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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 Forbes.com and Soccerly.com and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


TANGENTS

Soccer Report Extra Podcast: Episode 67 – Is It A Bird? A Plane? No It Is ‘SuperFrings’

Written by on April 3, 2012 | 39 Comments »
Posted in Soccer Report Extra Podcast

This week on the podcast Bobby & Eoin focus on the simultaneous struggles of the Los Angeles Galaxy and Liverpool… if only there were someone who could swoop in and rescue their respective flagging campaigns… just like Toronto has….. hmmm. Well, it seems superheroes get knacked too.

There’s also the usual combination of obscure cultural references, grumpy Scottish manager impersonations (oh that could have so easily been managers), and in-depth football analysis you’ve come to expect from SREP… and the Golden Girls reference was pure bonus!

To listen to the podcast click the headline (if your are at the home page) then on the play button (below) or subscribe through ITunes or Stitcher radio. And thank you for listening.


39 responses to “Soccer Report Extra Podcast: Episode 67 – Is It A Bird? A Plane? No It Is ‘SuperFrings’”

  1. J ROB says:

    Amongst all the other obvious points made about Liverpool consider their record in the last 18 months when Gerrard is playing or not. They have played better without him. It’s noticeable how much Adam’s and Henderson’s performances and confidence have dipped since Gerrard has come back into the team. Apart from a 30 minute cameo against Newcastle and a fantastic performance against Everton Gerrard hasn’t played exceptionally well. It’s fair to say nobody has though.

    Bottom line is that Liverpool would be top four with a consistent striker. Yes they have struggled to integrate new signings. Yes they miss Lucas. Yes they miss Agger. But a 20 goal a season striker would see Liverpool in the top four. I can’t remember such a poor team at converting pressure and chances into goal.

    The Arsenal game at Anfield where they lost 2-1 and all those failings in front of goal were exposed by a clinical RVP has seemed to send LFC into a death-spiral. I think the players unlike KD really want Champion’s League football instead of Cup. Without that prospect they have given up to some extent.

    Not sure Eoin (defender of AVB to the last moment) how that comes down to management. Dalglish has tried his best to shield his strikers and team. from pressure. Having watched every Liverpool game this season Dalglish and Clarke have only got tactics completely wrong twice (Spurs and Bolton) away. To nitpick – their substitutions often come too late to make a difference.

    Also an FYI re: reality and expectaions. And I take these stats from the excellent Tomkin Times blog. LFC’s netspend since KD took over is approx. 40 million. At the sametime player’s wages have been reduced by 30 million pounds. Look beyond the headlines and Liverpool are no longer in the same league financially. The reason LFC have so many British players is that without Champion’s League football and higher wages can’t attract the best players. (Ashley Young, Gail Clichy and Phil Jones were all LFC targets that never came.)

    I only wish Graham Carr Newcastle’s top scout was a Scouser not a Geordie 🙂

  2. Are there many teams that would not be a top four contender with a 20 goal a season striker?

  3. Gus Keri says:

    Well said, J Rob

  4. Alberta Gooner says:

    It would be interesting to find out whether the Britpack signings were made on the recommendation of Damien Comolli because none of Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing or Charlie Adam seem to be the antithesis of “Moneyball” philosophy that he was supposed to bring to Anfield.

    While J Rob makes an excellent point about Carr, some credit should be given to the much maligned Mike Ashley for listening to his chief scout. As I recall, there was plenty of predictions of gloom at the start of the season from many pundits and a few departing Magpies — notably Twitter philsopher cum midfielder Joseph Barton — about the fate of the club in having the British “heart” ripped out from the club with the departures of high earners Carroll, Kevin Nolan and Barton himself. Many doubts existed about the replacements Yohann Cabaye and Demba Ba, probably because none of the MOTD crowd had heard of them any more than they knew about Hatem Ben Arfa or Chiek Tiote. All those signings, by the way, seem far more in keeping with the “Moneyball” philosophy of building a club.

