Tony Evans: ‘Henderson now poorer in every way’

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Football Fanatics and Financial Follies

Delusion of FSGOuters and Transfer Ultras

You’d like to think that weeks like this would have a salutary effect on delusional people. In particular, I’m talking about the FSGOuters and the transfer ultras. For years they have been shrieking that Liverpool should spend more money in the transfer market. What’s happening to Everton and Nottingham Forest exposes the lack of sense behind this sort of logic. Do the individuals that spout this shite have any knowledge about what’s going on in the game. Like, the rules and stuff?

Photo by IMAGO

Financial Recklessness in Football

It’s wider than Everton and Forest, too. Wolves sold 17 players last summer – and lost a quality manager – to avoid falling foul of the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules. Even Newcastle United, the so-called “richest club in the world” can’t buy Dominic Solanke and are crying into their shemaghs because they’re not allowed to cheat like Manchester City.

The Hypothetical Downfall of Liverpool

So, where would we be now if the Fenway haters and the spend-spend-spend maniacs had their way? Being top of the table wouldn’t be so much fun with a potential points deduction in the offing. John W Henry and his mates might not be perfect owners but their financial policy has turned out to be pretty sensible. When Everton were blowing more than half a billion on crap players and their supporters were singing “we’re fucking rich,” a section of our fanbase were spitting feathers and calling for the owners’ heads. Here’s a question for those individuals: how do you feel now, you bunch of dopes?

These people were agitating to be part of the problem rather than the solution. How many of them will have the humility to admit the error of their ways? Not many, I expect.

Photo by IMAGO

Dominic Solanke: A Missed Opportunity?

You can see why Newcastle want Solanke. The 26-year-old is fulfilling the potential that Liverpool saw when they signed him seven years ago. The club wanted him so badly that they fell out with Chelsea in a big way over the signing. The striker came to Merseyside at just the wrong time. For him, at least. Up until that point, the FSG way was to present Anfield to potential recruits as a place where young, untried talent could get an opportunity to thrive. Unfortunately, the Salah-Firmino-Mane axis was just beginning to develop. In that environment, it was hard for the youngster to break through.

Klopp’s Unique Management Style

Also, Jurgen Klopp was never going to be a manager who took a ‘nursery’ approach to team building in the way FSG imagined it could be done. Klopp has never been shy about blooding youth but a place in the team has to be earned under the German. Klopp also understands the value of experience and leadership, something his bosses underestimated for the first half of their tenure at Liverpool.

Solanke’s Career Path

That’s not a gibe at Solanke. He just wasn’t ready to compete against what would become the most potent attacking triumvirate in football. And some players need to grow into the sort of elite mentality required to succeed at the highest level. Anfield brought an abrupt halt to his upward career trajectory. Bournemouth gave the forward a chance to reset, refocus and get his game back on track. He’ll be dangerous on Sunday. Part of me wishes Newcastle could have afforded Solanke. I’d rather not face a striker of his ability in the form he’s showing. He’s a handful. But we knew that back in 2017.

Jordan Henderson’s Troubles Post-Liverpool

Jordan Henderson has had less joy since leaving Liverpool. Has any ex-player experienced such an unravelling of their sporting life and all-round reputation so quickly? Last season his form was declining but the 33-year-old had loads of goodwill in the bank. He’d fought against all odds – or at least the antagonism of a manager and the owners – to stay at Anfield. From the low point of being offered as a makeweight to Fulham in a deal for an ageing and limited striker, he grew into an influential Liverpool captain.

Henderson’s Reputation After Liverpool

During the pandemic he stood up as one of the nation’s social consciences at a time when footballers provided the sort of leadership the politicians wouldn’t. There were always snipers who thought he wasn’t good enough but most people with brain cells admired Hendo, the man and the player. Well, he didn’t lead a social revolution in Saudi. Those barriers he was going to help break down? They’re still in place. And he’s off to Ajax rather than return to the Premier League because of the tax implications. The life-changing deal to go to Al-Ettifaq will leave him poorer in every way: financially, emotionally and reputationally. Still, it’s all worked out well for Liverpool. Don’t you just love a happy ending?

Liverpool’s Unwarranted Involvement in Controversies

Rival fans often accuse us of inserting ourselves into every situation. It’s been a big week for those people. Those who can’t see the parallels between the Horizon-Post Office scandal and Hillsborough are being willfully stupid. The patterns of despicable behaviour by the authorities are well established. The sacrifice of innocent victims at the altar of a flawed institution’s reputation is an appalling and unacceptable trait of British life.

The Eriksson-Liverpool Connection

I’m not sure how we ended up so entangled in the Sven-Goran Eriksson story, though. I’m sad Sven’s got terminal cancer and wish him the best but the calls for him to manage Liverpool’s legends leave me cold. The first time I heard about the former England manager was in 1984, when he was coach at Benfica. The Portuguese team made life difficult in the first leg at Anfield and held us to a single goal but we stuffed them in Lisbon to go through 5-1 on aggregate. Like most foreign football fans at the time, Eriksson was a huge admirer of Liverpool. Like most ambitious coaches during the period, the Swede made the obligatory visit to Melwood in the 1970s as part of his education. Of course he wanted to manage Liverpool. Who the hell didn’t? Is that enough of a connection with the club to evoke such a sentimental response to the news of his illness? Not for me. After all, Sven did quite well in his career, coming within a whisker of getting the Manchester United job and actually managing their less illustrious neighbours whose name escapes me. We should probably sit this one out, people. Just this once. From what I hear, even some of the legends themselves think the same.

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