Below is probably the first ever blog that I wrote. It was partly, originally, a post on a Football Forum. But, I posted it on the Liverpoolfc.tv The Kop.
Since then, after reading it, I don’ think my opinion on the whole saga has changed so much. Maybe slightly, but I think it is better to read it, in all it’s glory. Just try to rewind back to that last day of the January transfer window.
It may not have the same effect as it would have had after those insane few days, but feel free to read it anyway.
Well, what a mental, crazy, insane few days. There are no words to describe what all kicked off on Friday. I just can’t believe it all, but I have to, as it happened.
It was late Thursday night, that the brilliant Tony Barrett, was reporting that Chelsea had made a bid, and we had rejected it. I was sat in work, with a copy of the Times printing another trusted article, while my colleagues had copies of The S*n, Daily Fail, and every other made up story going. I was brushing it under the carpet. We rejected Chelsea’s bid, we move on, right? We have been in this situation before, haven’t we?
That all changed when the shock wave came, and it was a shock wave, that Torres wanted to go. The transfer request was handed in. I, like many didn’t want to believe it, but soon it all came apparent. He wanted to go.
Friday night was plagued with “Why?”, why now? Why Chelsea? Anger, disappointment, frustration, every feeling you can think of I think we all went through, and still we don’t have the true answer “Why”.
There is no doubt the relationship between the club and the player, had broken down. The club being our former owners and directors. Maybe even some of our current players, and staff. We were a long way from the club that he had joined back in 2007. Two Champions League Finals in 3 years, and an FA Cup. Building a league title challenging side, which we came so close to in 2009. But since then, Nando has seen players go, and be replaced by inferior ones. He has been let down. And this is without mentioning the rumour (which even Reina hinted at in his Spanish World Cup book), that Nando was almost forced to play against his will last season. Well, it wasn’t even that, he was lied to by the medical staff (under instruction from Cecil), that he “had to be fit, we need to be in the Champions League”.
He was very close to leaving in the summer, and right to the wire, we all had a hanging feeling that he was going. But we had other worries at the time. The ownership was a huge question, our signings were very poor in the main. And our manager? Well the less said, the better.
But NESV/FSG came in, talking the right way, about rebuilding the club. Soon Roy was gone too, and the King returned. Everything felt right at the club, we were on our way back, but it was going to be a very long road. And come Friday of last week, one Fernando didn’t want to take.
His vision is to win trophies. Our vision is to win trophies. But, we are, if we like it or not, behind Chelsea. Yes, they have a huge rebuilding process themselves to maintain their status, but, the short term, they have much better prospects than us. And where Nando is in his career, after all his let downs here, it was one he couldn’t pass up on.
Onto Suarez, who is a guy we have clearly been interested in for a while. Young, hungry (no bite jokes), and clearly an exceptional talent. This guy was signed to play with Nando, and I think up until Friday, that he would have done (for a few months, at least).
Chelsea’s late pursuit for Torres changed all that though. The “why now?” is probably easily answered, under the Financial Fair Play rules. Any signings made this January, wouldn’t influence Chelsea future spending in 2013 under the new regulations. A push now, would also fire them back into the title race. And of course, they are still in the Champions League. This was too good an opportunity (like it or not) for Torres to pass up.
The way it played out after that was no surprise. “Turncoat”, “Judas”, and much worse was aimed at Torres, “why now, and why them?” we asked once again. Us, the fans, had a right to feel angry, and disappointed. Through all his problems with the club, owners, and god knows who else, we have stuck by him. He was worshipped by us, we never let him down, ever. Out of form, missing sitters, the Torres bounce would still roar.
But Torres had fell out of love with Liverpool Football Club, and saw that in the next few years, he had a better chance to win trophies with Chelsea. It is that simple. I very much doubt (although he got a pay rise) was it anything other than that. Torres felt he owed nothing to the club, unfortunately, the fans are the one that feel the pain.
Time moves on, and fast forward to deadline day. I think any club “wanting to sell” would want to be linked with Liverpool. It was clear, we had some money to spend, and we had to work quickly to spend it. If I was asked, at the turn of the year, would I have taken £50m for Fernando Torres? “No way, he is worth so much more than that, not just as a player, as an icon, and someone to build our future around”. But his decision changed that feeling, no one else.
£50m was a massive price, and one we had to accept he was going for. If Chelsea do win the Champions League, or once again, the League, only then will you be able to question “Was he worth it?” that will be the yard stick that this transfer is measured against.
