30.03.2011 is one of those days in the history of sports where the space scientists and sky observers may observe some extra lightings in the night time in a particular region of the world called the Indian Sub Continent. Someone from the unaware world could misunderstand to be the new year or christmas or Diwali or anything. The sports fans could mistake it for a major finals of a sports. However, only the people on the either side of the ‘Wagah Border’ would know the reason. The fans who bought the ticket for 2000 euros and the gamblers who have made the total amount bet to more than 100000000 INR (i.e. 20000000 euros approximately) will know the reason.
Liverpool – Manchester United, Inter Milan – AC Milan, El Classicó , Sampras – Agassi, Nadal – Federer are a few rivalries in sports which spring to mind at the moment to start my blog. The banter amongst the fans is mild the passion is immense. However, besides these popular sports (football and tennis), when two countries meet each other in a leaisure sport which 10 nations from the more than 200 nations in a world play called Cricket. And once every 4 years with 6 other nations they come together and play a competetion called the World Cup of Cricket.
The 6 nations only fill up numbers to provide some pride to the elder 10 brothers in the competition knowing very well the outcome of their future efforts even before the inaugural ceremony of the WC. Majority of the matches are one sided in these competitions and you can win a few quids if you do not follow your heart over brains. However, there comes a match if the 1.48 billion people in the world get lucky called ‘The Mother of All Sports Rivalry’ sometimes scheduled and sometimes by destiny.
1.48 billion know why it is not ‘just another sports match of the remaining human kind’ . It is not just another India – Pakistan match. It is WAR. Team players, captains and politicians are requesting the media to not brand it as the War. Little are they aware of the passion of the fans when they ask us to refrain from the word.
History exists between the nations, wars have happened, ideologies have been different but passions are the same — Cricket. We are sons of the same culture, share the same food, similar languages, same sports (I am gonna be butchered for this sentence here) but have the hatred of Communist USSR and Democratic USA when it comes to CRICKET. Little do we care if Qureshi – Bopanna pair win the US open to amend these bridges of hatred across the border.The dates are as follows
04.03.1992 – India vs Pakistan in Sydney, India won but Pakistan wins the WC.
09.03.1996 – India vs Pakistan in Bangalore, India won by 39 runs in QFs and India loses the SFs to eventual winners.
08.06.1999 – India vs Pakistan in Manchester, India won by 47 runs in the second round.Pakistan lost the Finals
01.03.2003 – India vs Pakistan in Centurion, India won by 6 wkts. India lost the Finals.
These results are well documented in the history books. However, a fan does not only know exactly where he was exalting in joy or grieving in sorrow at the end but also where and what happened in 7 hrs on the screen of the TV. Who said what before the game (‘ I know how to get him out’) or during the game (”Wahin ball daalega, wahin ball pahunchayunga’, ‘Pata hain tujhe, tunhe kiska catch choda hain’) but not after the game as a few commit suicide, some grieve and some make it a Diwali or Eid.
Images are imprinted – The Jumping Monkey and The pointing bat, The Six over third man and the fear of the losing Captain, The arrogance before and the humiliation after, The big plans and the media build up, The inflicted war and The Scotland Yard and The nuisance of political blamegame. Everything remains there.
An outstanding performance will build folklores for the person irrespective of the outcome of the Finals (though I am 200% confident whoever wins this match will clobber SL in the finals). The Captain of the team losing may have to run andhide for a few days. Imran Khan won the world cup and was spared the humiliation in 1992, Akram went to Pakistan after a month in Dubai and threats for life in 1996. Akram saved the repeat next time by reaching the finals in 1999. Waqar Younis in 2003 was already praying for life when Razzaq dropped the catch.
The few elite, priviliged and the lucky ones will boast for years to come how they saw The God demolish Pakistan or hope not repent the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ streamroll through the Indian Batting. (I just hope not again and again). How the Australian and English commentators will provoke the should be neutral Indian and Pakistani commentators for responses and reasons for a rivalry they dont understand and find it hard to accept is greater than ‘The Ashes’. Should they ask again, I suggest the Gavaskar’s, Raza’s and the broadcasters to show the imprinted images to them.
A foreigner would love the region without the people on the street as the fans will sit with family and friends watching the game at home or at work. Womenfolk will not ask for the remote for 7 hrs minimum and the police will not bother with the noise until 3 am next morning. Facebook wall be flooded with swears, score updating websites will be the source of becauchery with work for us NRIs (Non Residence Idiots), a newly born 1 billion population of experts will analyze the game later and the mistakes.