  5. J ROB says:

    Bobby:

    Fair point.

    That said, how much of the following would you disagree with?

    – LFC have converted chances/pressure at the level of a relegation-zone team
    – LFC have created chances at the level of a top-four team
    – LFC have defended at the level of a top-four team (top two team until the last 3 games)

  6. “And I take these stats from the excellent Tomkin Times blog. LFC’s netspend since KD took over is approx. 40 million. At the sametime player’s wages have been reduced by 30 million pounds.”
    I am disappointed that no one has asked for details on the savings on wages. KD has been in charge 15 months – he has signed at least 8 high profile players – Henderson, Suarez, Carrol, Henderson, Adam, Coates (not so much), Enrique and Bellamy. Two I believe have left. How does 30 million pounds in savings come from these moves? What am I missing. I smell some voodoo accounting. Details please.

  7. Steve says:

    was there an episode 66 that I missed?

  8. J ROB says:

    Less publicised than the headline transfers was a cull of the squad. 8 players joined Liverpool and 9 were transferred out. In addition another 12 players were loaned out (some of whom like Shelvey who have returned). Substantial changes happened at the youth level too. The 30 Million in reduced wages is attributed to a quote from Damien Comolli last August.

  9. I call bullshit on Damien Comolli. 30M is about 30% of Liverpool annual wage bill if I am not mistaken. Even if that is over the life of contracts I still think that is disingenuous as it would infer that Liverpool’s wages will stay down which they will not.

  10. Gus Keri says:

    Bobby:

    I disagree with you on the wages issue.

    Frist of all, neither you nor I know the exact wages saved over the past year, but I don’t think Comolli is stupid to lie (or BS as you put it) about it when he knows very well that any one can find out the truth.

    To me it makes a lot of sense.

    The players who left were highly paid. Torres, Meirelles, Cole, Aquilani, Babel. On the other hand, the new ones might not be paid as much especially that many of them are young and didn’t make their name in the league yet.

    Also many of the young academy players were added and those are usually cheap. Those came at the expense of some flops who were gettiong much higher wages like Polssen and Degen and Jovanovic.

    Many of old players left and new young ones were added.
    I think we can do the math

  11. The source of the 30m savings is a Rory Smith article
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/chelsea/8733975/Raul-Meireles-signs-for-Chelsea-Craig-Bellamy-rejoins-Liverpool-and-Joe-Cole-channel-hops-to-Lille.html
    It was not a net saving it was the saving generated by moving players out. It did not take into account that the new players that were signed since last January and the fact that they also expected wages.
    As I said before bullshit – except it seems to be how it has been passed on and interpreted rather than the real situation.

  12. Roberto Senyera says:

    Does any Liverpool fan honestly, and with a straight face, believe that Dalglish is a better manager than Rafa? Honestly?

    Those that do: it’s medication time.

    And it’s far past the point where you LFC fans call him “King Kenny”. Frankly, it’s becoming embarrassing. Cease and desist. For the love of God. The man couldn’t manage his way out of a wet paper bag — great player though — especially with Celtic.

    Hail! Hail!

  13. Roberto Senyera says:

    And speaking of Liverpool.

    Where is that astute fella that stayed up at all hours (these type of hours) and waxed on ad infinitum with his abacus and PV tables about how the Andy Carroll purchase was financial prudent?

    That I really want to know. Is he making a sequel to “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”?

  14. Roberto Senyera says:

    “King”?!?!

    King of what? Mid table mediocrity and a P45?

    All you Liverpool fans must be havin’ a laugh? Right?

    And how exactly do all you Liverpool fans and most of the English media already preordain that squad to win the FA Cup? Have you all looked at the table? Of the four SFs they currently sit last, if I’m not mistaken.

    I’m not havin’ it.

  15. Roberto Senyera says:

    Keep on paying for over-priced British talent that invariably, more often than not, will underperform. That’s your “Moneyball”!

