Ok, as the title suggests, this is the way I see things at our beloved Anfield these days;
Regardless of winning it or not, last season did finish on a high, we got in the places to be fighting for this years Champions League and we got to the final again. The new owners were happy to accept no accolades for doing so and said they would back Rafa, but not just ‘œwilly nilly’. He had a plan, he told them the plan and they would help him with it. Simple as that!
Now during the off season we heard all sorts of rumblings regarding Rafa, all of which seemed to be the usual ‘œtat’ from the tabloids (and some broadsheets!). We signed plenty of players for now and for the future. Soon enough, August 11th was upon us and it all starts again!
So here we are sitting top of the league with a game in hand (along with the Gunners), and we were just the 3rd & 4th placed teams! OK I know, I know lets not get carried away.
Anyway, we seem to be seeing a new reds plan, a plan that sees us actually play with 2 wingers (and no Stevie or Jamie) and okay we trounced Derby 6-0 (and it should have been more) but after all it was just Derby! Pennant seems to have found his niche and if he can keep it up then maybe McLaren may give him a shot for England (God knows we need a decent winger at international level!) and Yossi & Babel is showing great flashes of skill. All we need now is a goal from Pepe and all is very well (you never know!!) Goals have gone in from our entire team placements (by that I mean Defence right through to strikers) and Peter has not even had a decent crack of the whip yet. Reports this morning say we knocked back a Â£15 million bid from Villa for him, which if true show he still will get a chance.
Now back to Rafa’s masterplan. This plan does not seem to involve the first team!! Arrrrrrgh! What? I hear you scream! Yes, as I said ‘œit does not involve the first team!’
Remember a few months back, Rafa was preaching about the England team (unusual for a club manager) and how that our league structure does not seem to allow young talent to develop (be them English or otherwise) and his proposals were roundly mocked. How dare he offer a solution to an obvious problem where only the blue eyed regulars get to play for their country and if you are young and play regularly in the reserves only for your team them you will not get much of a chance. Rafa suggested our reserve teams play in the lower leagues! Jesus, the Championship was up in arms before they let him finish. Rafa meant the much lower league, maybe League 2 (possibly League 1). It made sense, let the young lads play against more season players and hone their skills that will stand them in good stead to try and break through into the first team.
Kablammo!!! (ïƒŸ that’s the sound of all the guns shooting that idea down! Or maybe its just the sound of a bomb going of in the Batcave!)
Rafa decided to keep quiet on the matter afterwards and get on with his own plan and his best intentions for his young protÃ©gÃ©’s were put into effect:
So in effect Rafa has just let all his latest prospects go out and get some worldy footballing experience elsewhere. Gone are the days it seems when Rafa first took over that he felt the need to farm out the ‘œdeadwood’ to cover some wage costs. The above players he seems t orate and thinks they have a good chance of reaching the first team soon, and whilst it may only be in the Cup competitions, it’s a good start if they know how to handle themselves on a professional field when it comes to useless referee’s and hard but fair challenges from other pro’s and even some major names that are coming towards the end of their footballing time (good luck at Cardiff Robbie, I hope all goes well).
With a bit of luck, this process will work, the lads will come back next season more wise about what playing ‘œfor real’ is all about and it will stand them in good stead.
Now, my only worry for this season is the departing Pako Ayessteran. Whilst there is nothing formal on LFC.TV, it seems this news is correct. So we lost a Paco last year and another this year. The difference last year was that we were told why he was going. There is an eerie silence about Ayessteran’s departure. This worries me, he was Rafa’s close friend and work colleague and I am sure he would have helped Rafa and his family settling in Liverpool as well as all the new Spanish and Spanish speaking players settle in (and maybe translate Carra’s words of advice for them!)
All I hope is that it is for work or family reasons rather than some sort of disagreement, The latter I doubt as surly he knows Rafa inside out as they have worked together so long! Anyway Pako, whatever it is good luck with the future.
Almost the end now, stay with my waffle! Luis Garcia is a legend in my book! OK, we never always knew what he was going to do with the ball (mind you I do not think he did a lot of the time!) but some of the things he did were amazing. Some frustrations far outweighed by some amazing goals and valuable ones too. That letter to the official site was great. Luis, you are welcome back to Anfield anytime. You just know that song will be sung the minute you are seen in the Main Stand!
Finally, I would just like mention the loss of 11 year old Rhys Jones. As we all know it was a tragedy and my heart goes out to all his family. Hopefully justice will be served.
The 2 clubs of this great city showed just what this place is really like. I see it as a family, one where we can slag each other off but no outsiders can, we will fight tooth and nail for our family. Liverpool & Everton showed the world exactly why we are THE footballing city, just like we did back in 1989, we stood shoulder to shoulder hand in hand for one of our own. We stand united, Blue & Red as one.
Rest In Peace little man.
I would also like to offer condolences for the families of Anton Reid, the Walsall trainee who sadly collapsed and died whilst training, Ray Jones the QPR striker who was sadly killed in a car crash and finally to Antonio Puerta who collapsed during the match with Getafe and died earlier this week.
Like I have mentioned before in a previous article, one thing Shank’s may want to retract is that ‘œfootball is not a matter of life & death, nor is it more important’, it is JUST a game.