe by avoiding the potential pitfalls the above drugs could bring. Rather, they could go for the safe drug-free option: the plain, unflavoured French mineral water. If it is indeed the Evian that they go for next season, do you think it would be asking too much to at least be given some Alka Seltzer to go with it?

© Farman 2004

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