Author Topic: The Life and teams of LFC  (Read 22586 times)

Offline Vulmea

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The Life and teams of LFC
« on: April 26, 2013, 11:02:25 pm »
by way of apology this didn't start out to be this long - I was just intrigued by the idea of Liverpool teams reflecting the society in which they grew up and it just grew from there really and much of what I intended has been lost in the surrounding verbiage - if I get the time I'll do some pruning, well a lot of pruning, well maybe re-write the lot and say what I actually intended

anyhoo its here now

if you have the patience to read it then I have no medals to bestow but you'd deserve one

The early years i.e. before my time
When Liverpool FC was born it arrived into one of the worlds greatest cities. Liverpool was a thriving, cosmopolitan whirlpool of different cultures and people. The city thankfully remains unique. The oldest Chinese community in Europe, the only ethnic communities in the UK  that refer to themselves by city first rather than skin colour, a city that the Irish consider their European capital. The waterfront is rightly designated a world heritage site, it dominated the lives of millions for centuries. Yet Liverpool FC had to be reinvented by Bill Shankly in the late 50’s the post war years of austerity were tough. He made everybody remember and believe in the Football Club and by association the City. His legacy endures even now not least because it is a story the people want to believe in.

The Rise of Shankly’s Army

For me football and my club began in the 60’s. It began with a small charismatic Scotsman who had the heart of a giant and who breathed life and passion into a struggling football club and helped energise an entire city. He arrived at an incredible time, the austerity of the post war years was ending, the baby boomers were being born and the world belonged to the young. Anything and everything was possible and Liverpool seemed to be at the centre of it all.

The sixties in Liverpool, what a decade that was! The Beatles, the docks, the football, a city as vibrant as any in the world and into this strode the football genius that was Shankly  “I was made for Liverpool and Liverpool for me”  he proclaimed and how right he was. The right man, at the right time. He embodied so much of what made Liverpool, Liverpool.

Shanks was a staunch socialist who expected and demanded his teams play as he expected them to live. Where everybody contributed what they could for the benefit of all. A simple game of giving and taking passes, of working hard for each other, pass and move. This is the template that he lay down for generations to follow. This was a reflection not just of his up bringing but of the society he was in, a strong working class city with none of the presumptions, nor airs and graces of elsewhere, no false humility either. A City that believed in itself and believed it had a right to express itself. A city that produced 4 young lads that went on to conquer the world. Timing was key of course, it always is.

Shankly built a team of strong minded, physically tough players. Players that used the ball well but had a direct style and functional feel. It was a good team, competitive, capable of beating the best. There was no great tactical play, it largely mirrored the norm of British football. Constructed with some dominant Scottish personalities and hard scouse lads: Yates, Smith, Lawler, Byrne, St John, Callaghan, and scattered with a touch of brilliance from  Liddell or Hunt or Thommo. It was not until the first European adventures that Liverpool began to change into a more sophisticated unit. The Liverpool game plan began to emerge, ball retention became key and the tactical element of the game grew in importance, all the while though  loyalty, team spirit, that inner belief in what could be achieved when all fighting for the same cause held the whole thing togther.

The growth and success of Liverpool was not merely luck though. The man introduced new training routines and a revolutionary approach to diet. The small sided games and the constant work with the ball were ahead of their time in the UK. His motivational abilities, his ability to communicate with his people were second to none. His introduction of ball playing centre backs and his ability to introduce young talent set a model for others to follow. The Liverpool Way evolved. It was Shanks way primarily, decent and honest but with afierce will to be the very best. If Liverpool did not win every trophy then they gave the impression they could.

Shankly also realised that individualism had to be harnessed by the collective  whether it was Liddel’s skill or Keegans dynamism, Dalglish’s vision or Barnes’s balance, it would stand Liverpool in good stead through decades.It was accomplished time and again by those players and managers who placed the team first and personal glory nowhere. It allowed their talents to shape a team that was greater than its parts which in turn made them stars and showcased their abilities, the glory came with the success, it was never, as with other clubs the target.

These were different times, more respectful. The crowds almost entirely male, white and working class, appreciated the work and skill involved, the stadium basic, it was no place for a family day out. It was a release from the daily grind and as such the players were told, a privilege to be allowed to play. The threat of working down pit still loomed large for Shanks, the gap between supporter and player was not so great. The two lifestyles still aligned, the players had privileged lifestyles but they were short lived, normality was one bad tackle away. It was easier for fans and players to have a common bond. The holy trinity, fan, player , manager was possible. Writing cheques could be seen as an irrelevance when any club could create a winning team with very little, when the sport was a meritocracy rather than a plutocracy and the difference hard graft, passion intelligence and talent not money. Money did not dominate as it does now. Respect for managers, policemen, doctors  they were all there but the youth revolution of the sixties was going to change all that.

The John Lennon generation, the singing, creative imaginative Kop which was sold to the world, made of ex-conscripts and dockers and factory workers became the 1970’s howling mob of angry dissatisfied unemployed. The promise of a brighter tomorrow became 3 day working week and the uncollected bins of the 70’s, then later the  permanent underclass of the 80’s, a country asset stripped of its utilities, the north and south divided, manufacturing destroyed and the prosperous south bouyed by the greed of the City and a European market on its doorstep. Then we saw the results of this restructured Britain of how middle road politics accepted the underclass as unimportant, we saw mediocrity triumph, a drift through two decades of public opinion politics, a middle road that satisfied nobody but kept the grumbling at reasonable levels whilst all the while the ticking time bomb of an aging population, a crumbling infrastructure  and an unworkable national debt crept up and up, were the lack of holistic planning saw the health service cracking and education aimed only at the rich.

All that was still ahead, in the sixties the future looked glorious. Liverpool the city was full of ideas and creativity. TV and radio were growing, vinyl and paperback books rocketed off the shelves.  Young people had money to spend and things to spend them on. The City was overflowing with confidence. What of Everton you may ask? Well in the 60’s both teams were superb 1 and 2 in the country certainly not because of their owners wealth or TV deals both teams were superb and if Everton suffered it was largely in comparison with its neighbour rather than as a club.

Being Scouse is almost like being part of a separate nation, with a language/dialect of its own, markedly different from those around it, with rising tones and fast delivery. It transcends individual personality and carries a personna of its own but in the 60’s it went beyond Liverpool. Shankly showed an affinity with the city and the people of Liverpool. That a  Scottish working class man could adapt and understand the city so well spoke of not only how similar life was in Scotland and the similar way of thinking about so many things, not least England both apart from it and yet tied to it but also how Liverpool could adapt and welcome those with shared beliefs into its bosom. Shanks with his heavy Scottish accent became Scouse by association a grandfather to a youthful generation that needed something to hold on to in turbulent times.

Liverpool and Shanks shared many traits they didn't hide from the truth or confuse it with subtle lies, a spade remains a spade , a bin man, a bin man, a liar, a liar.  Yet Liverpool can be contrary, tell them its their idea and they’ll beam and accept it, impose an idea even if its valid and they will fight tooth and nail. It’s a city that likes to think of itself as apart and unique in cotrol of its own destiny.

And the players back then, one of the key features needed was durability, determination to survive. Shanks introduced athletes like Hughes, Keegan, Heighway.  Hard, powerful and that’s how we played, no flamboyance. Direct, no spare, constant attacking, recycling the ball, triangular passing, giving the player options, with defenders allowed to follow the ball with others filling in. The Dutch would christen such changes in position total football but it was no fluke how our right back scored remarkable numbers of goals. There were elements of Total Football in how players switched and elements of hard Italian discipline in how we defended and controlled space but we kept poessession, for those watching in black and white Liverpool were the side with the ball.

