“How much is this costing us? In the middle of a recession? 2 weeks of this boring, hyperbole filled patriotic crap, no thanks.”
“How much is this costing us? In the middle of a recession? 2 weeks of this boring, hyperbole filled patriotic crap, no thanks.”
With the quotes from Brendan Rodgers on the ongoing situation with Agger, the prospect of losing one of our best players (again) is striking fear into the hearts of Liverpool fans everywhere.
“@BenSmithBBC: Rodgers on Agger: ‘Every player has his price. Daniel is a top player, loves the club. But you can never say never.’”
“Every player has his price”, an unfortunate modern football phrase that I happen to agree with. This is football, no player is bigger than the club and better players have come and gone, and will come and go. But, and it is a big but, calculating that price isn’t simple.
In my opinion, a players value cannot be as easy as just how good is that player. Porto’s Hulk has a well documented release clause of £80m, is he an £80m player? No, but is it a stupid price tag to put on arguably your clubs best player? No.
You cannot simply value players on how good they are. Its the reason Joe Allen is currently locked in one of our many transfer sagas, with valuations of £15m+ floating round. Some have laughed at that, citing Arsenals recent purchase of Santi Cazorla for the same price. Allen is not on the same level as Cazorla, but they are valued the same, why?
Its to do with the players value to the club. They could be a £5m player, but worth tripple that because of several factors. Conversely, they could be a £25m player, valued less because of the state of the selling club.
For me, a players valuation depends on a certain amount of factors, outside of the simple how good a player they are.
1: A players worth to their area. How strong are they in their department, best player, squad player, youth?
Being the best player in their area increases that players value to the club
2: How deep the squad is in that area.
If you are down to your bare bones in a department, they are hugely valuable, hence why lower clubs will often fight to keep hold of a good player.
3: The players standing in the club.
A clubs captain, a senior player or even a highly rated youth prospect will mean their value is increased.
4: Their skill set. Do they bring something unique to the club?
If a player does something that very few else offer, either with a particular talent, or being proficient in several roles, they are worth more.
5: How successful/secure the club itself is.
Top clubs can command the best players, lower clubs can’t compete, and so have to try harder both to find good players, and to keep the ones they have. The best clubs can often have talented players that aren’t getting playing time, forcing moves out of the club for less than they are worth. If a club is in financial difficulties, they might be forced to sell at a lower price.
6: Age and health.
Do they have a good injury record? How old are they? A player dogged with injury issues wont be able to command as high a fee. Same with players approaching their last years.
A player on a long contract is under no pressure to leave. Alternatively, a player with a year left will either have to sign a new deal, or move clubs.
I loathe this term, but it’s something that you can’t quite put your finger on. A fan favourite player, someone who is loved by the fans or has perhaps had a great career with the club. It’s not tangible, but it does add value to a player.
These are the points that I consider to be most important when trying to figure out a players worth to a club. Using this, I’d like to try and calculate Aggers worth to Liverpool.
1. He is invaluable to his area. Our strongest area is defense, and he is the best player in that unit.
2. We aren’t that deep in defense, one of whom is an ageing Carragher, others include a young Coates, then reserve players.
3. He is a senior player in the club, he is a leader in defense and his country’s captain.
4. Agger offers a skill set that very few players in the world offers. He is a strong defender, a ball playing center back and a great footballer. There aren’t many players that have all those attributes.
5. We aren’t a top 4 club. Sorry guys, we aren’t. We cannot afford to let top players go if we do want to be a top 4 side. We cannot attract the cream of European defenders if he were to leave. The worry here is, we don’t know if we have to sell before we buy. I hope we don’t, because that’s no way to get back to the top.
6. He has had injury issues, this is his one negative point. Often blighted with problems, he has spent a lot of his time on the injury table.
7. He has 2 years on his contract, we don’t need to sell him. No issues here.
8. Agger is one of those players the fans have taken to their hearts. He obviously adores the club and has always said great things about us, he doesn’t want to go.
It’s clear that every player has a price that we have to consider selling at, as I’ve just shown, Agger offers a lot to this club and even with his injury problems, his footballing worth is more valuable to us than any cash we receive.
