There is often much snobbery around when it comes to choosing newspapers, and I must admit to being guilty as charged in this respect. Many are the times when I have dismissed the scribings of the tabloid press as not being worth the paper they are printed on, preferring to get my daily diet of facts and news from the altogether more acceptable broadsheets.
Of course, of all the broadsheets none is more famous or prestigious as the Thunderer itself, The Times .
However, it seems that that the mighty Times can be as lax as the worst of the daily rags when it comes to the ubiquitous Fleet Street pastime of discrediting Rafa Benitez’s record as Liverpool manager. Under the headline ‘All is not lost for Liverpool’ this week’s Sunday Times is quoted thus:
“Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson might be under pressure despite the new owner’s (sic) vote of confidence, but the club’s dire start to the 2005-06 season should provide some comfort.”
Below this is printed a table showing ‘Points after 8 games’ and ‘Final League Position’for each season from the appointment of Benitez to the present:
2004-05 10 points 5th place
2005-06 7 points 3rd place
2006-07 10 points 3rd
2007-08 12 points 4th
2008-09 14 points 2nd
2009-10 12 points 7th
2010-11 6 points n/a
The obvious inference being that even during Rafa’s tenure there were a number of seasons in which Liverpool FC had not fared much better at the start of the campaign than Hodgson’s current side. All well and good, except for one thing. Every single points total printed for the Rafa years is incorrect and every one is short of the actual total.
The correct table is as follows:-
2004-05 13 points (Sunday Times 10pts)
2005-06 10 points (Sunday Times 7pts)
2006-07 11 points (Sunday Times 10pts)
2007-08 16 points (Sunday Times 12pts)
2008-09 20 points (Sunday Times 14 pts)
2009-10 15 points (Sunday Times 12pts)
2010-11 6 points n/a
Upon further checking, the points totals listed in the Sunday Times are the correct figures for the first SIX games of each corresponding season. It would appear that the table was drawn up two weeks ago but by the time they decided to print it they neglected to update it with games 7 and 8 for each campaign.
The two relatively poor starts under Rafa were in 2005-06 (10 points) and 2006-07 (11 points). In 2005-06 Liverpool drew four of their opening five games , including three goalless draws. It is safe to say that most of us were too busy singing “We won it five times” to start thinking of a crisis! The following season once again saw the reds stuttering during August and September losing the derby at Goodison 0-3, as well as going down to defeats at Old Trafford and Chelsea. Notwithstanding these setbacks the reds never dropped below 9th place in the table and finished October in 8th spot- a far cry from the relegation places.
It is more than a little disappointing that the newspaper which is widely regarded as the elite amongst its peers should be so wide of the mark. That it should be so careless is one thing, but when taken in the context of the overall media campaign to discredit Benitez’s legacy ( the Sky Sports regurgitation of Hicks’ ludicrous transfer spending figures without any attempt to present the true figures was a prime example) the suspicion lingers that it was not such an innocent error. If this was proved to be the case, the editor of the Sunday Times should hang his head in shame.
(Many thanks to Twitterer @RushianLFC whose original tweet brought the ST article to my attention, as well as providing the headline tag)
Follow Brian Durand on twitter @BrianDurand56.
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