    Moneyball my ass. Go look at Newcastle if you want to know real “Moneyball”.

  16. Gus Keri says:

    Bobby:

    I wish someone will get into Liverpool’s record book and find out the exact difference between last your wages and this year wages.

    But from the look of things, the statement, ragadless who said it, makes a lot of sense.

  17. Bobby says:

    Gus – we will find out when we get the financial statements.

    I’m sorry but the statement may make sense to you but the article I linked to clearly showed that the 30M is not a net saving. It seems to me that the 30M was in the article for impact but was then passed on by people who didn’t understand what they were really talking about – so it became an accepted fact when it was nothing of the kind.

    If you think a club that is suppossedly pushing for the top four place can cut their wage bill by 30M pounds (close to 30%) and be competitive (when every other team is going in the other direction) then so be it. I will leave you to it.

    I did a quick calculation in my head last night and I think that you be looking at something like this in terms of wages for the new signings:
    Henderson, £60,000
    Suarez £80,000
    Carroll £90,000,
    Downing £75,000
    Adam £65,000
    Coates £40,000
    Enrique £60,000
    Bellamy £65,000

    That is over half a million a week or around £27M a year. So for a $30M net saving to be correct and accurate Liverpool would have had to have cut their salary bill by £57M or (50% of their last published accounts and that included more than players).

  18. louis hutchison says:

    i am sure the business minds of John Henry and Tom Werner are very aware of over spending and will i am sure put things right if the wage bill is out of control, i think they already have to some extent.
    Just a small point to the guys above questioning KD’s credentials as a manager. How long did Fergie take before he started wining games at OT? Three years!! mired in the drop zone for most of that time almost got the sack himself i believe. CL football or no Cl football. A cup win in his first season back, a semi final place in the FA Cup in the same season, surely deserves more time than one year……

  19. I think LA getting knocked out of the CONCACAF CL was the game changer of the season for that club. Why is Beckham there? Keane? DOnovan? Aren’t they all planning an exit soon, the CCL was the key to their drive.
    I think LA will not go back but this is the nature of MLS, you don’t have relegation and promotion, but you have fluctuations.
    Andy Carroll is a throwback, you said that about Gignac, is Carroll Liverpool’s Gignac? In the same way, OM is coached by a well respected former player.
    I think your point about Carroll is what I mean about Messi. Messi’s greatest aspect is that he is on a team that fits him perfectly.

  20. J ROB says:

    All this talk of the merits/failures of domestic players overlooks one of Liverpool’s biggest failures this year – Louis Suarez. Yes, terrifically inventive but his goal-scoring record isn’t nearly good enough. I can’t think of half-a-dozen games or more where he missed the target or found the goalie when it seemed easier to score.

    The wider problem is that under the weight of greater expectations almost every Liverpool player has come up short. For all the negative press after Sunday it really came really down to rub of the green (Perch handball / marginal offside for Cisse’s 2nd goal) and ability to take chances (Skertel, Carroll and Suarez all could/should have scored).

    Again, I’d confidently assert this analysis describes Liverpool’s season:

    – created chances at the level of a top-four team
    – defended until recently like a top-two team
    – taken chances at level of a relegation-zone team

    I am not here to say Dalglish and Clarke are blameless. One small but significant example. Is there a worse team in history at converting corners into goals? Liverpool win countless corners every game and rarely get anything from them. The first 30 minutes of the recent QPR was laughable. Ten corners with nothing to show for it. Which then leads onto the next topic re: lack of execution. Liverpool’s woeful crossing…..

  21. Ed Gomes says:

    Liverpool fans will soon have new “owners” to kill. The Red Sox have a huge payroll and will be hard pressed to make the playoffs, even with the added wild card team. Most are picking them to finish third in the American League East and behind Rangers or Angels for the extra wild card. That means that we shouldn’t be expecting another influx of $189 mil this off season.