His value must be placed somewhere between 25 to £30m, because of his skill set, his standing in the side and him being part of our solid defense.
The club doesn’t have to sell him, he is happy and settled in Liverpool and loves the club. Even if an offer of say, £27m came in, it’s not nailed on that you should sell if that players valuation is met.
You have to consider the effect selling a top player has on the squad, it may cause others to question their place here if they feel the club isn’t being ambitious enough.
If a club, like we are right now, is in a transition, or building a new project, keeping stability is hugely important, and with that the value on almost all players increases, because if you are already having to make several changes to fit a new style or philosophy, you don’t want to have to add more problems for yourself.
Agger is a problem with a very simple solution. We don’t need to sell. He doesn’t want to leave. We shouldn’t sell our top players at this time, he shouldn’t be sold.
Ever since the intelligent design movement snuck into the world, believers of it have come up with many clever sounding tidbits in order to try to persuade the uneducated that their bullshit has some basis in fact.
(Spoiler: it doesn’t)
They range from the intelligent sounding, but baseless “how could the eye have just evolved”, to my favourite “teach the controversy”.
This tiny line conveys two things. Firstly it implies that there is doubt over the validity of evolution, which there isn’t. At all. The second it suggests that the alternative to evolution is on an equal footing to the great theory itself.
Where to start. Ok, evolution isn’t some idea that was just plucked from nothing and then stated as fact. Since Charles Darwin first penned his idea down, with one of the most gorgeous little sketches I’ve ever seen, the evidence for evolution has skyrocketed.
Today, it’s not just proven itself as a scientific theory, it’s about as proven as it’s possible to be outside of mathematics.
Evolution happens. This is a 100%, take it to the bank fact. Genetic mutations happen, this is not something that can be disproven because we have seen it happen. We have made it happen. No amount of magic wizardry will change this fact.
The theory of evolution explains how these mutations happen, how they are selected for through natural selection, sexual selection etc and how environmental changes or the introduction of a new predator allow for these mutations to change an organism over hundreds of generations, sometimes taking millions of years.
To say the evidence for evolution is overwhelming is an understatement. If you imagine the evidence for intelligent design could fill a teacup, the evidence for evolution would fill the entire observable universe several times over. That is to say, there is no evidence for intelligent design aside from one fairytale book, while the evidence for evolution encompasses a dozen independent disciplines and has amassed literally hundreds of thousands of pieces of corroborating, verifiable proof.
You can never be sure of a theory in science, because new evidence could be unearthed that could change something, but if you put a gun to my head and asked me to point to a theory that I thought would never, ever be thrown away, it would be evolution. This isn’t born out of faith or a dogmatic desire for it to be kept there, it’s because I have spent years looking over the evidence for evolution and it is simply astonishing just how solid it is.
The alternative to evolution is intelligent design, and it postulates that because the universe looks incredibly ordered and precise, that is must have been designed that way. It suggests that some unknown thing designed and then created everything we see around us.
Hold up a second….this sounds familiar. Where have we heard this before?
Religion! Ahh yes, of course, who else would want to discredit evolution so much that it had to create another name for its bullshit because its original bullshit was banned from being taught as fact in schools.
Intelligent design is a slightly different, but equally dangerous beast. It will use fancy, sciency sounding spin to paint this picture of doubt about evolution.
Can I just take a moment to express just how fucking ridiculous it is that in 2012 I am having to defend logic and reasoning. What are we? Two years fucking old, do we still think Santa brings us presents? Fuck a duck this shit pisses me off.
Anyway, where was I? Ahh yes, intelligent design, or ID for short has managed to rope in some “scientists” to help push their falsehoods. Chief of whom is Michael Behe, or to give him his full title Dr Michael “discredited by his own university because he spouts so much bollocks” Behe.
He says that certain cells, organs bacteria etc, are irreducibly complex, this means that they are so complex that the understanding of evolution cannot explain how they came to be like that, therefore it must be an intelligent designer.
This is firstly, wrong. And secondly, hilarious.
It’s a 4 year old’s understanding of the world. “Well, I don’t understand how it works, therefore it cannot be explained and it must be magic”.
