6 Apr 2008

If you're one of the many people who who complain about Liverpool-Kop's critical approach, I have a challenge for you...

Every day, I am literally besieged by emails from people complaining about the critical approach this site takes towards Liverpool FC. Indeed, one email I received yesterday (which I've published within this article) is a prime example of the type of stuff I get. Well, I have a challenge for anyone out there who disagrees with me or dislikes the approach of this site.

Before I lay out the challenge, this is the text of an email I received from 'Dave Spencer' over the weekend:

You're no Liverpool fan, you disgusting piece of filth. Objective opinion is one thing, but you're just a bitter, obnoxious, vengefullittle scumbag. The sooner you get your dream job working at the SUN,the better. Then you'll have all the justification you need for yourirratitonal hatred of our fine club. Even better, as you're such a 'passionate Red' get yourself down to oneof the local pubs on matchday and express your 'objective' opinions there.

You're not even a Red, you're just a sad wannabe journo trying to make a name for yourself, and we're you're subject. The fact that you drone onabout the old Liverpool values while lambasting players like Jamie Carragher says it all, you phoney little shit. Fans like me are the heart and soul of the club and will be around long after you've moved onto your next blogging subject. I actually feel sorry for you as you need help. But there is surgery nowthat can cure your small penis issues.

Dave Spencerspence12@the-quickest.com

I responded with the following:

If you hate my views so much, then I challenge you to write a critical riposte of me and my views, which I will post on the site. This is your chance to explain to the thousands of visitors the site gets every day why my views are so wrong. I happily accept criticism and I have no problem with people disagreeing with me, so take you best shot. If you can, of course, but I doubt you'll accept this challenge.

Predictably, he responded with another tirade of chidlish drivel and I haven't heard from him since.

So that's the challenge: If you disagree with me so much, write an article explaining why I'm so wrong. I will publish the article *unedited* on the site, and it will be read by thousands of people.

It's all well and good blustering on the sidelines about how I'm a 'scumbag' and a *insert insult here*, but can you put your money where your mouth is and argue your case?!

Hardcore tough-guy and superfan Dave Spencer obviously couldn't.

Of course, there are those who argue vehemently but in the correct manner, which is great. As I said, I welcome criticism if it's done in the right way.

I sincerely doubt anyone will take up this challenge, but it's there in case anyone wants to try and redress the balance.


  1. I think your problem is you don't offer a balanced view whatsoever. you never have anything positive to say about the club, always focusing on the negatives, and this is naturally going to leads people to question your support of the club. Quite frankly you are very naive if you thought things would be any different given your approach & writing style.

    Can I ask why you don't focus on any of the positives? I'm certain you can't be foolhardy enough to believe there really aren't any, so why not write about them every once in a while? My thoughts are the same as the e-mail you quoted before, though I'm not going to lower myself to the same level of abuse, that you do it for sensationalism, to be noticed & make a name for yourself.

    Anyway, you wanted a piece rebuking your claims about the direction the club is taking under Rafa, so I will kindly oblige. Below is a piece I wrote on Kopworld, the Liverpool forum I'm admin on.

    It never ceases to amaze me how some people have devalued the European Cup so much. Any other club wouldn't even contemplate sacking a manger that had one it once & also got to another final in four years, whist consistently strengthening the squad year on year. I feel Rafa pays the price sometimes for his predecessors failings, it is not his fault that we haven't won the league for 18 years, but the weight of expectation is such that he is expected to work miracles. There was a lot of rebuilding to do when he arrived here, and we are almost there now, to get rid of him would just set us back to square one.

    Looking back over Rafa's reign I fully accept that in the first season he didn't have a full understanding of English football and got it spectacularly wrong on a few occassions, but since then his record has been pretty good. Some people seem to think we have some divine right to win the league because we are Liverpool, the fact is Rafa started light years behind Chelsea, Utd & Arsenal, but whilst it may have been one hell of a gap he definitely has been closing it. If you look at our players when Rafa arrived, who was there that would have been wanted by any other top club? Gerrard, possibly Riise, and that was it. Even Carra wasn't the player he is today. Nowadays we have the likes of Torres, Mascherano, Agger, Alonso & depending on your point of view probably a few more, plus Stevie & Jamie, who would have most top European clubs bidding if they were available.

    When you look at this season the table might say the gap is 11 points to the top (much less than last years 21 point gap anyway), but if you look beyond that the gap isn't that big. How many games did we draw this season that could have so easily been wins on another day? Any one of those games only needed one goal to win it, so in reality the difference was only a handful of goals. IMO there were only two games this season where Rafa lost us the points, against Reading & Portsmouth. The rest of our dropped points have been as a result of player mistakes, dodgy refereeing, and quite often just simply bad luck, all factors out of Rafa's hands.

