The Way We Were….

By Aitch

Memories, like the corners of my mind
Misty, water colored memories, of the way we were.
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind,
Smiles we gave to one another, for the way we were.
Can it be that it was all so simple then, or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me would we… could we…?

I have no idea what made me think of those lyrics. I don’t own a copy of the song. It’s not on my iPod.
I recognize it’s only marginally less gay, (not that there’s anything wrong with being gay if that’s your thing, its just not my bag) in a football forum, than quoting lyrics to say, a Judy Garland song.
Its could be a slippery slope that leads to me comparing Kenny to “the very model of a modern major general”

But I think there’s an odd aspect to being a Liverpool fan, that is inescapably tied to memories…
…and maybe that’s been even heightened due to the fact that Kenny Dalglish being Liverpool manager, is a constant reminder of something none of us really need reminding of…
… just how very, very good the 80s Liverpool F.C. was…
… and the inevitable comparisons that brings.

It was always going to happen…
… unfair comparisons of today’s LFC to 1980’s LFC
… unfair comparisons of today’s LFC players to 1980’s players
… unfair comparisons of today’s LFC ownership/board to 1980’s ownership/board
… unfair comparisons of today’s Kenny to 1980’s Kenny

…and it is unfair… simply because 2012 is NOT 1980.

The league is different… not just structurally and financially, but from 3 points for a win, to the no back pass rule.
Our prominence in the league is different.
The media coverage of it all is different.

Some suggest that we must win the Premier League because we haven’t won it for 20 years.
Some suggest we must win the Premier League to regain our “perch”.
I get the arguments… and to some extent I even agree with them… but I want to win the Premier league, simply to win the Premier League.
Not because I’ve seen us lift a title, and want to see it again….
…. not because I haven’t seen us lift it for 20 years…
… not because it wasn’t called the Premier League the last time we won it…
…but simply coz it’s the top prize, and I want LFC to be winning prizes.

So I get it… I do.
But I don’t get how people can let that desire for the title cloud their judgment of winning cups, any cups… an egg cup with an LFC logo on it… if its there to be won… win it and get it in the cabinet.

We won an FA Cup semi-Final … we beat Everton to do it…
… and the muted response to that victory form certain sections of our fan base really shocked me.

Let’s be clear about something here.
The title is what we ALL want…
…it is a bold statement to suggest I speak for every LFC fan … but in this singular, particular instance, I can….
… there isn’t a single Liverpool fan out there… from Anfield to Anaheim, Bootle to Bombay, Crosby to Cape Town, etc. you get the idea, that does not want the title, does not treat the title as the #1 goal/target.
… but Liverpool Football club is among the most successful clubs in the world, not just because of its title haul, but because of all those shiny trophies that sit alongside the titles in what was a Trophy Room, but is now a Museum.

Think about that for a moment…
…we don’t have a trophy cabinet…
…we don’t have a trophy room…
…we have a Museum!
… a fuckin stocked full of silverware Museum!
… and its not a Museum of past successes as some would suggest.

Spurs have past successes. Everton have past successes.
Aston Villa just dropped out of some sort of Euro “top 20” clubs listing… that’s a club living on its past.

Liverpool’s successes are recent… the Treble in 2001, The Champions League in 2005, a few Carling and FA Cups sprinkled in there…. And appearances in at least a half-dozen other finals.
That is not the recent form of an unsuccessful club… of a mediocre mid-table club.

This is not about me being a better fan than anyone, but honestly… when it comes to LFC’s reputation… Sky distributed the cool-aid and a lot of our fans willingly drank of it.

We finished 7th last season and will finish somewhere between 7th and 10th this season…. And that simply isn’t good enough.
It isn’t. Period. All in agreement. End of discussion.

But how you allow that to pour clouds in your coffee (seriously? …a Carly Simon reference? WTF?) when looking at a Carling Cup already won, and an FA Cup final achieved at the expense of Everton, is something I simply do not understand.

If its simply that you’re a miserable git and want to be left alone in yer misery, so be it… but I’d much rather “look on the bright side of life”
(Life of Brian, now that’s more like it.)