    I always thought that Carroll was a calculated risk. If he matured, played a little better and made an impact on the Englands squad, he would have become a marketing bonanza. The biggest issue for me is that the so called calculated risk was way too costly. Liverpool was bidding against itself, which sadly is what the big baseball teams do as well.
    I may also agree that Suarez hasn’t been good enough. He’s missed too much time, let’s not rehash that, and has long scoring droughts. But he does bring something to that squad. He’s the prototypical player everyone hates, but would love on the squad. Ok that’s pushing it.

    Ultimately King Kenny has faltered. They have repeatedly called on Bellamy to bail them out. Kuyt has been forgotten much too often. And maybe the most important thing is that he hasn’t been able to reel in Carroll and get the best out of him. Carroll is quickly becoming Bendtner, without the glimmers of hope.

  22. Rob says:

    Anyone who blames Gerrard for Liverpool’s “dip” in form deserves no response. And then they go on to say Tomkins is ever excellent just further cements that.

    Good to know that Gus and J Rob can be counted on to just regurgitate what the most popular talk out of Anfield is. Very frustrating to listen to them talk themselves in circles.

    Roberto Seneyara-Whether people think Benitez was better or Dalglish is better is irrelevant.

    Benitez took a CL squad, won the Champions League but dropped Liverpool out of the CL if not for a rule change just for them. By the time he left, Liverpool were no longer a CL squad.

    Dalglish took over a team in decline and while his results haven’t been perfect they aren’t terrible. More of the blame with Dalglish has to fall to Comoli. You know the old saying, “If you buy shit, you get shit.” Simple as that.

  23. Gus Keri says:

    Rob:

    “Good to know that Gus and J Rob can be counted on to just regurgitate what the most popular talk out of Anfield is. Very frustrating to listen to them talk themselves in circles.”

    I like you to be more specific when you mention my name.

    I know that J Rob is more than capable in defeding himself.

    But, in regard to the only point that I was arguing here, I disagreed with Bobby on calling Comolli BSing when nobody knows the fact.

    I can see that the LFC players’ wages have seen a significant drop this season, but how much is it? I don’t know and we have to wait until the financial report to be released by the EPL to find out.

    I could be wrong. But just because Bobby speculated on possible numbers doesn’t make them true.

    I never blame Gerrard for the LFC dip in form. The blame is spread all over, from the players to the management to the administrators. But there is no doubt that Gerrard’s form is not what it used to be. I blame his long injury lay-off for that.

    I never mentioned Tomkins’ name in any of my comment, so, I have to assume you are not talking about me here.

    On the other hand, you are puting the blame on Comolli and this is totally worng. You are assuming that these players are being forced on Dalglish and that Dalglish has nothing to do with signing them. I will let Dalglish answer this one.

    You are probably not happy about the massive amout of money paid for some players. I agree. But blame all the LFC people (from fans to owners and all in between) for the lack of patience in making those deals.

    The other EPL clubs took advantage and took LFC for ransom.

  24. Alberta Gooner says:

    Carroll’s price was partially inflated due to the fact Liverpool were able to sell Torres for 50m but it appears that 35m pricetag is draggin him down like a millstone. Many managers — including Fabio Capello — have also warned him his off-the-field lifestyle could retard his potential and I wonder how much of that is at play with him.

    In terms of the prices for Henderson, Downing and Adam, LFC clearly overpaid. Downing’s price, in particular, rankled as it was double what Villa paid for him and more than what United paid for either Valencia or Ashley Young, both of whom are clearly better than him. But I don’t know if that was a Comolli signing or that was a Dalglish signing. Oh and seven million more than what Wenger paid for the Ox. And as I recall, supporters and pundits were lauding Dalglish for buying proven talent and castigating Wenger for spending so much money on an unproven kid. Wonder what those same people would say today.

    As far as Liverpool’s payroll goes, Bobby doesn’t have an agenda. Comolli clearly does. If Liverpool supporters want to drink the Kool Aid served up by somebody who clearly needs to protect their position, that’s up to them.