It can be, and has been explained, so much so that Behe’s own department at his university released a statement to say they totally disagree with Behe’s views. His. Own. Department.
Think about that, ID’s own headline star was so wrong about his views of science that his own biology department actively sort to tell the world they don’t share them. That’s how wrong he is.
From the outside the idea of irreducible complexity seems legit, it has a fancy sounding name, it sounds like science, it sounds like people have actually researched this. I can see why people get drawn in.
But really, it’s just a gimmicky way of saying “well it looks designed, so it must have had a designer”. Sound as impressive now? Or just simplistic?
If Behe was as knowledgeable as he makes out to be, he might have done some actual research into his ideas, as his peers did. And his peers ripped the absolute piss out of it.
The flagellum is the often referred to bacterium that Behe deemed too complex to have evolved in gradual steps. Until people showed that’s exactly how it evolved.
See here for a perfect dissection of the flimsiness of Behe’s argument and how wet and limp his attempts to discredit evolution are:
Just because you don’t understand how something evolved gradually doesn’t actually matter, the evidence tells us that it happens. The evidence speaks for itself.
But why let a metric shit ton of proof stand in the way of a premeditated attack on evolution.
Teach the controversy they cry, proclaiming that their ID deserves to be taught alongside evolution in science classrooms as an alternative.
Ok then, are we going to “teach the controversy” about other things?
Teach alchemy alongside chemistry.
Teach astrology alongside astronomy.
Teach magic alongside physics.
Teach that the earth is flat alongside the theory it’s round.
Teach the theory of cosmic syrup alongside gravity.
Teach tales of mythical creatures alongside zoology.
Teach the earth is 6000 years old alongside that it’s 4.54 billion years.
Teach that storks deliver babies alongside natural birth.
Etcetera, etcetera. There is no more controversy in any of those theories than there is in evolution. If anything, evolution is more proven than most of them.
Intelligent design, as well as being deceitful, dangerous, and a woeful attempt to disguise religion, is a pathetic excuse of an explanation of anything. Ok, lets say it’s true. Let’s say that it was designed, what then?
Who designed it? How did they design it? Why did they design it? Who designed them? Do they need a designer? If not, why not? It offers no explanation of anything, it would take everything we know about how the laws of physics work and biological systems operate and replace it with nothing. It doesn’t explain a fucking thing, it doesn’t even explain itself and could never explain itself because it would have to lie outside of the natural laws of physics because they do not allow for giant magic beings that can clap something into existence.
For something to be an explanation, it has to actually explain something. It has to offer a how to the question posed. It has to show the process of what’s happening, you can’t just go “because it did” and expect that to be enough.
If intelligent design proponents can come forward with some cold, hard evidence to how their idea works, and show us with empirical proof how it works and the processes involved then great, let’s get on that Nobel prize-winning data, because it will be the biggest discovery in all history.
But until then, until you can actually show how it works, please, go back to your religions and stay away from the big kids table, we’re trying to do science here.
First, we must look at the area of physics that it is part of. The universe around us has been found to be made of twelve fundamental particles, governed by four fundamental forces, the electromagnetic force, the strong and weak nuclear forces, and the gravitational force.
Each of the fundamental forces has a different strength and range, the strong nuclear force being incredibly strong, but only at an atomic level, gravity being by far the weakest but works over an infinite range.
We know that three of these forces result from the exchange of force carrier particles, which belong to a group called ‘bosons’. Matter particles transfer tiny amounts of energy by exchanging bosons with each other.
So we have basic particles, fundamental forces and the particles that carry these forces, but where does the Higgs boson fit in to all this?
In the 1970′s, physicists realized that there are very close ties between two of the four fundamental forces the weak force and the electromagnetic force. The two forces can be described within the same theory, which forms the basis of the Standard Model. This ‘unification’ implies that electricity, magnetism, light and some types of radioactivity are all manifestations of a single underlying force called, unsurprisingly, the electroweak force.
But in order for this unification to work mathematically, it requires that the force carrying particles (bosons) have no mass. We know from experiments that this isnt the case, so physicists Peter Higgs, Robert Brout and François Englert came up with a solution to solve this conundrum.
