Jump to content
By fans, for fans. By fans, for fans. By fans, for fans.

Another good article from Dion Fanning


Andy @ Allerton

Recommended Posts

http://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/axe-will-fall-in-anfield-rising-2410728.html

 

 

John W Henry last week began a search for reasonableness in an unreasonable world. The history of English football is the story of success being achieved by the iron will and insanity of a domineering figure. Even Arsene Wenger, a great reformer, knows only one way. It may be erudite and civilised and touched with genius, but it is his way.

 

No club can rely on genius. Chelsea might have found another method, but that won’t be New England Sports Ventures’ way. Roman Abramovich’s bankrolling of the club in the early years allowed Chelsea to become a force. Jose Mourinho may have been the manager the club needed when they needed to assert their personality — or assume his personality.

 

In Carlo Ancelotti, they have found a man who might allow them to be successful and even court popularity. Chelsea are a world away from Liverpool now. In 2009, Liverpool finished above them, an astonishing achievement given the wealth Abramovich pumped in while Tom Hicks and George Gillett were pumping it out.

 

Liverpool have a future now at least. NESV have made a dynamic start and they have demonstrated they are prepared to take risks in order to be successful. The appointment of Damien Comolli is a gamble. All major appointments are, but NESV are trying to do something that hasn’t been done or, at least, has been done quietly in the past. Even the most powerful managers rely on other people’s judgement. Alex Ferguson signed Bebe without seeing him, but ultimately footballers must know that the man they are working for wants them at the club.

 

Comolli’s arrival, Henry says, will lead to a situation where “you build consensus”. Ultimately, however, one man will be sacrificed if there is failure and it will usually be the manager. It is fashionable to say that a sporting director is the “continental model” but even in cultures where coaches are used to having sporting directors or players forced upon them by presidents, it is almost always the coach who pays for failure. That won’t change.

 

NESV will work from the idea that if you recruit the best players and pay good wages to players who deserve it, the coach can be less important. There is statistical evidence to support this idea and that may be enough for them.

 

Liverpool’s boot room was a place of consensus during the Bob Paisley era and may be the greatest example of what NESV hope to achieve. Football’s reality is that managers are always taking recommendations from agents, scouts and others. The key elements are trust and perception.

 

But football has not changed in the sense that there must be an overarching figure. Roy Hodgson is not that man at Liverpool. Once it is perceived that he is not signing players, it will be interesting to see how long he survives. All the talk of continental models won’t save a manager when the sense is that he has been weakened.

 

But Liverpool and Hodgson have had a good couple of weeks and not just because they have learned to win again. Three victories appeared to ease the pressure on Hodgson, even as it was becoming clear that his authority was being diminished by the energy and new ideas of NESV.

 

He had no option last week but to act like all was well. His powerbase, such as it was, has been all but eroded at Liverpool. He now has the support of Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard and the public backing of NESV, but that may no longer be enough.

 

Gerrard scored a hat-trick against Napoli on Thursday night which led Carragher to describe him as Liverpool’s greatest ever player. There’s a case to be made that Carragher, not Gerrard, has been Liverpool’s most influential player over the past five years.

 

The Gerrard myth needs little encouragement to re-emerge so his hat-trick last Thursday obscured the reality that his season has been dreadful. There is growing evidence that his legs have gone and if Liverpool had been run as a normal club last summer, not one on life support, then it would have made sense to sell him.

 

A club like Wenger’s Arsenal might have decided that last summer, if £30m was on offer, was the right time to get rid of Gerrard. He is 30 now and there is no indication that he will be able to replace his explosive force with the wit and intelligence needed to control a match.

 

All he ever had were reactions. World-class reactions, but reactions indicative of his restless personality. Occasionally he still reacts brilliantly as he showed on Thursday night, but the myth that Liverpool was built by Gerrard persists. Liverpool must hope this inelasticity in his reputation continues until the summer when they can sell him. But this afternoon, not 45 minutes against Napoli, will demonstrate the point Gerrard has reached in his career.

 

Liverpool, as a team, will be tested and even if they lose, which seems likely, Hodgson must ensure they show some fight. He has made much of the players he inherited. Henry, too, seemed to absolve him of blame for the ageing squad and when they point to players like Maxi Rodriguez and Soto Kyrgiakos, they have a case.

 

But Hodgson did nothing to change it. The signings of Paul Konchesky, 29, Joe Cole, 28, Raul Meireles, 27, and Christian Poulsen, 30, have done little to lower the age profile and even less to improve the quality.

 

There was also the curious decision to allow Jamie Carragher to sign a contract extension in the final hours of the old Hicks and Gillett regime. Carragher is needed at Liverpool, at least to remind players of their responsibilities. But he is fading fast as a player. His personality may be reason enough to keep him at Liverpool and he was close to the departed managing director Christian Purslow as well as being a supporter of Hodgson’s.

 

But if he had any say in recommending Hodgson, then foresight is not one of Carragher’s attributes.

