Can it please be 1st September so we can put this whole horrible saga to bed? Pleeease?
As I write this we have eleven tortuous days of speculation, offers and counter-offers, statement after statement, open letters, enough social media fume to a fuel a small nation and, worst of all, army upon army of the worst type of internet blowhards trying to make out they know more than they do.
I only know my own mind and that states, loudly and unreservedly, ‘Can we just play footy and end this farce?’
It’s simple really.
Jurgen: Buy some players we can actually buy or you’ll be trying to win the league with another tiny squad
Phil: Get used to the fact that you’re staying or the only World Cup action you’ll see is from a pundit’s chair.
There. Sorted. Not much to ask, is it?
The Coutinho story has been an extraordinary farrago of pantomime from start to finish. I’ve gone through several readings of it since last Friday. At first I was petrified that we would be losing yet another genius as we did with Suarez and Torres (and very nearly Gerrard in 2005) and I was all for the club throwing money at him for eternity as long as he stayed and advertised Western Union like the rest of our lads. Then he sent in a transfer request via email the day before the season started and I went the other way. With added anger. He can fuck off now. The prick.
(Incidentally, who the hell uses email to do that? I can’t get over the idea of him clicking on ‘New’ to open a fresh missive and typing ‘Dear Jurgen…’ rather than doing it face to face.)
Today it’s been reported that Barcelona have issued an ultimatum to the club, stating that unless it’s resolved by midnight (Sunday) then they’ll stop trying to do the thing we’ve already said they can’t do. Big threat, lads. I too have emailed the club (‘Dear People in Charge of Liverpool’) and withdrawn my availability to play centre-mid against Arsenal unless they guarantee me a season ticket in Block 305 of the Kop and dinner with Samantha Mumba on the pitch at the end of the game. I’ve not heard back.
Fenway are ‘damned if they do and damned if they don’t’ on this front. Personally, I was quite pleased when they rejected the last bid as they could be forgiven for taking this one. After all, they’ve managed to bump the price up and the player is unhappy so let’s just get it done and move on. No one would lose face, but they’ve decided that we keep our best players – particularly those under a long contract. I’m all for that as it would be a statement. Liverpool keeps its assets. We have no reason to sell as far as they’re concerned.
The manager may have an alternative view. He’s yet to say it in broad terms, but he’s more than hinted that he’s against FSG’s decision. It’s easy to see his point. Unhappy players are unwelcome in the dressing room and it would be embarrassing for all if Coutinho was carted off to train with the kids. Send him on his way and let the lads who want to stay get on with things.
In any case, this proves that his claim that he has the final word on transfers is nonsense. Remember this from last week.
‘This is a club decision, not mine.’
The money men are in charge and always will be.
To be honest, I grow ever weary of all parties involved. I just want Liverpool to play good football and win things. Isn’t that the wish of us all? Not the summer long humiliation to which the club are ever drawn.
That said, I’m disgusted at the player himself. I have no problem with wanting to go – it’s his choice after all – but doing that on the eve of the season is too much. What’s wrong with telling the manager after the Middlesbrough game back in May and sorting it all out from there? Oh, he’d be missed but there would be the move, the replacement, the open letter and inevitable PR tweet from his agent. As things stand he’s just shafted us with no time to go shopping. Well, obviously, there’s never any time to go shopping for Liverpool as we’re reluctant to buy anyone but you know what I mean.
Yesterday, at Anfield, someone held up a piece of cardboard with the words ‘YNWA. Please stay Coutinho. My hero.’ I looked at the sign rather than the person who wrote it and, I’ll admit, I rolled my eyes. Firstly, Coutinho would pay no attention to it at all. Secondly, I can’t get on with the crowd begging millionaires to play for the Reds and then, of course, there’s the comparison of those wool messages Chelsea held up about Rafa and Mourinho on Ipads or on laminated signs. Nah, not for me.
This morning Tony Barrett tweeted about it, stating:
‘I know the kid who made this sign. He’s only seven. This is what football – and footballers – means to him’
It’s changed my view completely.
That poor lad. He too, like so many of us, has placed his love and faith in people who can destroy both of those things with a click of a ‘Send’ button. He too will pray that every sulk from his heroes will not result in the worst thing in the world – the player leaving the club.
That sort of thing doesn’t end with the onset of teenage years. I was 33 when Robbie Fowler had his Melwood bust up with Phil Thompson in 2001 and I was still scared to look up the latest developments in the press just in case the news worsened. I was actually at Melwood (my Mum lives nearby) on the day when Fowler drove into training to apologise. I shouted a ‘Go ‘ed, Robbie’ or something similar as he navigated his silver Porsche through the gates. He gave me the thumbs up in reply. He obviously went in, sought out Thommo and apologised. More importantly, he was not sold. He lasted another three months at Liverpool and you can all thank me for that. If it wasn’t for my carefully worded shout of support he would have gone much earlier.
Okay, maybe not.
But all through that time my mind shrieked one thing ‘Don’t go, Robbie. Don’t go.’ I remade the final scene of the film Shane where the kid watches his hero leave.
I haven’t done that with Coutinho even though that poor kid who’s experiencing this thing for possibly the first time undoubtedly is. As far as I’m concerned if Coutinho doesn’t want to help Liverpool win the League he can go. I spend far too much time worrying about the players who do. Even if Philippe is still on the club’s payroll, he’s off mine.
I hope that kid has better luck with his future heroes.
Eleven days, brothers and sisters. Then we can all get back to micro-examining players expressions and pretending we have an insight that isn’t there.
Stay strong, everyone.