    We've outplayed Man Utd & Chelsea at home, and held our own against an Arsenal team that were in full flow at the time. In the cold light of day if you just look at results we have not been good enough & we are well off the pace, but if you look deeper than that & actually analyse our performances we are not that far off at all. As far as I'm concerned there's only three games where the oppposition actually outplayed us this season, Reading, Marseille & Utd at Old Trafford, every other game I feel we played well enough to win.

    There have also been accusations that Rafa has been poor in the transfer market, which quite frankly I consider laughable. We can't forget that until this summer Rafa's hands have been severely tied, and he has had to settle for second or third choice players. Even with these constraints, not one player has been bought then sold on at a significant loss, the biggest loss as far as I'm aware was Morientes (I'm not counting Cisse, as that was a Houllier signing) at a £3m deficit. Logical thinking says that if you buy players that turn out not to be good enough (which every manager will do) then you are going to lose money when you sell them on. Rafa has actually managed to make a small profit (around a million) on the players bought by him & subsequently sold on, which isn't just a good achievement it's bloody fantastic. Out of our current squad, near enough everyone would raise more than the price we paid for them, the only exceptions I feel being Kuyt & Pennant, who would probably both still raise close to what we paid for them but not quite. We are a million miles away from the days of buying a player for £10m then sending them on a free transfer to Bolton, if Rafa signs a £10m player I would be confident we could get at least £6-7m back when selling that player. Arsene Wenger is widely regarded as the shrewdest manager in the transfer market, yet we are still waiting for Rafa to buy a Jose Reyes or a Sylvain Wiltord, we are still waiting for a big money flop who is sold at a major loss. On the couple of occassions Rafa has spent any real money he has got it spot on, as demonstrated by the signings of Torres & Mascherano. We have also seen some very astute signings such as Agger, Skrtel, Arbeloa & Reina, players who have added a lot to the squad without costing an arm & a leg.

    Another accusation levied at Rafa is that he doesn't get the best out of players. Again I would say this is absolute rubbish, the guy managed to make Biscan & Traore look like half decent players FFS! It was Rafa who was responsible for making Carragher a permanent fixture at centre back, having played most of his career as a fullback. No-one before Rafa realised this about him, yet now we find ourselves with one of the best centre backs in Europe. If we had to buy someone the quality of Carra how much would that cost us? It's arguable that Gerrard was always destined for greatness regardless of who managed him, and to an extent I would agree, but Rafa certainly hasn't hampered his progress which could well have happened with a different man at the helm. The best indication for me has to be the progress of Steve Finnan, who has probably had his day now, but under Rafa emerged as being for me the most consistent player in our squad, whilst four years ago he was probably one of the most inconsistent.

    Rafa isn't just looking to the present though, he is also looking to the future. Lots of people bang on about Arsenal's youth & why haven't we got youngsters coming through like that, the fact is Wenger has been at Arsenal a lot longer than Rafa's been here, and it's only the last few years we've seen all these youngsters coming through. We are investing heavily in future stars, anyone who watches the reserves & youth teams I'm sure would agree that players like Pacheco, Bruna, Plessis, Insua, Nemeth & Spearing are all looking very promising for a few years time, whereas in the nearer future we have the likes of Anderson & Hammill who have both had impressive loan spells and should hopefully be breaking into the first team very soon, and players like Guthrie, Antwi & Roque who the jury's still out on. We are snapping up the best talent from all over the world, which is exactly what Wenger started doing ten years ago. Wengers youth policy didn't pay dividends straight away & neither will ours, but it won't be that many years before we do start to see the benefits.

    I really really can't understand the mentality or short sightedness of anyone who would want Rafa out, the man is building something here that is going to last. If you're building a house you can get it built a lot quicker if you don't lay the foundations, but that house is not gonna last very long. We cannot let impatience get in the way of our long term goals.

  2. A good reasoned argument. I agree that JKs biggest mistake is to think that someone who might not be able to argue or write as well as he can, is automatically wrong. I also agree with the sentiments of the quoted writer, that JK is an attention seeker who uses LFC as a way of bringing notice to himself. The personal insults are wrong and regrettable, but if JK keeps winding fans up in such ways, then this is what he's going to get. I thought JKs comment, when Riise headed into his own net in the Chelsea match, was revealing. JK told us that on the spur of the moment HE COULDN'T HELP LAUGHING. I am 100% sure that no true Liverpool fan felt like laughing at that moment--however comical it might have looked to an uninvolved outsider. Did Thompson look like he wanted to laugh? This off the cuff remark shows his true lack of commitment to LFC.

