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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Raves and Rants – A Little Bit Of Everything This Week

Written by on January 31, 2011 | 44 Comments »
Posted in General

Best Reads

A mini-compilation of some of the best articles and blog postings from the last week.

Gray and Keys are yesterday’s men according to Martin Samuel but the fall from grace of such a smug pair contains a lesson for all.

Jason de Vos on a crucial vote aimed at moving governance of the Canadian Soccer Association from the 19th to the 21st century.

Jonathan Wilson analyzes the mountain of demographic data contained in a survey by Professional Football Players Observatory.

Who could write a piece linking  Dundee, Stirling, Pele, Partick Thistle and the Cascadia rivalry? Steve Clare at Prost America can.

Footiebusiness with a look at how MLS teams made use of Groupon – a large discount coupon site.

Bill Archer on things Cosmos.

Sid Lowe explains what a “buy-out” clause in La Liga actually means….or doesn’t mean.

Andersred considers how UEFA Financial Fair Play may impact on the youth development programs of smaller clubs.

An article by Graeme Macpherson on Maurice Edu.

Beyond the Pitch” features time with Neil Doncaster CEO of the Scottish Premier League.


“As far as the Fiver can make out, Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys a broadcaster who puts the W in anchor has been risking disciplinary measures for years,”

January 24 edition of the Fiver.

“Pick a number. Preferably an even number, and probably something between ten and 18. But any number, really. Just don’t get too attached to it because I’ll be asking you to pick a different one within a week or two,”

Gavin Saxton in WSC on the SPL league restructuring debacle and how many teams will eventually be in the reconstituted league.

“In football, everything is temporary”

Avram Grant who at the time of writing is still the West Ham manager.

“ ..proactive football of the highest level can only be developed organically. No matter how wealthy the owner, it cannot be bought off the shelf.”

Jonathan Wilson writing in the January 2011 edition of World Soccer in which he looks at the principles underpinning the Barcelona system.

Curmudgeon Corner

The author of this little gem claims that by Liverpool winning ugly against Fulham it is prove that Kenny Dalglish has righted the club. So surely any ugly victory under Roy Hodgson this season or Rafa Benitez last season would also have proved the same thing? Or were their wins not ugly enough.

Philosopher Corner

If a Nicola Zigic falls but nobody acknowledges it – did it really happen?

Zigic went down after being actively involved in setting up Stuart Paranby’s goal but as he lay injured not one Birmingham player that I could see thought about breaking off the celebrations to acknowledge the Serb’s contribution.


On Friday night’s Fox Soccer Report I said that Ian Bennett, formerly of Birmingham, was now keeping goal for Southampton. That was obviously incorrect – Bennett is on the books of Huddersfield. Minus 5 for me in this week’s edition of “Goalkeepers of League One” Quiz.


“Phew am exhausted. Just read about something called “the offside rule”. Too much for my tiny brain. Must be damaged from nail polish fumes.”

Kelly Cates (formerly Dalglish) on the back of the Gray/Keys comments.

“The BBC have denied rumours that there is an off-air recording of Alan Shearer saying something interesting & informed.”

Gavin Barber

“Sian Massey’s new nickname is ‘Just For Men’. She was only used once but now the Gray is gone!”


“Lazio v Fiorentina so far is like a six-month old pizza base. Stale, unappetising and very, very flat…”

Giancarlo Rinaldi doesn’t try to hide how he feels about the early going in Saturday’s match and he followed it with this one after the final whistle.

“Pathetic, gutless and lacklustre Viola today. And that’s probably been their best points…”

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44 responses to “Raves and Rants – A Little Bit Of Everything This Week”

  1. Torres, Luiz, Carroll – anyone else trying to make sense out of all this?

  2. rdm says:

    I make it a point of never trying to find the logic behind transfer window deadline day. Look into the abyss long enough and eventually the abyss looks back.

  3. Derek Taylor says:

    I wanted to write this some place where it will be preserved. £35M for Andy Carroll is a disaster and it smacks of desperation.

    There, I said it.

  4. Soccerlogical says:

    I actually think Carrol is worth that amount and has shown what he can do (hold up play, heading, assist, shoot, etc). The player is still developing/blooming and by next year can be can be an Adriano + unstoppable heading ability.