There are 20 teams in the Premier League
… only LFC already has silverware in the bag, AND the possibility to bag a 2nd.
1 of 2 teams WILL win the title, the other will end the season with nothing.
Only 1 other team has two remaining chances to win something, if they fail on both counts they finish with nothing, and LFC stand in their way of one of those chances.

We may well finish the league campaign in a very poor position, but we have hardly become some sort of insignificant mid-table team.

7th isn’t good enough… you’ll get no argument from me.
But I usually find the implication in that statement being that Kenny or anyone at LFC somehow thinks it is.
I don’t know Kenny, I’ve never met him… but I’m fairly confident in suggesting he probably thinks 7th isn’t good enough for LFC… and that he’ll be working behind the scenes to rectify things next season.
The expression on Henderson’s face at the end of the disappointing/infuriating West Brom result suggested that even a young lad from Sunderland (a real midtable team) thinks it isn’t good enough.

I know people don’t want to hear about us hitting the post 42 times this season.
I know 42 times we’ve missed scoring.
But that crossbar hit from Henderson, came back off the bar, hit the goalkeeper in the arse and actually bounced 90 degrees from the goal… it was almost physically impossible for it to do so, and yet it did.
Compare that to the shot that hit the post, then bounced in off the back of Pepe’s head.
The best team in the world can hit the post 3 times, and a proven goalscorer can miss a penalty and get knocked out of the Champions League… sometimes luck fucks you in one game… sometimes it fucks you over a season.

There’s a lot that’s wrong with Liverpool Football Club.
I can’t escape the impression that a lot of people thought that the minute the gavel dropped on G&H, and FSG stepped in, that everything was gonna be hunky dory.
Well it wasn’t, and it isn’t, and it probably isn’t going to be for a while yet.

FSG for all their supposed good intentions are not football men. They have sought (by their own admission) information and opinion on how to proceed with LFC, and they’ve sought that information from a wide array of sources, with a varying opinion on what’s best for LFC.
They’re gonna need to filter all that and decide on the right course of action… but again, remember that these are men with no history or knowledge of the sport, let alone the club…
… last summer’s investment was 40 million not 100… player sales accounted for the other 60… sell to buy… same as it ever was (eh? Talking Heads… eh?)
… since FSG took over they sold Torres and added 10 million to it. And provided 40 million to a grab-bag of player sales. What Kenny’s (or a replacement’s) budget will be this summer is anyone’s guess, with or without Comolli.

No … this is not 1980’s Liverpool run by Peter Robinson, with a direct descendent line of Shanks to Paisley to Fagan to Kenny… all pulling in the same direction with the same goals…

…this is the LFC2K of Hicks and Gillete, of Parry and Purslow… of every man for himself, of whispers in players ears… of undermining self interests on ever shifting sands… and of Hodg, oh dear god… of Hodg…

… 2 years… well 18 months really, was never gonna be enough time to correct all that damage…
… so “good owners” and Kenny aside, mistakes have been made and mistakes are gonna be made…
… our job in all this is to remember “the way we were”…
… the highs of our climb to the top in the 60s, in the 70s, in the 80s…
… but how we stumbled in the 90s, regained our feet and then got tripped up in the late 00s…
…. and yes, we’ve run down some dead end roads in those recent times…
… but we did so on the bumpy dirt trails, the potholed roads, the washed out bridges, and in a vehicle that self inflicted a leaking radiator, a broken water pump, punctured tires, a cracked windscreen, a malfunctioning heater, the loss of power steering and a ground out gear boxes…

We have had to endure all that in recent years…
… yet all while still winning 7 trophies, competing in 4 more finals, with one left to play, which could yet take the trophy count to 8 (and can we count semi’s, coz if we can… after all, 4th is supposed to be some great achievement, so how is a CL semi-final… the last 4 in the competition, not? Then you’re adding 4 more items to the list of achievements.) …all since 2000
…all while our competitors ran their businesses on sound financial footing. (and only 2 of those competitors can point to more than 7 trophies in 12 years.)

Rose-tinted revisionist history… or a bit of perspective for “spoiled rich kids”?

