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A Merseyside Malaise

Written by on May 17, 2012 | 40 Comments »
Posted in The Training Ground

This article has been contributed by Fred Haas. Fred has been a Liverpool supporter since he was a boy during the first Dalglish era. He teaches high school in the Boston area.

While it might not be a complete shock, given the Reds run of league form, it was a little surprising to see Kenny Dalglish get sacked. Rebuilding Liverpool was never going to be a quick turnaround, despite declarations of disappointment if they not did make the Champions League.

Truth is the club was far from the quality needed to compete at Europe’s highest level when Kenny returned, and they are only slightly closer on his exit.

The squad is undoubtedly deeper than it was a year ago. Of course, the club overpaid for Carroll, Henderson, Downing, and Adam.

Yet, the expensive new arrivals under-performed considerably and never lived up to their manager’s unwavering attempts to fill them with confidence. Coupled with a rash of key injuries and a positively woeful inability to finish, never mind lengthy absences of the club’s two best players for disparate reasons, the team ultimately let Dalglish down.

Still, as sports cliches go, the whole team cannot be fired.

Now Liverpool is back to square one since Fenway Sports Group’s purchase, with absences in nearly all key club roles. There doesn’t seem to be a plan or vision forward. Moreover, FSG seems to misunderstand one key issue about their newest property.

Until they return to top four status and are playing European nights with the best, they are going to have to continue to overpay for talent. The club’s reputation and prestige only has so much appeal to the modern day footballer and probably holds even less weight for players outside the UK.

They need to dangle some kind of lure for top talent and right now they need to use cash, boom or bust. Plus, John Henry and company only look naive to think that the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City won’t press every possible angle and exploit every potential loophole in the impending UEFA’s Financial Fair Play.  

While rumors already swirled, LFC is starting to look a lot like the current version of the Boston Red Sox, floundering in seeming disarray with little to instill hope in either team’s supporters. Ironically, the Red Sox have ridiculously overpaid talent on their roster, and cleaning house hasn’t made any difference in that team’s performance.

So, in throwing King Kenny aside, FSG has burned through most of the supporter’s good will. Now more than ever all that will matter are results, and the cast of characters rumored to be in the frame as possible replacements have none of the pedigree of their predecessor.

A series of big moves needs be made to avoid another disappointing campaign, starting with a staff of that boasts proven winners not simply the latest young gun manager, followed up with some more spending on a small mix of savvy veterans of the comeback variety and youth filled with potential.

Hopefully, a that group will include a proven goal poacher, if not little is likely to change.

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40 responses to “A Merseyside Malaise”

  1. Peter Williams says:

    No one should be surprised that Dalglish got fired. The Fenway Group never wanted him, they got bullied into taking him. Dalglish then spent too much money on players who didn’t do very well, and the team finished 8th. However, the thing that doomed Dalglish was the Luis Suarez buisness. I assure you, the owners were mortified, and undoubtly would have liked to fired him right then.

    Liverpool fans are going to howl, but Dalglish deserved the sack.

  2. Russell Berrisford says:

    A good read and, yes, it’s interesting to compare Liverpool with the Red Sox in terms of overspending on players (can the “Moneyball” epithet finally be butied now please?).

    Not sure that FSG have lost all Liverpool fans with this decision as I think opinion was mixed on how Dalglish was doing but the next appointment will definitely be key.

    I’m also pretty sure that FSG will be a lot less happy to splash the cash than they were this time last season.

    Interesting times.

  3. Roberto Senyera says:

    ” … overspending on players (can the “Moneyball” epithet finally be butied now please?).”

    Agreed. Liverpool, if anything, is the antithesis of “Moneyball”.

    True Moneyball is Newcastle.

  4. Roberto Senyera says:

    OT:

    Quote Of The Day
    “I get angry every week when I go to buy petrol,’ fumed Hoeness. ‘The oil mafia takes money out of my pocket to invest it in footballers. For me this stinks to high heaven and I include Mr Abramovich in all this…Mr Abramovich has put £900m into Chelsea. If he pulls the plug on them, you’ll be able to pick the club up for the price of a puzzle magazine from a newsstand” – Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness slaps down Chelsea.

  5. Ed Gomes says:

    I also agreed that FSG were stuck with Kenny. Fortunately for them, he made it easier to get rid of him.
    – worst finish in 18 years
    – 52 pts is the lowest tally since ’52/’53
    – 14 losses

    I do agree that fans will howl, especially if they don’t get off to a good start. You can add, especially a good start at home as well. Fans quickly forget their heros failures and once again we’ll see the killing of the evil owners..
    It’s amazing to me that Rafa’s name has even been brought up. The “evil owners” during that tenure got all of the blame. Granted they were deserving of a lot of the bad will and financial issues. But, everyone seems to forget that it was Rafa who spent a ton of money on pieces that failed or he failed to get going. Those same “evil owners” also got one of the richest jersey sponsorship deals inked for Liverpool. Yes those “evil owners” got that deal done.
    A small dig; Arsenal wishes it had as good of a deal. (couldn’t resist)

    FSG spent 189 mil last season, so I wouldn’t expect that kind of spending tis season. But I do feel that a better manager will be able to get more out of this bunch.
    I also agree hat money and Champions League play (which means money as well) makes players want to come. Whether the new manager could get this bunch there, is highly debatable.
    What I would like to point out is that the Liverpool brand I’d highly marketable. I actually believe in England they would be only 2nd to Man United in world wide marketability. Money will and should come in if properly handled.