    Obviously Torres is off like a prom dress and I don’t blame him one bit. What top player (especially in his prime) would want to stay at a club (if presented another option) where CL is not guaranteed for a few seasons and an owner/managerial crisis is just around the corner.

  5. Darren Bent who has scored consistently in the Premier League over 5 years and has missed very few games cost a base fee of 18M pounds.

    Andy Carroll without a full Premier League to his credit costs just a smidgen short of double Bent’s base fee. Even factoring in add ons the comparison is 24m to 35m.

    Age in this case has nothing to do with as both can walk away at the end of their contracts.

  6. Soccerlogical says:

    You know Carrol has much more in his repertoire than Bent.

    If Bent cost 24M (add ons) then another 10M for a younger striker who has shown he can score in the EPL and offers MUCH more doesn’t surprise me.

    Liverpool have a good chink of change from Torres and I’m sure Newcastle were unwilling to part cheap with their golden goose considering they are fighting to stay up. Liverpool know they need a compliment to Suarez and the English striker will only get better and may cost just as much if not more at season’s end.

  7. “more in his repertoire than Bent’………except a track record of scoring consistently.

    Age is irrelevant unless one is over 28 and declining. They are both signing the same length contract so both have to be assessed based on the length of contract.

    Paying 35M pounds for 11 goals and potential should get anyone locked up.

  8. Soccerlogical says:

    This season.
    Carrol: Games Started 19 – G=11 AS=3
    Bent: 22 – G=9

    Just sayin.

    Don’t hate Bobbo. Let a Playa Play!


  9. Derek Taylor says:

    I asked folks on Twitter what they thought Carroll would have gone for last summer. Suggestions ranged from £10-14M.

  10. Soccerlogical says:

    DT – I can only imagine who follows you on Twitter.


  11. Derek Taylor says:


    “I actually think Carrol is worth that amount”

    To justify £35M at age 22, Liverpool has to be at least 80% sure he turns out to be Alan Shearer. This deal makes £23.5 for Balotelli look like a master-stroke.

    Liverpool has to win multiple CL titles, with Carroll as the hero, to justify so much money so soon in a career.

    They must know a lot of things that the rest of us don’t. Or Newcastle saw them coming.

  12. Soccerlogical – did not realize that you assessed these things in such a short term way.

    What does that make Berbatov and Tevez worth then? Or Kevin Nolan – he has scored a goal more than Bent and one less than Carroll.

    Line for Nolan at 30M pounds?

  13. Guardian saying that Carroll was offered to West Ham for 1M pounds in 2009.

    Carroll last summer – I would have been surprised to see a team even pay 10M pounds for him. Three Premier League goals the season before last and last season Charlie Adam scored more goals from midfield than Carroll did in attack in the Championship.

    How many record transfers have proved to be a success?

  14. Soccerlogical says:

    Derek – To be honest, they know a lot more than we do.

    I mean how do we even know that fees for Bent, Carrol, Torres or even Ronaldo are really as advertised. For all we know, the clubs could just be throwing out numbers for media sensationalism and PR in order to make the club look shrewd or lionize the player.

    Who knows, I don’t have access to their books, do you?

  15. Pazzini 11m pounds and a player – what would he be worth if he was English?

  16. GO FOREST YOU REDS says:

    how do you see the Drogba,Anelka,Torres 3 headed striker working out?is Anelka going to be the odd man out?how will Chelsea make this work with the UEFA money balancing format?plus the 30+ for david luiz.

    i know you can’t judge from one FA game but for MAN UTD number one concern this summer after goaltender has to be Midfield i see nothing good when you take Giggs and Scholes out of the mix.i think Fletcher has been below par and Anderson is hot and cold.

  17. Russell Berrisford says:

    According to The Guardian, Premier League clubs have spent about $350 million on players in January.

    Which is astonishing and more than a little crazy.

  18. RabidDeathMoose says:

    That is pants-on-head insane.

    Do Chelsea have a plan in place to deal with sanctions when competing in Europe or did they deem just getting into the top 4 and assuring themselves Champion’s League matches and the draw they provide to incoming transfers as enough of a prize to warrant the spending?

  19. Ian says:

    Wow, what a crazy day. Other than SL I can’t find anyone who really thinks Carroll for 35mil is a wise investment. Newcastle had to be pinching themselves. Was it the only way to keep Suarez from getting on a plane back to Spain? Sure seems like panic to me. That’s a very big bet on someone who looks to be a serious head-case with some early promise. They should have read Berrisford’s post on “Moneyball” and went after Elmander, or someone like him, for a fraction of the cost. I will say that a combination of Carroll’s heading and Adam’s corner kicks could be devastating…. not 50 mil devastating but still.

