With Roy Hodgson’s appointment finally here, I have been taking the time to reflect on what I want in football. Over the last 6 years I have been a Rafa supporter. Before that I sort of backed Houllier and before that I gladly supported Roy Evans (because I was somewhat naive maybe), but now I feel like I’ve reached a crossroads on my football journey.
If I pay money week in week out to watch a sport, should I not be entertained by a display of skill and technique? Or should I pay all that money over the course of the season in the hope of reaching one game where I get to see a piece of silver lifted above the captains head. I have to say I’m starting to sway toward the former.
When the games were dire last year and we had no hope of winning anything, I often glanced towards Arsenal. They’re most peoples ‘second-team’, due to the fact they play entertaining football. Now, they haven’t won anything since 2004, and I’m sure that is a source of great frustration, but do Arsenal fans go home happier on average than Liverpool fans?
Even though we have two major cup wins in the last 6 years, we have played some dreadfully dull football. Whereas Arsenal do win the majority of their games, like Liverpool, but even in their 0-0 draws (which are rare) they play some great stuff, so I end up getting jealous a little bit. Does any body else get those feelings or should I see a doctor?
When did ‘the beautiful game’ lose it’s meaning and become the ‘by any means necessary’ game. This world cup has shown examples of both sides of the game. The South Americans have come to play, most Europeans have come to defend. At this stage only one South American team has been put out, and that was by Brazil. On the other hand we’ve seen England, so absolutely terrified to make 1 mistake in fear of being slaughtered by the press, go out with a whimper.
England’s misery was not the source of my misery though, I was quite fine with it, oh yes. I was somewhere between dead and morbid when watching England and our prompt exit can only make way for more exciting games. In a way I don’t blame the players, I blame the nation. I blame you, that’s right, you, me, everyone and especially the ‘English way’.
Where did this ‘English passion’ cliché come from anyway? I’ve seen players, press and fans alike going on about it. It wreaks of some BNP slogan and it’s the sword by which we regularly fall on. Our teams can never cut loose, we can never pick from the most gifted players, they don’t get a chance to progress past youth team because we’re too busy ‘looking hard’ or putting in crunching challenges. From the grassroots up we’ve got it all wrong, and I’d still feel the same even if England got to the final, because watching England in the last two weeks has summed up Liverpool’s last 20 years.
Liverpool have been a team governed by pressure and expectation for a long time now and we’re in need of a revolution. To do that though we need a revolutionary at the helm. Not someone who wants to change the face of football, but to change the face of Liverpool FC on the pitch. Hodgson is no revolutionary but maybe his new ideas could make some slow progression. Only time will tell!
With the ownership situation being as it is right now, it would be hard for anyone to come into a job and change the team around completely, but I’m looking for influence at all levels. I’m looking for a shift of thought, ditch the idea that a crunching 50-50 is on the same level as some nifty passing, ditch the notion that Arsenal are the only team who play attractive football.
I want Hodgson be a forward thinking attack-minded coach. He is a journeyman and about as European as most Englishmen can be after all his experiences, but I want him to do away with the ‘English way’ and replaces it with ‘the Liverpool way’. A way we craft ourselves, a football identity that everyone around the world will recognise. It’s source is in goals and it’s reward is in fans going home not ‘happy’ but just not angry for once.
The lust for Englishness is misguided and ignorant, although Hodgson may succeed, his nationality has nothing to do with it. Englishness got the national team nowhere, we bow to the media and to all the typecasts. Englishness is not the answer, it never has been. “We need an English manager” I hear time after time, really? Do we? How many times has an English manager won the league on the last 20 years? 0, zero, zip, none. Lovely. So where on Earth did this craving for English come from?
We’re trapped at the moment in a circle of narcissism. Both England and Liverpool, we’re so obsessed with our own sense of importance that we’ve missed the fact we’re falling behind the rest of the world. The money in the Premiership keeps our heads above water and will do for some time, but it’s the imports that make the Premiership the best in the world, not the Englishness.
I don’t want Hodgson to be a press guy, a media friendly who’s main concern is to appease the loudest fans. I want a thinker and a philosopher, somebody who scoffs at the idea of ‘everyone back for a corner’. I know Hodgson is a thinker and in some respects very similar to Rafa, so if the board were looking for a steady hand they’ve got it, but if they’re looking for something different to wow the fans then they’ve got it disastrously wrong.
I want evolution off the pitch and revolution on it. I want a fine balance between what Rafa left us and what the new manager can change. The same team as last year let loose to try and play the game that we were told was beautiful would flourish with the restraints off, I am sure of it.
Roy Hodgson must be able to take the heat of the press, the noise of the louts and of course be ready to make the toughest of calls. I hope he proves himself in the biggest challenge of his career, but I fear that my need for revolution could be hampered by the boards desire for peace and quiet.
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