It's a long one, so if you can't be bothered, move on
Over the last few months, a lot has been made about our dismal league campaign last season.
There's a very clear split on this board:
a) Those who blame the manager/tactics
b) Those who blame the owners/investment
The third element, and the one I hold most accountable is often overlooked.
The eleven blokes who pull on that Red shirt each week and ought to run through walls, sweat blood and spills tears for the cause.
Only, they don't. Not even close.
A lot is now being made of the transfer policy of the owners, and in particular the wage structure. The fact that the owners won't be held to ransom by players and agents demanding £100k plus per week. The fact that if we don't sign star names we run the risk of losing our own stars.
But who are they? Who are these 'star players' people are worried about losing?
I can honestly say that there isn't a single player at the club right now that I would lose sleep over if they were sold. Might sound harsh - hell, I even expect to be called 'plastic' over that statement, but it's the truth. Not a single one of them can hold his head high and say that he gave everything for the club last season.
For instance, look at our awards for last season:
Player of the Year: Martin Skrtel
Supporters player of the Year: Lucas
Young player of the Year: Martin Kelly
Can't argue with any of those choices, but let's break them down:
Skrtel. Played 34 league games, scoring twice. Fair enough. But he was also part of a Liverpool central defence that conceded 47 goal in 38 games, the most in a league campaign since 1998/99.
Lucas. Was superb in the 12 league games he played before his injury. But to win Fans player of the Year (which I don't dispute) based on a dozen games speaks far more about the performances of those who played all season, that it does about Lucas' performances.
Kelly. The best of a bad bunch. Who else was up for the award? Henderson? Like Lucas, Martin won an award based on 12 league performances.
This for me highlights just how substandard our players were last season. People can blame the formation and the tactics, and to a degree I buy in to that, but at the same time, if a man taking home £30k a week to play football can't turn in a 1 and a half hour shift to the very best of his ability, he has no place at our club.
I have to work more than 3500 hours to earn what they do in a week. If I under performed for 5% of that time, I'd be lining up in the Job Centre come Monday.
Suarez was reportedly on £30k a week prior to his new contact. That's £1.5m of FSG's money every year. Some players are on treble that - £4.5m of FSG's money. But what are the owners getting for that? At those rates, I would estimate they are shelling out close to £60m every year on player wages, and getting little by way of effort back for that. If that were your money, what would you do? Throw more at it in the hope it improves things? Or take a step back, cut out a lot of the dead wood and build from solid foundations? I know which I'd do, which is why I back the owners.
Take a look at Everton and Newcastle - both who finished above us last season. Man for man, do they really have better players than us? I would strongly argue that they don't. But they were more successful than us in the league. Why is that? Because the players gave it everything. The fans can be proud of the likes of Jagielka, Baines, Jelavic, Fellaini, Cabaye, Tiote, Cisse, Coloccini, Ben Arfa etc. None of them are 'star players' in the sense that our fans would have been crying out for them before they went to their respective clubs (bar a handful who suggested we should sign Jelavic), but still fans are worried about us signing players of the same ilk rather than star names from La Liga or Serie A.
I guess my article has now split in two. Firstly, do any of the players who are at the club honestly deserve a shirt each week? Would you worry if we sold any of them?
Secondly, is shortsightedness causeing some of our fans to be snobbish over potential targets?
Just to make it clear, I was pro-Kenny, I am pro-Rodgers, I am pro-FSG and I point a fat finger at the players (collectively) for letting us down last season.
The Third Element