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Once Upon A Time

If ever I’ve had a ‘hunch’, it was back in late 2004. Liverpool scraped through the group stage of the European Cup – and I do mean scraped. They needed to win the final game of the six game stage by two clear goals. At the end of the first half, they were losing 1-0, and needed three. It was a thrilling second half though.

My hunch got stronger come the game at Anfield against Juventus, but even by then I’d decided that I wouldn’t be booking my ticket to come live in Mexico till after the European Cup final in mid May. Just in case…

It was a good decision. Liverpool got through to the final. The greatest final, it transpired, in European football history. I never get tired of watching it. The video below is a mash up I found today. It’s hard to believe it was more than five years ago.

There have been some glorious moments since then. Thrashing Real Madrid in the quarter finals 4-0. The 2006 F.A. Cup Final. Putting four past Manchester Utd. And a half dozen classics against Chelsea. If you only click on one of the links though, click on this one.

But how it’s all gone wrong. We started last season favourites to win the English Premier League, and one of the favourites to win the European Cup. We finished a shocking 7th in the former, and didn’t make it past the group stage in the latter. Manager Benitez got the bullet, and the search for a new manager began.

The search shouldn’t have included Roy Hodgson. Experienced, yes. At mediocrity and failure. As he is capably demonstrating this season, having gotten the job. The sooner he’s fired the better. Bring back King Kenny. But there are bigger problems. The American owners, who have done a fine job of destroying the club, are about to have it taken off of them by the banks. Which may mean administration, a 9 point deduction in the league….is relegation really so far fetched?

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4 thoughts on “Once Upon A Time

  1. Obet says:

    It’s not a nice memory for me that day….I turn off the TV when the Milan’s third goal comes, it was only until the night of the day that I noticed that I miss one of the best finals in the history of UEFA Champions League….I hate myself the rest of the week.

    Epic video, tears on my eyes.

    ¿What happened with Dudek?

    Like

  2. Brian says:

    I do not know if it is the owners who destroyed this club, never mind if they are American or not? Benitez claims owners know/knew nothing about football, why is he talking to them about the team anyway, besides asking for more money? The owners have put out the money for the team, players are being paid I believe. I don’t think this really would not be an issue if the club was winning. The players are the ones who need to step it up. I think they are just grasping for anything to justify a poor start and really need to point the finger at the players whom seem to not be playing 100 percent. That to me is the coaches job. Or, perhaps it is because Torres cut his long hair this year, lol, who knows really.

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    • I’ll take your points on one at a time.

      Is it the owners who have destroyed the club (or, more accurately, are seriously damaging and jeopardizing its existence) and does it matter that they are Americans? Yes, on both counts. And no, there’s no xenophobia on my part for the latter point.

      Hicks and Gillett made several promises when buying the club. Firstly, that they wouldn’t be borrowing huge sums of money and securing it on the club. They lied, and did just that. They promised money for a new stadium, but didn’t deliver. Turned out they didn’t have the money, and suddenly lost the ability to borrow even more. They have financially mismanaged the club, and having fallen out with each other shortly after the purchase, have put their grudges above the interests of the club. They’ve put very little into the club since the initial buy out, and borrowed money to buy players. I could go on, but that’s enough.

      In theory, it shouldn’t matter that they are Americans. However, like the Glazers at Man Utd, they’ve bought into a historic piece of sporting history with the sole purpose of turning as much profit as possible, and their fortunes and handling of the clubs mirrors, to a certain degree, the catastrophic economic downturn.

      Those two points are key. In England, buying a football club is not about maximising personal profit. Football transcends politics, economies and business in the hearts and minds of football fans in the UK. They didn’t understand what they were buying into, and have reaped the ‘reward’.

      No one likes bankers these days, right? In a general manner of speaking. Take a few of the most unpopular names. The Lehmans chap…Dick Feld? Hicks, Gillett and the Glazers are considered equally as contemptible and fraudulent by the fans of the clubs, with some justification.

      I’ll glue those two points together now to explain exactly why it matters that they are Americans. Whenever someone travels abroad, they are ambassadors. Every nations and culture has its good points and its bad points. America has its bad points too.

      Hicks, Gillet and the Glazers’ represent everything that is perceived* as ‘bad’ about the US. And they’ve brought the ‘American disease’ to out shores and inflicted it on much loved institutions. The US couldn’t have a worse bunch of ambassadors.

      *Parts of my response contains details of perceptions by the public in the UK and by football fans, and also my own personal opinions, but not necessarily both at the same time.

      Benitez was a master tactician but an absolute joke in the transfer market. This season has started with a huge shadow over the club, which I think has affected performances on the pitch. However, the players haven’t done as well as they can, and the appointment of Hodgson was foolish.

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