In the 60’s Liverpool had been de facto Englands 2nd city. It knew its place in the world, it had nothing to prove. Scousers were the chosen people, threats could be laughed away, the sense of humour in the city was legendary and scousers famed for their sharp wit and repartee, Creativity was everywhere, employment too, it felt a far happier place back then.

I can still remember Shankly’s resignation. It was unimaginable, like your grandad telling you he was adopted. Like the Torres transfer only serious. It made no sense. It was the end of an era. The working class game was over, it was time for the next generation to take over. The enfants terrible, the million pound wages and the media saturation, were all largely still ahead. Football was still the peoples game, but it was slipping away. Charlie Nicholas wasn’t George Best but the people themselves they were changing.

The Golden Years

Paisley’s teams were perhaps the most accomplished ever seen in Britain. Capable of taking on and beating Europe and of dominating domestically. They reigned supreme. A continental style of possession combined with typically British aggression and determination. They could control games or fight them out on wet Tuesday November night. By now our success meant we could pick from the very best, we had great squad which meant all we needed to do was tinker round the edges, bring in a couple of players every year to freshen it up no major rebuilding, no sudden changes of style or direction. We were Liverpool.

The brave new world was already creeping in. Video recorders had arrived by 1976 and managers could begin to take a studied look at their opposition. Shirt sponsorship came in during the 78/79 season and we were amongst the first to sell out although plenty of others had joined in even by the end of the season. The implications of this type of deal remained unclear, it felt wrong but its importance was lost.

But what of the people and our support? Hope and expectation were replaced by disillusionment and anger. Seventies hooligan culture grew when youthful exuberance and passion were married with a betrayal of hope and the promise of the sixties became the despair of the seventies.  If containerisation saw the death of the docks, the heart blood of the City then ‘Slum clearance’ had ripped its heart out. The tower blocks picked up families like giants in fairy tales threw them down broken and lost. Communities that had taken generations to build, neighbourhoods that had grown together year on year where just ripped apart and cast into planning experiments. A terrible sign of things to come, as modern soulless thinking, clever people doing what they thought was right shredded a city of soul and hope.

From jobs for everyone we went to unemployment, restricted working and poverty. The people tried to do what they always had and stick together. The Unions tried to protect their own. They failed. The social fabric of the country had already broken down. It was everybody for themselves, grab what you can. There was too much anger and resentment, the haves and have nots, the north and the south, a generation that had no war of their own chose its own path to destruction.

Studies have shown repeatedly that discontent and mental illness are not tied direct to poverty but to the difference between rich and poor. The greater the difference between the haves and have not’s, then the greater the degree of mental illness. The greater unfairness in society  the greater the unhappiness. That  unhappiness and illness incidentally is not simply restricted to the poor.

The Twilight

It could have been any number of incidents or clubs that changed what had become the unacceptable face of English football but it was Heysel that was seen as the turning point. Passion for football became shameful. One of Liverpools proudest boasts, its passionate support was no longer a strength but a problem. The establishment had the ammunition it needed.

By the 80’s society had well and truly changed.  Liverpool like many northern towns and cities became a ghetto. Its people ostracised and demonised. It was brought to its knees by a combination of callous and vindictive central government policies together with corrupt and irresponsible local leadership where the strength of socialism, loyalty became a liability and weapon to beat us with. The tories viewed Liverpool in their won words as the ‘toughest nut to crack’ preferring the midlands or the north east to buy their votes. Liverpool for its defiance of the policies so oopposed to its own would be treated as an exemplar and warning to others.

Our supporter base could not hold together, the young and most passionate support became an underclass unable to afford to go to the match and addicted to cheaper more easily accessible drugs they drifted away. In may cases they moved away entirely and the exodus from the City saw nearly half a million leave to find work and lives away. They took with them a great deal of pride, energy and belief.

The understanding and cultural impact of football at this time was still dominated by the match going fan. Channel 4 the station didn’t launch until 1982 meaning the highlights on Match of the Day were many supporters only access to the game. Football Italia did not hit the screens until 1992. Indeed  Breakfast TV wasn’t around until 1983 no 24 hour diet of TV back then. Sure the big finals were all live but for the most part football was geared to the match going fan and reported on by newspapers and TV highlight shows. Incidents like a player biting another were hearsay and forgotten within a day unless captured by the one or two cameras at the match.

Heysel though would mark a low point in supporter culture, where the wrong side of passion, the irresponsible and selfish side where brought to account. But also were the complacent stadium owners, the pompous burocrats and archaic infrastructure were identified and questioned. If Heysel made us question the pompous football establishment and the manner of our support Hillsborough ripped any remaining illusions away. It placed football in context. It lent meaning to Shankly’s often misquoted words. Football isn’t about life or death it goes beyond that. It is about communities about a common and shared belief, a unity.

Back to the football and under Dalglish, the team had changed moving away from its most simple style and into a more dynamic and fluid game, arguably playing its most stylish vibrant attacking football. Yet this was the twilight of Liverpool domination, it marked the start of the decline as a traumatised manager failed to appreciate the need to move on players and allowed an aging squad to run out of legs.

Liverpool for three decades had played habit football. The team were so consistent, the turnover of players so gradual. It allowed players to play with familiarity, with instinct. Movement became natural, flowing and second nature. Winning became the norm, not forced but expected. We weren’t complacent and yet we knew we were the best. We knew doing the right things would bring the right result more often than not. It encouraged a team spirit a camaraderie that brought balance, allowed each player to know their worth to the team and the rest of the team to value it. In so doing it largely removed ego’s or at least established an accepted hierarchy for those ego’s to operate in.  The club through three decades remained largely a socialist and family institution despite its competitive environment, everybody contributing as best they could. It needed modesty and humility from the star players, excellent man management but they largely all came from a place where that was expected. However a perfect storm of events was brewing.

Midnight
1989 never to be forgotten.
I was originally going to leave this blank but the effect was so profound it is hard to do in this type of piece.

I’ll leave the emotional stuff to one side though and how that impacted the fan base as it’s a very personal thing for so many.

The Taylor report and the switch to all seated grounds clearly had a major impact on crowds and crowd behaviour. Yet it was yet another change with unwelcome consequences. Despite Taylor’s recommendation that it should not unduly impact price the cost of a ticket rose astronomically from 89 to the 00’s. in line with inflation we’d be paying £8-10 for  a ticket based on standard prices instead it £45-60 per game. It used to be kids could afford to go on their pocket money or Saturday job. That you needed the cost of a couple of pints – now it’s a full day’s graft or more for most.

The strange thing isn’t so much that the crowds changed as that so many stayed the same, straining at the edges to keep going.


The Aftermath

In 1990 John Smith the chairman of Liverpool resigned a man who had served the club exceptionally well from 1973, a period of unprecedented success. An astute and clever business man he had kept Liverpool ahead of the game financially. David Moores was appointed to take his place, a man whose love of the club was unquestioned but whose business acumen was seriously lacking.

Liverpools last title came in the 89-90 season. But by February 1991 Dalglish had had enough and was in desperate need of a break and with an aging side and a crazy 4-4 draw with rivals Everton he resigned mid season expecting (as Shanks had) a short break. Instead the club moved in its own direction but unlike with the appointment of previous managers it moved  away from its core values. Souness was the man eventually brought in to replace King Kenny.

A short distance down the East Lancs road a struggling United following 13th and 6th place finishes was launching itself on the stock market in June 1991 in an attempt to generate the additional funds needed to build a winning side.

In 1992 Souness underwent major heart surgery and the sold his story to the worst of the tabloid press.

