I’d be quite surprised if anyone employed for any amount of cash a week, but especially a footballers wages, wouldn’t be, by default, complimentary not just of his club, but of the fans the city and everything else which is important to make him feel at home. To accuse someone of being some sort of Judas because they said things about their new club which were highly contradictory of similar things they said at their previous club stirs emotions of those who feel betrayed by the statement but is the way of things with any sports team. Respect and perhaps adoration by association and emotion. The selling of club shirts by the truckload and the imagery dollars are paramount in the modern game which has been, for some time, nothing less than a money go round.
Tremendous people us Liverpool fans, quick to humour, but many also apparently quick to despair and dare I say it bile. For while it has been obvious for the best part of 7 months that Fernando Torres has been elsewhere in mind, though quite unlike Xabi Alonso while he was playing out time not often with us in spirit, many of my fellow Reds have behaved these last few days as if the contracted words of an employed man have any real meaning in this new corporate football we enjoy.
Fernando Torres, like many others before him, is quite possibly forging a career substantially shorter than some might expect, and therefore, just like any other “worker” entitled to choose with care where they take their talents and if they choose money over success or comfortable and well loved surrounds. And while I’m disappointed by his departure, I’d prefer to remember his successes while at Liverpool than resent his career choices.
Everyone has different desires, and everyone has constraints. Now far be it from me to compare a Footballer earning £175,000 per week (plus sponsorships etc.) with someone earning AU$1000 a week or less, but the facts remain the same. If someone gets offered more money, better working conditions or the expectation of success – whatever that looks like in your profession, there would have to exist a substantial local pull factor to turn it down.
So, as I explain above, one side of me is rational and philosophical about Torres leaving Liverpool Football Club, the other feels the same sort of disgust as has been shared over his move to “Chelski” by others. But I’ve been working for too long in too many different industries for the best part of 20 years, been both managed and a manager in that time and discovered it is best to be a realist about your expectations on both sides.
In the end, except when he is playing against Liverpool I’ll pretty much ignore Torres now. Just as I ignore most other players who play for a club I find the worst kind of nouveau-riche and worry about my own club. Liverpool, through their disposal of the Torres gotten gains have used a “better Andy Carroll in the hand than £35 MILLION pounds in the bush” analogy to either gain two young kids with potentially bright futures ahead of them or to recklessly spend the gains from a proven star in envious mimicry of the “whatever it takes” behaviour which Chelsea first brought to the transfer market and which has been sadly followed by Manchester City in recent years.
I would prefer to be optimistic and hope that as Paul Hayward wrote in the Guardian
the Carroll fee is misleading in the sense that Liverpool were suddenly cash rich and time poor
The fact Liverpool now have 22 and 24 year old international footballers for the same price as Torres and Babel were sold for is important, because it is also likely that between them they are also on lower wages than the two departed were. In effect cash flow positive for Liverpool despite the excessive amounts invested in Carroll.
So who has taken the risk here? Liverpool getting 2 players some years younger, one of whom is already well proven, for the price of one? Or Chelsea, five years after they first tried to sign him, getting an admittedly still relatively young player but who has already played senior football for 10 years and his been injured for most of the past 18 months?
To three years later make a £25-30 Million profit on an investment like Torres seems, in business terms, to have been a stunning investment by Liverpool in 2007. And while the investment almost paid off in 2009, just falling short in the race to the English Premier League, the facts are he has failed to regularly – admittedly often due to injury – reproduce his 2009 form since. One has to imagine that Fenway Sports Group in backing these transfers have assessed the merits of both and decided the upfront “capital” investment in these two players is, as a percentage of overall costs and revenues, low risk – similar to the one taken by the disdained Hicks and Gillett three and a half years ago with Torres.
Time will tell but I know who I’ll be rooting for when the new breed for both clubs come face to face next Monday morning Australian Time.