31 Jan 2008

When will people WAKE UP and realise that Liverpool need a new Captain?

Liverpool’s abject performance against West Ham contained the usual mix of technical ineptitude, creative paucity and predictable anti-football, but one thing stood out more than anything else: The total lack of leadership on the field.

My feelings about Steven Gerrard are well known – I do not believe he is world class and I do not rate him as a Captain. I have been criticized all over the web for these opinions and have been labeled as a “Gerrard hater’ by certain Liverpool fan-sites.

I have never attacked Gerrard personally; if I criticize him, I do so in fair manner, based on how I perceive his performances or conduct. I may be vociferous in my views, but my opinions are always argued at length, and I always attempt to explain myself, as opposed to hurling childish insults.

As such, I feel I have no option but to once again call for Steven Gerrard to stand down or be replaced as Liverpool Captain. He is NOT an effective Captain - Never has been and never will be. I have been arguing the same thing for the last four years and nothing has happened in that time to change my view.

His 'captaincy' against West Ham typified his lack of leadership ability. There was no passion in the team; no onfield organization; no talking or encouraging; no fight; no will to win; no never say die attitude. Nothing. As a Leadership force, Gerrard was non-existent.

Fawning Liverpool fans who continually massage Gerrard’s ego and deify him should detach their lips from his oversubscribed buttocks for five seconds and consider the following questions in an objective manner:

1. What does Gerrard bring to the team in his capacity as captain

2. What impact does he have as a leader on the pitch?

3. This season, where is the evidence of his so-called ‘inspirational leadership’?

4. If he is such a motivating, inspiring Captain, why are Liverpool so dire on the pitch?

I can guess the responses: His failings will be ignored and glossed over; the age old cliches of 'what about Istanbul/Olympiakos/The FA CUP final will be trotted out. Rafa, Hicks, Gillette and Parry will get blamed for the on-field malaise, and every other Liverpool player will be blamed for not performing/not being good enough.

When are fans going to pull their heads out of the sand and realize that Gerrard’s failure as a Captain is ALSO to blame?

I am so sick of ‘Captain Fantastic’ strutting around as if everyone else is to blame. He offers NOTHING as captain. Absolutely NOTHING. And don’t give me the tired excuse that he ‘leads by example’. When? Where? Gerrard is and always has been in it for himself and his own personal glory.

There are countless examples of why this is true. I won’t dig up the DOZENS of examples from the past that illustrate this, but this season is littered with examples Gerrard’s selfishness and instances of conduct unbecoming a captain of Liverpool FC:

1. Begging to stay on the pitch v Luton so he could complete HIS hat-trick.

2. Stabbing John Terry in the back by publicly putting himself forward for the England captaincy.

3. Publicly moaning after his substitution v Everton and vowing to talk to Rafa about it, after which Bobby Robson was moved to write an article berating Gerrard’s selfishness.

4. Admitting in public that England (i.e. the pursuit of his own personal fame) is more important that Liverpool.

5. Blaming off-field problems for poor performances

6. Failing to back Rafa in public during his spat with Hicks and Gillette, despite emphatically backing Steve McClaren in public only days earlier.

7. Xenophobic public comments about foreigners ‘taking over’ the premiership.

Just look at Liverpool’s current run of form in the league: four draws and one defeat in the last five games. In the last fifteen games in all competitions, the team has drawn five games and lost four – that’s failure to win in nine of the last fifteen games, and the games Liverpool DID win were against the poorest teams around, the likes of Luton Town, Havant, Bolton and Derby.

Off-field problems and Rafa’s madness play their part, but during this period, there has been no leadership on the field, and Gerrard has to take the blame for this. It is job of the captain, is it not, to keep players focused and motivated on and off the pitch, irrespective of the turmoil off the pitch?

I categorically refute the suggestion that players are affected by off-field problems to the extent it affects their game to such a degree. If Liverpool had a half-decent Captain who gave a damn then there would be that extra bit of energy on the pitch. Instead, what we get is lethargy and dispassionate, lumbering ineptitude.

In the same way the players no longer put the effort in for Rafa, they do not respond to Gerrard’s ineffective brand of ‘inspirational leadership’.

And to think some clueless fans have the sheer gall to suggest Gerrard is Liverpool’s greatest ever captain!

How can so many people be so misguided?

Again I pose the questions: What exactly does Steven Gerrard bring to Liverpool team in his role as Captain? What is his measurable impact as a leader this season?

The spectre of Steven Gerrard hangs over Anfield like a cloud of inescapable gloom, and it's time for a long overdue change.

1 comment:

  1. hey i like this blog. agree with most of your posts. definitely stevie g is a selfish bastard who must change. should start by staying away from dead ball situations (free kicks, penalties) coz he absolutely sucks at those.

    strip him of captaincy and he will want to leave. maybe because he came from liverpool youth system therefore he is captain by default? (like john terry/ gary neville... even jamie carragher is vice captain)