Television was on the rise. It seems unbelievable now but at the same time as United sold its soul a small unimportant TV company began to see the value in televised sport and was agitating for the creation of an elite football league. The Taylor report and the move to all seater stadiums, the suppression of hooliganism all moved the game into the continental coffee shop domain of the armchair fan and business picked up its ears. Sky was gambling that greed and the British obsession with football could make it multi millions in profit. By February 1992 the Football League had split and the top clubs had voted for the creation of the Premier League. None other than Rick Parry was brought in to broker the deal and be the first supremo of the premier league. Thanks Rick.

The average fan cared little about league structures but by August 92 the first match of the Premier League 1992/93 was beamed into homes across the country. The TV audiences lapped it up. They grew. The audiences abroad were just as appreciative and just as lucrative. The match going fan who thought of their clubs as their own community assets had been usurped in a battle they didn’t even know they were in. The armchair casual fan was now more important than the man going through the turnstile. Football was big business, the working class game had gone forever and now the money game was upon us. Awareness of just what had happened to the peoples game came slowly.

In 1992 following a dire 1990 World cup, the back pass rule and the time rule to stop the keepers retaining the ball were introduced to speed up play and try and cut down on time wasting. This was a tactic many teams used to either frustrate better teams or close out games. As such it meant goalkeepers had to change their game and teams had to either develop better ways to hold the ball or get it back quickly.  The rule worked, some teams coped better than others.

The Europeans weren’t far behind in jumping on the money train with the new better improved Champions League introduced for the 1993/94 season. Instigated by the italian clubs desperate for guaranteed income from europe the full impact of this and how it would polarise wealth in the hands of so few were not difficult to forecast. With many clubs agistating for a breakaway european league the authorties compromised themselves whether those countries and clubs on the outside will ever bring enough pressure for an alternative is doubtful.

Did any of these things contribute to Souness’s mismanagement of the club? Probably all of them if we are being honest. Yet Souness’s team were brutal, a pale shadow of what had gone before. He signed players largely in their prime with big reputations but little hunger. The football was uninspiring. David James, Paul Stewart, Mark Walters, Michael Thomas, Mark Wright, Nigel Clough, Neil Ruddock, Julian Dicks, Stig and Dean Saunders a willing player but not in the class of previous no 7’s – desperately bloated reputations – but he did sign one of my favourite players in Rob Jones such a shame that lad’s injuries.

Player power was on the rise, as were United. The club that boasted about being the richest and most popular in the league despite 20 years without a title had just become even richer. David Moores was a poor business man overly conservative and lacking imagination rather than lead we started to stagnate. Although Souness was a Liverpool legend north of the border his playing style was seen as brutal and direct hardly wedded to the Liverpool style and his personality was egocentric, a man who did things his way not the Liverpool way. In his own words he was obnoxious during his time at Rangers. With timid management above him Souness sent about restructuring the reds and got it badly wrong. Wrong man at the worst of times.

The Wilderness Years
Souness gave way to Evans in 1994. The contrast was incredible. It was a typical Moores move. An attempt to be popular and please the fans and roll back the clock to the days of the bootroom.

Evans was a good coach and loyal to Liverpool but he lacked the steel to control the young players Liverpool had at the time. The Bosman rule kicked in 1995. Player power and the rise of the agent were with us. 24 hour TV was desparate by now for celebrities to fill the vacuus hours. Footballers became pop stars. This time we probably had the right man just at the wrong time. As a consequence we ended up with the Spice boys. They played great football, they had real talent Fowler, McManaman, McAteer, Redknapp and could certainly have won the league but much like the manager the team  had a soft underbelly that let them down. The expansive football meant we conceded way too many goals. The lack of discipline meant our defensive shape could disappear. The form and style improved but the winning mentality alluded us. Our training methods and approach whilst enjoyable were still routed in a different era. We tried to apply 80’s football to a 90’s game. We started to lag behind.

Another little heralded rule came in during 1996  when the bench was raised to 5 substitutes. The top clubs had needed to build up bigger squads to cope with the increased demands of Europe. This meant highly paid assets sitting on the bench twiddling their thumbs. The big clubs again got their way, it was changed again in 2008 to 7 as the squads grew even bigger. With Bosman and bigger squads the way was clear for teams to buy their way to success of course it also help kill the English game producing its own talent. The reserve league structure collapsed and the gap between first team and reserves became massive.

What was happening in Liverpool at that time. The trauma of the 80’s was still remembered. The mass exodus of the on yer bike policies of conservative Britain were over though and New Labour had come to power. Liverpool the City had changed, the power of the trades union movement and local council had been torn away. Socialism was a dirty word but investment in the inner cities and the community were at least back on the agenda. The sixties had been exciting, the nineties were a pause from the pain and grief of the eighties a chance for society to catch its breath. There was hope but the shadow of the eighties still loomed large and the spectre of unemployment remained, along with the underclass, the hopeless. 

Rather than address the obvious issue with Evans, Moores always looking to be popular opted for a compromise and brought in a little known French coach with a reputation for discipline. Houllier had won the French title with PSG and had been a key part of the French national set up (France were the leading nation in world football at the time) and was allegedly brought in to help Evans. Their complimentary styles were supposed to produce a winning combination. It was a disaster. Neither was in charge, no roles defined. Evans an honourable man with a deep love of Liverpoolquit at a tear filled press conference it was hard not to despise those who put him in such a position. A good man and a great servant of the club, he did what he thought was right  despite the grief it caused him. What more could anybody ask, top top man.

The French Renaisance

In 1998 at first alongside Roy Evans but later on his own Houllier started modernising the club. Its training methods, diet., backroom, staff, scouting. It was an odd appointment, Houllier had limited managerial experience and none in British football. A self professed Liverpool-phile he threw himself into the task of rebuilding. His turnover of players was huge with a slant on an undervalued French speaking market but he was competing with an established set up run buy Arsene Wenger and invariably it was the lesser of the French talent that came to Anfield.

The Kirby academy opened its door in 1998 although Houllier had a limited role in the Academy as Steve Heighway was in charge there he did completely overhaul the old Melwood training ground. However the academies inability to reproduce the talent of the nineties has been an issue for Liverpool both financially and on the pitch and the division between the academy and first team was allowed to grow not least with Houlliers insistence on bringing in young French talent into the first team squad.

Rick Parry arrived at Liverpool in 1998, he came with a reputation as a savvy football administrator who could help transform the club. He became Moores right hand man and his advice over the next decade would shape the club.

Houlliers time in charge consolidated Liverpool’s position as a good European team. The treble of 2001 gave rise to  a wave of optimism that Liverpool could fight its way to the top again. A 3rd place finish in the league was followed by the community shield and the super cup however even while Liverpool fans were celebrating Houllier was taken seriously ill and had to undergo a life saving operation. After a 5 month absence he returned to kead the team to finish 2nd.  It was widely accepted that Houllier and Liverpool were just a signing short of the big prize. Enter El Hadji Diouf and Bruno Cheyrou and exit Anelka and McAllister. So close and yet so far. Houllier’s management became incredibly defensive, his interiews less convincing and  Liverpool’s counter attacking style much less effective, we went backwards.

The emergence of Chelsea had thrown everything at the top end of the league up in the air. A Russian billionaire gangster had arrived to diversify his assets. He wanted a club in London, not least to get away from Russia. He chose the bankrupt Chelsea a club that had been living beyond its means trying to break into the big time. His manager the likeable Claudia Ranieri had spent a small fortune getting them to second place in the league beaten only by the Untouchables side of Arsene Wenger. It wasn’t enough for the Russian Oligarch who’s ego was matched by his ambition.

Liverpool under Houllier had played conservatively probably an overreaction to the expansive style of Evans. They dropped deep and used the mercuarial talent of Owen to launch blistering counter attacks and the supreme ability of Stephen Gerrard to dominate midfield whilst Sami Hyypia emerged as a colossus at the back. It was functional counter attacking football but it became highly predictable and overly defensive as the results dried up. Houllier left the club by mutual consent receiving an incredibly generous and crippling payoff.