    As for comparing the Red Sox with Liverpool, it’s silly.
    The Red Sox bunch was one who got inflated egos for what they accomplished, for a club that was cursed and hadn’t won in ages. They thought they could do no wrong.
    The Liverpool bunch hasn’t accomplished nothing with the weight of historic history on their shoulders. It’s a nice motivating and tactical tool for the manager, if you ask me.

  6. Roberto Senyera says:

    Also, from Mediawatch …
    Stat Of The Day — Glazernomics
    £258,909: Average amount paid per day by Manchester United on interest repayments and bond buy-backs over the last nine months, according to their latest financial results.

    Anybody who thinks that level of borrowing is sustainable over the long-term needs to take a remedial mathematics course.

    If you’re a ManU fan that should be troubling.

    That’s why, as an Arsenal fan, I say I love the Glazers and Glazernomics.

  7. Roberto Senyera says:

    Once the 2012/13 EPL season kicks off fans will be glued to their television sets:

    Arsenal fans will be watching ESPN.
    ManU fans will be watching Fox Soccer.
    ManC fans will be watching Sky Sports.
    And Liverpool fans will be watching the History Channel.

  8. Ed Gomes says:

    Man United is as much a brand as a futebol club. They have huge world wide appeal, and would be able to capitalize on that further if hey choose to.

    Yes the amount is troubling, but whether that’s right or wrong, good or bad for futebol, that’s a different topic.

    Arsenal made a horrible sponsorship dal that they will be saddled with for a long time. It will hurt them in obtaining players.
    While Man United would be painfully hurt if the dropped out of the CL, it shouldn’t be a kill shot.
    In Arsenals case, if they drop out of he CL, it could definately be a kill shot.

    Chelsea and City could continue spending a ton, but it would take them decades to earn the buying power Man United have.

  9. Ed – The Arsenal shirt deal was not horrible at the time and it was used to help support financing for the stadium which now generates far more money than selling shirts.

  10. Alberta Gooner says:

    Bobby — Isn’t hindsight great when it comes to analysis?

    Ed’s business plan would see us back at Highbury, possibly with a lucrative shirt sponsor. It sort of sounds like Liverpool.

    Speaking of hindsight, I remember a fair few commentators, including a couple on these very boards, bemoaning the fact that Arsenal were being “left behind” by Liverpool last summer when FSG were splashing the cash for Moneyball signings Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing while questioning why Arsene Wenger would spent 12m on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. How did that work out again?

  11. Alberta Gooner says:

    Arsenal don’t HAVE to do a 10-year deal this time because they don’t HAVE to finance the construction of a stadium, whose debt is being rapidly paid off.

    If anybody doubts the wisdom of those sponsorship deals, do a little research look at Arsenal’s earnings over the past decade and it’s easy to spot the difference the Emirates has made on the club’s finances, as Bobby pointed out.

    There are some legitimate criticisms to be made about the club, both on and off the pitch. The frustrating for myself and other longtime gooners comes from the sense of entitlement and lack of perspective from relatively new supporters, whose prescriptions to fix the club are, at best, naive, and unrealistic.

    I guess they assume because they won Champions League playing with Arsenal on FIFA or Football Manager, it’s easy to run a club and win gongs. It isn’t.

  12. Alberta Gooner says:

    Roberto — I’m prepared to be corrected but as I recall, the stadium’s costs had risen and the club needed to enter into those sponsorship agreements with Nike and Emirates in order to finance the completion of the stadium. In any event, it’s hindsight and it certainly doesn’t appear Wenger’s hands are tied in the transfer market due to a lack of funds.

  13. John Bladen says:

    Roberto: As both AG & Bobby have noted, the club was required to sign long term commercial deals in order to obtain an acceptable borrowing rate vis the stadium construction bonds/loans.

    It was not a decision they wanted to make. It was a decision they needed to take to make the financing work. They did not have an option… no longer term locked in deal = higher financing costs = no new stadium.

    Even football clubs don’t always get what they want…

  14. John Bladen says:

    Fred: Well written and on point. Liverpool fans don’t like to admit it, but the club has been in a slow decline since it’s championship days (like Arsenal, in some ways).

    It’s true that a good part of this is driven by finance, but both Benitez and Dalglish were given money to spend (in Benitez’ case, an amount comparable to the other big clubs in England, despite his protests to the contrary). The purchases made were unwise, and the club has declined in terms of competitiveness as well.

    It’s a big climb to make it back up. Step one would be making wise buys with the money available (be it a large or small sum), then using that talent to improve on pitch fortunes. If they can do that, the finances will improve. If not… Everton might not be the poor sister for long.

  15. Astronomer says:

    The bottom line remains that in order to upgrade itself financially, Liverpool will have to get a bigger (say, about 60,000 seats) stadium. Expanding Anfield might be an option, but it is in a crowded neighborhood and also there are local zoning “right to light” laws that might prevent this from happening.