So, with this £50m burning a hole in our pocket, we had targets to look at. I genuinely believe, while Torres has had this at the back of his mind since the summer, it was only on Friday that he decided he wanted out. Which meant we hadn’t prepared for a replacement. Again, under the FFP rules, we simply had to spend this money now. I have explained multiple times why, and I will try to do so again below.
Lets just say you sell your car for £10,000 in January. You don’t see a car you like, so you are happy to put up with public transport for 6 months, as that is when there will be some better bargains around, right? Your £10,000 can sit there, waiting for the big summer spending spree.
However, new rules are on their way. You can only spend what you earn in a year, irrespective of what else you have saved. And the year starts July-July, not January to January. In 2013, you will not be allowed to drive (in football terms, not allowed to play in UEFA competitions) if you are “over-spending” on what you earn. And they will look back at your last 2 years spending (from Summer 2011-Summer 2013).
You decide to take the punt, and spend your £10,000, and hope that your wage will increase to compensate for it. But you have a car, for 2 years. In 2 years, you may not be able to drive it. You also wont be able to buy any other luxuries for 2 years.
If only you had spent that £10,000 in the January? You would have then had more money “free” from your salary to spend in the summer, maybe on a holiday, a motor bike, or whatever. OK, you may have over paid in January, but you would have had a car, other luxuries, and unlikely been banned from driving.
Which brings me nicely onto, Andy Carroll. £35m is a huge asking price, just look at the names he sits with. Crespo, Shevchenko, Villa, Torres, Kaka, Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic. All astronomical sums of money. But people need to look at the market then, and the market now. The situations in those transfers. And what happened.
Every other name there, was a summer move. A player that moved onto to move their career forward. Every deal would have been negotiated over the summer (or before). All talented footballers, that you can justify (at the time, some not so now) spending all that money on. Carroll is very different.
He isn’t as good as any of those names (time will tell if he could be, he is only 21, remember). But we had 24 hours to close a deal, with a club that didn’t “need or want to sell”. We had to act quickly, very quickly, to close off this deal. Our number 9 was moving, we had to sign a new one. And sitting on the money till the summer, could cause us more problems, and in a strange way “restrict” our spending till the summer (if you don’t get it now, then you never will).
So a bid was made. Rejected. An increased bid, rejected. Transfer request, accepted. And things went quickly from there. We were also actively trying to spend the rest of the £50m, on Adam, and on on good authority (Tony Barrett), Ashley Young. Waiting till the summer, would mean the money would in some strange way, “disappear”. So paying over the odds now, was wise.
So, Andy Carroll, what have we bought? I am sure Newcastle fans can tell you, we have bought one brilliant talent. OK, a loose cannon, prone to mistakes off the pitch, but so has Gerrard. So did Fowler. So have many young talented footballers. But, the move away from Newcastle could be the best thing for him. I was at St James Park in December, and he was outstanding. A real menace, a handful, and his goal from 25 yards out, was fantastic. We really do have a potential player on our hands here, forget the price, and I can’t wait to see him develop.
As the Carroll deal closed, the Nando one was announced. People tried to twist his words, making it seem worse than it all was, but his interview was strange. If he went abroad, in the summer, I’d wish him all the best. But I can’t now, not at Chelsea. And no, it isn’t because of the rivalry that has developed over the recent years. That would be bitter.
It is because he is joining a rival to where we want to be. A Champions League spot. Maybe, in a few years, the Premier League itself. For that reason, I don’t want him to play well, just like I don’t want United, Spurs, Arsenal, and City players to play well. Certainly not week in, week out.
Finally, and this is a long post, if someone said to me on Thursday, we would have Carroll and Suarez, and no Torres, I would have laughed. But what happened on Friday, changed everything, We had to act quickly, and we endeavoured to make the best of a really bad situation. We pushed for more in Ashley Young, and Charlie Adam, but we couldn’t close them all.
The only disappointment I have in all of this, is that we couldn’t bring in another one. But, I truly believe, we tried to do all we could to close any deal. We can’t force Villa and Blackpool to sell.
It has been a dark few years off the pitch. That all changed in the autumn of last year. And now we have the King at the helm, and our want away striker out, it is time to look forwards. Welcome Carroll, and Suarez. Torres? Thanks for the memories, no thanks for ruining them.