Did it reflect Liverpool as a city. A city bought back from the brink of managed decline. It probably did. Liverpool was a gutsy city but remained incredibly defensive about its past. Still capable of moments of brilliance, its culture recovering from the trauma of the eighties and the fact that the City was largely overtaken by the world in the nineties. Liverpool needed a new start. Houllier had provided that.

The Spanish revolution and civil war
During the 2004 season Liverpool had been battered by a Valencia side that played the most impressive football in Europe. The team pressed continually and played possession football in the oppositions half. They’d won an increasingly strong La Liga ahead of both Real Madrid and Barcelona on a limited budget and captured the Uefa cup. Their coach had fallen out with the board over the purchase of a lamp instead of a table.  In an amazing coup Liverpool snapped up Rafael Benitez and his long term assistant Pako Ayesteran. Parry and Moores had finaly done something right.

2005 saw Liverpool play some of its poorest football in years away. The weaknesses of the squad and some of the current players was mercilessly exposed as they tried to play a style of football that the players could not cope with. Benitez massively underestimated the speed and physicality of the english league. His first encounter with Bolton being a spectacular introduction to a new set of rules. The division with the academy grew as the lack of quality in the youth ranks saw Benitez attempt to buy a whole new reserve team that he could control.

Houllier had tried to instill a French development model, Benitez ripped it up and started again. He was every bit the workaholic that Houllier was, a far better tactician but his PR and media work although calculating were confrontational and the English media took an almost immediate dislike to him. Benitez reflected Liverpool. Things would be on his terms, no false modesty, just loyalty to the club, good honest graft and the respect that comes with it. It unbalanced the whole media equation and besides which they had their own new media darling. Mourinho the special one had arrived fresh from Porto’s domination of Portugal and winning the Champions league. An outspoken egomaniac that loved the camera and pandered to the media.

If two men could be the personifications of their clubs then Mourinho and Benitez were it.

Benitez was able to tap into the community element of the club and create a team that was bigger than its parts. He did it at Valencia and he did it at Liverpool. The 2005 Champions League victory was astounding not just for the final itself a comeback from 3-0 down against the best team playing the best football in Europe but because of the manner in which the team made the final. Beating Chelsea in the semi arguably a team on par with AC Milan and also the Italian champions Juventus in the quarters both teams with better and more experienced players. Getting the results needed in the group despite a depleted squad, utilising players like Biscan, Diao, Traore, Pongolle and Mellor. Turning Carragher into a top class centre half and reminding Milan Baros he was the same forward who played for Czechoslavakia. It was an outstanding achievement. He turned back the clock and showed a City and a club what could be if you believed. He wasn’t Shankly, nobody could be but he shared many of his characteristics and beliefs about the game, loyalty being one of them.

Benitez champions league victory was followed up by another hard fought cup victory in 2006 beating United and Chelsea again en route to another FA win and a much improved league campaign. The man was the real deal not only did he understand football , he understood Liverpool.

Moores with Parry advising him believed he could no longer match the clubs ambitions, Benitez achievements were placing more and more strain on the clubs limited resources. Although TV audiences were still inspired by the great achievements of the past and the marvellous triumph of 2005 as a brand Liverpool needed far more business awareness if it was to compete with the other giants on their terms. Competing with teams far wealthier and with far more resources over a prolonged period of time would have been impossible. Moores had been looking for a way out for years. His own personal fortune was tiny compared to those of his competition. Yet his imagination and that of Parry were poor. Liverpool as a business was amateurish, those in charge failed in their responsibilities to keep the club aligned with modern life. They looked in many of the wrong places, looking out rather than in and for years failed to find the right investment when sponsorship and fresh income were staring them in the face.

In 2007 that all changed a major investment company from Dubai came to the table with a serious offer. A deal was almost struck but at the last minute Moores got nervous. There were some stories leaked in the press about Dubai only being in it for the money. Moores panicked and withdrew. Instead he switched to a separate bid from two American carpet baggers. Whether Dubai would have been right or not I don’t know. I do know that Hicks and Gillet were a disaster.

Initially all seemed well, they said many of the right things and some money was made available to invest in the squad to take it to the next level. A new stadium was promised which would allow the club to compete with the biggest and the best, they talked about modernising the club commercially. On the park Liverpool continued to compete with and beat the best.

Liverpool reached the final of the 2007 Champions league. This time Liverpool were the better team. This time Liverpool lost. Life is a bitch. The final itself was uninspiring but the organisation of the event was terrible. After the game Benitez complained about the new owners for the first time, suggesting that the funds he’d been promised to build further were not there. He did however get to sign a promising young Spaniard Fernando Torres and Liverpool would go on to compete in the semi final of the champions league the following season, a last minute own goal by John Arne Riise would cost them another final.

As Liverpool the city began to recover with unsurprisingly major European investment, it became the European City of Culture 2008. Liverpool One and the arena transformed the city centre. A city largely ignored by successive governments in London had begun to recover it soul. Liverpool however knew what it had always known,  Liverpool is not an English city it is a world city.

Rumblings of discontent though surrounded the season in November the American owners threatened Benitez with the sack and to replace him with the untried Jurgen Klinsman. The fans marched to the ground in support of their manager. Porto were hammered 4 -1 with Benitez’s name sung from beginning to end. The owners backed down but trouble was brewing.

That summer saw Liverpool football club falter. The real truth about the selling of the club came out. The two Americans had bought the club on credit and were using the clubs own wealth to fund their purchase. The financial crisis and the rise in interest rates meant their debt was spiralling out of control. Net investment in players went negative. The new stadium could never be built. Despite this or perhaps because of it the Liverpool players produced their best ever premier league season. In 2009 Liverpool lost just two games in the league but still couldn’t get over the line, they finished 2nd despite putting 4 past united, Chelsea, Madrid and Arsenal in the space of a month.

What happened next reflected on both the city and its fans. Whilst the media and sky were happy for Liverpool Football Club to fade away and be bankrupted by its owners just another headline, another famous old club on the rocks the fans came together and formed a protest movement. Those militant buggers would not lie down. They formed the first fan union. A union with members around the globe. It was clear that there are enough fans outside of Liverpool that genuinely get the City to inspire hope in all of us. The pundits told the fans to just concentrate on the pitch, that the business of football had nothing to do with them, it wasn’t their job. This was the media agenda, this what the Sky pundits lined up to tell their mindless masses, just take what we give you and stop complaining. To their shame many Liverpool fans listened. They put their heads down and ignored the plight their club was in. It wasn’t their concern, somebody else would sort it out. Thankfully some fans did not. There were many groups , many unsung heroes who came together to try and avert what looked like an inevitability. That Liverpool would be asset stripped and bankrupted and go the way of Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday and other names of the past was unacceptable. People began to remember it was their club, that they held the power.

At the end of the 2009 season the Liverpool team striped of investment began to fall apart, players moved on, lost form, lost belief. Benitez struggling as much with the owners as the team was forced to rethink. The team struggled, lacking belief as much as investment. The manager in a show of unprecedented loyalty sided with the fans. By the end of the following season he was sacked. The excuse was that the team had underperformed on the pitch, the off field distractions had clearly effected its spirit and belief and that of the manager. To their shame the majority of fans accepted it citing poor performances and poor transfers and paying no attention to the backroom goings on after all it wasn’t their role to question the business, Sky said so and those things shouldn't effect what happens on the pitch. It was a terrible shame but probably best for both Benitez and the club that they parted ways at that time.

