Posts Tagged ‘Liverpool’

The manner of Dalglish’s sacking at the hands of FSG will seem very familiar for Newcastle United fans.

The owners of a well-supported club installed their final manager before selling up and moving on, much to the delight of the club’s vast fanbase. The club’s new owners are wealthy benefactors who promise a return to the glory days and instantly back the manager they inherited, only to relieve him of his duties after just 6 months in charge. The manager wasn’t popular with the fans and the new owners knew as much.

Now the owners – wanting to win over the club’s fans – decide to bring back the club legend in a move hailed as ‘The return of the King’. Said legend served the club with distinction as a player and later as manager, yet he’s been out of the game for years. Some question his credentials in today’s modern game. The fans claim he understands the club like no one else. The good times are set to return…

Well… that’s what was supposed to happen anyway. In reality the club legend briefly restored the fans’ passion and pride in the team before being unceremoniously dumped, much to the outrage of the faithful.

The club I’m referring to? Well, it has to be Liverpool, surely, and FSG’s hiring and firing of ‘King’ Kenny Dalglish. You’re only half right. For those departing, unwanted owners, instead of Hicks & Gilett, read Shepherd & Hall. For Hodgson’s disastrous 6-month tenure, read Sam Allardyce. The new owners universally welcomed with open arms? For FSG at Liverpool read Mike Ashley at Newcastle. As for that club legend, well, for King Kenny, read instead King Kev – former Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan.

For a while now I’ve been following FSG’s tenure at Liverpool with much interest, mainly because I felt like I’d seen it all before. As it turns out, in a way, I have. As a Newcastle fan I watched Mike Ashley arrive to a hero’s welcome before he gained even more fan popularity by dumping the unwanted Sam Allardyce before he could even negotiate the 3rd Round of the FA Cup in 2007/08. Allardyce, after half a season in charge, was axed on the 9th of January.  Almost 3 years to the day later, Roy Hodgson departed Liverpool in similar circumstances.

In stepped Messrs Keegan and Dalglish, both of whom saved their respective clubs’ seasons from disaster by the end of the campaign in May. Both were also given Directors of Football to work with, put in charge of player transfers & scouting. In hindsight, perhaps the appointments of Dennis Wise and Damien Comolli showed an inherent lack of trust from the two clubs’ owners in their newly appointed managers to spend their money, especially at Newcastle.

Eight months after returning to Newcastle, Keegan was gone, with the club subsequently admitting in court that they had undermined their manager and lied to the fans. It turned out Mike Ashley wanted to run the club on a budget, whilst Keegan wanted to continue Freddy Shepherd’s policy of paying top dollar for ageing stars past their peak.

Needless to say, despite the blip – or blessing in disguise – of relegation in 2009, Ashley got his way and the rewards are there for all to see.

The only difference, it seems, between the start of Mike Ashley’s Newcastle tenure and that of his American counterparts at Liverpool, is that Ashley was ruthless enough to realise his blunder of appointing Keegan and to ditch him before he could spend any of his money.

The same cannot be said of FSG, who let Dalglish spend over £100m on overpriced British players who spectacularly failed to deliver last season, leading Liverpool to their worst Premier League finish since 1994.

FSG, with their history of implementing the low-budget ‘Moneyball’ scouting and transfer techniques in baseball, will be looking to use Mike Ashley’s Newcastle blueprint – minus relegation – to propel the Anfield side back into the Champions League.

For the fans, the departure of the King may not seem the right move at the moment, I know, but trust me, I’ve been there before. Perhaps it’s for the best.

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“Forget Andy Carroll – he is not for sale at any price!”

‘Toon Insider’: November 2010

 

“When I sat down with Derek Llambias last night, Andy Carroll came up and he stays”

Alan Pardew: 9th December 2010

 

“He loves it here and loves the fans – long may it continue.”

Alan Pardew: 21st December 2010

 

“They can put together whatever they like. He is not for sale. I am going to say it for one last time, he is not for sale”

Alan Pardew: 17th January 2011

 

“He’s tired of saying how much he wants to stay.”

Evening Chronicle – TODAY 31st January 2011

 

“A transfer request from striker Andy Carroll has been accepted by Newcastle United.”

Official Newcastle United Website – 31st January 2011

 

A crazy transfer deadline day has so far brought with it rumour and counter-rumour galore, mainly revolving around Fernando Torres’ impending departure from Liverpool to Chelsea. With Liverpool having £50m burning a hole in their pockets and their distraught fanbase to appease, they have moved to replace Torres with Newcastle’s number 9 and Local Hero, Andy Carroll. The day started with rumours of a £30 million bid from Liverpool for the Gateshead-born talisman. This bid was supposedly rejected with Newcastle setting an asking price of £35million for their young striker.

By the late afternoon, Skyports News reported that Newcastle had “reluctantly” accepted a transfer request from Andy Carroll as he headed towards Merseyside for a medical. The transfer fee for Carroll is rumoured to be in the region of £35+ million with potential future additional payments. You would hope that Newcastle, taking heed from the Milner-Man City transfer will have included a sizeable sell-on fee clause, so that the club can profit in the event that Carroll should move on again in the future. The news of Carroll’s sale will spark a mixed reaction amongst Toon fans, with the player undoubtedly a fantastic, local prospect worthy of potentally emulating Alan Shearer as the club’s record goalscorer. However, £35 million plus is an incredible amount of money and should Carroll sign for the Reds before Torres puts pen to paper with Chelsea then he will become the most expensive player in British football history and the 8th most expensive in the world. For a player that has 14 top-flight goals and one international cap to his name, it is a phenomenal price, achieved purely as a knock-on effect of Torres relocation to London. Considering Carroll was supposedly offered around to clubs for a a paltry £1m only 18 months ago, the deal represents a great profit for Newcastle, but also underlines the immense improvement in Andy Carroll’s game since Newcastle were relegated in 2009.

He may hail from Gateshead but Carroll is far from the Angel of The North

The hurt for Newcastle fans will be tempered somewhat by Carroll’s apparent desire to leave, proven by  his decision to hand in a transfer request. Although the player wanted to leave and the price is an incredibly good one for Newcastle, the real reaction from Newcastle fans will come from the clubs response in replacing Carroll. With such little time left in this window, it is highly unlikely that the Magpies will be able to buy a high-calibre replacement, so a loan deal for an out-of favour striker from elsewhere in the Premier League seems likely, although rumours linking Peter Crouch with a move to the North-East seem unlikely as Spurs are themselves looking to bolster their attacking ranks having let Robbie Keane go on loan to West Ham. Newcastle may have to wait until the summer to sign Carroll’s replacement and will then be able to benefit from the lower summer transfer window prices.

Liverpool are getting themselves a very good player with undoubted talent and potential, yet £35 million is an incredibly big millstone around his neck and should he fail to hit the ground running, there will be plenty of doubters ready to criticise the Geordie and make him a scapegoat after the loss of their beloved Torres. Whether or not the pony-tailed striker can carry the weight of expectation that will follow him remains to be seen. Whether Newcastle can recover from the loss of their highest goalscorer and one of their best players also remains to be seen. The only way Newcastle can move on is through shrewd reinvestment of the Carroll transfer fee in developing the squad: Anything else will spell disaster for the Mags.