    They can also build a new stadium on a solo basis or build a new stadium and share it with Everton (like AC Milan and Inter). Fans of the two clubs hate this idea, understandably.

    But something has to be done in terms of increasing match-day revenues.

    ________________________________________________________

  16. John Bladen says:

    Astr:

    As I understand it, LFC have already exhausted all options in regard to expansion of Anfield. Their only remaining avenue would be to buy the surrounding properties (quite a number of them) at FMV, then consolidate and apply for planning permission to demolish the homes and rebuild sections of the stadium.

    I would never say it’s absolutely impossible, but I think it is very, very unlikely that any owner would be willing to go to that length.

  17. […] In light of my favorite soccer club firing their manager, yesterday, I was feeling a little inspired by my disappointment. So, I wrote an editorial piece and submitted it to Soccer Report Extra, the site run by Bobby McMahon of the Fox Soccer Report. He was kind enough to publish it – “A Merseyside Malaise.” […]

  18. Fred Haas says:

    John:

    I would agree that Liverpool’s recent buys were possibly unwise, but they also were attempting to buy potential. Yet, potential takes patience.

    That being said, I myself am pretty well convinced at this point that Henderson and especially Downing simply are not good enough. I am still hopeful about Adam, but concede this season would be described as poor, at best. At least, Carroll started to show the promise that made him a target in the first place. Still, they are all capped national team players and should have performed better.

    Regardless, I don’t think all of those players are enough to close the gap and get into the top four. They still need at least three top talents, be they on the radar or not. I mean how much better would someone like Juan Mata have made this squad.

    I just think any manger needs more than one year to effectively move players in, evaluate them, and make the necessary changes for a club in the state that Liverpool find themselves. The real problem now is the longer a club is on the outside of the CL the longer it takes to get back in the fold.

  19. TR says:

    Let me add another perspective as an American and footy fan. In corporate cirlces, “fail fast” is in vogue. The sin is to fail slow. Act, make your choice, fail, cut your losses, dust yourself off, and get back in with new choices, actions. You will find success faster is the thinking.

    It would not surprise me if hedge fund manager Henry and his corporate confidants trust this approach.

    And it makes sense for me, even for LFC. I appreciate the towering character that is Kenny, and his dignity, but you can not gloss over that, IMO, his teams did not seem to know what they wanted to do, tactical approaches appear unclear at times, the signings appear sloppy choices.

    FSG learns from experience, and will weigh the data heavily, and will try to make choices that increase probabilities on their eyes. I think they want to make fewer errors going forward and could very well hire Martinez to start a rebuilding process in close consultation with them and their advisors.

    Very generic post I know.

  20. J Rob says:

    Fred:

    Great article. I would say that the only true transfer failure for Liverpool was Stewart Downing. While the others didn’t cover themselves in glory you could make excuses for all of them. Downing as a seasoned pro whose form had improved every year until now has no place to hide. He started the season hitting bar against Sunderland and in his last game at Anfield hit the woodwork twice against Chelsea. As such he epitomised Liverpool’s season. No other player in the league has as many shots without scoring (I think it was over 70).

    His malaise was symptomatic of a team who failed to play under the pressure of greater expectations in the league. Even the normally reliable Dirk Kuyt missed penalties and fluffed great chances repeatedly.

    (What a contrast with the Cups where the same players played with less inhibition).

    Another culprit was a player whom most everybody lauds: Louis Suarez. I must have cursed his name a dozen time for chances he should have taken that would have won us three points this season.

    So the blame always stops at the manager’s door but look past the league position and results and I think Kenny Dalglish has been very unlucky.

    Patience is a virtue which is in short supply in the modern sports
    but I wonder if NESV are risking making the manager’s door into the revolving kind favoured by Roman Abramovich? Going back to the so-called failed transfers it’s an undeniable fact that most players especially younger ones rarely play at their best in their first season with a club.

  21. In terms of the stadium issue – I came across something I wasn’t aware of while doing some research on a Forbes article that will be posted tomorrow.
    Although Alianz Arena was a joint Bayern / TSV Munich project Bayern bought out TSV and now rent out the stadium every over weekend to their city rivals.

  22. J Rob says:

    Bobby:

    Between your television work, twitter feed, this blog, its associated podcast and your online columns for Forbes and Fox I’d guess you sleep less in one week than some teenagers do in one night. Thank you.

  23. Ed Gomes says:

    I agree that Man United’s transfers this off season are very important. I for one wasn’t happy that no midfield help was acquired and that Stekelenburg is somehow at Roma. I am also worried that Scholes and Giggs will once again be counted on. I understand that they bring more than just their play on the field, but it’s troubling that we don’t have younger players to fill those necessary sub rolls to rest starters in the long season.
    Man United need some midfield help badly. Let me add that the strikers/forwards, in my opinion, also took a step back this season.
    I still say that the Glazers have been able to magnify the already large stature of Man United. We’ll see how hard the finances truly are with what happens this offseason. Man United lost out on some pretty big revenue when they didn’t get past the group stages. I’m sure budgets were made including that revenue.