Limbo
Roy Hodgson came in to replace Benitez. A journeyman coach with thirty odd years of football experience. Many thought it a temporary home for somebody looking for the England job. This was a coach who had no rapport with any of his previous clubs, an establishment figure comfortable in the corridors of the FA. The antithesis of a Liverpool manager. Hodgson also had a reputation for dour football, he’d failed at big clubs before and had a reputation for dull uninspiring football. His supporters said that with better players his football would improve. We waited. Whatever the papers say it was not decided before we kicked a ball. We watched. We were appalled; signings, press conferences, style of football, results. He claimed to understand the club and then every word that left his lips showed that he didn’t. He was brought in to manage the decline of a club by owners that believed they could walk away with millions. He was thankfully rejected by the majority. He had an impossible task with the same behind the scenes fiasco to contend with but wheras Binitez tried to fight that battle Hodgson said it was nothing to do with him, he ignored the future of teh club, it wasn't his concern, calling those fans who fought for their club unhelpful and a distratction. The media were up in arms. They championed him, vilified the Liverpool supporters for their lack of patience. The same Liverpool supporters who’s stood by the previous manager for 5 years despite the medias best efforts to unseat him.

Liverpools on field performance went from average to poor with the worst start to a season in living memory.

By October 2010 with the club in turmoil and a bankers flick of the wrist away from administration the protests groups won. The plight of the club had not gone unnoticed. The Royal Bank of Scotland prompted probably as much by the financial implications as the fans stepped in to the failing business to put it right. They found an investor, again from the US ironically enough, prepared to come in and take a chance on what could be a very good deal for the club and a deal was struck. The banks got their money back, the new investors got the club and its assets and the Americans got what they put in, nothing.  The fans, well the fans had what was always theirs, hope.

The False Dawn
The new owners FSG were hoping for an easy start to get to know the game but they weren’t allowed the breathing space. Hodgson’s football and results were disasterous and the players disaffected. By January he was gone and FSG had turned to one of the few people that could be trusted to look after the best interests of Liverpool Football club, Kenny Dalglish.

Twenty years too late Kenny came back. He transformed the club overnight. It mattered little that his first few results were poor. The fans knew he understood, knew he was one of them. The girders at Anfield thrummed with belief it was alive again. FSG signed a couple of big names and let another one go but Liverpool played football again, they had the highest points total of any team after Dalglish took over that season. The football was crazy, unstructured often relying on the players themselves to sort it out but they played well.

FSG had only intended for Kenny to be interim manager but his performance and his association with the fans made them reconsider. They had an investment policy straight out of baseball. Unfamilair with football they had brought in a clever French man Damien Comolli to oversee the football structure.  Comolli and Dalglish tried to find the best young English talent, with hidden value that could lift the team up the table.

The fairy tale would be that Dalglish strode to the league title the following season but he didn’t. Instead the league campaign was a disaster. It was a strange combination of poor tactics, ill luck and circumstances which shredded the team of confidence. The star player was sidelined for 2 months. The expensive signings brought in to revitalise the team stumbled and struggled for form. Instead of coming together it fell apart and although the team reached two cup finals it never inspired any belief in progress.

The Now
FSG still unsure about football reverted to their initial plan and replaced Dalglish with Brendan Rodgers a young coach, inexperienced at the top level but who knew the modern styles of football and had ambitions of his own. He spoke well with the media unlike Dalglish which was a major failing during both of his stints as manager and Rodgers had a clear structure and style of play which lent reassurance to the board.

It is too early to pass judgement on the reign of the young Irishman. He seems genuine, a grafter, politically savvy but a little raw round the edges, the big club politics still catch him out, the constant analysis exposes the cracks.  He's clever though and the jury is still out on whethre he can manage and inspire respect in amongst the big ego's.

Americans love to specialise and the LFC backroom expanded massively both in support of its playing staff and its business. The number of Liverpool sponsors has grown from one to two dozen in just a few years. The club has been dragging itself from family club to global brand with the target of making money and without asking the basic question of why?

Fifty years ago Shanks said ‘Liverpool exists to win trophies’ sadly that can no longer be the claim. Generating wealth was not the intent of football, few owners took on a football club to improve their finances and any money a club did make was most often ploughed back into the club. It wasn’t altruism but it was as much about community as it was ego and personal pride.

Football ownership has changed. It has moved for local business men to global brand almost in the blink of an eye. The financial advantages some clubs hold would not be tolerated in any other sport. The authorities appear powerless to correct it. They operate at the whim and discretion of  those they seek to control. The financial fair play rules are already largely ignored, the accountants who can skip around the tax system can drive a coach and horses through any cowboy rules set up by UEFA or the self imposed guidance created by the premier league.

Today we live in a country were the individual is paramount. It’s the age of celebrity were being famous for anything is more important than achieving something. The community is dying. The old focal points of church and pub are no longer relevant to the TV audience and supermarket shopper. Yet there is a part of people that craves community. Human beans need people, it is a core part of our DNA. We’ve seen it so often of late whether it’s a farcical and over sentimental outpouring of grief for Princess Diana or a glorious Olympic event. The public is desperate to join together whatever the excuse. Football, like religion the previous opiate of the masses is filling a void. Distracting the majority from the banality of everyday life but whereas in the past it was rationed, controlled and had a useful place in society now its saturates everything, dominates the landscape such that the story of a footballer biting an opponent can take precedence over a natural disaster wrecking hundreds of lives.

The last 20 years have been tough for Liverpool. The western world has shrunk in importance. The globalisation of the world has been rapid and is still accelerating. The size of the 3rd world and China are simply staggering. It’s very difficult to keep an identity amidst the confusion. What place does Liverpool the city have in the new world. What place the football club? It was a bastion of socialism and working class values and yet those values are seen by many to be hardly relevant anymore. In a city stripped of much of its meaning and identity how is the football club meant to reflect its community. The modern world thrusts towards homogeneity, sameness, yet individuality is the mantra. It thirsts for familiarity, every high street brand is the same the world over. The franchise approach beckons. We live in a world dominated by money not ideas. Clubs are now businesses and stadiums designed to create wealth not to play football.

The Future
So where to now for Liverpool two decades of football that have seen us struggle to come to grips with who and where we are. Despite the struggles we’ve had plenty of success, success that the vast majority of clubs would swap their own but having been the very best it is not the same everything is compared back to that Golden Age.

Liverpool remains a proud and contrary place. It remains unforgiving of its enemies and overwhelmingly forgiving of its friends. It rejects authority in an almost pathological way and prefers to see itself apart, outside the norm. When it is confident it rejoices in its own identity and place in the world which makes it equally loved by its friends and resented by its detractors. Many see its pride as misplaced. They see defiance when they expect acceptance. Those who believe themselves superior expect humility, they receive scorn. In Liverpool when somebody pushes you, you push back harder. This isn’t always the wisest thing to do, pride can have its downside. Yet it is a way of life in a hard upbringing. To balance that pride comes a sharp and biting sense of humour which keeps you on your toes and your eyes sparkling.

Liverpool has always been a place of innovation. The pool of life as dreamed by Carl Jung.  Liverpool are in need of that innovation now.

For sure the world will turn. If money is allowed to it will dominate the football horizon in 50 years. It will see the creation of franchises in major cities, it will see the total commercialisationof sport and if it does the game and society will be the poorer for it. It’ll be played in a dozen cities around Europe for the benefit of a privileged elite. It will have lost any relevance to the community and be the sole preserve of big business followed by the empty headed class who chase a need to belong in a society without a soul.

So Liverpool needs to be true to itself whilst at the same time reflecting the reality of where we are and where the game is going. For that we need to look to the City and the population and build from there.