Everyone will be obsessed. A beha****d and a maa******d every boundary conceded and A ch****a for a bad shot played. If the game becomes tight like ’92, ’96 and 2003 games then the people will be statued in the space-time spectrum of the little good moment. (A wkt, a boundary or anything that relieves pressure). The moved person will curse himself internally for the motion if the end results of his movement is a pain bearing position. His reward for another iota of movement will be slaps, curses and swear. Dare I advise my cricket obsessed junta to find a comfortable place conveniently located from the TV screen, food table and maybe keep a pot below!!
Mark Zuckerburg will find out the strength of his servers tomorrow and may come to repent his decision tomorrow to allow Facebook for such quick expressions of statuses in India and Pakistan. How impatient are we, he will realize tomorrow?? If he thought his servers responded quickly on India – SA game, he shall seek THE TRUTH tomorrow.
Call us immature??Call it obsession??Call us crazy to die for a game? Or stupid to gamble and win a million?We do not care as this is India – Pakistan WC match. As you fail to understand my obsession, I fail to comprehend your nonchalant attitude towards such a historical event. To the very remote few who have not understood the significance of 30.03.2011 do not understand the relevance just join the obsession.
So my dear colleagues who have heard me bug yourselves all for the last few days with THE GAME, kindly understand it is ‘The Mother of all Sports Rivalry’.
I am gonna miss another Diwali in India again but this is one of it’s kind to be celebrated in Spring.
PS — Madrid, 1st Week of December 2008, I was walking the streets of Madrid with a CANADIAN and PAKISTANI friend discussing the then recently happened Mumbai Attacks and somehow after a stupid emotional outburst from my side me and my Pakistani Mate concluded an India – Pakistan WC final match was the best way to decide the Kashmir Issue
Without a doubt, every RED at this point is wondering the following questions a) When will the KING be crowned?? b) Who will we buy in the summer c) (In a hushed tone) NESV is good and have shown promise in January but can we trust them in the summer to open their wallet. Amidst all these ambivalence, every RED is making his own formation, team and squad for the next season.
I did not watch the LIVERPOOL of 80s as I was a toddler then but watching Liverpool over the last 14 years, I am sure under Kenny we will play football full of attacking intent which was missing since a long time. As an icing on the cake we will take the game to the opposition from the back line (and even Pepe Reina could be starting the move).
Furthermore, we will play a variety of formations depending on the opponents and grounds unlike Hodgson where even I could predict the first 11 after seeing the injury list on Saturday’s Daily Mail. Today, we sit glued to the TV sets, internet sites till the 11 are announced as we never know what is the team. Keeps us on toes before we sing ”You Will Never Walk Alone”, keeps the opponent guessing, broadens our smile when we score the first goal, provokes chants of ”DALGLISH, DALGLISH” at 70 minutes in the lead and more importantly gives us more faith 2 hours later in the King himself.
Surprise of the team makes the squad players work hard to earn their place. (No wonder a spoilt, sulking kid left the team as he wanted place by right and did not want to earn it)As a RED for 14 years, it was extremely impossible for me to dream about the world’s best players even in my dream team for the past 2 seasons thanks to some Texan idiots. However, with the intent, promises and work philosophy of NESV so far, I will jump the gun this time. From the little I have watched the King make his team lists, I will try form my 2011 – 2012 team and squad.
One of the biggest desires of every RED is class wingers to serve in crosses for Andy Carroll. An understandable concern if we want to play a 4 – 4 -2 or a 4 – 2 – 3 – 1 (with Carroll upfront on his own). However, what if we play a 3 – 2- 1 – 3 – 1 (i.e. with the 2 wing backs Kelly and Johnson/Aurelio). People would doubt it but I never did doubt it when we played that against Stoke even without Carroll.
The strength of 3 – 2 – 1 – 3 – 1 lies in the good centre backs and a good DM ahead of them. In Skrtel, we have a monster of a CB at the centre of the 3 who can dominate the air and has a physical presence about him. In Krygiakos, we get the air but no physical presence or speed. Hence, we will need a substitute for Skrtel in this formation.
On either side of Skrtel, we have our own Carragher who likes to hoof the ball upfront or give a short pass. In this system, it is easier for him to give it to Lucas or Kelly or Skrtel or Pepe and not hoof it up which annoys us. On the subs bench, we again have Krygiakos or Ayala to play there and do not forget we have Kelly who is a natural CB. Then on the other side we have my favorite defender in the team – Daniel Agger. A guy who loves to hold play, take the ball forward and start a move. A versatile and a perfect defender but injury prone. However, when he goes forward, the system allows the DM to fill his place and keep the system of 3 defenders intact. Wilson seems an ideal substitute for him.