    I may be a Benfica fan, but I can honestly say that Nico Gaitan is not the answer. He’s rumored to be heading to Man United ( lots of cash and Rafael to Benfica on loan). He played out wide for Benfica but is more suited to play the middle. Very frustrating player to watch, since floats in and out matches.
    Axel Witsel would be perfect for Man United, but I truly hope that Benfica keeps him. He’ll be as big a loss as Martines was when he surprisingly left for Chelsea.

    I have my bias verse Arsenal. I’ve never cared for RvP (hate the Dutch, lol), and never cared for the “oh poor us” mentality.
    Wenger continually complains about his guys getting fouled when Arsenal is one of the most penalized teams and also very chippy.
    Saying that, I would also be very foolish not to recognize how good of a manager Wenger is and how good the club is. They have qualified for he CL year after year and have also threatened, at times, for silverware. I admit that there’s plenty of clubs that wished to have Arsenals troubles. Go ask Spurs or Villa.
    That being said, I’m also allowed to say that Arsenal has missed out on opportunities in setting themselves for silverware. You mean to tell me Mata wouldn’t have fit in great at Arsenal? They knew Cesc was gone and what kind of money they were getting. I didn’t mention Silva due to City’s wage scale. Time after time defense and goalie issues weren’t addressed either.
    I get Wenger doing it his way, since it’s been successful, but this squad lacked leadership or a veteran presence, and at times it seemed as if Wenger wanted it that way.
    As for the sponsorship deal, I still say it was a bad one. I’m sorry but they didn’t need to take such a long term deal in order to secure certain rates from the banks.
    Lastly I realize that stadium revenue is huge, but it shouldn’t surpass world wide merchandising. A team like Benfica, from Portugal, fills its stadium but the ticket revenue isn’t anywhere near as high as Arsenal due to pricing. Yet they are 21st world wide in total revenue earned (tv, stadium and merchandising revenue) not including transfer gains. It’s the first club outside the top four leagues to make the list. To me that’s attributed to massive world wide appeal, which Arsenal needs to do a better job of. Frankly, they should be capitalizing on it, since they have a cemented home following and play an appealing game.
    Just my thought.

    I love how “the owners”, wonder how long before it becomes “the American owners”, are already clueless due to all of the managerial changes. Last time I checked KK was their first firing after he failed miserably.
    Fans are the best.

    I saw how Bojan’s father stated that there was interest coming from England for his kid. Barca has a buy back clause if they care to use it.
    Call me crazy, but I think that he’s right. England is becoming fascinated with small Central and South American attacking mids/forwards. Could it be that dos Santos will stay and play? Lol.

  24. Alberta Gooner says:

    Roberto – “To me the terms of the two separate deals (sponsorship & financing) need not match. The bank should only be concerned with the football club being able to service the debt. The bank would know that after a four year shirt sponsorship deal expires Arsenal would enter into another shirt sponsorship deal which is more lucrative (in an inflationary environment). And the club would have been better off by signing typical four year shirt deals and rolling them over in order to maximize their revenue from that source. The bank would be happy as long as the debt is being paid as per schedule. It’s not as if Arsenal was ever a risky borrower in the first place. Therefore win-win for both parties.”

    You are making some massive assumptions here with the benefit of hindsight and without some pertinent facts. You probably weren’t supporting the club back then because if you were, you’d have known that the club needed those deals to complete construction. Arsenal had been lent 260m pounds by RBS — they were not going to get any more money from lenders for the stadium project and this was still well short of what they needed to complete construction on the stadium.

    The deals with Nike and Emirates allowed them to go ahead with the stadium because the financing was secure. Doing a four-year deal with Nike was not going to be enough to cover the cost of building the stadium. And no responsible company would go ahead with such a critical project that it didn’t have the cash in hand to complete the job. That would be just idiotic.

  25. Alberta Gooner says:

    I see Ed Gomes suffers from the same problem of not grasping the facts about the construction of the stadium and why the sponsorship deals were necessary. It was not all that long ago, either, and the facts are widely available.

    If you haven’t followed the club for very long, have the gumption to do a little research so you won’t look foolish when you state your opinion.

  26. John Bladen says:

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion on the matter, however information surrounding the stadium construction is widely available as AG says. The Swiss Ramble has a wonderful explanation of it and I’m sure there are many others also.

    Roberto: There is a world of difference between the bank lending you money to buy/build a house and lending you money to build a single purpose sporting facility. If you cannot pay the bank back, they seize/sell your house &, recover their money (or at least most of it). The bank’s collateral is the asset it is lending on and, secondarily, a presumption that you will continue to earn what you have historically earned (at a minimum).

    If a lender forecloses on a football stadium (particularly a partially completed one) they have no such expectation. It is not uncommon for sporting facilities (privately owned ones, obviously) to be assessed for tax purposes at 10-20% of their construction cost. As standalone assets, they make little financial sense.

  27. Ed Gomes says:

    I apologize AG.
    Sorry for thinking that Arsenal was big enough to bring revenue to secure stadium build. Like I tried to point out, arsenal should be capitalizing on perceived success, yet haven’t.

    By the way, I believe that RvP has refused to sign a new deal at Arsenal. Oops.
    Maybe it’s just “silly season” banter, or maybe he just wants to go win some silverware.

    You can call Nasri unprofessional and immature for his comments, but you can’t call him wrong.