What do we find in modern Liverpool? The city itself is divided not just red and blue but unemployment particularly amongst the young is high. The majority are fed on a diet of 24 hour commercial tv. Insecurity is replaced by bravado, anger is seen as pride and self pity. There are those who in the absence of wisdom and community seek their opinions from soccer am and the daily mail. There are people afraid of being irrelevant, people who want an easy life with no thinking involved and any excuse to party, who’ll accept what they are fed for fear of having to think for themselves. We have a large section of society whose opinions are formed by pundits employed for their looks or celebrity rather than their insight. Then we have the aspiration nation, the lower middle classes, who see football as an entertainment something to be viewed but not heard. This does not feel like fertile ground to rebuild a community club, to find the mass choir of the kop entranced by Shankly’s new signing,  celebrating the end of a tough working week, seeking an escape from the harsh realities of the daily grind by supporting their team through thick and thin. We saw even in the grim days of Hicks and Gillet how many traditional supporters preferred to either bury their heads in the sand or deliberately walk the other way rather than acknowledge the truth of how the club was being raped by the boardroom. So many did nothing and yet those who did inspired hope that not all is lost.

The British class system was blown apart in the 60’s but the establishment set about restoring another over the next 50 years. The rich grew richer and the poor poorer. If barriers of race and sex were broken down a new one, wealth, took their place. Just as in the 60’’s 70’s and 80’s any side could be built, emerge from the pack and  challenge at the top, over the next thirty years it polarised into only the wealthy having any opportunity to not only succeed but merely compete at the top table. A plutocracy emerged which pandered to the wealthy and fed crumbs to the rest and gave delusive hope to the majority and we to our shame lapped it up and let it happen indeed Liverpool as a club was a real mover in making it a reality.

Modern society is divided between the under classes and the super rich by middle England, the aspiring lower middle class. You can no longer win a General Election on principal it is the middle ground or nothing, tory, liberal, labour they all wear the same face now. Money remains the be all and end all of western society, the arbiter of worth shrouded in a hypocritical cloud of moral righteousness.

There are two conscious choices for football the money model which will lead to a franchised sport or the fan ownership model which will see a community owned game, for the Liverpool of the past there is only one real option and yet we seem wedded to the former and the game itself is stumbling along a free market root guided by a self serving love of money. To be the club I want us to be you have to provide the fans with a vested interest in their club. Something concrete and measurable and something they can control. There is a currently unique opportunity for this. No senior side in England has gone this route, no club has claimed the identity of fan ownership. It would be a massive coup for whoever takes it on. It would make that club accessible and relevant to every genuine football fan in the country and every fan world wide. Liverpool have an opportunity to be the first and to lead the way. To deliver innovation, to change the face of football. What better place than Liverpool to be the birth place of such a movement. It would provide the club the identity it craves, it would both tie it to the past and address the issues around ownership and finances going forward. For two decades we’ve misunderstood our place in football. Ours is not to follow the oligarchs and stockbrokers who see the cost of everything and value of nothing. Ours is to show the rest of the country the way football should be run and football should be played.

One issue right now is whether our current ownership have the vision and imagination to see it and make it happen or would they rather follow as a pale shadow the likes of City and United into an inglorious future of billionaire owners and plastic flag waving fans. The irony that such an opportunity exists for an American owned investment consortium would be delicious except for the pain which occurs if they don’t make the right choices.

As an aside Evertonians , genuine ones not the small minded bitter fools that would rather see Liverpool lose than their own side win, proper Evertonians are good lads, they like their football, they understand it. My brother began life as a red but switched after the heartbreak of Inter Milan. It’s always meant I have a soft spot for the blues. Half my uncles are blue. Half me family really. Eventually, I think both clubs will merge. The worlds a smaller place than it was. Rivalries are no longer across the street they exist across countries. Together as a city, single minded and focussed we can take on anybody in the world divided it’ll be a lot harder and potentially neither of us will be strong enough.

Liverpool believes itself to be anti establishment, innovative and cosmopolitan in its own unique way not filled with intellectuals or pseudo artistic talent demanding to be heard for the sake of it but with an immediate meaningful art, whether sport, music or literature. It still has strong roots in working class views. Year after year Liverpool fans have won awards for being the most fair minded fans in the country. Many of its jobs now may be in service industries or with the government rather than manufacturing, docks, or ship building, the tough manual work is largely gone but the beliefs in equality and justice remain. The people may be the worse for it, less physically hard, soft and squishy but the collective view still remains as shown in election after election.

The cities sense of humour was once legendary, misunderstood by many, resented by others especially those from the London centric south whether its journalists or comedians yet it was grown on the back of hardship and came with a sharp insight and understanding of a hard world.

And physically how do we stack up? Well the majority who make it to the top seem to be  able to run all day and are as tough as nails – Smith, Thompson, Lawler, Byrne, Melia, Lee, Callaghan, Fowler , McDermot, Mcateer, Gerrard, McManaman, Carragher, Fairclough, Aldridge, Case. If you add in the catchment areas of Lancashire and North Wales and throw in the likes of Murphy and Rush and Owen. We seem to churn out natural strikers and lean fast marathon men.

The diet we can control the genetics not so much. We don’t have the catchment area -of Barca if we did every player born from Liverpool to Birmingham would be ours. With those of scouse ancestry in the USA and Australia coming home as well. Borrell has stated that Barca specifically looked at the type of player their area created small, balanced, strong and cultured. If that’s true then Liverpool should be looking at a style that suits – tallish, lean, tough players who can run all day and crucially have wits that you can pick a lock with. I remember reading that McMananam finished first in the schools cross country whilst McAteer trailed in a sorry third. I hope we’ve got scouts at the schools cross country every year. Throw in to that mix, loyalty to the point of stupidity, a relentless belief in what is right as shown by the Hillsborough campaign,  the fight against Thatcher and the enduring love of the club even in those who leave.

If that’s what we grow in Liverpool then that’s what we should be looking at. A philosophy geared around constant movement and unprecedented pressing not a system invented by Houllier or Benitez or Rodgers or with the greatest respect Borrel  but one geared to LFC. A system that relies on a goal scorer with the football intelligence to solve problems in an instant that’s as likely to pick your pocket (defender wise obviously) as bang it in the back of the net.

Conclusions
I’m still trying to figure those out 
« Last Edit: May 10, 2013, 11:00:00 am by Vulmea »
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Offline the 92A

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2013, 12:19:22 am »
It's stuff like this that made me come on here, really got me thinking, well worth the effort and it's encourages me to finish something I was thinking about in a similar vein, raised some great questions and hopefully start some great discussion. I remember when Roy started the level three thread he split up his original piece into parts, do you think it's worth doing that? Your call, just thinking out loud. I don't know about merging with Everton despite your family history, although It would make my life easier at family parties being married into a blue family. Really enjoyed it.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 12:44:45 am by The 92A »
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Offline PhaseOfPlay

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2013, 01:39:25 am »
Brilliant stuff and throughly enjoyable to read. It will resonate with a lot of posters, but it will be glossed over by others, which will be a shame, because they could learn a lot from it.

Maybe it could be split up and form a volume like Roy's "Systems" thread? Maybe this one could be "The Sociology of LFC" or something?
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Offline the 92A

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #3 on: May 8, 2013, 09:40:11 am »
With the threads on Liverpool and the community and fans having a stake. This couldn't be more relevant. Any posts complaining about the length will be deleted. Enjoy
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Offline Joe_Singh

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #4 on: May 8, 2013, 09:46:29 am »
Thanks Vulmea, thats my reading material sorted for my trip to london tomorrow.
What I love about this, and several other of Kenny's press conferences, is that he manages to say something to the effect of  'Shut the fuck up, you fucking helmets and don't fuck with me or my football club or I'll make you eat your own balls', without actually using th

Offline Joe_Singh

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #5 on: May 8, 2013, 09:49:53 am »
11 Pages on MS Word :)
What I love about this, and several other of Kenny's press conferences, is that he manages to say something to the effect of  'Shut the fuck up, you fucking helmets and don't fuck with me or my football club or I'll make you eat your own balls', without actually using th

Offline Almo

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #6 on: May 8, 2013, 10:15:01 am »
Fantastic read, thanks, some great thoughts in there and for me a perfect analysis of how we've reached where we are as a club. One OP that doesn't need any apologies for length!