The 2 wing backs in this system need to be quick and efficient crossers of the ball. Aurelio, Johnson and Kelly are good crossers. Kelly is quick to revert back to his defensive duties, however same cannot be said for Aurelio and Johnson. However, Johnson and Aurelio like to cut into the centre of the field which is something Kenny would not want for the system to work. Cutting in means more people in the box and cramped for movement and small length and space for crossing. Besides, cutting in exposes our flanks for the teams to set up a counter attack.
In such a scenario a defensive midfielder who is quick is needed to tackle and break the counter or ideally for a wing back who can cross from the flanks and revert to defense. Leighton Baines or José Enrique are ideal not Cashley Cole as he likes to cut in or Marcelo.
In such a system, we need a quick holding midfielder who loves to make a tackle. We have Lucas and Spearing. Lucas loves the big games where he ups his speed and becomes a fan favorite for a week until the next match where he does only one part of the job i.e. makes tackles. Spearing is maturing into a quick player and will need time to get to his feet in order to make the tackles and pass at the same efficiency. A DM in this system has the option to lay the ball sideways for his wing backs or distribute the ball to the 4 players ahead of him.
Ideally, these 4 players are positioned in the following space — Striker upfront on his own tussling with the opponents CBs and trying to stretch them. The AM right in the spot behind him and the two forwards on either side to pounce of the headers from no. 9 and run into the space of the stretched defense. A good ball distributed nicely by the DM could result in a nice move testing the keepers. Else the two wide forwards could be near the flanks if the WBs are way behind and receive the ball.
Charlie Adam or Xabi Alonso are the only people who can spring to mind to make this work. Lucas and Spearing are good but have to learn to distribute the ball quickly with effectiveness. We need a readymade first 11 player for this position and Lucas and Spearing on the bench unless Lucas continues this maturing curve and distributes the ball nicely.
The remaining 4 players have the duty to score. How to keep a formation where the opponent defenses are scattered is a like small diamond.
——————————Attacking Midfielder – Meireles/Gerrard/Shelvey—————————————-
—Right Forward— Suarez/Maxi/Kuyt———————————–Left Forward—-Suarez/Cole————-
————————————Centre forward — Carroll/ Suarez——————————————————
People are all discussing a need for an attacking midfielder for the next season. However, I firmly believe in the 3 players we have currently in our team. Gerrard is beyond discussions of a simple man like me. Meireles has shut his critics with those dazzling runs to provide options to wide forwards and WBs. As for Shelvey, the kid has a great eye to spot a space and make a pass. His vision for reading the teams play and opponent defense movement is as canny as Kenny. However, he has to become more athletic, robust, strong and quick for the EPL just like Meireles has to man up at times. We do not need a substitute in this position.
For the right forward Maxi and Kuyt are as good as anyone in the market as the crossing duty would majorly lie with the WBs. Both these players and Suarez love to drift in and make a short pass or a fierce shot at the goal posts. Ideal players for their positions. Neither likes to play at wings and Kuyt has already displayed his poaching ability against the Mancs. Maxi likes to score with a fierce shot and does not have a poaching ability (evident against Chelsea). Keep them there to poach off the headers and lay-offs from Carroll. Cole gives us a wide option on the left with Suarez. Whereas, Suarez and Cole like to drift in and play more central, Cole gives us the option of putting in decent crosses sometimes. As LB is our major concern Cole can relieve some of Johnson’s duties by putting in the crosses from the left and keeping Carroll happy.
We just can’t get enough of Suarez. He likes to drift, cross, free kicks and everything else. I cannot assign him a responsibility as he may get annoyed (like with Spearing). So simple responsibility will be, go make those mazy runs from left or right and put the ball in the net.
If the system works and everything does stick to their responsibility, Carroll shall have an easy task of justifying his 35 million GBP. Get those headers and the lay-offs to the poachers and score your headers from set – pieces.
To conclude, this formation needs a LB like Baines and a DM like Adam. No wonder King was outrageously bidding for Adam in January. I hope we get him in the summer. If Baines/Enrique comes, I can see Johnson starting RB, Kelly on right side of Skrtel and Carragher a squad player.
For my next formation, I will soon be analyzing 4 – 4 – 2.
PS – I am not John W Henry who knows how much money is there in the summer, hence, only the players we have and used are analyzed here to make this system work.