  28. John Bladen says:

    Fred:

    Sorry for hijacking the LFC thread… you can’t trust we Arsenal supporters… (but I suspect you knew that already…)

    Do you think Carroll can ever be “worth” what was paid for him? I look at in terms of what he can bring to the club and what they might sell him on for (and I grant that LFC would not be considered a club likely to look for net profits on players sales most years… they are still plenty big enough to be considered a buyer) when they are ready to part ways.

    Carroll might begin to put in more effort and become a regular scorer for them. As with other clubs (Man U/Arsenal), an improved midfield would likely make him look better even at his present sad level of play. But I doubt very much he will ever be transferred for anything like what they bought him for, and IMO he’ll never be looked at as “worth” the money spent. As Gus has suggested, the Torres “income” makes that more palatable on the balance sheet. But the hard fact is that LFC gets that money regardless of whether they waste it on Carroll (or Suarez for some).

    I agree with you on Henderson & Downing. Not good buys (and more importantly, likely impossible to get rid of even as a dump). As for Adam, he isn’t going to change… his left foot is worth something (not the 10m SAF suggested in my book…) and, like some other more famous players, he does a couple of things very well. But on balance, I’m not sure he’ll ever be more than he is right now. Some believe he was in decline when he left Rangers… I didn’t see him then so can’t really comment on that part of it.

    Getting Mata or keeping Meireles would have been a huge boon to the club. KD went elsewhere for buys and I would imagine now regrets doing so.

    As you can likely tell, I’m no fan of him as a manager (not least because of the manner in which he received that position) today, but I will give him credit for trying to improve the club. All managers have made poor buys at one time or another. I would assume that all also felt when signing the player that this was “the guy” to take them to the next level.

    I just don’t understand what Dalglish thought he was getting in Carroll, nor why he felt this purchase was worth the amount paid.

    Thoughts?

  29. Alberta Gooner says:

    Ed
    “I apologize AG.”

    Apology accepted.

    “Sorry for thinking that Arsenal was big enough to bring revenue to secure stadium build. Like I tried to point out, arsenal should be capitalizing on perceived success, yet haven’t.”

    Um, this makes even less sense than your last post, Ed. Arsenal were trying to build a stadium to increase its revenue. You first suggested “I’m sorry but they didn’t need to take such a long term deal in order to secure certain rates from the banks” by way of criticizing the sponsorship deal. Now you are suggesting they needed to raise “more revenue” in order to secure financing for the stadium. Wasn’t that the point of the long-term sponsorship deals you slated in your previous post? Are you a student? Just curious.

    “By the way, I believe that RvP has refused to sign a new deal at Arsenal. Oops.”

    Ah, a nice digression and kudos for trying to change the subject. Arsenal and van Persie’s reps are in talks right now. That’s a little different than “refused to sign a new deal” but I understand why you might want to cast it that way.

    “Maybe it’s just “silly season” banter, or maybe he just wants to go win some silverware. You can call Nasri unprofessional and immature for his comments, but you can’t call him wrong.”

    When you’ve followed the game for a little longer, you’ll come to realize statements like Nasri’s are very unwise, particularly coming from somebody whose substitution helped seal City’s victory at St. James Park or whatever they call it these days. I recall City playing in the Second Division not so very long ago and their current business plan is not sustainable without serious underwriting from the Abu Dhabi group and they will be subject to UEFA Financial Fair Play rules starting this year. And it’s never wise to assume they will always have a blank cheque to underwrite City’s losses.

  30. Alberta Gooner says:

    Sorry for hijacking your thread, Fred.

  31. Ed Gomes says:

    You’re funny guy AG.
    No I’m not a student. I happen to be a futebol fan for over 35 years.
    I have also written more than one article on the game.

    I won’t pretend to know more about Arsenal than their biggest followers, but playing stupid isn’t an answer or comeback.
    I’m actually of the belief that Arsenal should be capitalizing on their success and style of play. They should be much bigger abroad, which should bring in plenty of merchandising revenue.
    I wasn’t saying that they needed more revenue for the stadium in particular. I was stating that they should have been bringing in more revenue stadium or no stadium.
    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but the deal I’m talking about is the one in regards to the stadium name and jersey sponsor. You mean to tell me they couldn’t have received better deals for the life of that contract? I think they could have.

    I know it’s silly season, and many things will be mentioned that are far from the truth. But the fact remains that it’s bad business letting RvP’s deal come to this. Arsenal has left itself no leverage in selling the player if he chooses to go.

    As for Nasri’s comments, I agree that things come back to get you. But he won. He won as soon as he left. Even Cesc won silverware as soon as he left. Doesn’t look good.
    People will blame City and Chelsea (I’m not a fan of either club, and don’t believe what they are doing is good for the game), for over inflating salaries and transfer costs. So what? They only have so many roster spots and will be stuck with players they want to move. You think teams will want to pay Tevez, Ade, etc… their salaries? Very few can, and won’t.
    Players will always want the money, but CL prestige still goes a long way in getting that money. As long as that’s available to players, you will be able to attract talent.

    Bobby, I know crazy amounts of money gets thrown around in regards to winning CL, going down or going up, etc…
    I recently read that Real really needed CR7/Portugal to make the Euros due to he ancillary revenue they will gain. As much as 30 mil was mentioned. That figure seems very inflated, but I do believe they will gain revenue through CR7 merchandise due to Euro’s.
    Just wondering your opinion on that.