Finding the Higgs would be a big moment in physics, it would help confirm the standard model as correct as it predicts there should be a Higgs particle. It would also explain why things have mass, particularly why the photon has no mass, but the W and Z bosons are incredibly massive.
So far, experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland have hinted that there is something around the energy range scientists expect to find the Higgs, but it has not been confirmed as a discovery because the experiments have to stand up to a very strict ranking system called the sigma scale.
The sigma scale is the scale of how likely a result is to happen. In order for a discovery to be announced, it must reach a five sigma rating, meaning that there is a one in a million chance there is a signal there without there being a new particle. Rumors are that the data is close to this level, with reports of 4.5 to 5 sigma ratings for the Higgs.
So not only is the Higgs boson an incredibly important particle for the physics we are studying now, it will be the first stepping stone to what has been called beyond standard model physics.
No one reads science just for the sake of learning. Why? It’s (excuse my language) fucking amazing. It blows my shitting mind every time New Scientist drops onto my mat, learning about dark magnetism, muons, how we evolved speech, how mutations work, what the inside of the LHC looks like, growing medicines from plants, mining comets, bose-einstein condensates, biotech research, sprites, carbon nanotubes, ferrofluids, aerogel, perfluorocarbons and a billion other amazing things that are just ridiculously fascinating.
Why don’t people like this? Why do people find science boring or dull? I can’t think of anything better than discovering something new, learning about a bizarre phenomenon and going “wow, that’s how that works”. Seriously, Google a few of those things up there if you see something you haven’t heard of before, it will rock your world.
Knowledge is what we do. Our species crave understanding, we demand answers and when we can’t find them, we build enormous machines to find them because, well because we just want to fucking know what’s going on in this bat shit crazy universe.
Sadly, science still has this air of mystery about it, which is equally frustrating and baffling. Science is about information, it’s about sharing ideas and advancing knowledge, it couldn’t be a more open concept if it tried. If I want to learn about anything, say how bones grow, I would Google it and read any number of articles on how it works, from very, very simple writings, to full in-depth articles explaining the finer details of osteoblasts and lower-functioning osteocytes. Whatever your starting point, fresh out of school, to PhD level, the information is available. So why do so few grab this information by its balls and demand it release it’s knowledge juice? (Bad analogy, scratch that).
The point stands though, when I left school I was left wanting for more. I was bored easily and with a fairly unchallenging job, began reading about evolution. I had a decent understanding about it, from biology lessons and arguing with creationists, but I wanted to dig deeper. A few weeks later I had read hundreds of pages of information on fossilisation, natural selection, sexual selection, DNA, gene mutations, gene sequencing, dinosaurs, human evolution, Charles Darwin’s life, ring species, the Galapagos islands and so much more. I loved it, I couldn’t get enough. I was like a sponge, soaking in the sea of knowledge on the internet.
Sadly, most people still see science as this unknowable, unfathomable mystical thing that will blow your brain out if you even dare to attempt to look at a web page explaining quantum mechanics. That shit has quantum in the title, and who the fuck knows what that even means.
Is it hard? Fuck yes, if it was easy we’d know everything by now. But it isn’t hard to start digging and looking at some articles. Formula 1 is hard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ever drive a car, it’s an entire world away and the beginning is really simple.
As I mentioned earlier, even difficult subjects can be simply explained and understood, there’s just a depressing lack of enthusiasm about science, which is baffling because it is just so awe-inspiring.
Just think about where you are right now. At work, at home, on a train, think about where you are in the universe. How you got here. The processes that are happening right now to you and around you. Reading this article you will have moved millions of miles around a gigantic ball of fusing hydrogen, a little blue spec of rock whipping through space. Meanwhile trillions of neutrinos are passing straight through your body right now, without you even noticing. You are a product of billions of years of evolution, from a tiny single-celled organism, right through to you.
How is that not amazing? How does looking at the night sky, seeing a litter of stars glinting back at you from an incomprehensibly massive universe not make you shit your pants in amazement?