  25. Rob says:

    Gus-Because you still defend the crap that we see coming out of Anfield. Just because you support Liverpool doesn’t mean you have to swallow everything they say or be a part of everything that they think or that some other “supporter groups” think.

    The signings are all Comolli. Liverpool is being run like an American sports franchise. Comolli is the GM and Dalglish is the head coach.

    I’m sure Dalglish has a say but all signings have to come through Comolli.

    As for the wages, just look at what Chelsea said about their losses. They took all of the Torres transfer and tried saying that the WHOLE of it was in this year’s losses which isn’t true. I’ll wait, like you said, for everything to be released but common sense says that Comolli is full of shit.

    If Gerrard can be considered “out of form” than its, like you said again, because of rust. Rust from an 18 month long run where he was mostly out of the team.

    But most of what I said was directed at J Rob and his first comment. That comment is what you will see posted on every Liverpool website as to why Liverpool is struggling.

    I liken this situation to Torres’ over at Chelsea. Torres lack of goal scoring is down to him not being used like he was at Liverpool. He was the focal point of every attack at Liverpool. At Chelsea, he is now supposed to provide. Yet some people struggle to comprehend this and its the same with Liverpool.

  26. Gus Keri says:

    Rob:

    “Just because you support Liverpool doesn’t mean you have to swallow everything they say.”

    How could you say that when in my last comment, I criticized the whole LFC establishment?
    When I wrote my piece about Suarez, people criticized me, as a Liveprool fan, for criticizing my own club LFC.

    You are wrong, my dear. I have my own opinion that is not influence by my support to LFC

    But when I read “unfair criticism” against LFC, and there is a lot of it in this website, I can’t help but to defend my club.

    What do you have against Comolli? And what do the rest of people here have against him? I don’t know exactly, except, maybe, he was employed by Tottenham and you know most of people here are Arsenal fans.

    The only criticism I have against Comolli is that he spent too much money. But I don’t blame him for that. Whenever Liverpool shows interest in a player, his price goes up to double or even triple in value. I would rather see them spending more and try that spend less.

    And no, my dear, it’s not like American sporting club. If Dalglish doesn’t want a player, he is not going to sign him. I can be sure that Dalglsih approved all the purchaces before they took place.

    And you can continue believing whomever you want to believe.

    Bobby listed the wages of the 8 new comers and came up with a total 30 Million. I can name 6 players who left the clubs whose salaries were around or above 5 Million (Toores, Aquilani, Cole, Jovanovic, Konchesky and Poulsen). There were total 19 players who left the club, while 10 players promoted from the youth academy.

    In spite of that, I am hesitant to make any definite conclusion because I don’t have the exact number and I would rather wait.

  27. Astronomer says:

    Gus Keri,
    You wrote:
    “What do you have against Comolli? And what do the rest of people here have against him? I don’t know exactly, except, maybe, he was employed by Tottenham and you know most of people here are Arsenal fans.”

    I am not really sure what you are insinuating via the above comment, but please keep in mind that this guy was at one time an Arsenal employee also. He was Arsene Wenger’s European scout for about 6-7 years, from 1996 onward.

    In fact his stay at Arsenal was longer than his stay at Tottenham. In addition, he did identify several young players that Arsene Wenger ultimately signed. So Arsenal fans have reasons to like him also — and not just dislike him in a knee-jerk fashion for his Tottenham association (something that your above quote seems to imply).
    ________________________________________________________

  28. Gus Keri says:

    Astronomer:

    Is it possible that Arsenal fans don’t like him because he did the unthinkable and went to work for their archnemesis?

    Ask Arsenal fans how they felt about William Gallas or Emmanuel Adebayor playing there.

    I am not saying that they hate him. This is why I said “maybe.”

    But I truely don’t understand why is this campaign agaisnt Comolli. The man did great work throughout his career. If you know the answer, please tell me.

