Saturday, 3 November 2012

Semi-Defending Liverpool FC

(previously written in various forms on the Gallifrey Base "Liverpool in Crisis" thread, where I am one of their long running non-fans...)

When done properly, club and fan are a symbiotic relationship, both helping the other.

I feel the same about Thistle - they may drive me up the bloody wall, but when my granddad died, they provided emotional support for my family, when I had my first breakdown, several of their fans got me out of the house and into a friendly environment to improve my health a lot quicker than it would have. And when they were in trouble, on the pitch I cheered as loud as my rubbish lungs would let me, and gave as much money to the club's funds as I could. Symbiotic help.


I don't like diving.

I don't believe that some people dive all the time and others never dive. I also don't believe that someone who never dives ever should be applauded for one, while someone who frequently does so should be tarnished for a genuine foul.

I also tend to give benefit of the doubt unless its blatantly obvious. After all, a rather infamous penalty decision of a few years back had everyone howling dive, despite slow motion showing the defender had hooked his arm around the attackers leg, so the only way he could go was down.

There are other things I find far more distasteful though: like spitting, and the uncalled out gamesmanship (yelling at the referee, coming out late for kick off to psyche an opponent, going in 2 footed early on to show who's boss) which I hate far more.

Its far too early to say anything about Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. We've got to the bit in the season when people start to like predictions, many of which tend to fail abysmally.

See last year where Norwich and Swansea were too "lightweight" to survive the Premiership, and Wolves were being congratulated for their start!

This year, West Ham and West Brom are getting the plaudits for Indian summers that will determine their survival rather than a top ten place, whereas Aston Villa and Liverpool have the "In crisis" news pages. Neither of whom will be anywhere near the "crisis spots" of the league at crunch time.

When it comes to Liverpool, feelings should be based on performance. I haven't seen last nights game, but taking the previous three into account, there has been clear evidence of improvement in the team over the season. Especially if we compare it to the West Brom (league) and Hearts games, the team are learning to adapt to Rodgers ideas.

A comparison could be made with the Blackburn/Liverpool 2-3 game at the end of last season, and the 2-2 Everton game here. In fact, had Suarez's third (which watching live I thought should have been allowed) not been chalked off, the manner of the result would be identical. With the key difference that in the Blackburn game, Liverpool nearly lost to a dreadful side, and in the Everton game, they nearly beat a fairly good one by EPL standards.

Though they did beat a very good side merely a week ago, in Anzhi. I assumed from the tone of some fans that Liverpool would "do a Harry Redknapp or Martin O'Neill" in the Europa League" given that it is a good group to exit in, but the side that took on the Russians was fairly strong and had to be. Suggesting Rodgers is giving Europe a go (and to be fair, he kind of has to, with Liverpool's European tradition).

Which leaves us with games like tonight where the kids (Yesil) and the B-siders (Cole) get a run out. These matches can often lead to defeat, like tonight, but that's what happens when giving folk experience. It's not a Northampton Town like result either, Swansea City are a fine EPL side who ought to challenge for the top half of the table. What the result presumably shows us is the kids/B group aren't good enough to challenge top half EPL sides. But then they still have to get their run out, and rather in the League Cup than the FA Cup, I guess, if Europe is being taken distinctly seriously. (Not my view naturally, I'm a "try to win all the cups" type guy, but people do moan on...)

So, basically, its disappointing to exit a Cup - believe me, I know only too well, got a lot of experience at it - but it shouldn't be seen as a dampener on the slow revival of the club as seen over the last few weeks.

Anyhow, a win at the weekend would put you above Newcastle, another side who haven't quite got going yet this season (but do we hear a peak out of the media about it?).

As for Suarez, he was already a media villain before he even joined Liverpool, so naturally that narrative would continue. We remind ourselves of the 2010 World Cup incident against Ghana, with the handball on the line, and ITV deciding for the nation we all had to patronise the plucky African country, and later the Dutch. I'm aware he doesn't help himself at all - but then, neither did Michael Owen, whose diving for England would have gotten him the Victoria Cross off the Sun.

On the MacKenzie front, I wonder if he ever apologised to Jeremy Brett's family? Or Elton John? Or Simon Weston? Or that triple bypass guy he nearly killed? Or his Election 92 Page 3s, deeply unpleasant and misogynistic even for the Sun's Page 3? And that's not counting his anti-Scottish agenda, his 420 days quip, his own adultery after decades of chasing celebs for their "crimes", etc.

Has he received "personal villification"? No, not nearly enough. He still appears regularly as a media pundit, allegedly as thank yous for several scandalous stories he "spiked" in the 80s to gain friends in high places. Even if you took Hillsborough completely out of the equation, he'd still be the lowest of the low, a pathological lying cancer on the world. One of the few people Piers Morgan, David Cameron and Mitt Romney would look better than if compared to.

Its good he's beginning to shake a bit like this. God knows he's caused far too much misery, and far too many of his victims haven't had the voice to go: "The man's a vile ¤¤¤¤¤.

So the incident at Hillsborough had only narrowly been avoided in 1981 with Spurs fans, and in 1988, and no one in authority paid the blindest bit of the attention. Plus there was nearly an identical situation for both Everton and Norwich fans at Villa Park on the SAME day as the Hillsborough tragedy.

And that's before you factor in stuff like the Valley Parade fire. (Which comes across almost identical in cause to the Kings Cross fire)

It just shows a culture of people in authority who didn't care. Or weren't motivated enough to act before there was 96 corpses.

(NOTE from the Writer. I woke up in a tremendously foul mood, health related, thinking I ought to write on the Savile stuff. Knowing I'm in no frame of mind to write such a thing without libeling myself to hell, I avoided it. Not on grounds of rape apologism either. But indiscriminate anger in all directions is not an edifying thing to see...)