January 9th, 2011 will remain a special day for me always because little had I realized how the small statement on www.liverpoolfc.tv on 8th Janaury, 2011 would change my life for ever. It was a simple statement of a change of manager for my beloved Liverpool club.
As a fan from 1998, I have seen a few managers for the reds who have come and gone unable to stir the wind at Anfield or even to stop the wind. Up until the fateful day, like a insincere student of history, I was proud of the names associated with the great club and had read almost all articles on the Liverpool squad for 6 years. However, it was very difficult to accept the greatness of these names without seeing them in action. A now regretful consequence of maturing and following the philosophy – SEEING IS BELIEVING. Shankly was a legend and Paisley was a reverred figure for me similar to the fellow reds.
I watched the impact, passion and the mutual love of fans and Gerrard and Carragher for 14 years and the unspoken yearning of love between Alonso and THE KOP. For a 25 year old, this was all legendary. In a miniscule iota of time curve, these guys were legends and the future mythological folklore of the club. So, I can honestly accept with huge regrets how nonchalantly I dismissed the report on 8th January, 2011 and began anticipating a performance next day similar to the one at Edwood Park the previous week.
One could rebuke me for such a bad attitude towards love of life. However, in my defence I had been excited at the treble under Houllier and the mythical night of Istanbul. I was glad when BENITEZ came in 2004 and not excited as he did not have the stature becoming of LFC. I was overjoyed when El Niño scored his first goal against Man utd and danced to the joy when we hammered OT 4-1. Iwas disappointed at the 7th place finish last season and was happy to watch the best EPL manager of the season take charge at Anfield in the summer of 2010. My nonchalant attitude developed from the lows which followed these excitements as none of these managers had the passion of a fan for the club.
Neither Benitez nor Hodgson would come out in the press conference and give us hope or take responsibility themselves. The referee or the owners were at fault for them or the players did not stick to the tactics and missed sitters. They were bigger than the faults they made. Unable to handle the limelight of LFC, they went berserk at small successes and rattled it at the next low point. These are the simple reasons for dismissing the report.
Then came January 9th, 2011. One hell of a post match conference. The KING ridicules the FA in a satirical manner questioning the manliness of the game. Laughing at the penalty and asking the reporters where the contact in the sport had disappeared.Telling them he wanted to do the Mourinho by running to the away supporters but is too old. Amazing, this was not pointing fingers at anyone but joking along on a bad day at office like all normal people do in order to get through a hard day at work. Simultaneously, he acknowledged the fans too.
Then came Blackpool, the same squad who felt were being pushed into playing were playing like the way they should. Hard luck, we lost but the game was amazing to watch.Almost 2 months later, I still wonder about the toepoke from Meireles. KING KENNY supported the players and applauded Blackpool for playing better and earning a deserved win. Which manager does that in the modern era?
Next came the derby, another goal from a corner that should have not been. KING KENNY is the usual, saying officials are human and things happen.
WOLVES, the world is talking about the SEXgate and the KING is attempting to turn it into a POTTYgate saying he would go potty if the decision had gone against him. Amazing. FULHAM, he has a legal goal disallowed for offside, tries to sign FULHAM manager MARK HUGHES for Liverpool after watching him juggling the football. STOKE city is surprised by the new formation and taken to pieces at ANFIELD.
Come the most exciting transfer window for LFC fans in almost an eternity as a new manager, new owners all under careful scrutiny. The artificial KOHINOOR of LFC is lost a Russian mafia but THE KING again brings us out of the situation with a huge advantage. Now LFC owns the most expensive British Player in history and sold the most expensive Spanish Player ever. We are riding high on a wave and some are wary now the bubble will burst.
Stamford Bridge is raided by Meireles for a volley of satirical bombs by the KING on a Judas. Nice to have had them. However, like a paternal figure of a family, this time Kenny wants us to limit us and not get carried away pointing out the next game is as important as the game won. However, once again a bad referee decision robs us off 2 points and still KK does not discuss it or carry it forward for more than a single mention in his conference. Loss to West Ham is followed by KK mentioning where the mistakes were made and need to be corrected i.e. THE TRAINING GROUND.
In all these matches, KENNY DALGLISH has respected the fans’ emotions, the clubs pride and honor and showed us the path forward. Like Moses he is taking us to the destined land, the place where we belong, our rightful place. After such eventful 2 months, the biggest regret of my life is never watched King Kenny play live. The videos for me are never good as they never give the correct feeling of the atmosphere and the surrounding pressure on the players which makes a correct evaluation of the player easy.