    Which brings me to Carrol. I always thought that he was as much a marketing purchase as he was a player. If he goes and does anything in the Euro’s for England, I would suspect that Liverpool would gain some revenue from that. No?

    As for Meireles and Liverpool I read in the Portuguese newspapers that he left because he was promised an increase in wages. When they told him he wasn’t getting them, he put in for the transfer request.
    He was going to go somewhere whether AVB was Chelsea’s manager or not.

    I wanted to touch on the FFP rules, since I have discussed it before. I’m all for it, but frankly I think it will cause a greater divide between the haves and have nots.
    I also wonder what kind of rules are in place stopping Abram from using one of his other companies as the jersey sponsor and bringing in enough money in order to meet requirements.

    Sorry for the long posts.

  32. Alberta Gooner says:

    @ED

    “No I’m not a student. I happen to be a futebol fan for over 35 years. I have also written more than one article on the game.”

    It’s just you appear to have a childlike innocence when it comes to lending practices of banks.

    “I won’t pretend to know more about Arsenal than their biggest followers, but playing stupid isn’t an answer or comeback.”

    I’ll consider the source on this one, Ed, particularly given what follows.

    “I’m actually of the belief that Arsenal should be capitalizing on their success and style of play. They should be much bigger abroad, which should bring in plenty of merchandising revenue.
    I wasn’t saying that they needed more revenue for the stadium in particular. I was stating that they should have been bringing in more revenue stadium or no stadium.”

    But that’s what they were trying to do by building a new stadium, Ed. Their board at the time did not have any rich sugar daddies who could fund a stadium by themselves. The club was actually posting losses in some years when they were at Highbury in the Champions League so the board realized they needed to do something if they were going to sustain that success. If you want to have a discussion about this, you really need to bone up on your history or resist commenting on the matter. Otherwise, you expose yourself to mockery.

    “Please correct me if I’m wrong, but the deal I’m talking about is the one in regards to the stadium name and jersey sponsor. You mean to tell me they couldn’t have received better deals for the life of that contract? I think they could have.”

    There’s a few things at play here, Ed. First, you are judging the deals with the benefit of hindsight. Second, you have decided not to arm with any of the necessary facts or perspective to comment intelligently on those deals. You are entitled to your own opinion, obviously, but not your own set of facts. Third, your assumptions about how businesses operate are, at best, naive. That’s why I asked whether you were a student. I find the lack of perspective, lack of curiosity to learn the facts and willingness to state an opinion without a modicum of research wholly out of step with your claim to be at least 35 years of age.

    “I know it’s silly season, and many things will be mentioned that are far from the truth. But the fact remains that it’s bad business letting RvP’s deal come to this. Arsenal has left itself no leverage in selling the player if he chooses to go.”

    There’s a theme developing here, Ed. Let’s tick the boxes, shall we? Hindsight? Check. Lack of facts? Check. Naivety? We’re three for three! Extending that deal requires two willing parties, Ed, and ensuring the demands from a 28-year-old striker whose brittleness throughout his career in north London had seen him on the treatment table nearly as often as the pitch fit within an appropriate wage structure. But you either didn’t know that or chose to ignore it. Thirty five years, you say. Really?

    “As for Nasri’s comments, I agree that things come back to get you. But he won. He won as soon as he left. Even Cesc won silverware as soon as he left. Doesn’t look good.”

    Yes, I’m sure Cesc is wholly pleased with his Copa Del Rey’s winner medal just as Nasri was in his cameo for City’s success. There’s plenty of other players who’ve left the club and it has not worked out so well for them. The difference between your perspective and mine, Ed, is I remember far tougher times than these for Arsenal. I understand this because I’ve actually been following the club for a long time. That’s why your claims of following the game for so long don’t really wash with me, Ed. I’d expect a little more perspective and research from a published pundit.

    “People will blame City and Chelsea (I’m not a fan of either club, and don’t believe what they are doing is good for the game), for over inflating salaries and transfer costs. So what? They only have so many roster spots and will be stuck with players they want to move. You think teams will want to pay Tevez, Ade, etc… their salaries? Very few can, and won’t.
    Players will always want the money, but CL prestige still goes a long way in getting that money. As long as that’s available to players, you will be able to attract talent.”

    Well done stating the obvious, Ed, and I can see how your punditry might be in demand. That’s positively Shearer-like insightfulness.

  33. Ed Gomes says:

    Childlike innocence, that’s rich AG.
    The point I was trying to make was that Arsenal could have been been earning more revenue than just what they were going to get form the stadium. If they had “branded” better, maybe they wouldn’t have had to taken on such a long deal.
    Like I mentioned I am not an Arsenal fan, so I welcome all information in regards to them. Since I offended you with my lack of knowledge of Arsenal I will for now on resist any comments on the club.

    As for RvP, I don’t disagree with your assessment at all. The question I’m posing is why did Arsenal let it come to this. If they were unwilling to take on the risk of RvP, then why not have any backup plan in place? Why let the same happen to other stars? Oh I’m sorry, I forgot, you have Podolski. Good luck with that.