    Best quote/comment I read today:
    “Gerrard and Carroll out on the town together. What could go wrong?”

  20. Theo van Arshavregas says:

    “The world has gone mad!”

    Derek – You are most correct sir. LFC is both a disaster and desperate. The soap opera that is LFC continues.

    SL – Again, as Uncle Bobby has said before, you might want to reconsider your pen name. In any market, 1 Carroll does not = 2 Bents. That is just plain Liverfoolish arithmetic. True, Bent was overvalued. But this Carroll valuation is particularly profilgate. Your take on Torres was spot on and I have whistled that tune for a long time.

    Bobby – I’ll be a curmudgeon and say that I found that it was strange that you were the first to comment on your own article. That’s a yellow. I like curmudgeons, by the way, very much. As for Giancarlo Rinaldi, he too was spot on. Not only about that match but about Serie A generally and the Italy national team in particular zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    David Villa went for £34M and Carroll went for £35M??? Do I need to say another word on the overvaluation of Carroll? Liverfool continues to show questionable judgement and it is deals like this that show that it is no wonder that they have been through financial distress. Their soap opera continues. The Young and the Liverfoolish. Their Liverfoolishness knows no bounds. And Chelsea breaking the bank also. Both teams are desperate. That’s what deadlines do to people.

    Another rant but from the weekend. Can someone tell Jose that snoods are for players and scarfs are for managers? That’s the memo Jose. And has anyone noticed that Lass wears #10? If Lass deserves to wear that number then I live in the Vatican and can be addressed as the Pope. Lass is a poor man’s De Jong and should better be numbered akin to said kung-fu and leg breaking expert.

    You’ve gotta love the transfer deadline day. Nothing quite like it for overspending, desperation, and poor judgement. One must wonder if alcohol was involved?

  21. Soccerlogical says:

    Get ready for a totally transformed Liverpool team. In both Suarez and Carrol, they have acquired 2 VERY hungry strikers eager to prove themselves on the big stage. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Liverpool even qualifies for a top4 this season. The money they have spent will be an awesome return on investment. Both strikers can also play alone up front and that is HUGE.

    Was I surprised by Caroll’s hige fee. YES.

    Was I surprised by what he cost considering its mid season, NUFC are fighting to stay up and Liverpool need to reinforce their dominance in the world of soccer… NO!

  22. Theo van Arshavregas says:

    This type of Liverfoolish spending will find them following the likes of Leeds and Nottingham into the abyss of English footy. Memo to LFC: develop good homegrown quality, don’t smoke it.

    Le Boss and Fergie are both sitting back and having a good old chuckle at the shenaningans of transfer deadline day.

    This one just off the wire, but I have to question its accuracy, considering the subject, “Bendtner off to Newcastle? But was aiming for Sunderland!”

  23. GO FOREST YOU REDS says:

    so in the world we live in if LFC does not finish in the top 4 it is a bad deal.i do not agree but we all know instant gratification is how the world rolls.i agree they over paid for Carroll but i think it will work just a hunch i know big money on a hunch.

    how do you feel about no moves for AFC?thought maybe something in the back 4 i think your team is vulnerable.i think tomorrow’s match with EFC could be huge i could see a draw.

  24. GO FOREST YOU REDS says:

    APB WHERE IS GUS!have you check the bridges in New York to much has happened for LFC for no comments.hope all is well.

  25. Theo van Arshavregas says:


    Serious question/rant for you. Fergie has been bestowed the title Sir Alex. He’s no Sir in my book. Fergie is a footy manager. A very good one I must begrudgingly admit. But he is just a footy manager. Churchill was a deserved Sir. Fergie is no Churchill. We should not be giving out knighthoods like pancakes. Sirs are being freely thrown about these days like LFC burns money. Should knighthoods be given out so cheaply?

  26. Theo van Arshavregas says:


    I don’t like the fact that Le Boss has a Scottish grandmother. His frugality knows no bounds. We are paper thin at CB. Kos and Djourou have been playing as a great combination. But Djourou is coming off a long injury spell and Squillaci is not the answer as cover. If Song covers due to injury that means either Diaby or Denilson as DM. Diaby is coming off successive injuries and Denilson is not the answer. Vermaelen, I don’t think he will make an impact this year. Le Boss is keeping his fingers crossed. I think he should have spent at CB.