 

Hodgson, it is said, would never have got the job if Liverpool were not in such crisis. After the divisive final year of Rafa Benitez, some felt that Liverpool needed a unifying figure. Instead they got Roy Hodgson.

 

It is unprecedented in modern times for the appointment of a Liverpool manager to be met with such a lack of enthusiasm. Some blame this entirely on the unwavering loyalty of a large section of Liverpool supporters to Benitez.

 

This phenomenon in itself is never explored. Football fans are usually castigated for their fickleness. Yet here is a group being condemned for their steadfastness, primarily because it doesn’t fit in with the agenda that all that went wrong at Liverpool was Benitez’s fault.

 

The problem now is not Benitez but Hodgson, despite the recent victories. If Purslow wanted somebody to help the supporters forget about Benitez, he could not have picked a worse man. His appointment was met with no enthusiasm and a repeated mantra from most that he needed time. Liverpool supporters, apathetic at best, seemed to be willing patience on themselves.

 

But there is no need to give a manager who has been in football 30 years time. If Howard Wilkinson had been appointed, few would have said give him time. Hodgson has a body of work which allows people to judge his appointment immediately: he is a Fulham manager managing Liverpool, as demonstrated by his reaction to any criticism.

 

Last weekend’s victory was Hodgson’s first away victory in the Premier League in 442 days. These were mainly good days for Hodgson; 442 days when he was feted and became manager of the year. Nobody noticed or cared that Fulham went most of last season without an away league victory. At Liverpool, they notice.

 

Since Liverpool’s defeat to Everton, things have improved. At home to Blackburn, Liverpool attacked and hustled with purpose for the first time this season. Against Bolton, they got a break in a dull game and Gerrard won it for them on Thursday. But they are Hodgson victories and he will take them any way he can.

 

He has welcomed the arrival of NESV and the appointment of Comolli. He has welcomed everything and even apologised to Benitez. But Hodgson is isolated now. The men who appointed him have gone. He is working beyond his abilities and has problems above his pay grade.

 

John W Henry arrived, making sense and bringing reason. It may require one act of ruthlessness if Liverpool are truly to begin making progress.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Gerrard myth needs little encouragement to re-emerge so his hat-trick last Thursday obscured the reality that his season has been dreadful. There is growing evidence that his legs have gone and if Liverpool had been run as a normal club last summer, not one on life support, then it would have made sense to sell him.

 

A club like Wenger’s Arsenal might have decided that last summer, if £30m was on offer, was the right time to get rid of Gerrard. He is 30 now and there is no indication that he will be able to replace his explosive force with the wit and intelligence needed to control a match.

 

All he ever had were reactions. World-class reactions, but reactions indicative of his restless personality. Occasionally he still reacts brilliantly as he showed on Thursday night, but the myth that Liverpool was built by Gerrard persists. Liverpool must hope this inelasticity in his reputation continues until the summer when they can sell him. But this afternoon, not 45 minutes against Napoli, will demonstrate the point Gerrard has reached in his career.

He was out of sorts last season, but this season has not been dreadful. He has been the one player who has turned up.

 

He's also shown signs of being more measured in his play when asked to play a deeper midfield role.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He was out of sorts last season, but this season has not been dreadful. He has been the one player who has turned up.

 

He's also shown signs of being more measured in his play when asked to play a deeper midfield role.

 

 

Agreed,I think Fanning is talking from a bitter prism there. It just drips with venom at those he sees as the 'Men who felled Benitez'. This epic rant of his, part 12 here before us, is not doing him any favours, turning him from a writer keen on perspective to an undisguised single issue shouter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agreed,I think Fanning is talking from a bitter prism there. It just drips with venom at those he sees as the 'Men who felled Benitez'. This epic rant of his, part 12 here before us, is not doing him any favours, turning him from a writer keen on perspective to an undisguised single issue shouter.

I remember him saying at least one occasion that in an ideal world (i.e. without fan pressure and media scruntiny) Rafa would have sold Gerrard. I actually think that does Rafa a disservice implying that he can only work with automatons.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agreed,I think Fanning is talking from a bitter prism there. It just drips with venom at those he sees as the 'Men who felled Benitez'. This epic rant of his, part 12 here before us, is not doing him any favours, turning him from a writer keen on perspective to an undisguised single issue shouter.

 

Yes, his relentless agenda is all through this. The attack on Gerrard is quite pathetic and foolishly timed. It shows that its a piece he had written regardless of events .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember him saying at least one occasion that in an ideal world (i.e. without fan pressure and media scruntiny) Rafa would have sold Gerrard. I actually think that does Rafa a disservice implying that he can only work with automatons.

 

 

Yeh, it goes way back for him. Probably genuinely believes that Gerrard hamstrung Benitez and kept him from ever putting his own stamp on things, but like you say it does perpetuate other unfair myths.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree there would normally be a case for selling a player of Gerrard's age while he still commands a high transfer fee, the difference with Gerrard however is, in addition to being a world class player, he is a local in a sea of nationalities and consequently represents one of the last remaining links between the club and it's fans, especially those regular match-goers who hail from the area.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, his relentless agenda is all through this. The attack on Gerrard is quite pathetic and foolishly timed. It shows that its a piece he had written regardless of events .