The man has brought a feeling of security amongst players and fans. We as fans talk with emotion and about a brethren and love for the club. However, we had our disagreements over formations and players in the past. Now every discussion concludes with an initial statement similar to two young siblings in a trip with a tough decision to make – ‘Papa knows best’. Not many managers own that trust of the fans but KK has earned it and has not abused it like some managers where success got to them. I will not know the SHANKLY’s boot room but in this internet savvy world 21st century BOOT ROOM will be my familiar territory.
I have never known anyone in my life who has brought so much joy to so many people in 2 months. Even Gandhi took years to bring joy and Mother Teresa took time to heal the wounded souls of the less priviliged. However, one single comment from KK healed my wounds for I knew we had our messiah. We had the person who would march us to the sea coast to make our own success against the biased media and FA, who would take us in his heart once he wore the Gaffers jacket and take our feelings through to the soul of ANFIELD. I can associate his smile and joy to mine and hence can understand the Liverpool way even better.
THE KING IS BACK AND HE HAS TAKEN THE THRONE BUT DOES NOT HAVE THE CROWN YET. WE (fans) WHO LOVE OUR KING SHOULD HELP THE PLAYERS SNATCH THE CORWN FROM A WHISKEY NOSE AND PUT IT BACK ON THE HEAD OF THE RIGHTFUL HEIR. LETS GET STARTED ON SUNDAY WITH THE 3 POINTS AS A BIRTHDAY GIFT FOR THE KING.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY KING. I WISH YOU WERE 20 YEARS YOUNGER SO THAT I COULD WATCH YOU PLAY.
FROM THE DEAR READS ALL OVER THE WORLD TO KING KENNY
YOU WILL NEVER WALK ALONE
As a Mechanical and Aeronautical engineer with a huge critical attitude, someday I was bound to analyze the Beautiful Game in an Engineering manner i.e. MECHANICS of it. We live in a world of media where the statistics are displayed on our screen every few minutes in a game which a simple naive follower is bound to udnerstand or interpret in relation of the game. As an engineer myself, I have tried hard and really hard to understand the facts and stats but somehow they cannot replace the laws od physics in my small sized brain. Henceforth, I devised these ideas to make my football crazy limbic part of the brain live symbiotically with my neocortex.
One of the first machines we learn in science is LEVERS which have three focal points – Load, Fulcrum and Effort. In Football we have 3 major aspects – Defend, Possession and Attack. In LEVERS, the Fulcrum takes the effort and does work on the load in the result of ease of work. In football, defenders withstand the pressure (effort) of the opposing team, midfielders are creative in holding the game and share the laod of attack with the strikers to score and win a game.Ain’t that a simple correlation.
Similarly, as a good Fulcrum location defines a good machine in terms of efficiency, possession percentage in a game defines the dominance of a particular team. Some teams love possession and baeutify the Beautiful game like Liverpool of the 90’s and 2011. Frist class levers are the most flexible machine as they have fulcrum in the best position i.e. between Load and Effort. Similarly, it is the midfield which is the most critical aspect in a team in order to hold possession and dominate a game as it lies between the defenders and the strikers.
A good midfield needs players like Meireles and Gerrard with a strong striker who can bear with the attacking load. They can cooperate with the attackers of their team and reduce the load there. Simultaneously, we need a lot of width in the midfield in order to make the movements more flexible and beautiful and versatile. To get these universal aspects functioning in a machine is a desire of every engineer and a football managers dream since the 60’s in the form of UKRAINEAN invention of TOTAL FOOTBALL. However, this requires the need of 2 additional players called the wings to give width. My beloved Liverpool are suffering in this aspect.
An aspect of LEVERS is their efficiency which is the ratio of load arm to effort arm. This simply means the ratio of distance from the load to fulcrum and the fulcrum to point of application of effort. The smaller the effort arm, the better the machine. This can be best achieved by making a load in the centre of the fulcrum and effort. Can we do this in Football???No, it would mean defenders in the centre of the field playing really close to the strikers or the midfield. It is an ideal situation and called pressing or narrowing the field space for the opposition to play. Few teams have been able to do this as it needs high work rate and an even higher fitness. So we make a simple adaptation in the form of the defensive or holding midfielder – sometimes called the engine room.