Offline cynicaloldgit

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #7 on: May 8, 2013, 12:56:16 pm »
Not bad.  ;)
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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #8 on: May 8, 2013, 01:04:36 pm »
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Offline SeanPenn

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #9 on: May 8, 2013, 01:57:25 pm »
A great read. Terrific post.  :wave
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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #10 on: May 8, 2013, 02:14:45 pm »
Top post that. Thanks! :thumbup


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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #11 on: May 8, 2013, 02:16:31 pm »
WoW! Great read mate. :) Worth spending time on this
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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #12 on: May 8, 2013, 02:18:51 pm »
Fantastic! learnt a few bits and bobs as well!

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #13 on: May 8, 2013, 03:31:26 pm »
great read!
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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #14 on: May 8, 2013, 03:42:55 pm »
Appreciate the effort you have put into this and it was a fantastic read. Brilliant!!
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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #15 on: May 8, 2013, 04:01:15 pm »
Cheers Vulmea. Insightful post and an enjoyable read. Perhaps split it into chapters in another section (as well as here) so the TL;DR idiots aren't deterred?
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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #16 on: May 8, 2013, 04:31:51 pm »
Fantastic read.

Loved every word of it.

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #17 on: May 8, 2013, 04:34:02 pm »
Thanks very much for writing this. I wasn't born during the golden days and it's always interesting to get a feel of what it was like.

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #18 on: May 8, 2013, 07:02:20 pm »
I enjoyed that but had to chuckle at "wits that you can pick a lock with" and (Jason) "McAteer" in adjacent sentences.
The secret is that our Liverpool team never know when to stop running and working. At Anfield we have always believed in players supporting each other and concentrating on not giving the ball away. You can't go charging forward all the time, willy-nilly. You must have patience.

Offline rich87

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #19 on: May 8, 2013, 08:27:42 pm »
Really Really glad I read that and anyone thinking, should I, Shouldn't I... Trust me you should. So first let me show my appreciation and thanks. So thank you Vulmea.

I don't really want to bring my own conclusions to the piece either, because I think after a piece like that, it is good to have these questions left open. Nobody knows where we will go both in terms of football, or the city over the next few decades. Like you though I want Liverpool Football Club to be at the forefront of innovation and new ideas. Like you, I'd love to see our club in the fans hands. And if there is any piece SoS should be pushing it is certainly yours.

I think the biggest stumbling block is getting something set up properly for people to really donate; whether that's a subscription based service (Everything is going that route) AKA £10/20 a month (After all that is only a subscription to sky) or something like a one of donation (which I don't think would work quite so well)

It is interesting how we as Liverpool fans continue to try to fight the media, and hate the media, yet we so badly need it, if we are to ever get our ideas of the ground.

But I don't want to add any more conclusions now to a fantastic thought out piece, that not only asks a lot of questions about our football club but also society itself.

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #20 on: May 8, 2013, 10:04:26 pm »
Not bad.  ;)

bloody hell Cog you're still alive  :)

not bad  - I'll take that
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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #21 on: May 8, 2013, 10:26:41 pm »
Good read that. 

Your take on right now was the most interesting bit for me. The idea that teams reflect their societies is a great angle. From the 80s onwards there was steady exodus from Liverpool.  I was one of them.  Left to find work.  I will almost certainly remain an exile, but the football club remains my strongest connection to the city of my birth. So our fanbase becomes ever more fragmented and dispersed, not necessarily rooted in the society and environment that surrounds the club. Add to that the globalisation of football as a commodity to be traded and valued in unit and assets costs, and the fabric of the club is in real danger of being eroded, or at the very least allowed to fade into a caricature of what it was and can be.       

For all the talk about football philosophies and vision, we're at a real crossroads in terms of the culture of the club.  We need to reclaim it.  Not by harking back to the past - that's gone and it's not possible to recreate.  It's a bit like people holding onto the music of their youth - everyone thinks their era was the best.  Football is the same in many ways.  No, we need to look forward and decide what sort of football club we want to belong to.  I like the idea of fan ownership, and the possibility of striking a deal with FSG or their successors that gives us a very real stake in our club really intrigues me.  There's potential there for it to be an opportunity to generate some additional income to reinvest in the club.  I'm rambling idealistically - no doubt the numbers don't stack up - but if it was ever possible then it's a genuine vision for the future of this club that I'd like to see realised.  It would give the Scouse diaspora an opportunity to reconnect in a new way.

Thanks for the read Vulmea and for stimulating a few thoughts.
« Last Edit: May 8, 2013, 11:22:53 pm by rola »
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Offline cynicaloldgit

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #22 on: May 8, 2013, 11:16:38 pm »
bloody hell Cog you're still alive  :)
Indeed, Vulm. Been overseas a lot- t'internet ain't too great in Mauritius. It's good to see that you're in such fine form-I look forward to catching up with more of your work that I've missed over the last couple of years.
"You can always lie to others, but never to yourself."

Offline Vulmea

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #23 on: May 8, 2013, 11:16:40 pm »
Thanks for the read Vulmea and for stimulating a few thoughts.

Cog and Kik on the same page -  just rolled back 10 years :) hope you're keeping well in your exile :)

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

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Offline Harinder

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #24 on: May 9, 2013, 12:00:18 am »
Even the wife applauded this. Brilliant read Vulmea
Just clicked on the main board and my virus scanner came back with this

"When we visited this site, we found it exhibited one or more risky behaviors."


:lmao

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Offline Trev20

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #25 on: May 9, 2013, 01:32:21 am »
Felt like a short read before bed, over an hour later and it's half 1!

Worth every minute, brilliant read that mate, thanks a lot.  :)

Offline garcia-alonso

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #26 on: May 9, 2013, 01:33:45 am »
Really enjoyable and thought provoking read Vulmea.

Offline Red_Mist

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #27 on: May 9, 2013, 08:52:12 am »
Great read Vulm.

I wonder if the unaffordability and subsequent change in the make up and age of the support came a little bit later than you mention? Maybe more of an early 90s thing if you had to pin it down; having said that it was a gradual process that certainly did start in the 1980s.

Offline Vulmea

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #28 on: May 9, 2013, 10:26:57 am »


 Thanks for all the kind comments - I didn't waste an afternoon afterall :)

Great read Vulm.

I wonder if the unaffordability and subsequent change in the make up and age of the support came a little bit later than you mention? Maybe more of an early 90s thing if you had to pin it down; having said that it was a gradual process that certainly did start in the 1980s.

Think you are definately right in terms of ticket prices there's  a couple of angles here though

 
 
It would give the Scouse diaspora an opportunity to reconnect in a new way.


 diaspora (great word that , dont you think )- but with fans scattered everywhere, often young men 'on their bike' even getting to games became an issue back in the 80's - it wasn't just the ticket prices -  me, me dad, brother, cousins etc were all over the shop London, Ireland, Switzerland, Scotland, Gloucester, Sheffiled, Lleeds, South of France, Spain - wherever the work was trying to earn a crust and football wasn't top of the shopping list - and those who stayed behind were bedeviled with unemployment with the giro at the end of the week  the game was still accessible, cost of  a couple of pints but priorities for many were shifting

David Conn wrote a great article back in 2011 -  http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/david-conn-inside-sport-blog/2011/aug/16/premier-league-football-ticket-prices which supports your case though - the game was affordable - its ridiculous the difference between now and then - 700-1000% inflation since 89/90 - when it should be closer to 80% - £4 for a game which should be £8 at most using normal inflation rules is now £45 - all seater stadiums disguising the hike in player wages and agents fees

you're right to point it out - it should have had a paragraph or two on its own - along with the removal of standing big ommission on my part that



 

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

John F. Kennedy/Shanklyboy.