    We are rested at home v Everton who played key players v Chelsea. Don’t spend your $$$ on a draw. We will be fine tomorrow even without Sami.

  27. Gus Keri says:

    What an interesting day at Liverpool.

    Three days ago we were excited about getting some help for Torres. Suddenly, he is out and Carroll in?

    I don’t know if I will ever look at Torres the same way again. He stabbed the club in the back.

    I wouldn’t have been upset if he left last summer after an aweful season.

    I would have understood his wish to win a trophy if he asked for a transfer early in January

    But to wait until the last couple of days to ask the club for a transfer and leave the club no chance but to accept it with the Buy-out close hanging over the negotiation, it is a betrayal.

    The club was put in a very bad situaution. they had to rush into making a fast deal to secure a replacement. Newcastle took advantage of it and make fortune that wasn’t in their wildest dream few days ago.

    Why Carroll? Only Dalglish knows.

    Dalglish has made some surprise moves so far that worked out well. He saw something in Johnson and used him in the left back position and it was a success.

    He might have seen something in Carroll, not every one else has. He might have reminded him of Shearer who was an important part of his success at Blackburn. Nobody knows how Dalglish’s mind works, but I truely hope he succeeds.

  28. Gus Keri says:


    The bridges of New york are fine. I haven’t use them today, though. The next storm is coming tomorrow.

  29. Gus Keri says:

    One more point.

    The sour grape theory: Liverpool has not won any trophy since Torres arrived.

    Just saying.

  30. Ursusarctos says:


    “£35M for Andy Carroll is a disaster and it smacks of desperation.”

    Define “disaster”.

    LFC had the money from the Torres sale in hand (the Carroll purchase was conditional on the Torres sale being completed) – the difference between GBP 35m and GBP 15m, say, is not going to break LFC finances in the slightest.

    CFC overpaid for Torres, LFC used some of that money to overpay for Carroll. Welcome to January Transfers. I ask again – how is it a “disaster”?

    As for “desperation” – yep. How does that make it necessarily wrong?

    Saurez was bought to complement Torres, NOT replace him. With Torres suddenly going in the very last moments of the window, do you see Saurez alongside Ngog for the rest of the year as a viable solution – or did something have to done fast, at the last minute?

    Typical DEREK TAYLOR hyperbole – but we’re not done yet:

    More @ DEREK TAYLOR:

    “Liverpool has to win multiple CL titles, with Carroll as the hero, to justify so much money so soon in a career.”


    (more hyperbole …)

    Carroll has to be roughly 2/3 as productive as Torres over the life of his contract (given the respective transfer fees and Torres’ salary at LFC vs Carroll’s). That is all.

    (Never mind the present value of the larger future sell on fee LFC might expect for a 28 yo Carroll than a 32 yo Torres at the end of their respective contracts).

    Speaking of which …

    “To justify £35M at age 22, Liverpool has to be at least 80% sure he turns out to be Alan Shearer.”

    I’ve already called you out on your loose grasp of facts in the past. Have you ever heard Shearer’s explanation of how he learned to become a deadly striker? Happened at Blackburn, apparently, when he was managed by a certain K Dalglish, who Shearer credits with teaching him (in case you’re not aware, Mr Taylor, that certain K Dalglish was sorta handy with a ball in the opponent’s half back in the day …).

    You prepared to bet against Dalglish being able to teach a young, still learning striker like Carroll a few things as well?

    “They must know a lot of things that the rest of us don’t. Or Newcastle saw them coming.”

    I wouldn’t bet against LFC knowing a few things you don’t Mr Taylor. But of course NUFC saw LFC coming – once ambushed by CFC’s late move, everyone and their dog knew LFC would be looking for a striker. I repeat – so what?