In my opinion, it is the most underrated position in the game but the most critical one. He has fewer chances of scoring and even lesser of making those violent tackles which excite the fans and endear the centre backs to the history books and terrorize the opposing forwards of the CBs. A good high working rate DM can hold the play releasing the likes of Gerrard and Meireles to put the effort in the attack simultaneously sharing the defence with the defensive line. In Lucas, we have a great DM who can share the load but cannot release Gerrard or Meireles to the front with a quick pass or an long haul ball. However, he deserves to be in the team when we play a 3 – 5 – 2 as he can release the 2 wing backs (who are also sharing his role) to attack quickly making the effort less on the strikers.
Last but not the least, to carry the effort quickly For this we have the last line called the Defence line where they bear the load of the opponents attack and NOW start the play from the back like the Liverpool of the 80s. It is important for these players to hold the tackle and make a good pass (short or long) to convert effort quickly into load.Players like Agger are the biggest assets in this region as they love to play with the ball and do not panic and give it away. They should want to have the ball and take it forward themselves so that the midfielders (fulcrum) squeeze closer to the forward line (effort) thus reducing the arm size. As this arm size reduces due to the squeezed length, the efficiency of the team will improve and when a team plays with this approach, we get more attempts on goal and not just more attempts.One gets more attempt when the defenders or the DMs try to launch a ball directly to the strikers increasing the length of the arms and reducing the efficiency. Such a scenario does produce goals once in a blue moon but when the team moves together as a team squeezing (called Pressing in Football) and operating the two arms of the machine accordingly we get a better performance.
Another method of good work rate is called Power i.e. doing things quickly. In football terms – Counter Attack. For such a movement, we need players like Reina and Kelly who can release a ball for a quick pass or can move up the flanks like a cheetah. Hence, Reina is such a valued keeper though he must seriously improve on defending crosses as I have noticed time and again it is the only way teams score against us. Crosses into 6 yeards boxes as Reina does not challenge those.
Under Kenny Dalglish we get to see this movement being applied where the defenders are holding the ball and moving up the field rather than launching it straightforward. I watched Skrtel take the ball up the field and drive a shot yards over the post but it was heartening to see the options of spaces his movement had created. This is where an erstwhile great Carragher does not fit into King Kennys ideal machine and I would not be surprised if he starts fewer games in the future. However, as a CB he is the best we will have as he does really know how to marshall his resources and organize his troops – the prime quality in a CB or a goalkeeper which makes both REINA and CARRAGHER priceless to our team.
To conclude, next time when you watch a game with an engineer and he is perplexed, explain the game to him in the above manner.
For the Reds, it does not seem to ever end. Alonso left,Benitez left, Mascherano forced his way out, H&G were thrown out by the fans, Hodgson left, Torres left because he thought we were not ‘big‘. When we started to believe, the worst was all over, seems Pepe may leave for some club if we do not finish in top 4. After a crunching victory at Stamford Bridge, we get robbed of 2 points by an offside goal and increase our deficit from 4th making it easier for Reina to cite a reason to leave.
Ever since Reina’s statement, I was left wondering ‘Who is responsible for such a state of the club? Which of the 4 pillars -management, board of directors, fans or players -seems to be falling always?’ I thought hard and hard and lets take a pillar individually.
The management seems to be the problem usually in football. Apparently, it seems to be manager who does not get it right. Lets check the three managers who have been in charge at Anfield from 2009 to now. Rafa Benitez seemed like a distant man to me always. On his face there was the worry of having the most difficult job at hand and with his eloquent oratorship, he found phrases and speeches to endear the fans to him. His way of football was bad zonal marking was never a thing for EPL with the pace. However, lady luck shone on him and we glorified him for bringing European success after 21 years. Little did we realize the team he won the UCL with was Houllier’s team. He dismantled it all and brought in Spanish players from Riera to Torres. Somehow, the faith of the fans made him realize he was Kenny and he drifted apart from players and gradually started falling apart from them. After such a scenario, he found it opportune to blame it on H&G and did the unthinkable of washing the clubs laundry in public.
Thousands of us Reds agree that this worked in our favor in the long term as we knew the Texans other side and ousted them out with the fans protest which is only imaginable at our beloved club and by the brethren.
After a dismal 2009 – 2010, he was bound to leave and he left with 6 million GBP and went to Inter Milan where he again had a champion side only to make them lose their complete pride and left with a package of 7.5 million in compensation. Now, how could a guy earn so much money without delivering what he was supposed to in 1 year, only he knows. He could write something about it and earn more.
Next came Roy Hodgson. All of us knew it was a make weight replacement with the club in a takeover process. So I have no problems barring one, he should have been respectful of the task at his hand and known when his time was over other than wait for his compensation package.
