We are expected to take a lot on trust. Our role is to support the team come what way.
I was going to write about how the relationship between the club and its fans has changed over the years, and how that has slowly eroded the bond (of trust) that existed between them. I decided against it. It would be too long and too boring and I’m not that good a writer to hold a piece like that together.
Besides, that’s not an experience that’s exclusive to our club – it’s one shared by most supporters at most clubs. It’s a manifestation of the developing commercialisation and commodification of football. As football has expanded into global markets, the local grassroots support has become less important to the owners and moneymen who decide how the game is run. That’s modern football.
I decided instead to focus on our club, and to simply provide a very personal perspective on trust.
I trusted Shankly, Paisley and all the bootroom boys first of all, because my parents told me I should, and later because their deeds and actions showed me I should. My parents were right.
I trusted Kenny Dalglish because of all the wonderful things he did and achieved for us as a player, a manager and as a man.
I trusted Rafa Benitez because of what he achieved as a manager and how he stood up for us when our “custodians” started to show their true colours.
Right now, I don’t trust anyone in a position of authority at the club. I’ve been trying to work out why.
I think things got messed up for me when Rafa got bushwhacked. It was wrong and there was nothing anyone could do about it – that was the point that the values of the club started to openly diverge from those of the supporters. It might have started long before then, but that was the incident that brought it home to me – like I said, this is a personal perspective
Then the FSG takeover – the relief at getting ridding of that other pair and maybe some fresh hope that things would start to get back on track. Hodge soon dampened that – a man so out of tune with the club it was painful. FSG got rid and installed Kenny as caretaker and there was a groundswell of optimism and positivity. I loved that feeling when he walked out at OT – the King was back!
I’ll be honest here. I didn’t want Kenny to get the job full time. I just didn’t think it would work out well for him, for us, for the club. I’m not claiming that I had any sort of great foresight or judgement, but I didn’t want a legend and a hero to have to put himself in that firing line. He had nothing left to prove for me, and still doesn’t.
I said I didn’t want to write a long one and reckon I’m rambling on now (see told you I can’t hold it together). So let’s cut to the chase then.
We’re being asked to take a lot on trust right now too. It’s big ask. Based on what though? FSG has so far:
Hired and sacked a DoF whose sole achievement was to implement an anti-matter version of moneyball where we overvalue & overpay. Apparently, he aced his interview though.
Given a manager a 3 year deal and sacked him after one following 1 cup & 2 finals. Why do that? Why not back him? If he wasn’t what they wanted, why offer him the full time job or why not have some sort of 1 year rolling deal that would allow one or other to call it quits if it wasn’t working out?
Not made any sort of decision on the stadium. We mustn’t forget that this was the sole reason we were told we needed to sell up to the corporate world in the first place. Has whoever was put in charge of that area been sacked yet?
Recruited a manager through a process that played out X-factor style in the press. A long list, then a short list and apparently there was only ever one first choice anyway. It looked and sounded like a complete mess. It still does even as it’s reinvented after the fact.
Recruited a manager based on advice from “experts”. Who are these experts exactly? No one knows. No one appears to be asking? I’d like to know. Instead, we’re being asked to take it on trust.
Recruited a manager who has 152 games in charge of a first team, one season as a manager in top flight football and whose success to date has been not getting a team relegated. Paul Lambert did the same with Norwich and finished level on points with the mighty Swansea. He likes Barcelona and did a super first press conference though, so that’s alright then isn’t it?
Decided that they want a continental model with a DoF, then decided not. Not sure we’ve heard the last on this one yet mind.
There’s not a lot there to fill me with confidence that the people in charge know what they’re doing. There’s a lot to suggest that they’re winging it, or learning as they go, like we are some sort of trainer club for new football owners.
Maybe I’m wrong about some, maybe all of this. Maybe there’s some sort of master plan that has been taking shape all along. Maybe.
Maybe they’ll be great owners.
Maybe Brendan Rodgers will be great manager for us.
They’re going to have to earn my trust – not by what they say, but what they actually do and how they go about doing it. I feel as though I’m back where I started as a nipper – except my parents aren’t around to tell me what to do anymore, and if they were, I reckon they’d tell me to be careful who I trust.