    Finally, it looks like no new articles are going up on this site, by Kanwar or others, so perhaps JK has finally got tired of trying to tell everyone at LFC what they should be thinking and has decided to go off and work on some photographic or tiddlywinks magazine.

  3. Bob - is it possible for you to make any more outrageous and false assertions?! As usual, for Liverpool fans who can't hack my views, I'm an attention seeker/no fan whatever. *yawn*

    And, much to your chagrin I'm sure, there will be more articles on this site. At present, there is nothing I feel like writing about, so I'm taking a break...so be thankful for small mercies ;-)

  4. JK there's nothing i hate more in this world than intellectual smuggness. While i can accept your remarks that you want people to argue against you intelligently and not simply with a torrent of abuse, the delivery and your general style of your writing gives me the impression of someone in love with himself.
    Now that we're through that onto your views. Of course your entitled to your own view, but i have to agree with Bob on this one, any liverpool fan watching riise's own goal would have felt sick and not found it remotely comical. If your first reaction was to laugh then you really need to start thinking about where your loyalties lie.
    I have to question the direction of this site as well, while i praise the idea of a site with a realistic
    outlook i think you have to remember some things. Firstly everyone is talking about the way the club is conducting everything in public at the moment and how against its code that is, in addition how there is no real unity at the club at the moment and that this is hindering the team's progress. In the light of this scenario, as a liverpool, as that's what you claim to be, surely you should promoting a little more unity instead of delivering countless accusations of inability at Rafa and criticizing every decision he makes.
    While i can see and understand your wish for realism and remove this blind faith i think now is the time when unity instead of relentless criticism is called for. Otherwise your no better than the hype promoting journalists that you want to avoid.

  5. Thank you for your comments. With respect, I think it's possible that the way you perceive me has more to do with your own pre-conceptions and what you're projecting than anything I'm putting out there.

    How exactly am I 'in love with myself'? Because I have a website and strong views?! Everyone on the net must be in love with themselves then!

    Such a label is just the latest in a long line of tags that have been applied to me. And as usual, the bottom line is this: people just don't like anyone who has vociferous opinions that contradict their own personal view of the world.

    I tell it like I see it. Sue me. If my 'general style of writing' is forthright then why is that a problem? This is clearly an OPINION site and doesn't hold itself out to be anything else. As such, am i not entitled to present my opinions any way I see fit?

    Anyway - on to your main points. Re Riise's own goal; of course I felt sick when the goal went in! It pretty much killed our chances of progressing to the CL final. That doesn't mean I can't see the humour in what happened. Should I just descend into a catatonic state of depression and slit my wrists?

    On the subject of promoting unity at the club by basically toeing the line and not criticising what's going on, I strongly disagree with you. In my view, it should be the job of every Liverpool fan to take a critical view of what goes on at the club. Just accepting things through blind faith or some misguided sense of loyalty is wrong.

    The fans and the media regularly fall over themselves to hype up and praise the players and the management, and they lap it up. By the same token, when things are going wrong, they have to accept the legitimate criticism that comes their way.

    If something is persistently wrong at the club it needs to be highlighted, not brushed under the carpet. In the current situation, Rafa's transfer policy and continual failure to focus on key parts of the team are (IMO) real problems that have contributed to an abject failure to properly challenge for the premiership title.

    You may be happy to go into the new seas with no effective wingers and Dirk Kuyt as a first-choice wide-man, but I'm not.

    According to you though, I should not say anything because criticism doesn't promote unity.

    I think it's fair to say that my articles have zero impact on the unity of the club. Unity has to start from top and over the last year, Rafa and owners have shown little regard for unity or the traditions of the club.

    So why should they be let off the hook?

    They deserve all the criticism that is coming to them. Rafa deserves criticism because he is allowing his irrational stubborness to affect the forward progress of the team.

    Furthermore, when it comes to destroying the unity at the club, Rafa is as big a culprit as Tom Hicks and George Gillett with his sullen victim complex and veiled public criticisms of the board.

    I think labelling my articles as 'relentless criticism' is a bit of an exaggeration. I have written many positive articles over the last year and in most articles - even if the overall tone is critical - there will be positive points that I make.

    So I apologise if you don't like my style of writing, but I will continue in the same manner for the forseeable future.