Why isn’t this beautiful, complex natural universe celebrated more? Why does it fail to hold our attention? WHY!?
Seriously, how fucking awesome is science!
The technique that has been in the news recently is called “pronuclear transfer”, and starts by fertilising a woman’s egg with a man’s sperm using IVF. The nucleus (center of a cell with all the genetic information) of the fertilised egg can then be transferred into an emptied nucleus in another egg in the same way.
The fertilised egg has 98 per cent of its DNA in the nucleus. Half from the mother and half from the father. The remaining 2 per cent is what’s known as mitochondrial DNA – DNA in the cells’ factory that are found outside of the egg’s nucleus, and are inherited solely from the mother.
Mutations in this mitochondrial DNA can cause genetic diseases in children. Some can be incredibly serious and often fatal conditions such as muscular dystrophy. (More information on mitochondrial diseases can be found here.
This technique of IVF, using donor eggs with mutation-free mitochondria, aims to try and eliminate these diseases. It is estimated that this process could save over 100 newborns a year from dying of various diseases.
Sounds great so far right? Where the problems start is when people, who we will refer to as “Daily Mail morons”, read a scary headline and know nothing at all about the process get on their highest of horses and proclaim this to be some sort of genetic tampering abomination. Most likely they will have found a way to liken it to the cliched “wanting perfect children”, or blame it on immigrants.
The Tory MP Nadine Dorries ridiculously claimed on Channel 5′s Wright Stuff program last week, that this process could lead to the “3rd parent” trying to lay claim to the child years later. Now, on the face of it, you might not think it’s that ridiculous, but it is. It really is.
Remember, the mitochondrial DNA accounts for 2% of all the cells DNA. This DNA isn’t responsible for characteristics or eye colour, temperament, whether you go bald at 22, or anything like that, it’s simply there to supply energy for the cell. Thats it. In total, around 0.1% of a child’s overall DNA comes from mitochondrial DNA.
Zero point one percent. You couldn’t lay claim to a child conceived this way any more than you could lay claim to David Beckhams kids. It’s a farcical claim made my someone who has done no research, spent no time looking into it and just saw some overall drivel in the Mail and regurgitated it. To millions.
This is exactly what’s wrong with the way science is portrayed to the public. In general, people don’t take too much notice of science (despite it being responsible for literally everything in their lives, but that’s another rant). They see some headlines, hear someone talking about something and that’s it. No one does any digging for themselves, and it irritates me.
Take this for example. I’ve read on this technique before, but even if I hadn’t, it takes 5 minutes to Google “3 parent IVF” and read three or four good, easily understandable articles on it. All of which debunk any idea of there being any moral issues with it.
“3 parent IVF” is a bit of a misnomer, as the third person involved isn’t technically or legally a parent, they are simply offering a healthier factory in which to conceive their egg.
I’m not a scientist, I don’t have any vested interest in any areas of research or have any advanced degrees in scientific education, and I could still talk more sense and provide more information than 90% of anyone on a TV panel show or journos in the tabloid media.
It would be absurd to have someone pandering on about complex financial systems, or psychology, or engineering without them being well educated in the subject, yet it happens all the time with the media and science.
People read a newspaper report, which has probably left out some details to stir up some controversy, then they proclaim it like they know what they are talking about.
I actually had a very heated debate about two years ago on this very subject, when it was being trialled on monkeys. They hadn’t read anything on it, just a small article in a newspaper. They then stood there trying to argue how morally wrong it all was and that it was awful that we were even thinking about doing this with people. I of course blew it all out of the water, using some facts and common sense, but without that debate how would they have known any different? They would’ve believed what was there and that’s that.
Education is key. We need better standards of science reporting, The Times has really stepped up it’s efforts and with their Eureka magazine (put in as a free magazine the first Thursday of every month) it is among the best newspapers around for science, along with the Independent.
If you can afford it, I strongly recommend New Scientist magazine, it is a fantastic weekly magazine with news, articles and opinion pieces. It ranges from basic explanations to more complicated, but it’s all easily understandable without sacrificing information.
