Archive for October 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011 by Paul Grech
No games won and no points on the table, this has been a dismal start to the season for Liverpool's reserves team. Or, rather, that would be conclusion if you fail to look at the most significant column, that for games played, the one that shows that this week's defeat at Newcastle was only their second game of the season.
Ten weeks into the 2011/12 season and they've played only two games. It is a fact that is so astounding that it bears repeating.
If it weren't for the involvement in the NextGen series, these players would have spent virtually all of the past three months training. This at a crucial stage of their career when they need games in order to progress. It is a ridiculous and frustration situation, one that has been dragging on for a long number of years which would indicate a lack of desire to do anything to fix it.
Rather than fostered, players' development is being stunted.
The current bandwagon seems to dictates looking at Barcelona as the standard bearers for what is good about football. This, therefore, might easily seem like a lazy comparison but it has to be pointed out that Barcelona and Real Madrid's second teams have played eight games and this despite their leagues staring almost a month after the English does. Is there anyone willing to look and listen to this, though?
Thursday, October 13, 2011 by Paul Grech
A year after becoming the heroes who saved Liverpool from financial armageddon, Fenway Sports Group opted to to become the villains of the day. Not necessarily in the eyes of Liverpool fans but certainly in those of the rest of the football world. Sooner or later, one of the big clubs was going to start making noises about the splitting of television rights. That much has been inevitable ever since the Premier League's creation and the rapid commercialisation of the game that followed. The recent case where a pub landlady won the right to buy the sports service from another country's provider - and the possibility of a decrease in the overseas revenues that it threatens to bring about - simply accellerated this. Yet it is still disappointing that Liverpool were the ones to do so. There's no escaping that the club is being greedy, that it doesn't really care about the fate of the rest of English football and those are not the kind of principles you want your club to admit to. It is, undoubtedly, an egotistical stance. And inevitably there will be those who defend it. The belief that winning is the only thing that matters - regardless of how that win is achieved - is so prevalent that there will be those who will see this as a good team. Who cares if Bolton struggle as long as Liverpool get more money? What's most important is that there are the finances in place to buy more players because that is how you ensure that you're among the best. That is the sort of reaction that Ayre tried to encourage when mentioning the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid who have the power to negotiate their own deals and therefore the potential to earn more. Liverpool need to be in a position to make more money if it wants to compete with them. Of course, it is important to have a team that is capable of challenging. But this is not the way to go about it. Not least because Ayre's argument is actually flawed. His reasoning is that foreign fans only want to watch specific clubs. Well, as a foreign fan I don't agree. I want to see Liverpool on television every time they play, that much is obvious. But I also enjoy watching other teams play and in the model that Ayre is proposing the likelihood is that I won't be able to do that. What would happen is that the top six clubs would be able to negotiate their own deals whilst the rest negotiate a collective deal. So far, so good even if it will mean a smaller pot of revenue to be shared against the bulk of the teams making up the league. Yet what that would also mean is that in each country the rights to the Premiership would be split among two or more providers. Meaning that if I want to keep watching the number of games that I do today I would have to take out two or more subscriptions. Would that happen? Of course not: who would be willing to pay that much money? I'd either drop my interest or else look for cheaper alternatives like going to watch games at some pub or else turning to the internet. Eventually, the television channels will realise that there isn't enough money to be made out of such deals and back out of them. And the clubs pushing for such a model would find themselves with a dead goose and no golden eggs.
Monday, October 10, 2011 by Paul Grech