This turmoil all lead us to where we wanted to be – in the hands of King Kenny. What a man and what a transition!! The same team with one change in the form of Meireles is playing the Liverpool way. They are actually playing football after the end of 2008-2009 for the first time. I never saw Kenny play in the 80s but can see why the elder Reds wanted him. It is amazing.
The board of directors was bad and we have it changed in the form of better and sports loving people. People who know what sports is and not the scent of oil. The sheer determination of getting in Carroll to replace Torres was magnificient and amazing. It showed what they wanted and really amazing of them to have come up and done what we all wanted after so much lack of transfer activity in the last 2 seasons. However, I find it hard to blame H&G when Rafa was spending their money on players and selling them for half the purchase value in half a season. However, H&G were just awful and now with the high court they again seem to prove us correct.
The Fans. Over the last 14 years I have been a Red. I have had successes of my own but my biggest success is every week when Liverpool wins and my biggest pride is when we stand up at the KOP to give an ovation for a team which played good against the mighty REDS. Nowhere will there be such a passion, knowledge and respect of football as we REDS depict. Not only our former players but anyone who plays at Anfield says the same. From Xavi Hernandez to the Whiskey nose, everyone says the same and has admitted to it in part of their lives.
I have seen managers come and go and my brethren has changed managements with our sheer power and determination. We sang our hearts out and supported the team through the darkest of passages and now can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We can realistically believe of a better 2011-2012 season challenging at all fronts but comes a surprise again.
Our keeper who stated a month ago that he would stay at LFC and see out his contract of 6 years is thinking of our rivals and other clubs to join in EPL.Honestly, do we play on the field or does the manager play or do the board of directors. Eventually, we give you all the support and belief we have, the manager gives you all the experience and the new board the money but you jump the ship always either blaming the board or the managers style without paying a word of tribute to the fans. The lesser known stars like Maxi and Kuyt work hard on the pitch and never say about commitments to their contracts and somehow end up giving 200% on the pitch.
The stellar ones make promises and sing praises for the fans but at the slightest bad luck for our temple turn away and jump the ship. We have no complaints against this demeanor for we have realized in the last 3 years, we are the only stable pillar which held our club high with love, passion and pride during it’s turmoil and will do so even in the future. Fear not, you will be gone but we will continue to shout our hearts out loud and sing the songs of the greats who played for us and will play. We are the only constant thing in the club besides the KING in this club.
However, if you really want to leave, leave with dignity saying the honest and not the right things. Ours is a great team and great players make a great team. Great players and soldiers stand their ground and take their responsibility and share of blame. They do not point fingers or jump ships but lead the way when the chips are down. To wear this jersey and win our love you have to be a great player and not the best player. The transition from the best to great comes after you hang your boots and when we judge you for what you did to us and when you jumped the guns and betrayed us.
Michael Judas Owen was the best striker of his time but never became a great player neither at LFC nor at Manure, simply because he did not have it in him to stand that long.
I am happy I am not a football and just a fan for I am aware of my loyalties and honesty. I still say the honest thing and not the right thing. I need not waver from my comments of 6 weeks or 2 days as I can behave like a matured and responsible person rather than a lying crook. So please understand it was never us fans or the manager or the board who were responsible to bring us here.
It was your sheer lack of courage of accept responsibility and take the blame on your shoulders.
A week after the stressful Torres saga for every REDS fan I want to elucidate on Gerrard and Carragher who are the true legends of LFC. I am in full confirmation and acceptance of the excitement and great memories which Torres provided us for 3 and a half years or 3 years however, what Carragher and especially Gerrard has sacrificed for the club is exactly what legends and myths are made of.
The foremost thought in every fans mind is their dedication and loyalty to the club for such a long time. Every second they wore the liverbird, they wore it with pride. The pride with which they wear the jersey and kiss the badge, intimate the opponents and motivate the team, celebrate the victory and grieve a loss is commendable beyond any doubt. The passion for the club is evident in the two local lads and no journalist from Tokyo to New York can say otherwise. However, some would point to the Gerrard’s temptation for Chelsea in 2005 and his threat to sign for Man Utd at age of 14, however, eventually he stayed loyal and other like to point on Carragher and his boyhood romance for Everton.
The two genuine scousers could have fit into any team in the world at their prime (Gerrard even today) and the managers would have the easiest choice of the first name on the team sheet every match and every week. The SPECIAL ONE still dreams of coaching the no.8 at any team he goes and tries to entice him away from the KOP CHANTS. But hoever, the passion of the LFC fans keeps him here. Even the assurance of various successes under the SPECIAL ONE did not completely deter him away from LFC.