People from the Daily Mail (not that they read this, being too busy writing angry letters to people over immigration, using their fancy Princess Diana stationary set) need to chill the fuck out and actually research something before jumping on the “this is ethically outrageous” bandwagon they, and the media love.
“Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.”
Bob Dylan could be on to something there.
The heartache of FSG’s sacking of Liverpool legend and to quote John Henry himself, the “heart and soul” of the club Kenny Dalglish still sits fresh on the minds of many. But the radical restructuring of Liverpool football club could be an exciting and long overdue shake up, a new dawn for the club.
Many have long lamented Liverpools sluggishness in adapting to the modern world of football, the club were famously the last one in the premiership to have it’s own website.
While other clubs have grown their fanbases and changed with the times of this new, media driven, cash rich new era, Liverpool have often struggled to keep up off the pitch, leading to us having to play catch up to teams around us that got on the train earlier.
The much-lauded “Liverpool way” has for the past decade been eroded away, with new owners, boardroom bust ups and near financial ruin. But what has hurt us as much is that while our famous way of doing things has faded, nothing has been done to freshen it up and bring us in to the modern era.
FSG, under the leadership of John Henry and Tom Werner, plan to do just that, memorably saying in a statement that Shanklys “holy Trinity” of players, manager and fans needs to become a square, to incorporate owners that are vital to the on pitch success.
This has never been more apparent than the past week, with oil baron backed Manchester City winning the premier league, and Russian billionaires Chelsea winning their first Champions League. Whether we like it or not, good owners with financial backing are essential to win in modern football.
What they are planning is different to just throwing money at it though, and at least we can hope to retain some class to it all, with Henry adamant we need to become self-sufficient, generating our own money through shrewd business deals and expanding our markets. It wont generate as much dough as a sugar daddy owner, but it guarantees we are stable and equipped to carry on even if the owners left. It’s a much better way of doing things.
On pitch matters are where we need to see those benefits though, and this is where things (in my opinion at least) become exciting.
Ian Ayre recently said that we are changing the way we are set up, from the top down. Before FSG we had a proud history of big managers carrying the hopes and dreams of the Kop, Messianic figureheads that stood tall and conquered Europe. That symbolically ended with the sacking of Kenny Dalglish, the living embodiment of all that stood for.
Ayre hinted that this is not what we are going to do from now on, we are going down a very different and (in England at least) unique path.
It seems like we will have a director of football pairing, with a much different role to that which Damien Comolli had. We appear to want a big name “Sporting director” role, with a hard hitter like Louis Van Gaal, someone with clout and ability to scout top players and young talents, and line them up.
Alongside him, a “technical director”, probably Pep Segura, promoted from his fantastic work with the academy with a remit to oversee the clubs agreed philosophy across the different levels of the club.
Any new deals or contract renewals will then be negotiated by Ian Ayre and his new updated role.
This leaves the new manager (or head coach to use a more accurate term under this model). This will be the biggest and hardest change for many Liverpool fans.
Like I mentioned earlier, Liverpool are proud of having big, street-smart, Messianic managers who they adore. They chant the name of their manager from the Kop (not Hodgson, because…well…he was Hodgson), they want a manager to carry the club, be everything the club stands for.
This is why this change is hard to swallow, what do we stand for? Describe what Liverpool is about in 2012. Hard isn’t it, because of how much we have, and are changing.
Under this new system (Liverpool 2.0 if you will) the head coach is responsible for training, tactics for the match and the game itself. None of this spending every waking second scouting overseas, dealing with contracts, going after transfer targets or making changes to the academy like Rafa Benitez did, the head coach’s job is to solely focus on getting the most out of the first team.
Any transfer targets are scouted to fit the clubs vision, they are approached and then the manager has input on whether to proceed with the deal or not. He still gets final say on who comes in, but he doesn’t do the legwork.
This is why we aren’t approaching Rafa Benitez for the vacant manager position, he is too big for it, because a man like him wants to be involved in everything, or at least several key aspects. When he was manager at Liverpool, he basically ran the club. He tore up the academy and started again, he did everything in the first team squad, he scouted players and lined up deals, brought in new personnel (including Dalglish) and he also battled Hicks and Gillette in the boardroom. The issue was that he basically spread himself too thin, trying to keep all those plates spinning ended up with some wobbling quite badly, hence our poor form in 09/10.