We want the title, we need the title sooner rather than any later.
You’ll get no argument from me on that.
How we go about “demanding it” is where I seem to be opting for a different route.

We’ve been close a few times, and so it can seem some seasons, like we get further from it… but we’re still a top club, with a LOT to be proud of… and we will get there.

“America isn’t easy. America, is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center-stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.”

…that’s from the movie The American President…
… and you know what…
…since George Gillette and Tom Hicks rode into Liverpool…
Liverpool hasn’t been easy.
Liverpool has been advanced citizenship.
We’ve had to want it bad, ’cause it has put up a fight.
It has far too often been about saying, You want to support Rafa (or now Kenny)? Let’s see you acknowledge fans whose words make your blood boil, who stand center-stage and advocate their dismissal at the top of their lungs.
Even when that voice grew ever increasingly extreme, those of us who would spend a lifetime opposing such opinions were still expected to even-handedly discuss and debate it, rather than oppose it at the top of our lungs…. coz when we did, somehow that made us Superfans, or Uberfans.

… but honestly… Liverpool HAS been easy…
… take a deep breath and think about Everton fans for a moment…
… okay, now when you’ve stopped laughing…
… think about being an Aston Villa fan…
… a Bolton fan…
…god forbid a Wolves fan, the poor fuckers…
…even an Arsenal fan… how many trophies have they won in the last 12 years, with their regular champions league appearances, in their shiny new stadium, with their silky skills and admirable French youngsters?

When Spurs broke into the top 4 they spent a shedload to do it… at least Newcy did it on a budget, they’ll have achieved something if they finish 4th.
I look at Newcastle this season and I think, (since we’re out of it) go on then, take it, take 4th place and best of luck to you… coz that achievement is not indicative of some new Newcy dynasty… I doubt they’ll be as strong next season in both the Prem and the Champions League.

Spurs haven’t kicked on from last season… and with speculation hanging over the heads of their manager and senior players like Modric, Bale Van Der Vaart and Adebayor… next season could hold a bigger question mark for them than it holds for us… and what have they won lately?
Anything? …Beuhler… Beuler?
(have I made up for the Streisand yet?)

Yes its gnawing to the bone that the Mancs have won so much, and that the Chavs continue to buy things…
… but those two groups of cunts… errr, I meant fans… are the only ones in the Prem that have more to dance and sing about than us… and they don’t!
Not one song for Slur Alex, or Scholes or Giggs..

Nah… sorry lads… but Manc co-workers aside… being a Reds fan is fuckin easy.
We’re spoiled rotten to the core… spoiled as fuck and we need to take the silver spoon out of our mouths long enough to recognize it.
That’s not a suggestion that we get complacent about our title dreams.
It all too often gets twisted that way…. Its just a suggestion that we inject a bit of perspective into the discussion.

… later in that same American President monolgue it says this…
“We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who’s to blame for it.“

We do have serious problems to solve… still… just as we did 3 or 4 years ago… when far too loud a voice among our fanbase suggested Rafa Benitez was the problem and getting rid of him and bringing in good old Roy Hodgson was the solution.

I appeal to every Liverpool football fan to not make the same mistake in giving FSG (men who don’t know footy yet) ANY excuse to even think for one fleeting second, that getting rid of Kenny Dalglish (who does know football) is the way to solve our current problems.

We’ve had a bad league campaign… no doubt… no one argues that.
But it has been offset by a very decent double cup campaign.
And we ARE better off than we were under Hodgson.
We DO have a better squad under Kenny than under Hodgson.
And the last thing we need is for someone else to come in and start all over.

Hold Fast. Keep the Faith. Support.
… and maybe, just maybe… the way we were… you know…
… standing in front of St George’s Hall watching Shanks talk about winning the FA Cup
…will be where we ARE….
…Not just watching Kenny and his team hoist One, and possibly still two, Cups in that same location…
…but at the beginning of something great…
…like when Shanks and his successors went on to parade a nearly unprecedented series of them…

Time has rewritten every line…
… but Kenny only just got handed the sheet music and new lyrics… give him time…
Hold Fast. Keep the Faith. Support.

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