No Smoke without Fire

Posted by Jamie_H on August 9, 2004, 09:13:19 PM

One thing for sure, this summer has taught me is that there is no smoke without fire with regards to transfer gossip and rumours.

Who, and I mean who, in their wildest nightmares would have predicted that arguably our best player considered leaving us for Chelsea and who would have thought we would consider selling our No.1 marketing investment Michael Owen. Not me for sure and I doubt you too would have thought any different to me.

I'm nearly 33 now, I still remember the first match I went to in 1980 at Anfield. I remember falling in love with the legend that wore our famous No.7 shirt, the way he picked out a team mate with a pass, the way he held the ball at his feet with his back to goal, the way he swivelled to get a shot on goal from an angle you thought he couldn't, the very many great goals he scored, the very many goals he created for Ian Rush. Back then, for me Kenny Dalglish was as big a magnet to me as the team today.

I hold up my hands, I went to watch my idol - Kenny Dalglish.  As I grew older, it became more significant to me to support the club - the team rather than just Kenny. I was young and impressionable at 8 years old, but as time went by the importance of the team started to become issue in my life (the school playground). Liverpool FC first, Kenny was just a part of the great institution that had taken hold of my life.

The thing is, in today's world, I pity the kids nowadays. When I was a lad, money was tight, but today's prices for kids to watch their heroes is just beyond reality. I was out in town yesterday, and looking around it was surprising to see the many kids and teenagers wearing the new (awful) yellow away kit.  They out numbered the few kids I did see wearing Everton shirts by at least 5 to 1 but my point is that the kit identifies the kids with the club they support.  £35 buys a piece of allegiance for a whole season whereas they would have to find that money each game to watch their idols play each week. 

Now I would say the majority of them have their favourite player but the on the whole, kids are going to lose their heroes to rival clubs sooner rather than later. I for one feel sorry for those kids. How the game has changed.

Milan Baros summed it up the other day, when I was sorry to hear him say "I am happy I can play for Liverpool. It's a big club with great fans. But you can't be with Liverpool for 10 or 12 years. That doesn't happen in football. You change a club and you leave. Everyone changes a club in his career. " 

I mean, I don't know what would have happened if Kenny had said that when he was playing. I remember shedding a tear when he resigned in unforeseen circumstances back then. God knows how I would have reacted had he left us in the prime of his playing days whilst I was a young child. It doesn't bear thinking about does it?

So what is more important, the players or the team? If rumours are right then Owen is off and Morientes is heading our way.  As much as I like Morientes as a player, he has not been brought up the Liverpool way. However was Kenny Dalglish? I ask this as there must be thousands of fans throughout the world that would be very sad to hear Michael Owen is leaving us if it these rumours turn out to be true.

I for one am 100% in agreement with EVERYTHING Rafa has done so far. Yes, even if Michael does go I am confident we will survive without him, if not go on to greater things. Michael has had a fantastic career with us, but  last season I noticed he started looking stale, and I don't want to remember him like I did with Robbie, frustrated that he could not reproduce what he once did in the Red shirt. The trouble with Michael is that I believe to get the best out  of him, the team loses something as they have to try and play to his strengths. Like the loss of Keegan in 1977 this may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

If we are to believe the tabloids that Stevie G reconsidered his move to Chelsea due to threats to his family from Liverpool's unsavoury underworld henchman, then how and why is Owen getting away with it? I know he is not a local lad, poor sod never has had it good off us has he? Fowler got more applause and ovations running up the touchline than Michael got in his whole career with us. So why not the same uproar, and bitterness to Michael leaving? Maybe because he's perceived as flirting with leaving us since day one - I guess that's why.

In all honesty in my mind of the two Micheal deserves more respect because Steven Gerrard led us to believe Liverpool was in his blood and it has always been his ambition to play for and captain. The club he led us to believe was in his blood - then BOOM - Chelsea talks and my alarm bells sense 'money' then I think 'mercenary'. Sorry Stevie but in one fell swoop you lost the love of your fans this summer with your actions.

These comings and goings have taken someone with big balls to seriously consider letting go of a certain Michael Owen and Rafa deserves one hell of a lot of respect to do so. One thing for sure, is that Rafa Benitez had better be blessed with very good luck on his side as if this goes wrong, the implications could be huge.  But like I mentioned before, I am 100% behind everything he is doing so far. I feel extremely sure Rafa is going to move us quickly in the direction we all want to be going. 

So if rumours are to be believed Xavi Alonso, Morientes and (bringing my first thought back into context) maybe even David Beckham will be wearing the Red shirt of Liverpool FC. Smoke ... fire ... no ... without, make a sentence out of those words and tell me that the possibility of Beckham coming to us is more absurd than us letting Michael Owen leave and Steven Gerrard thinking about wanting to sign for Chelsea.

I for one am really looking forward to the ride we have with Rafa at the helm. Maybe with the new arrivals, things are finally looking up for the youth of today?

© Jamie H 2004

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