Offline Red Ol

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #29 on: May 9, 2013, 11:01:51 am »
Great read Vulmea, enjoyed that, thanks.
Would be great to put a little soundtrack to each of the periods you've identified. 
Football, politics …and music - inextricably linked!
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Offline Red_Mist

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #30 on: May 9, 2013, 11:10:55 am »
Think you are definately right in terms of ticket prices there's  a couple of angles here though
Oh yeah loads of stuff going on. What's not in doubt is that the crowd of the 80's was very different to that of the 60's, and the crowd now is different to that of the 80's. Continuous change for better or (more likely) worse. The crowd in 20 years will no doubt be very different to that of today (about a third of the size if prices continue on their trajectory).

Offline mikey_LFC

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #31 on: May 9, 2013, 01:53:06 pm »
Very interesting read. Some great points made abut the evolution of the game vs the evolution of society and Liverpool as a city. Its amazing how hindsight can show us the fundemental changes were often down to things which seemed like small changes at the time. I just hope if we ever get back to title winning form, the crowds will return to their previous level but I suppose that went with the rising prices. Hopefully our supporters unions can change our game like they have done in germany, forcing prices down and atmospheres and clubs have benefited no end.
"A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe you are the best and then make sure that you are." - Bill Shankly

Offline Vulmea

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #32 on: May 9, 2013, 08:02:21 pm »
It is interesting how we as Liverpool fans continue to try to fight the media, and hate the media, yet we so badly need it, if we are to ever get our ideas of the ground.


depends what you mean by media - times they are a changing - the t'internet is already killing the printed press and TV news - twitter(spits), facebook, you tube - the control of thos is far less(although I'm sure 'they' are working on that :)
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

John F. Kennedy/Shanklyboy.

Offline Vulmea

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #33 on: May 10, 2013, 11:02:34 am »

Oh yeah loads of stuff going on. What's not in doubt is that the crowd of the 80's was very different to that of the 60's, and the crowd now is different to that of the 80's. Continuous change for better or (more likely) worse. The crowd in 20 years will no doubt be very different to that of today (about a third of the size if prices continue on their trajectory).

I was originally going to leave 1989 blank but I've added a bit in now about the Taylor report.

"I’ll leave the emotional stuff to one side though and how that impacted the fan base as it’s a very personal thing for so many.

The Taylor report and the switch to all seated grounds clearly had a major impact on crowds and crowd behaviour. Yet it was yet another change with unwelcome consequences. Despite Taylor’s recommendation that it should not unduly impact price the cost of a ticket rose astronomically from 89 to the 00’s in line with inflation we’d be paying £8-10 for  a ticket based on standard prices instead it £45-60 per game. It used to be kids could afford to go on their pocket money or Saturday job. That you needed the cost of a couple of pints – now it’s a full day’s graft or more for most.

The strange thing isn’t so much that the crowds changed as that so many stayed the same, straining at the edges to keep going."
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

John F. Kennedy/Shanklyboy.

Offline Red_Mist

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #34 on: May 10, 2013, 02:49:44 pm »
The strange thing isn’t so much that the crowds changed as that so many stayed the same, straining at the edges to keep going."
Very true. I nearly added into my previous post that, despite all the changes described, there's a continuous thread running through a significant section of the support...be that fans who have been going for 40+ years or those younger who have been well informed/indoctrinated. That will continue despite evidence of people not renewing (I'm talking friends here not just anecdotal evidence) but as the demographic gets older it can't go on for ever (which I suppose is at the heart of the matter when it comes to the campaigns). Tipping point reached?

By the way, I don't want to give you too much of a big head, but parts of the OP (some of "The Future" section for instance) are almost poetic. Really good stuff.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2013, 02:53:01 pm by Red_Mist »

Offline Vulmea

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #35 on: May 10, 2013, 08:48:11 pm »
Very true. I nearly added into my previous post that, despite all the changes described, there's a continuous thread running through a significant section of the support...be that fans who have been going for 40+ years or those younger who have been well informed/indoctrinated. That will continue despite evidence of people not renewing (I'm talking friends here not just anecdotal evidence) but as the demographic gets older it can't go on for ever (which I suppose is at the heart of the matter when it comes to the campaigns). Tipping point reached?

By the way, I don't want to give you too much of a big head, but parts of the OP (some of "The Future" section for instance) are almost poetic. Really good stuff.

the rise in cost may also provide a reason why crowds are more demanding,  less tolerant and feel  a greater sense of entitlement -

not sure that explains why managers last about 10 months on average - I'm guessing thats more to do with the fear of losing money
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

John F. Kennedy/Shanklyboy.

Offline Messiah

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #36 on: May 10, 2013, 11:08:07 pm »
Had goosebumps reading that. Top job  :thumbup
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Offline Prof

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #37 on: May 10, 2013, 11:18:31 pm »
Belting article that V, thanks.

Part of the problem with ticket prices is the need to prove yourself as a 'proper' fan by going to the games.  As a wool, I'm a glory hunter and not entitled to share the joys of victories.  There is definitely a need in some people to prove themselves.

I haven't been to a match since ticket prices exceded £20, as even though I can afford it, I know by paying escalated prices I would contribute to the consumer demand which increases prices further.  I hardly ever miss a game though and at worst follow them on the radio or live text commentary.  The only way things change is if people don't pay to go to the game.  But that won't happen with the modern 'me' culture you refer to.

I actually hoped we'd go into administration when the H and G era was approaching the end.  I could see a situation where debt would be paid off by selling the first team squad and the club being bought by the supporters share scheme.  We'd have gone down, but we'd have been able to rebuild using the youth teams.  If it had happened, we probably would be in a similar poistion to now, with fans ownership rather than 'investors'.

Offline Vulmea

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #38 on: May 11, 2013, 12:08:54 am »
Belting article that V, thanks.

Part of the problem with ticket prices is the need to prove yourself as a 'proper' fan by going to the games.  As a wool, I'm a glory hunter and not entitled to share the joys of victories.  There is definitely a need in some people to prove themselves.

I haven't been to a match since ticket prices exceded £20, as even though I can afford it, I know by paying escalated prices I would contribute to the consumer demand which increases prices further.  I hardly ever miss a game though and at worst follow them on the radio or live text commentary.  The only way things change is if people don't pay to go to the game.  But that won't happen with the modern 'me' culture you refer to.

I actually hoped we'd go into administration when the H and G era was approaching the end.  I could see a situation where debt would be paid off by selling the first team squad and the club being bought by the supporters share scheme.  We'd have gone down, but we'd have been able to rebuild using the youth teams.  If it had happened, we probably would be in a similar poistion to now, with fans ownership rather than 'investors'.

cheers Prof

hoping for administration might be a bit strong I was certainly prepared to suffer it to get rid of the two shysters though

the hope for me anyway is that FSG can see the business sense of genuine fan engagement at our unique club and at this unique time - its a very small hope but it is what I want to happen - no idea how to make it reality though - social media should provide a perfect opportunity to unite the fans but instead the inertia of moden life seems to be all powerful

 
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

John F. Kennedy/Shanklyboy.

Offline Vulmea

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Re: The Life and teams of LFC
« Reply #39 on: May 11, 2013, 12:36:56 pm »
Had goosebumps reading that. Top job  :thumbup

goosebumps - stay out of those drafts :)
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

John F. Kennedy/Shanklyboy.