My Club-My View Pt II.

Posted by Hinesy on August 7, 2008, 04:33:49 PM

Here's the 2nd part of My Club - My View, where RAWK asked a bunch of writers from the site to write anything they wanted on the title, with thoughts of the upcoming season. The first part can be found here:


1. Mark_P

August is usually a time for wildly confident predictions, the usual Evertonian bet and the usual “this is our year” statements.  This year seems totally different.

Maybe it’s another season of underachievement in the league.  Maybe it’s watching United do the double, edging ever closer to our haul of league triumphs.  Maybe it’s watching our manager having to try and sell players he wants to fund possible transfers, the funds he was promised by two cowboys eighteen months ago nowhere to be seen.  But “that feeling” isn’t anywhere near as strong as it normally is by the time August hits.

The signing of Robbie Keane undoubtedly excites.  As well as guaranteed goals, his clever play in attacking areas is something we’ve been missing.  Whilst the price may be a little high, the fact that he won’t have any problems adapting to the Premier League means that the buy is certainly no risk, bar the risk of a further dodgy chant from the Kop.

The departure of John Arne Riise means “For fucks sake Riise!” has been shouted at Anfield for the last time, and is another weakness in the squad addressed.  The probable signing of Gareth Barry and departure of Xabi Alonso is obviously in the manager’s mind, and, despite no obvious gulf in class between the two, something he will likely get.  The pre-season judging of new players is something that means nothing, and should act as merely a fitness boost and piss up for the fans, but David N’Gog has look a handful, and the form of the young reserve players has been encouraging.

Yet as Liverpool get into bed with Thomas Cook and tout tickets in the shape of their “Matchday hospitality”, buy out our pubs on a match day and have two owners with view so out of touch with supporters they felt it was a good idea to have a quiet pint in the Sandon after a match, it’s difficult to look forward to another season of bending over and taking it up the arse from Gillett, Hicks, Parry, Platini, Thomas Crook, the FA, UEFA et al.

Fortunately the Spirit of Shankly union continues to grow, and will undoubtedly go from strength to strength this season, hopefully giving us a platform to make some difference, with Thomas Cook’s lowering of rip off prices for coaches to Liege a testimony to what can be done through the union –

Let’s hope by May we’ve found ourselves owners who back up their “snoogy doogy” claim, and Benitez and Gerrard are lifting the one we want in front of a celebrating Kop, with a loud rendition of “Champions!  Champions!” buzzing round the ground.

Enough to even get this miserable arse excited!

2. Spartacus

The new football season kicks off in just over a week’s time and I can’t wait.  Every year it’s the same, come May I can’t wait for the season to finish and come August I can’t wait for it to start again.  It doesn’t matter how successful a season we have or more to the point how disappointing our league campaign may have been, it’s a cycle of emotions that I’ve lived with for many a year and I can’t see it ending anytime soon!

So what about this season?  What will Rafa’s fifth season in charge of the mighty reds bring us? Has he strengthened the squad enough to see us challenge for the title or yet again will our league campaign be over by Christmas?  I wish I had answers rather than opinions, but then if I had the answers would I still be waiting, eagerly anticipating the start of the season?  I think not!

For what its worth and purely from a leagues perspective I think we’ll have our best season yet under Rafa as long as Rafa lasts the season (I’ll come back to that).  So why the optimism?  Well partly because that’s my nature and I start every season full of optimism but also because I genuinely believe we’ve improved as a squad and I think Rafa is adapting to our league with every season, he’s not took to it overnight and he’s made mistakes but so what?  Who doesn’t?  As long as he learns by his mistakes and I believe he does then that’s fine. 

But I’m not getting carried away with my optimism, having the best league season under Rafa and winning the league are two very different things and in all honesty I don’t see us winning the league, I just don’t think we’ve done enough to bridge the gap.  I’m not a huge advocate of simply throwing money at the problem but I do believe we have to be buying players of the same calibre as Torres each season and not as a one off!  If that player costs money then he costs money!  All in all I’d class a title challenge and us still being in the race come March as a step in the right direction, anything more than that for me is a bonus. 

To be honest I feel sorry for Rafa, I’m sorry that he joined a club that prided its self on doing things the right way and supporting their manager, a club steeped in tradition with a reputation second to none yet he finds himself working with muppets and having to deal with unprecedented (for Liverpool) off the field antics, and I wonder how much he’ll stand for before he walks – but I also wonder how much our owners will put up with before they show him the door, a dodgy start in the premier/champions league and we’ll see how much faith they have in Rafa, have they got the bottle for the season ahead?  I believe a lesser man would have thrown in the towel by now and I don’t for one minute think he’s not considered that, but only time will tell.

3. -HH-
Last season was strange in many ways, and optimistic though I am in general I can't help but feel this time round is likely to be much of the same again. It's sad when matters off the field seem to matter more than those on it, but that's the way much of last season was - and sadly we seem no closer to ridding ourselves of the parasites that brought these problems in the first place. And what's worse is they seem to have learned better manipulation. They've realised that the best spin for them is no spin at all. The quiet is dulling people's anger and is allowing them to continue sucking the club dry. Meanwhile, Rafa is working his usual solid job in the transfer market with the added pressure of knowing that the owners want a league title and soon.
The saddest thing is that if Rafa does manage to bring back the title it will only serve to strengthen their hold on the club, attract more and more hangers on to the crowd which will lessen the impact of any protests we can actually make as supporters, either verbal or financial. Most people will tell you that they don't care who signs the cheques as long as we win the league, but that's not true for me. I want a good, responsible owner who will protect the interests of the city and the matchgoing fanbase as well as facilitating success on the pitch. Maybe it's a tough ask, but we're Liverpool and we should demand that of our owners. The matchday experience has already been ruined beyond recognition in the 7 years I've been going the match so god knows how those who remember the genuinely good days feel. *

On the pitch it's been a good summer. The way I see it we're a stronger attacking unit than we were last year - attacking full backs give us a new dimension, as does Robbie Keane. I think most defences will struggle against the talent we have, including the Mancs and Chelsea - where we lost the points that in the main cost us the title last year. The return of Danny Agger and to be honest the sale of Riise strengthens us defensively. On paper it's all looking very good, but if we're to turn that into a genuine title challenge we need to improve our mentality and defend and attack set pieces better, and all the signings in the world won't solve that problem. We're so close I can taste it, but being that close just makes it harder to take if you do fall short. Pre-season has involved a lot of positives too - some promising performances from youngsters, the return of Daniel Agger and for me a return to form for Jamie Carragher. Jamie was poor for me last season, but he's shown he's ready to get his head down again and prove any doubters wrong. And it being Carra, you just know he will.

My wish for the coming season is a complete reversal of last season, which started out with such optimism and petered out under a dark cloud of off pitch issues. Despite the strategic silence, those issues aren't resolved and won't be until the owners are removed. Getting rid of them in the first half of the season and settling things down off the pitch and finishing by taking the title to the wire would be my greatest hope. But even as an optimist by nature I can only see us getting one or the other at best, and sadly whichever we do get will be slightly sullied by the failure on another count.

*This ray of sunshine was brought to you by Powergen

I'm still waiting for the SOS, Wooltonian and Garstonite to get back to me, so part III will be along shortly!

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