I grew up looking down on other Football teams with disdain, especially supposed “big” clubs, for only being “Cup Teams”. That is those who usually had a cup run each season and whose pinnacle of success was lifting the FA Cup at Wembley in May. I always looked at the Cups (aside from the European Cup which back then only actual Champions could win) as being either the cream on the cake or something to have in a season you didn’t win the league.
As the last 20 years have progressed, I came to the conclusion that if Liverpool wasn’t careful the club would turn into that thing I dreaded most: each season by November already out of the title race, famous for being a “Cup Team”, occasionally having a couple of fancy players and paying over the odds for utter dross to make up the rest of the squad. Otherwise known as Tottenham Hotspur.
The fact we have only won Cups in the last 20 years, have only intermittently seriously challenged for the League and continue to purchase utter crap at inflated prices, as if Stan Collymore never happened, have caused my Tottenham Hotspur nightmare to keep me awake too often in recent years..
Thankfully though some differences exist to prevent me from being convinced we have become another Tottenham Hotspur. Examples include: in living memory we have not only challenged for the league, but actually won it and we don’t chop and change managers at the drop of a hat.
Recent events and the passage of time though are challenging those differences and some.
With the club becoming the plaything of rich owners, sold like so much linen or coal from Northern English ports of antiquity, and the hiring of a manager who’s claim to job is simply that he was “entitled” to it:
Coming to Liverpool for me was a pinnacle; to some extent it was a reward for the work I had put in, not just at Fulham but in the years before
I’ve been thinking of something worse than Tottenham to compare us to.
Added to rubbish above, the chanting of Kenny Dalglish’s name recently, not just because he was a success for the club as player and manager for the best part of 15 years (more than deserved), but because the fans think he should replace the existing manager has made me recently wake from nightmares where we had become just like something as abject as Newcastle United. A club where the fans have often felt they were entitled to decide the identity of the manager of their football club and whose owners grew fat on the lard before they sold to one.
There appears to at least be the opportunity of long term growth under FSG. I hope my fears Liverpool might become the new Newcastle, wandering aimlessly winning nothing for decades, living in the past rather than expecting the future might wane. Naturally we need a Manager who can help that future be successful before that can happen. But having a firm financial base, with a less wasteful transfer policy will help.
And while I certainly don’t think that would ever be Roy Hodgson, let’s not wish what happened to Alan Shearer and Newcastle once the fans got their way on either Liverpool or on Kenny Dalglish. I’d rather remember 1977 -1990. And I’m sure you do too.