    A little tongue in cheek, but some LFC fans are suggesting Suarez + Carroll could be the new Keegan + Toshack. Look it up, Mr Taylor, look it up …

  31. Eoin O'Callaghan says:

    Right…1991/92 – Alan Shearer scores 13 goals in 41 appearances for Southampton and the following season B’burn take him to Ewood Park for 3.6 million. Within context, Gazza was sold by Spurs to Lazio that same summer for 5.5 million. So, there are always transfer comparisons that shouldn’t exist – i.e Carroll cost 35 million and David Villa cost 34. Taking into account Valencia’s financial circumstances at the time, it was a sale they had to make and ultimately the price was a bit of a ransom from Barca – ‘take it or leave it’, while the player also wanted to force through the move. Economically, as their president Manuel Llorente said at the time, they had to make a ‘responsible decision’. So, let’s get that out of the way first.

    Secondly, Carroll is an exciting prospect. Certainly, with Smalling, Henderson, Rodwell, Wilshere, Welbeck and Rooney, he’ll be a cornerstone of the English national team sooner, rather than later. Is he unproven? Yes. Let’s look at where his goals came from this season – against Wolves, West Ham, Blackburn…but also, he netted when playing Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. He scores goals and causes trouble and he’s already a handful for the league’s best teams. He’s big, yes. But unlike say, Peter Crouch, there are more dimensions to his game. He’s not just tall but imposing – he’s athletic, well built and can’t be knocked off a ball. But, his touch and awareness are excellent and will only get better. Are Liverpool buying a finished article? Certainly not. Are they paying over the odds? Absolutely. But with 50 million in the bank for Torres, another striker was needed and quick. Carroll is a long-term investment. Sure, he CAN walk away from his contract but to where? The continent? Doubtful. Manchester City? We’ll see. Within a re-built squad, Carroll should become a fulcrum of its development like Fowler in his prime. Are Liverpool desperate? Certainly not. They’ve just splashed a LOT of cash on two young, vibrant, solid players – they need to tone down their behavior but then again, sometimes (Keane, Cantona et al) the madness and l’enfant terrible mentality makes up a proportion of who they are on the pitch. And, how much have they gambled here? They’ve lost Torres, a player uninspired by a lack of trophies since moving to England, the club he signed for disintegrating before his very eyes and in the midst of another re-building process – his eye had been swayed by the bright lights of London and, no doubt, a bigger pay cheque. Can you blame him? No. In his place, for little more than 7 million outgoings, are two shiny new strikers. For me, that’s good business. In fact, it’s great business. Liverpool are looking beyond this season in acquiring Carroll and Suarez. Regarding Chelsea, with a floundering youth system (despite lots of investment and early-days praise) and an age-profile befitting of their league position, the Torres signing is another short-term roll of the dice, the quick fix. Unsurprisingly, the oligarch has reverted to type and simply thrown money at a situation that needs forensic examination and urgent attention. The Spaniard will get goals, of course. But, once again, Chelsea have forgone their future by trying to recreate the past. 50 million for Torres though isn’t the way to do it.

  32. Ursusarctos says:


    Absolutely agreed ^.

    When we discuss relative transfer fees, we often forget to account for inflation in order to make constant-value comparisons. For example: as Paul Tomkins notes, Wayne Rooney cost United GBP 49m in 2011 sterling (accounting for inflation). In retrospect, that was a good deal – who is to say Carroll, at GBP 35m, may not be as well?

    A bit early to cry disaster.

    Another point: for all his own goal-scoring potential, Carroll brings other dimensions to LFC not reflected in his goal stats. The somewhat tongue-in-cheek reference to Suarez and Carroll as the new Keegan and Toshack is not totally off base, as one can easily foresee Carroll knocking down more than a few balls for Suarez to dispatch.

    LFC have acquired a 2 man strike force – both only in their early 20s, one already a veteran international, the other soon to be – around whom they can build an attack for the next 5+ years. I can’t wait to see them start to gel together.

    And best of all, the fees earned from Torres + Babel = the cost of Suarez + Carroll. FSG have already shown they will spend as needed on players – with a 0 net spend this January, the transfer warchest for the Summer remains full. The future is very bright at Anfield. Bring it on.

  33. rdm says:

    Interesting take, listening to all the different opinions makes me even more interested in seeing how this will play out over the rest of this season never mind the next few.

  34. Gus Keri says:

    What Torres said about Chelsea:

    “They are one of the biggest teams in Europe and after that there is no more steps forward”

    What a BS!

    Was it the ABBA songs, “money, money, money”?

  35. Carroll in the Newcastle line up – points per game 1.15/ w/o Carroll 2 points per game.

    Anyone out there ever heard of the concept of “opportunity cost.” Not relevant to Chelsea (at present but it soon will) but it certainly is to Liverpool.