  29. Ed Gomes says:

    Liverpool;
    A) very good signings that a poor manager can’t bring together.
    B) manager is stuck with bad signings
    C) a bit of both a and c

    Ans:

  30. Gus Keri says:

    Here is a clip of an interview with Comolli on NESN website:

    “Alan Kayll: Within the fan base people say you have signed x player and Kenny has signed x player, how exactly does it work when you sign a player?

    Damien Comolli: I am not sure where those rumours are coming from as they are false. Kenny and I work together, if we get it right it is together and if we get it wrong it is together.
    As I said many times before, we would not sign a player Kenny is not comfortable with.”

    I think I know something Comolli doesn’t know. I know where these rumors are coming from.

    Poor me! The misguided and misinformed Liverpool fan.

    To read this interview check here:

    http://www.nesn.com/2012/03/liverpool-fc-director-of-football-damien-comolli-feels-club-is-headed-in-right-direction-excited-to-.html

    I have a feeling I know what some people would say about it and it rhymes with “full-ship”

  31. Rob says:

    Gus-Rather than say yes it is like an American franchise where Comolli is GM and Dalglish is coach, I’ll just let ya be.

    If you think Dalglish has power over the signings than I’m amazed that you haven’t called for his head. Things weren’t this bad under Roy…

  32. Gus Keri says:

    ED:

    The answer is
    D) neither

  33. Rob says:

    Gus-So they must first agree on which players they will bring in or else they bring in no one at all? And you really believe that?

    For example, say Liverpool needs a striker. Comolli likes player X and Dalglish likes player Y. Then who does Liverpool sign? Player Z because neither could fully agree on X or Y?

    Thats just stupid. Of course Dalglish has a say in who is signed but the buck stops at Comolli, just like in American sports.

  34. Ed Gomes says:

    Gus,
    Then both must either be mediocre or both are operating at their best.
    Either way, its bad.

  35. Gus Keri says:

    Rob:

    I will use your own words: “I’ll just let ya be”

  36. Gus Keri says:

    ED:

    I disagree with “poor manager” in option “A”
    I disagree with “bad signings” in option “B”
    Option “C,” therefore, was not acceptable to me

    So, I had to creat “D.” You can fill in the blank becasue I posted my opinion many times before.
    Any way, this is only my opinion. I am sure a lot of people don’t agree with me and I am fine with it.

  37. Rob says:

    Gus- Use them well.

  38. J Rob says:

    The longer narrative is how LFC have wasted several fortunes since Souness and advent of the EPL with not one title to show for it.

    http://www.transferleague.co.uk/premiership-football-club-comparisons/premier-league-comparisons.html

    Very, very painful.

    Like Andy Carroll’s performance last Sunday. Up to the point when he flopped on the ground instead of shooting into an empty goal he momentarily looked like the player he was before he joined Liverpool.

    While he isn’t the smartest of players (his positioning is frequently shocking) he definitely has a heap of raw talent. But it seems clear to me that the weight of his transfer fee has completely unbalanced him.

    I’ll never forget his one sublime 2 goal performance for Liverpool last season against Man City. Struck an unstoppable shot with his potent left foot from 20 yards out and outmuscled Kompany for a lovely header into the corner. Classic # 9 stuff. But since then mentally he has lost it. He seems to spend most games as a bystander or falling over in the box moaning about pulls and tugs. He’s the very epitome of frustration and bewilderment.

    Sad, very sad.

  39. Ed Gomes says:

    J Rob, maybe it’s the outside influence that has unbalanced him. Being so high profile at Newcastle and then having such a fee being given to him, could only add to the yes men and hangers on. His nightlife was already in question before he went to Liverpool, and apparently it hasn’t gotten better if not worse.
    The talent is there, but if there’s a game where mental fortitude is necessary it’s in futebol. Just take a look at Mancini’s comments about Balotelli today. Not all players possess it.

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