As the saying goes, some of my best friends are Liverpool fans, so it’s with more trepidation than delight that I broach the current, or rather continuing crisis at Anfield.
With losses mounting on and off the field, the Reds could well be looking at the Europa League, at best, for several seasons to come, while Northampton saw to it that the Carling Cup won’t be in the consolation category come spring.
Their supporters could just about bear the boardroom bungling if what they were seeing on the pitch was remotely entertaining. But Liverpool are as poor now as they’ve been since Roy Evans was Spicing things up.
Kop legend Kenny Dalglish – who reveals in his new book ‘Liverpool My Home’ that he would have “gone back like a shot” as manager if asked just months after abruptly quitting in 1991 – says blaming Hicks and Gillett is a cop-out.
The 59-year-old Scot, who was overlooked in the summer in favour of Roy Hodgson (erroneously in my view), hasn’t shied away from apportioning responsibility where a lot of it belongs – in the dressingroom.
“Everyone knows the ownership situation but that should never affect how the players prepare or perform,” he insists. “I never celebrated winning a trophy at Liverpool by thinking: ‘It’s all down to the owners – they are brilliant’. So if owners don’t receive credit then, neither can players look to blame them or anyone else in defeat. Maybe Roy will be able to improve the team if new owners come in… But that doesn’t give the current players a get-out.”
For all the protests about the Americans, there’s a massive measure of truth in what Dalglish says. Likewise his assertion that fanciful thoughts towards a new stadium in Stanley Park should be ditched, favouring the redevelopment of Anfield, or else, God forbid, a ground-share with Everton.
A player who, for my money, was way better than Wayne Rooney, ‘King Kenny’ well knows that Liverpool won five European Cups and 18 First Division titles on the pitch, not in the stands or the directors’ box.