    Ursusarctos – I think when “inflation” is referenced it is number that has been created from a set of assumptions around the football industry rather than the published CPI numbers – yes?

    With so many people trying desperately to rationalize so much money being spent I now now how the US housing bubble got created.

  36. Ursusarctos says:

    @ BOBBY:

    “Anyone out there ever heard of the concept of “opportunity cost.” Not relevant to Chelsea (at present but it soon will) but it certainly is to Liverpool.”

    Opportunity Cost considerations can work both ways. In the wake of Torres doing one at the last minute, with consequently limited available alternatives, what might have been the opportunity cost to LFC of sitting on the Torres transfer money until the Summer? What if Carroll makes the difference between a European spot and out of Europe, for example?

    The history of FSG with the Red Sox shows that they are prepared to – and, more relevant, capable of – spending big where they feel it is justified. LFC may not be in the CFC/ City league, but the days of financially-limited mutually exclusive transfer targets seem over. In that context, opportunity costs have a different impact than they might previously.

    “I think when “inflation” is referenced it is number that has been created from a set of assumptions around the football industry rather than the published CPI numbers – yes?”

    Wish I could answer you definitively, but I can’t.

    Relative to what I (think I) know about actual British CPI since 2004, the Rooney number seems high – based on his published transfer fee and published CPI, I would have calculated something closer to GBP 34m in 2011 value terms.

    On the other hand, as you know general CPI is not relevant to assessing a specific industry – one should generally use the actual cost increases experienced by businesses operating in that specific environment, so a “football PI” is more appropriate.

    Best I can do is refer you to the Tomkins article citing the GBP 49m figure for Rooney (taken from “Pay As You Play”):

  37. Derek Taylor says:


    Just because CFC overpaid for Torres does not require LFC to overpay to replace him. All the good they did by selling high was undone by buying WAY higher. The % and absolute dollar figure by which they overpaid are greater than they received.

    If I had said “£35M for Carroll” on January 4, I would have been laughed out of the room. You would have been first. Suddenly, on January 31 (when he hasn’t added a single goal to his January 4 total), it makes perfect sense. Not logical. No one was talking about Carroll before Tuesday. And judging by how fast Newcastle pushed him out the door (in his words), Newcastle knew it was a ridiculous price.

    To say “the difference between GBP 35m and GBP 15m, say, is not going to break LFC finances in the slightest” is all well and good. But the difference in those numbers almost equals Luis Suarez. So don’t play off £20M as an insignificant sum of money.

    Your line of reason which seems to say ‘since Alan Shearer flourished under Dalglish, that gives Carroll his best chance’ only stands up if all things are equal. Here however we are dealing with two different humans with different mentalities, decades apart. That is not equal.

    That Dalglish taught Shearer his deadliness could not be less-relevant to an initial price tag. Had they bought low, it could be incredibly important to a selling price tag though.

    My point with the Shearer comment was this (and it could have been anybody, but Shearer and Carroll are both English white guys)…Liverpool has risked a huge sum on a very volatile stock with no long-term track record. As Bobby points out, Carroll’s accomplishments are nowhere near Ronaldo, Zlatan, Torres and the rest of the 7 ahead of him on the all-time £££ list.

    Chelsea bought a striker with 65 goals in the Premier League and was Atletico’s leading scorer 4 times before that.
    Liverpool bought a star striker with 82 goals in 3.5 seasons. And then they paid 50% above that for a guy with 24 Premier League starts. Carroll barely qualifies as having a short-term track record.

    Find another 22 year old that was ever bought for that money. Messi would have gone for more. I’m not even sure I would have given you £35M for Gonzalo Higuain last summer. And he was coming off a 27-goal season.

    If I was the boss at Liverpool (and thankfully I’m not because they would be pooched) I would rather have sat on the 50M than bought Carroll.

    I just wanted it on the record…I think it’s going to be a disaster. With the millions of variables, let’s not pretend either of us knows how it will turn out.

  38. Derek Taylor says:

    @Eoin (doin’ the work on his days off…nice)

    I watched all of Carroll’s Prem goals yesterday. Let’s acknowledge that you’re going to have a much more accurate assessment of his overall quality than I will.
    From those goals I saw a guy who’s athletic, strong, ridiculously tall for soccer, attacks the ball in the air, hustles, and seems to have some ideas of what to do when he’s hustling. I saw a kid who’s worth £15M-20M. Not £35M. Can you really say that, as is, he’s worth 50% more than Suarez?