It makes sense then to look at younger, less powerful managers like Martinez and Villas Boas, coaches who don’t demand ultimate power and who can slot into this new vision for the club.
It also allows us to lift out positions without disrupting the entire club. Rafa had a plan, and when he left we had another manager in Roy Hodgson *shudders* who was everything Rafa wasn’t, including his ideas on how the game should be played. Like telling Glen Johnson, one of the best attacking right backs in the world, to “Just f***ing launch it”.
Hodgson tried to change how we played, what we tried to do, bought awful players not naming names *cough* PAUL KONCHESKY *cough* and basically set us back quite badly. One managers plan went in the bin, the new managers plan came in and we were back to square one again. It’s resource consuming, time consuming and can be disastrous if a totally different style of manager comes in.
If you have this new set up, with a philosophy in place that is controlled by the directors of football, implemented throughout the club and everyone is on the same page, it makes getting a manager so much easier.
From the information at hand, we appear to want a flexible, attacking style built round a 4-3-3 possession game. Martinez plays that way, Villas Boas plays that way, Van Gaal shares that philosophy and our younger set ups under Borell and Segura play very similarly to this thanks to their Barcelona academy background.
If you have this set up, and we play this way all the way up, players get promoted easier, it’s easier to target players and ultimately, if a manager isn’t performing or they want out, it’s easy to narrow down a replacement. In this system, where everyone is on the same page, we don’t have to rip up any plan or have issues with new managers struggling to implement their playing style because the club will be there already, waiting for them to slot in.
I really like this philosophy, and it’s why after the initial sadness and then anger at Kenny’s departure, I am excited at what we are trying to achieve.
If we have a look at the problems we’ve had this season, it very much seems like we know where we went wrong and this system is there to solve them.
In my opinion the biggest issues we’ve faced this season have been a lack of direction or plan, poor tactics and players not seemingly sure of what their jobs are.
The Liverpool 2.0 system (TM) addresses all these problems. We will have a clear plan running through all levels of the club, from academy to first team. The two main candidates for the job, Roberto Martinez and Andre Villas-Boas are known for being very intelligent tactical managers with a great reading of the game. And finally players will know what their jobs are, both potential managers achieve this in different ways, but each one likes to drill players into doing specific things.
Villas Boas’ Porto side is a perfect example of this and a fantastic write up of Villas Boas and his methods and tactics by Roy Henderson can be found here.
Change is hard, and while we don’t have all the information at hand, we shouldn’t slam this new project before it’s been rolled out. It seems like a brilliant and exciting plan and while names like Martinez don’t carry the same clout that Mourinho or Capello do, you have to look at the picture as a whole.
Unfortunately, while we are still a big hitter, and the prestige and history of Liverpool is a big pull, we are not the biggest fish in the pond. We have been joined by several clubs in Spurs and Manchester City, as well as the other big 3, that can offer more than we can, more money, more chance of winning titles and the biggest pull of all, Champions League football (apart from Spurs, haha, bet that stung!).
If we want to get back to that bastion of invincibility we once were, if we want to dominate Europe like the times of Paisley, Fagan and Benitez, sadly we have to update our way of thinking.
While Ayre talks the talk of “We are Liverpool, we can get whatever manager we want”, the truth is the biggest managers are either at clubs already achieving great success, or are loyal to their respective clubs. We aren’t in a position right now to click our fingers and have the cream of the crop come running, but we can go for a radical new shake up where we can hopefully break back into the Champions League.
It’s a big risk, but fortune, as they say, favours the brave. A team of Van Gaal, Villas Boas and Segura is bold, it’s crazy (Van Gaal adds a lot of crazy) but it could be brilliant. On paper it’s a great system, only time will tell if it was the right system for us but I’m excited to see where it takes us, especially if it leads us back into those glorious European nights we so crave. We need to be patient and give it a shot.
Let’s not speak to soon, while the wheel’s still in spin.
For as Dylan wrote, “the losers now, will be later to win, for the times they are a-changin’”.