Was going to start a new thread, but thought I'd lash it in this as its a similar topic, written last night:
“Though those that are betrayed do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor stands in worse case of woe.”
I never knew until this evening that the bard had written about Fernando Torres but there it is, look, perfectly summing up how I feel about the latest instalment of the L4 soap opera.
As I write, the latest news is that Liverpool have rejected the Spaniard’s written transfer request. To type out those words and read them back makes the mind boggle and the stomach churn in a way I have rarely ever felt.
Such is the unbridled adulation enjoyed by the striker from the fans of this club. It was once said that he makes defenders look old and fans feel young and it is completely true. Grown men idolise him as if they were seven years old, or as one t-shirt I have seen put it, he has been ‘turning Kopites gay since 2007’.
The news then that he wants out has, shall we say, not gone down well. On the forums there is a mixture of disbelief, anguish and outright rage. He was supposed to be different, the loyal, humble little lad from the Madrid suburbs, with his modest upbringing and childhood-sweetheart wife. It seems however, that we have been duped and sharply indeed do we feel this treason.
Chelsea? Why? How can he go there? So often he has spoken of his respect for fans and how he could not do anything to hurt them, like joining Real Madrid would the fans of his beloved Atleti, for example. How then can he now want to move to Chelsea?
Let us examine. Chelsea have an ageing squad and are having a poor season. There is no guarantee that they will be in the Champions’ League next season and their fans are simply incomparable with Liverpool’s, with their plastic flags and corporate atmosphere. Liverpool, in the meantime, have new owners, a shiny new record signing to partner him, fans who laud him as a deity and Kenny Dalglish. He stands on the brink of being a club legend and could own the city if he wanted to.
So I ask again, why? How can he leave it so late in the transfer window and be this selfish? Truly, I am astonished.
One poster on the forum Red and White Kop insightfully pointed out that perhaps we are in despair at the potential loss of the Torres ideology, not Torres the football player. If truth be told, his performances for the bulk of the last 18 months have been mediocre. He has been blighted by injury and as such seems to have lost that electrifying burst of pace we used to see. He was also treated terribly by the tactics of Roy Hodgson but true as that may be, it did not go unnoticed by the match going fans that his body language and attitude left much to be desired.
In Utrecht, after an abject Liverpool display, he simply trudged off the field and down the tunnel, not pausing for a single moment to acknowledge the thousands who had travelled abroad at considerable expense to watch him play. This is not the only example and it cannot truthfully be consigned to the Hodgson era. At Old Trafford, he was substituted when we needed a goal, frankly because his effort that day was appalling. Moments before his departure, he declined to chase for a ball that rolled all of three yards from his foot and believe me, 9000 of us noticed and told him what we thought of it.
Not to worry though, just a lovers’ tiff, surely? He scored twice against Wolves and played very well, so clearly Kenny had had a word and sorted his head out.
We forgave him because we love him. He represents hope and the joy that being a football fan can bring. A 1-0 win thanks to a Torres goal is far better than a 3-0 win without one. A banner on the Kop depicts him standing behind our King Kenny under the legend ‘The King and the Kid’. He is so highly regarded that my generation could claim him as our very own King and the oldies would not laugh us out of the pub.
Should he stay, it remains to be seen what remnants of that love affair could be salvaged. Steven Gerrard once submitted a transfer request so that he might join Chelsea only to change his mind but he was never afforded the same level of acclaim beforehand. In truth, although people like Gerrard, many are not too fussed about him, suggesting that perhaps he never fully recovered from his moment of madness.
But what of Shakespeare’s claim that ‘the traitor stands in worse case of woe’? Well surely it is obvious?
The Kop will mourn his departure but it will not be torn down. Our fans will curse him but we will still be together. My group of friends will lament the whole affair but we will remain friends. No, the real loser here will be Snr. Fernando Jose Torres Sans.
It is he who will become just another mercenary footballer, detached from the people he claims to be so in touch with. It is he who will embark upon the most meteoric fall from favour in the history of England’s most successful football club. It is he who will never feel the intoxicating warmth of the world’s most famous terrace again and it is he who will pass up the chance afforded to so few; to be a true legend at a world famous football club and forever be the byword for a generation of fans. And all for what? A few medals that have been bought by a billionaire owner of a soulless club, in which he played little part? If that is what makes him get out of bed in the morning, so be it but I know which side I am on.
Whichever way this mess ends up being sorted out, it has given me pause for thought. This week I have been working on a piece about rising ticket prices and this coupled with the overriding sentiment that clubs do not really care for us cannot help but make me think, “What is the point in following this stupid game anymore?”
Of course, I’ll keep going. We all will. What is it they say when relationships end? There’s plenty more fish in the sea. It’s not us it’s him. Let’s all comfort eat our weight in chocolate, burn our shirts and rid ourselves of the tyranny of these men!
Nah. I’ve heard Suarez is better than him anyway. Round and around and around we go…