How every professional athlete dreams and craves for those medals and a drawing room full with them, a closet full of trophies as these are the objects which put them in the history books and makes them a complete hero for generations to come. However, like the spartans the duo committed to a club which could not completely compete with the mighty Man Utd and Arsenal and the history buying Chleseas. The club was losing it’s might mainly because of the leadership on the mahogany desks where the cigar smoking gentlemen could not think of a reason to rebuild or reinvest in the club to make it complete and compete at all levels.
The duo continued with pride and passion of a LFC fan giving the best years of their career and twilight to the club never deterring or deviating from their aim to get us back to the top level where we belong and have a right to do. To watch an etched already legend in the KOP memoirs come and take the helms of the club in order to restore it’s pride with these two gladiators is befitting and a ray of hope for every LFC fan. We would be happier to see medals with the tag of BARCLAYS around the necks fo the two legends.
Many describe the no. of medals as the measuring yard to differentiate between heroes and legends. However, I beg to completely differ. If it were so, then many legends from sports would have to simply become heroes and the history would no longer remain romantic. Even the Spartans lost and the Templar Knights were killed.
Few could argue with the names of Rossenori’s – Maldini, Nesta, Inzaghi – Madrista’s – Raul, Casillas. The counterargument lies in their achievement of medals and glory, something they wished for when they signed their allegiance to those clubs. Many walk out on seeing them fail but are remembered for the medals in history. However, the loyalty depicted by the duo to a club in a transition phase is paramount and deserves volumes of accolades written in order to jsutify the merit of loyalty.
Shakespeare would have found it difficult to pen words on this sort of loyalty and passion especially in a sport where loyalty to fans or clubs or even wives seems the last thing on the mind of the sportsperson of the modern era.
The blog is becoming today as we can make the Judas feel the difference between a hero and a legend. Judas was good but not a legendary status material.
Dear Fernando Torres,
It is with great disrespect and complete arrogance I write to you. I understand to my very bitter dismay you have submitted a transfer request for a move to Chelsea football club only 3 days before the deadline of the transfer. I completely agree with you on this request as you want to win medals and I wish you on a very good journey in your future endeavors. However, I also mean complete arrogance in the following content of this letter.
If you thought you could pull a ROONEY or TEVEZ with the LFC, then you must be in a complete shock till now. No fans are invading your house or sending you threats or any other sort of similar behavior to make you change your mind. Besides, unlike the Blues we will not beg you to stay or ship you to Argentina to avoid the fans wrath as there will be no such wrath. We are pretty confident when you misfire for the Chelski’s their fans will do it to you.
This should already bring your feet back to the same level where we keep our feet. We did not mean to hurt your ego by not doing such uncivilized and irrational things but you should know ‘WE ARE LFC WITH HISTORY OF OVER A CENTURY AND BILLIONS OF PAGES’ and now a couple of millions to invest in the squad.
Our response to your request shows you our pride in history. We are LFC and you are just a word in it which will be forgotten tomorrow. When someone scores more goals than you. If you think no one can, then you are mistaken for you could score zilch without the LFC midfield. The WC 2010 is an example and so is Euro 2008. Can Lampard give you that or will it be Terry?? Oh wait, but then Terry might ask for a night out with your wife. Thats how the BLUES are.
As a proud historian I would like to fill you how it goes — Ian Rush, John Aldridge, Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Fernando Torres and some one else now. Please take a look at the careers of the names previously mentioned after Liverpool. Atleast they gave us time enough to reinvest in our squad and buy replacements whereas you have not given us such a facility.
As I understand you falsely learned our history to appease us naive fans so will give you a more modern example of your LFC teammates — Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano. They both went to bigger teams with ambitious plans. Alonso can be frequently seen at ANFIELD and stating ‘He misses our affection’. Javier Mascherano cannot even start a game – that is understandable in a man’s game. He was not even man enough to cite the correct reasons.
When you displayed our anthem on your captain’s band, we thought you were ours, when you talked our history, we believed you are ours and when you scored those goals, we knew you were one of us. How you stabbed us now??
We chanted your name from 2007 and will chant someone else’s from wednesday. LFC existed before 2007 and will exist beyond 31st January 2011.
I hope you see the BLUE side soon at STAMFORD BRIDGE. YOU WILL ALWAYS WALK ALON