    Like I said, you and others should be much more well versed on Arsenal. I commend you for it, that’s being a fan. I’m not an Arsenal fan, so I haven’t followed them from ages back.
    What I’ve seen is a club that’s let players go, with no real backup plans in place. I’m not killing the club, since they’ve been very successful, but they should have won silverware along the way.
    You lost to Birmingham. Really?

    As for stating the obvious, why than does everyone kill City and Chelsea if all the purchasing will only cause their demise?

    By the way, I’m 43 years old and I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world and enjoy futebol throughout.
    I have to admit that your rhetoric was getting to me, but then I realized I was talking to one of those crazy fans. I don’t know you enough to know if you are one of the super critical kind, or the undying they can do no wrong kind. I can guess by your comments.
    If I can help, it’s ok to be critical of your club when it’s warranted. It doesn’t make you a bad guy. And guess what, you don’t come across like a crazy? If done intelligently.

  34. Alberta Gooner says:

    @Ed

    “Childlike innocence, that’s rich AG. The point I was trying to make was that Arsenal could have been been earning more revenue than just what they were going to get form the stadium. If they had “branded” better, maybe they wouldn’t have had to taken on such a long deal.”

    That makes even less sense than your previous posts, Ed. First it was “they didn’t need to take such a long term deal in order to secure certain rates from the banks.” Then you moved to “Sorry for thinking that Arsenal was big enough to bring revenue to secure stadium build. Like I tried to point out, arsenal should be capitalizing on perceived success, yet haven’t.” Still I see you are consistent and have stuck rigidly to the hindsight/lack of facts/naivety formula by way of response. You own that particular brand, Ed.

    “Like I mentioned I am not an Arsenal fan, so I welcome all information in regards to them. Since I offended you with my lack of knowledge of Arsenal I will for now on resist any comments on the club.”

    I’m not offended by your lack of knowledge, Ed. I’m curious about why you’d comment on an issue that you didn’t bother to research. And then once somebody has provided you with those facts, stubbornly ignore them. That’s troubling behaviour from somebody claiming to be a well-travelled 43-year old, Ed.

    “As for RvP, I don’t disagree with your assessment at all. The question I’m posing is why did Arsenal let it come to this. If they were unwilling to take on the risk of RvP, then why not have any backup plan in place? Why let the same happen to other stars? Oh I’m sorry, I forgot, you have Podolski. Good luck with that.”

    I already explained this in my previous post, Ed. Arsenal didn’t “let” it come to this. RvP and his people decided not to sign what the club put forward, which was an offer based on RvP’s past service with the club. So it’s not really a case of Arsenal “letting” RvP do anything. It’s bargaining between two parties. My 12-year-old son understands this concept so I cannot even call this childlike innocence. As far as your comments on Podolski, I’ll trust Wenger’s record at a talent-spotter, even over somebody with your knowledge of the game, vast that it is.

    “Like I said, you and others should be much more well versed on Arsenal. I commend you for it, that’s being a fan. I’m not an Arsenal fan, so I haven’t followed them from ages back.
    What I’ve seen is a club that’s let players go, with no real backup plans in place. I’m not killing the club, since they’ve been very successful, but they should have won silverware along the way. You lost to Birmingham. Really?”

    Actually, Ed, I’m more than an Arsenal supporter. I’ve played the game competitively and am now coaching and working towards my B license (feel free to look that up to see exactly what that entails) as well as blogging regularly on another site. That’s why I’m not always commenting on every single thread in this site. I only step in every once and a while to provide facts and perspective. Whether people decide to accept them or not is up to them.

    My question for you — and it’s a rhetorical one — is why do people feel the state their opinion in ignorance? If you consider your opinion as important — and given the amount of time you spend posting on this site, you clearly place a high value on your insights on a wide range of topics — why not do a little research? If you cannot be bothered to look up information, well-informed people will either call you out or tune you out. Just something to consider going forward, Ed.

    “As for stating the obvious, why than does everyone kill City and Chelsea if all the purchasing will only cause their demise?”

    Go back and look at what you wrote in its entirety.

    “By the way, I’m 43 years old and I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world and enjoy futebol throughout.”

    Your posts don’t really reflect that, Ed, which suggests you are not being honest with the rest of us or those experiences have been lost on you. Either way, it’s a little sad.

    “I have to admit that your rhetoric was getting to me, but then I realized I was talking to one of those crazy fans. I don’t know you enough to know if you are one of the super critical kind, or the undying they can do no wrong kind. I can guess by your comments. If I can help, it’s ok to be critical of your club when it’s warranted. It doesn’t make you a bad guy. And guess what, you don’t come across like a crazy? If done intelligently.”

    I’ll let others judge which of us is crazy, Ed, and which one of us is spouting drivel. Again. For the record, I’ve been very critical of Arsenal here, on Bobby’s previous blog and elsewhere, as some other commenters here could attest. What I don’t like is seeing the club criticized unjustly, particularly when the critics lack facts or perspective.

  35. Ed Gomes says:

    I must have been very sheltered in my youth and have a blasé attitude to my experiences.
    I only play in a lowly over-40 league.
    Your air of importance I’d fascinating. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts, AG. Always looking to learn.