 

It's the same article/column again and again with a little bit of reportage thrown in so you can pin it to this week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ridiculous suggestion that Gerrard has been dreadful this year. He has been in general committed this season, in fairly sickening contrast to last year (apart from a couple of off-days and periods of non-effort which were as poison as anything from '09/'10) and has been playing well.

 

Even so, Napoli's the only game he has influenced in his trademark style, and that surrounded by boys and incompetents. He's mostly playing well and obviously praise God that he has cheered up most days and all that, but we are sh*t and will remain sh*t until somebody fixes his partnership with Torres, because it doesn't matter how well the captain is personally playing seeing as he seems to be losing the ability to carry, or 'inspire' or whatever, the whole team in proper matches like he often seemed to in the past. It's like they're all just looking at him going, "Oh, Stevie's playing well. Happy for him."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quelle suprise who is straight out to criticise the article.

 

Oh come on mate, the Roy stuff is pretty much nailed on, but yet again he's ruined his article with an all out assault on the evil Steven Gerrard. He loses any remote sense of credibility with his continued attacks on the captain. He thinks, and he is quite possibly correct, that SG had something to do with Rafa's departure, in terms of helping to create some kind of him or me situation. This drives every single article, and results in a complete lack of objectivity with regards to SG.

 

If he'd left Gerrard out of the article, there would have been very little, if any, comment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quelle suprise who is straight out to criticise the article.

 

To be honest the Gerrard bit leaps out as being utter b******s and does hint at an agenda - and that from someone who disgarees with DH on just about everything.

Edited by kop205
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It doesn't actually say that Gerrard has been dreadful this season, does it?

 

It says this season has been dreadful. And on Thursday night, Gerrard disguised it.

 

That's how I read it anyway.

 

"The Gerrard myth needs little encouragement to re-emerge so his hat-trick last Thursday obscured the reality that his season has been dreadful."

That entire sentence sums up Fanning's entrenched stance. Zero credibility as a journalist when you keep throwing your personal vendetta's into your writing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, his relentless agenda is all through this. The attack on Gerrard is quite pathetic and foolishly timed. It shows that its a piece he had written regardless of events .

 

I'm a fan of Dion Fanning's, but I have to agree with this.

 

Gerrard has turned up this season - and some. Ridiculous, the bit about Gerrard.

 

Oh come on mate, the Roy stuff is pretty much nailed on, but yet again he's ruined his article with an all out assault on the evil Steven Gerrard. He loses any remote sense of credibility with his continued attacks on the captain. He thinks, and he is quite possibly correct, that SG had something to do with Rafa's departure, in terms of helping to create some kind of him or me situation. This drives every single article, and results in a complete lack of objectivity with regards to SG.

 

If he'd left Gerrard out of the article, there would have been very little, if any, comment.

 

 

To be honest the Gerrard bit leaps out as being utter b******s and does hint at an agenda - and that fromsomeone who disgarees with DH on just about everything.

 

Not Hodgson's biggest fan either (you figure out which one), but again, I agree.

 

The Gerrard stuff is complete drivel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quelle suprise who is straight out to criticise the article.

 

In a universe where one still see 2 and 2 equalling four, one is going to be consistently predictable in rubbishing the rantings of an idiot who sees shape shifting lizards and little green myths at every turn. Glad you weren't surprised, in short. ;)

 

Now, back at the topic to hand, that was largely a load of rubbish by Fanning, n'est ce pas ?

 

To be honest the Gerrard bit leaps out as being utter b******s and does hint at an agenda - and that from someone who disgarees with DH on just about everything.

 

I had a tear in my eye reading that.

 

I love you man.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's completely unnecessary. The article could have done without it.

 

Why? I personally think that (Apart from 2 or 3 outstanding performances out of the blue) Gerrard has been awful for two years. Last season he was a disgrace. Club captain. Highest paid player at the club and on so many occasions simply couldn't be arsed running 5 yards to get the ball. Spent most of the game sulking, moaning, stamping about and shouting at his team mates. I personally expect more than that from your club captain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He was out of sorts last season, but this season has not been dreadful. He has been the one player who has turned up.

 

 

Fanning goes too far, but the above hasn't been true of Stevie all season. When he was playing deep he was mediocre and the team were getting dominated.

 

Stevie is emotionally immature. He plays according to events in his life, personal and professional. Now the ownership situation is settled and he has his platform back I suspect his form will improve. But not if he plays deep.

 

 

One thing Fanning says about Stevie is correct :

 

this afternoon, not 45 minutes against Napoli, will demonstrate the point Gerrard has reached in his career.

 

 

Let's hope he proves Fanning wrong. The numerous people in the match thread saying 0-0 would be a good result and a morale boost are making me feel a bit sick. It's at our gaff, for goodness sake.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...