    “…his touch and awareness are excellent and will only get better. ”

    To this I can only say, “we hope”. We never know where a player’s physical ceiling is. Not to mention the concern that Carroll is a nut-bar.
    Assault arrests don’t tell us that he’s going to be a head-case within a team or that it will affect him on the field at all. But it should have been used to drive down his price. Even though we don’t know what it means, we can’t ignore it.

    You ask “how much have they gambled here?” I’ll answer that by saying “more than any other team in the history of soccer, including the notorious inflation-drivers Real Madrid.”
    If you sold me your iPod for $1000, great deal for you. But if you then paid Jeremy $750 for his headphones, you can no longer claim a good deal. Even if you pick up a Zune for the other $250 + a little extra.

    Let me finish with this:
    What would you have suggested for a price for Carroll on January 15?

  39. Justin says:

    Buying Carroll is not just about buying the player or his potential, but also the message that it sends to the current squad and to the fans.

    The owners are serious about righting what has been a ship drifting off course.

    Time will tell how it ends up, but I think the supporters are excited and about the new era for LFC.

  40. Eoin O'Callaghan says:

    Regarding Carroll’s price, I’d have paid max. 20 million for him. I’m not saying Liverpool have got the player for a snip but my point is that I think Carroll+Suarez in exchange for Fernando Torres and 7 million represents a really great deal. That’s essentially what this boils down to.

    Regarding his off-pitch antics, I don’t think he’s a Joey Barton. He’s immature, yes. Reckless, most definitely. But the behavior has happened away from his professional environment. He’s never fallen out with a coach or told his manager where to shove it and I haven’t heard anything about incidents involving him losing it with team-mates. This season, with everything he has had to put up with from the British tabloid press, he’s let his feet do the talking mainly and he’s coped admirably. Of course he needs to ‘cop on’ and gain a sense of perspective but with a HUGE price tag now hanging over his head, I’m sure that will come. On that point, I think Carroll is someone who’ll relish the pressure at Anfield and will almost use it to his advantage. From what I’ve seen, he’s not someone who shirks a solid shift and he’s a passionate guy (obviously that was based on seeing him play with his boyhood club) who talks a lot and says what he feels on the pitch. And I think he represents what Liverpool have been lacking in many respects – a mouthpiece, someone who’s not afraid to bollock Gerrard when he doesn’t give a pass or when Kuyt isn’t on form. There has been a distinct lack of leadership shown at Liverpool, particularly this season (most notably from Torres) and, though I’m not saying Carroll has some sort of magic formula, he will care and that goes a long way. And even though leadership does come from chest-thumping, bravery and (for LFC fans usually) a Scouse accent, it also comes from passion, determination, toughness. I think, even if it takes Carroll time to find the net, his on-field personality will win him a LOT of immediate friends in the Kop – another reason why I think it made perfect sense to sign him.

    Last Thursday, when news of Torres/Chelsea first broke, I was ridiculed by many for saying Liverpool should cash in (at the time, it looked like about 40 million would be the fee). I was asked on Twitter who the club could possibly sign as a replacement. With Suarez set for a move, it looked like Liverpool were looking at a change in attack strategy. Torres has always played at his best when alone (without a natural strike partner – go back to his greatest season of 07/08 when he capped the year off with the game-winning goal in the Euro ’08 final against Germany when Aragones left David Villa on the bench for fear of disrupting Torres’ dynamic with the support from deep) up top and the Suarez move appeared to suggest a 4-3-3 connotation with Gerrard the final, deeper part of the front three – a bit like Atletico with Reyes and Aguero buzzing around Forlan – who, like Torres, is usually attracted to floating wide and picking up passes on either channel. But, in a similar vein, Carroll also seems to thrive when alone up top and supported from deep. He is better in the air than Torres though his mobility isn’t as strong (where Suarez comes in, one can imagine) but when looking for an imposing, tough striker to lead the line, his acquisition makes perfect sense. And that’s the reason that last Thursday, I told people the purchase of Carroll would work at Anfield.

