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WELL RED INDEPENDENT LFC SUPPORTERS’ MAGAZINE No.8 JUNE/JULY 2011
CONTENTS 4 Red round up 6 Kenny is boss 8 Kenny love 10 Over to you, Damien 12 What now for LFC? 22 David Fairclough 26 Europe won’t be missed 28 Brian Reade 34 Developing players 36 Don Draper & LFC 38 Pepe Reina 41 The team that never was 44 Gerrard: Past it? 48 Karen Gill 50 Nice pair... 54 Jay Spearing 56 Case for the defence 58 LFC accounts 60 A Red in Japan 62 Life in LIverpool Matches
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From puzzling over Hicks and Gillett to completing jigsaws
THE FINAL piece in the jigsaw. How many times have we heard that down the years? Paul Ince was the final piece in the jigsaw (bit of bite in midfield). Fernando Torres was the final piece in the jigsaw (natural goalscorer).
After what we’ve been through in recent years, it’s become obvious that the jigsaw isn’t just about players.
To achieve success you need the right owners, the right manager AND the right players. Having the fans on board and believing in the direction of the club completes the circle.
That’s where we are now. Kenny Dalglish has been confirmed as Liverpool manager in what is arguably the best decision taken at the top since the last time the King was appointed to the job in 1985.
A legend, who truly understands the club, is at the helm. There’s nothing to worry about any more, nothing to fret about.
There’s a promising bunch of kids emerging from the academy and no longer are the minds at Melwood and Kirkby at odds with each other. Now, to borrow one of those horrible management cliches, everyone is on the same page.
So now we can talk about the jigsaw again. About how we can solve the 21-year-old puzzle of how to bring back the league title to Anfield.
And if ever there was a need for more motivation, a glance down the M62 (and a look at the celebrations in Surrey) was all that was needed.
Under Hicks and Gillett we’d thrown the jigsaw pieces away and burnt the box.
Now, slowly but surely, it feels like something good at Liverpool is building.
The picture’s far from complete but what we can see so far looks good.
The season of course, like the last campaign, ended on a sour note with a disappointing result away from home, this time defeat to Villa, that time a draw with already relegated Hull.
But this time when the final whistle sounded things couldn’t have been more different.
Even in defeat at Villa Park, there were smiles. That wasn’t our day but our day will come.
That’s what the Kenny Dalglish-led rejuvenation of Liverpool has given us. Hope.
The form under Kenny projected across the season would have seen us qualify for the Champions League.
The rise from 12th to sixth was nothing short of miraculous after the Hodgson-inspired worst start to a season since 1957.
Roy-lover Danny Murphy might think the team was playing without any pressure but he should know better – there’s always pressure at Liverpool, the key is how it’s dealt with.
Under Hodgson it was a burden, an excuse. Now it’s a motivation. Something to thrive on, a reason to push yourself for more.
There’s no need for detailed analysis sometimes – it’s simple: the players are trying more. They’re enjoying their football. They believe in Kenny Dalglish, Steve Clarke and the rest of the team – their smiles say so.
A year ago the club was in crisis. Going the match was a chore and the players looked like they’d rather be somewhere else, too.
Rafa Benitez was a dead man walking. Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres were considering their futures and the club was giving financial guarantees it could fufil its fixtures for the following campaign.
Debt, the threat of administration, Hicks and Gillett – it hung over Anfield like a huge cloud, casting a shadow over everything to do with Liverpool.
The summer was not spent idly thumbing through pages of transfer speculation or laughing at attention-seeking ‘In The Knows’ scattergunning names around the internet in a desperate attempt to be first to predict a signing.
Instead for many it was spent plotting and planning. Dreaming up new and innovative ways of exposing what was being done to Liverpool Football Club and deciding the best course of action to try and stop it.
Last May, at the KC Stadium, Steven Gerrard fought his way through home supporters who had invaded the pitch to wave to Liverpool’s travelling support.
It was seen by many to be his final farewell in a red shirt. This time, Gerrard was part of the travelling support, sporting a beaming smile. No one expects him, or any of Liverpool’s top players, to leave this summer.
Instead everyone is rubbing their hands in glee and counting down the hours to the new campaign.
Liverpool are not a selling club. Not a club in crisis. Not a club being torn apart by self-serving suits and not a club ready to pander to what the media want.
Football is awash with a sea of statistics, not all of them relevant or useful. But some do tell a story, such as this: Under Roy Hodgson Liverpool scored 24 goals in 20 games. Under Kenny Dalglish Liverpool scored 35 goals in 18.
Dalglish has instilled belief and confidence in the players he’s got. Now he needs better players. And so all eyes turn to Fenway Sports Group.
John Henry and Tom Werner have handled themselves well so far. No cringeworthy boasting, no flashing the cash to the cameras or striding around in fresh off the shelf scarves.
They’ve clearly got commercial nouse (and they’ve whacked up the prices for next season, cheers fellas) while they have a track record of sporting success with the Boston Red Sox.
But there’s still an element of the unknown about FSG.
The group is made up of 19 partners (according to the admittedly not always reliable Wikipedia) and we know little of them. So how much cash have they got? How skilled are they, or Damien Comolli, at sealing deals?
And what will be the impact of the Financial Fair Play rules? Can we really go on this spending spree everyone seems to be predicting (up to 22 deals in and out according to a report in The Telegraph)?
These questions and more will be answered this summer. Fans are looking for a statement of intent – let’s hope FSG make it.
Too many close seasons have passed by when huge mistakes have been made (think Diouf, Diao, Aquilani).
The FSG approach, on paper at least, seems to be about minimising risk, buying young and targeting players that are the right ‘fit’ for the club – in terms of injury records, attitude, commitment and the rest.
In this issue, we ask journalists, fans, website owners and bloggers who they would like to see Liverpool buy, where we need to strengthen and what we should be aiming for next season. Most of the solutions are expensive and most of the aspirations are high. But that’s how it should be.
And what’s important is we now have a team at the top that understands that and seems determined to get Liverpool back where it should be – winning trophies.
Enjoy the summer and roll on next season.