Factors such as the mindset of a player, confidence and form have played their part in the sport since the first kick by Sheffield FC. Regardless of the astonishing weekly wages we see in this day and age, you can’t buy confidence.
In order for confidence to grow and thrive one of the most important factors is patience; and here we have the key word. As Take That lovingly warbled, ‘have a little patience’ (and Gary Barlow is a Liverpool fan, don’t you know!) Patience is the subject of my piece today as I believe it is one of the most relevant words relating to the club right now.
It is not a blanket word that carries an instruction book laying out time frames and requirements for all situations, yet I do believe that circumstances can help dictate its extent.
So, when is patience more prevalent? I would suggest that a greater level of patience is required managerially when the new incumbent comes into a club that is struggling, and in terms of a player, when you are discussing young up and coming talent. In contrast, levels of patience should be cut dramatically when talking about a manager taking over a successful side, or an established player arriving at a club. That’s the basic theory anyway…
Set the DeLorean (or hot tub time machine, it really is your choice) to 1959 and head on over to Liverpool. You will find a club languishing in the equivalent of what is now the Championship, having been relegated some 5 seasons prior and been knocked out of the cup by the all conquering Worcester City (feel free to now day dream about what a side The Loyals were back then). It is fair to say that the club was struggling is it not?
In the doldrums as it were, what happens next? A young Scotsman by the name Shankly (heard of him?) stepped up and began the long process that would ultimately lead this side to being one of the greatest clubs ever. Yet this was not a smooth transition and despite his arrival in 1959 the club wasn’t promoted until 1962 before going on to win the league in 1964.
Shankly was allowed the time to raise a seemingly sinking ship and mould it in his own image and we reaped the rewards. Similarly down the road at Old Trafford a young Alex Ferguson was brought into a proverbial sleeping giant finishing his first 3 seasons in 11th, 2nd and 11th. Despite being brought in in1986, it wasn’t until 1993 that United won the league; again an excellent example of how patience saw a club move away from mediocrity and towards stardom.
Even our recent history has seen Rafa take over from Houllier when the club was on a slippery slope and turn it around to make us into actual league challengers. The Champions League success was an incredible bonus, but domestically it took a number of seasons for Rafa to truly stamp his signature on the team and I firmly believe if he had been backed properly we would have league titles in the bag.
I would argue here that the position Rodgers found himself in on his first day in charge was not too dissimilar; a club grossly underperforming, struggling with confidence and still recovering from horrendous senior mismanagement. Like him or loathe him Rodgers has been chosen by the club and surely must now be shown patience?
Nobody is suggesting he is the next Shankly or the messiah (although some think he is a very naughty boy) and nobody accepts the league position we are in, but in terms of a bigger picture with a club craving stability and a long term plan is firing Rodgers the way forward?
On the flip side of this you can look at someone like Bob Paisley when he took control of the club and suggest that his job came with a lower requirement for patience. Why do I say this? I say it because when Shankly left, he left a successful team that was flying high. The genius of Paisley was to recognise this and build upon it rather than dismantle. Subtle changes allowed the team to flourish in its greatest ever period.
This style continued under Fagan and Dalglish, with Liverpool falling from grace under Souness who went for wholesale changes. Whether Souness would have worked out (I don’t think he would), levels of patience were not there because of the drastic fall from grace. Whereas, Roy Evans was allotted more time because of the Souness mistake.
In terms of playing staff and the patience they require I will present exhibit ‘A’ as Lucas Leiva and exhibit ‘B’ as Stewart Downing. Taking the Brazilian first, he is the prime example of a young lad coming in, with added pressures of such a massive culture change, who needed time to settle. Quite a number showed little patience in him, but fortunately for us he has grown to prove them wrong. Are we now making similar mistakes with Allen, Henderson and Borini?
As for Downing (and feel free to substitute for Cole, Morientes or Poulsen..ahem), he was bought as an established player with the trust placed in him to hit the ground running, which results in patience levels being much lower. For whatever reason this hasn’t worked out and unlike the youngsters Downing does not have age on his side. QUIZ TIME – A quick question to further emphasise my point: which Reds striker took over 9 months to arrive and score his first league goal over 10 months? A clue would be to suggest that it was a good thing that patience was shown in this young man!
Thank you for making it this far if you have, and I’m sure some people will have itching fingers waiting to pour abuse my way and dismiss my levels of support for the club. But before you do I would just like to make this point; the current league standing is not acceptable for Liverpool Football Club, of course it is not, but we need to be realistic here, as a direct result of H&G the club has fallen from grace somewhat. I am not suggesting that FSG are the perfect owners or that Brendan Rodgers is the perfect manager, only time can answer those questions, but what I am suggesting is that the club needs to come together and support what we have.
I cannot think of a single person on the planet that could come in and guarantee instant success, even with the money of messrs Mansour and Abramovich success was a number of seasons away. We are currently on a journey with a manager who I am sure wished for a brighter start but with the resources at his disposal, has it been horrific? (If you think it has, more than ‘WE ARE 11TH’, please tell me why).
I have been accused of being a spokesperson for FSG, thinking the sun shines out of Rodgers bum, identity fraud, being a Nazi and talking BOLLOX (which I think is a combination of bollocks and botox which smoothes out a historically wrinkly area), whereas in reality, in my mind the jury remains out on both Rodgers and FSG, but I strongly agree that the club needs stability.
Come find me on twitter @timdibs
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