The last few days have been very hard for Liverpool fans. Communication breakdowns and differing opinions led to a disastrous deadline day for the Reds, with Liverpool’s poor Premier league start adding to the woes on Merseyside.
John W. Henry, the owner of Fenway Sports Group, has addressed the erroneous decisions of last Friday with an open letter to fans. Yet is it the response by the Spirit of Shankley group that has caused more controversy.
Tensions have been growing within the group about the lack of a prominent figure of FSG being based on Merseyside, adding to the upset as a result of the sacking of Kenny Dalglish. Friday’s transfer day failures simply added to the angst within the organization leading to their recent statement. SoS has called on chairman Tom Werner to be held accountable for the club’s precarious position after a poor performance in the transfer window.
We can’t forget that Spirit is an increasingly influential group at Anfield – they were heavily involved in the ousting of former Liverpool owners Gillett and Hicks. Yet does that mean that their opinions reflect those of the majority of Liverpool fans? I for one would certainly dispute the actions of this loyal supporters group.
Let’s just get one thing straight. Most Liverpool fans are disappointed with the way the transfer window closed. In my mind, Andy Carroll should not have been allowed to leave the club on a loan deal no matter how Brendan Rodgers wanted to play his football. It is always good for a side to have another option when going forward – just look at Barcelona last season who were thwarted by Chelsea’s magnificent defensive effort in shutting down their possession system. Carroll was that second option for Liverpool when the going got tough and had the potential to develop as a footballer in Rodgers system. He simply wasn’t given a chance.
Secondly I agree that the club did fail in the transfer window particularly on the final day. Yet the Clint Dempsey scenario is a minor element of such disappointment about the club’s transfer policy. Yes the American would have added to Liverpool’s attack yet he is not the out and out striker that the club needs. Rodgers has added youth to his forward line in an attempt to implement his ‘tiki taka’ football yet he still required a player to simply put the ball in the back of the net, especially once Carroll had left. Dempsey would have helped yet he was never a complete solution to this problem.
In that respect Liverpool did fail in the summer – yes they brought in Borini but common sense would say he would take time to adapt as a regular starter in the Premier League and also he is just one player. Liverpool failed because they thought they were fine once they purchased the Italian – pursuing another one or two strikers after that would have been the appropriate course of action.
Let’s go back to Spirit of Shankley though. I understand their disdain at the club’s actions in the previous few days and I am in complete agreement with them in wanting a full explanation for what occurred last Friday. John Henry’s ‘preventing risky spending’ comment can only be applicable if we understand the plan that Fenway Sports Group are trying to implement. In short, if Liverpool’s owners were more transparent with their targets then perhaps fans could back the club more easily instead of wondering why a transfer that seemed so certain failed at the final hurdle.
Yet what I don’t agree with is calling for Werner to shoulder the blame. In football these days there is an unnerving tendency for fans to demand someone to take the burden of a bad footballing decision. It is clear to see there was breakdown in communications and differing ideas in the Liverpool hierarchy but that doesn’t mean someone was wrong and has to be blamed. If I were a member of Spirit of Shankley then I would certainly voice my opinions on the matter. However, instead of finding a scapegoat on which to pin the club’s poor pre-season activity perhaps the group should take a differ route.
Support the Reds, Brendan Rodgers and Fenway Sports group as they attempt to solve the recent problems, don’t cause more issues by playing the blame game.