  36. Fred Haas says:

    John:

    No worries about the digressions. It happens, but thanks for the thought nonetheless.

    I am with you on the valuation of Carroll. I am not sure there are many players truly worth that kind of money. That is very select company. I am thinking of how MLS made more than 2/3 of the money back in shirt sales alone.

    However, the manager doesn’t necessarily determine what a player will cost. That’s what operations and accountants for the club do. Plus, I think Carroll really was a panic buy brought on by the Torres exit and Newcastle had them over a barrel and knew it.

    All that said, he needs to consistently score 18-22 goals a season for years and then the fee is less of a burden. If he bags close to 100 goals over his career he will be fine. Until then, his price will be a millstone around his neck and the club’s. Yet, I think that 18-22 a season is an achievable target for him as a player.

    Look, he is not the most technically gifted. However, he is still pretty young and inexperienced for a big target striker who has to hold up play and work off the ball. In fact, that is where I would say he has the most work to do is working off the ball. Regardless, I do not think they will ever get anything approaching the price they paid should they want to sell.

    Truth is some of their buys were essentially second choice options, which is kind of the market they seem to be in at the moment.

    Second choice to Ashley Young, Downing simply seems like a mirage of a player to me. He disappears for way too long on the pitch, and with this team there was nowhere to hide. Still, he is a national team player and anyone would have thought he might have performed better. However, 70+ shots and no goals is simply criminal. He should give some of his wages back to the club.

    I think Henderson became an option, because it was clear that Hazard was not coming, despite Joe Cole being sent to France. Yet, he is a Three Lions U21 captain. However, he continually looks overmatched. Every ball that kid plays is maddeningly backwards or sideways – wait or 35 rows into the crowd! I know he is young but he is just not ready yet, and I am not sure he ever will be.

    I feel like Adam may be better next year, but he may not be good enough either or end up a squad player. He can be effective, but may not have enough quality to be a regular. I am willing to give him another season to prove it. He was a first-choice option, but they needed to wait until the summer for Blackpool to release him.

    I can tell you are not a Dalglish fan, I admittedly am. Regardless, I still think a manager needs at least two full seasons to have a chance of turning anything around. He may well not have been the answer, and he definitely made mistakes. Still, anyone is going to need two to three seasons to make Liverpool a challenging club.

    FSG didn’t just buy a house. They bought a house on fire. So I think more than anything they needed to stabilize things and exercise more patience, because it doesn’t seem like they have much of a plan at the moment.

    Now they just seem to be revealing more and more just how out of their depth they are in terms of club football. The least that they should have done by now is get a Director or whatever team of administrators they think they are going to use. Then they would select a manager to collaborate and execute a vision.

    Fred

  37. Alberta Gooner says:

    @Ed

    Happy to sort you out, Ed, although I suspect everybody else would have appreciated it if it didn’t take four posts before you clued in/gave up. That time might be better spend researching issues before you comment on them. Good luck with that. Apologies again, Fred, for the digression.

  38. J Rob says:

    Fred

    Agree with all your comments but think Henderson has excellent chance of coming good. He is clearly better in middle where he was rarely played.

    Rather depressing to watch owners take shotgun approach to potential new manager. Current void at top levels of LFC leaves possibility of best players being picked off by other clubs too.

    Most depressing of all is no news on a new stadium. Hard to avoid conclusion that without one LFC will not be able to compete at top level going forward.

    Overall I think we need a sustainable plan on and off the field. I would accept lowered expectations in short-term for longer term success.

    As much as Kenny Dalglish has been ridiculed by some for obtaining success in Cups as opposed to top four finish at this point that is probably a realistic level for Liverpool. You correctly point out that LFC can no longer attract the top tier of players. KD had identified Ashley Young and Phil Jones initially. The top continental talent want higher wages and Champion’s League football.

    The irony of NESV’s decision to fire KD is it only increases the pressure on his successor. What will the reaction of fans, owners and pundits be if LFC get neither a top four spot or a Cup win next year?

  39. John Bladen says:

    O, ask and ye shall be….

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18174030

  40. John Bladen says:

    Thanks Fred.

    yeah, it’s possible Carroll could improve. I’m not sure I’d agree that he can regularly hit the 20 goal mark, but improvement is possible.

    The most worrying thing for me is that a good deal of his failings can be put down to either a low work rate or “giving up” on attacking plays that haven’t finished yet. All players will have spells of good and bad form, but when their effort appears to be lacking, it’s a tough sell (not just to the fans but to teammates as well).

    Fair point on KD. He didn’t get a great deal of time to implement whatever plan he thought he had. However, when you rush in and spend $100m+ in 3 weeks, time tends not to be on your side…

    I wonder if FSG was a bit overoptimistic considering their previous buy? I don’t think anyone saw the Red Sox as championship contenders in the years leading up to their 2004 win. In fact, I don’t think many saw them as real contenders after 3 games of their playoff series v NY…

    Had Dalglish been able to deliver that kind of magical and inexplicable result, no doubt he would be the toast of the town, and worries over their aging and underperforming stars (a’la Boston) would be at least delayed if not allayed completely.

    Turns out magical results don’t always come your way, even if you are a hedge fund manager with a history of questionable sports franchise transactions…

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