    Regarding a gamble, sure – Torres looks a safer bet, doesn’t he? Solid. Reliable. A goal-getter. But, it’s worth remembering that when Kevin Keegan was sold to Hamburg in 1977, his replacement (Kenny Daglish) was exactly welcomed with open arms. It took instant goals from the Scot and the European Cup in ’78 to turn the supporters in his favor. After that, it was a piece of cake. I’m not attempting to compare Daglish with Carroll but if anyone knows about taking a chance at Anfield, it’s Daglish. Torres HAD to go and, unfortunately for Liverpool, a lack of quality squad depth (an ailment passed on from the Benitez era) has ensured they’ve paid about 15 million more than they’d have liked for Carroll. That’s unfortunate timing but, overall, the deal still represents a good one. He needs to score goals and he will. As per my previous post, the calibre of sides he scores against proves his worth and, worth remembering that Wayne Rooney’s goal stats were hardly earth-shattering at Everton before moving to United. But, it’s an interesting comparison – Rooney began his Utd career with a hat-trick. If Carroll manages that, there’s no looking back.

  41. Derek Taylor says:


    I haven’t had time to read your whole post, but we both know that £49M figure doesn’t pass the smell test. 93% inflation since 2004?

  42. Derek Taylor says:


    The thing I think many people are missing is that it’s not Torres for Suarez & Carroll. From how it was sold to the media, Suarez was coming regardless. They’ve gone from Torres/Suarez to Carroll/Suarez/£15M.

    As for the quality of opponents he’s scoring against…4 of 11 goals against v.City / v.Liverpool / v.Chelsea / @Arsenal. It sounds like Gabriel Agbonlahor from 2007-08 (4 of 11 goals vs. Everton, Chelsea and United).

  43. Derek Taylor says:


    You say there was talk about Carroll around LFC. I would wager there was WAY more talk about Charlie Adam. And it included actual quotes and reputable media. Some people saying it on’s chat board doesn’t count.

    In the end, your argument justifying Carroll’s price is a fallacy because you’re mistaken on one basic point:
    LFC didn’t HAVE to do anything.

    They could have done what Newcastle did–take the money and sit on it. If LFC didn’t have anything lined up for a Torres sale, either the Torres offer shocked them, or they are not good at their jobs. It was probably shock at the initial Chelsea offer. Even with the transfer request, they could have told Torres to shut up (see Rooney, Tevez). To say they HAD to do buy someone is wrong.

    You say: “Relative to LFC’s needs – as suddenly forced on them by the Torres transfer request – Carroll was worth MUCH MORE than GBP 15m, or 25M, or whatever.”

    You put the word “worth” when you meant “cost”. Liverpool’s desperation has no effect on Carroll’s “worth”. Only his cost.

    To say Moneyball is about “paying for future potential in young players” is not accurate. It was about using different statistics/metrics when identifying young talent. And it was about identifying *undervalued* talent. Not overpriced, panic-bought talent with no metrics to point to. The Carroll deal has nothing to do with Moneyball.

    And before you give me journalism advice, you should probably be able to discern between journalism and a forum for opinion.

  44. Ursusarctos says:


    “I haven’t had time to read your whole post, but we both know that £49M figure doesn’t pass the smell test. 93% inflation since 2004?”

    Rooney moved to United from Everton in Summer 2004 for a reported GBP 26m. To result in GBP 49m 6.5 years later would mean an annual “inflation” rate of about 10.24 %.

    [the equation being 49 = 26 * (1 + r) ^ 6.5]

    NB: this is the “Football” inflation rate over that period, NOT the general British CPI (which would have averaged between 3 and 4 % annually, depending on the numbers one uses) – do you think a 10% average annual price appreciation in football transfer fees between 2004 and 2010 passes the smell test? I do.

    This is what I replied upthread to a similar question from Bobby about the same Tomkins reference:

    ‘@ Bobby: “Ursusarctos – I think when “inflation” is referenced it is number that has been created from a set of assumptions around the football industry rather than the published CPI numbers – yes?”

    @ Ursusarctos: Wish I could answer you definitively, but I can’t.

    Relative to what I (think I) know about actual British CPI since 2004, the Rooney number seems high – based on his published transfer fee and published CPI, I would have calculated something closer to GBP 34m in 2011 value terms.

    On the other hand, as you know general CPI is not relevant to assessing a specific industry – one should generally use the actual cost increases experienced by businesses operating in that specific environment, so a “football PI” is more appropriate.’

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