16 Mar 2009

"Reaction From The Enemy" - An interview with "The Republik of Mancunia".

In the aftermath of our glorious victory against Man United, I answered some questions for Scott over on 'The Republik of Mancunia'.

The interview is here: Reaction From The Enemy

Just because we're rival fans doesn't t mean we can't have a civilised discussion about football. I know that the Terrace Yob Code of Cretinous Conduct (TYCCC) decrees that I should be coming up with delightful new nicknames for Fergie and Ferdinand, and gleefully highlighting Wayne Rooney's alleged proclivity for, ahem, older woman, but I'll leave that to the gutter fans.

Of course, I will slagged off by Liverpool fans who cannot grasp the concept of rival fans being friendly and civil towards each other, but hey, what else is new?!

*Cue much foaming at the mouth and tortured cries of 'Manc in disguise!'

Full text of the interview:

Following our humiliating defeat, I’ve had a few words with Liverpool fan Jaimie Kanwar from Liverpool Kop, to balance the opinion of Liverpool fans we have on this blog over the past few days. Guaranteed he will not mention Munich once and his opinions may surprise you.

RoM: So, after Saturday, how do you rate your title chances?
JK: As great as the victory was, Liverpool’s title chances have not improved. This is not pessimism, it is realism, and the euphoria of an almost perfect footballing week should not obscure the fact that this year’s Premiership title was there for the taking before Liverpool spectacularly blew it.

United started badly; Chelsea and Arsenal were both in transition and Liverpool were quickly flying high. Predictably though, Rafa Benitez’s ultra-cautious approach, nonsensical team selections, needless public griping and spurious personal agenda conspired to derail the club’s forward progress. In short, Benitez is the reason Liverpool are out of the title race yet again. The Premiership is still United’s to lose, and barring an absolutely catastrophic collapse, the title is regrettably heading back to Old Trafford.

RoM: Who was your man of the match (other than Vidic, obviously!)?
JK: Fernando Torres without a doubt. The Spaniard produced a masterclass of devastatingly effective forward play and was a constant threat to the best defence in the league. Special mention also to my favourite player, Sami Hyypia, who continues to produce outstanding performances at the heart of Liverpool’s defence. A true legend and a true gentleman.

RoM: Liverpool fans sarcastically sung “He’s crackin up!” back to us before the final whistle. Are they right to back him?
JK: I’m sure many fans see it as their duty to back the manager irrespective of the problems surrounding the club, and that is, of course, their prerogative. In public, many fans will put on a united front, but I know that privately, many fans – myself included - have serious doubts about Benitez’s ability to bring the title back to Anfield.

In my case, I have maintained since the day Benitez was appointed that he was the wrong man for Liverpool in terms of winning the title, and thus far, I have been proved right. I do not hide the fact that I am in favour of managerial change at the end of the season. Benitez’s selfish personal agenda, constant public politicking, endless moaning in the media, appalling treatment of players (and damaging favouritism for certain players), inexplicable rotation policy and depressingly cautious approach have conspired to stunt the club’s forward progress on the pitch.

RoM: What did you think about Rafa’s ‘facts’ speech?
JK: Utterly ridiculous, self-indulgent, completely pointless, cretinously ill-timed and totally unbecoming the conduct expected of a Liverpool manager. Nothing positive came from Benitez’s rant and Liverpool’s form on the pitch suffered as a result. Furthermore, Benitez displayed his incredible naiveté by basically falling into Fergie’s mind-games trap, only he didn’t fall, he jumped in head first!

RoM: Steven Gerrard kissed his badge after he scored the penalty. How does it make you feel when you see him do that?
JK: If I felt it was genuine and heartfelt, then I would feel good about it, but considering he’s spent the best part of his Liverpool career selfishly pointing to the name on the back of his shirt when he scores, I’ll take his sincerity with a pinch of salt.

Perhaps I’m being a little harsh – I suppose the fact that Gerrard has stayed with Liverpool for another four years after the dual Chelsea debacle of 2004/2005 counts for something. His stunning lack of loyalty during those two Chelsea approaches has changed my view of him forever, hence my cynicism above. I mean, here was a 23 year old Liverpudlian, blessed with the ultimate privilege of captaining his hometown club, something millions of fans could only dream of achieving. All we heard from Gerrard was how much he loved the club and blah blah blah. Yet as soon as Chelsea flashed some cash, his head was turned, not once but TWICE. Once is understandable, if not condonable; twice is unforgivable, and makes a mockery of his apparent love for the club. Bottom line: Someone who genuinely loves the club, does not try and leave twice.

RoM: Who do you hate more - us or Everton?
JK: I don’t hate either club. I know this will be anathema to most Liverpool fans but I have a healthy respect for both Man United and Everton. Of course, this means I cannot be a proper fan. In order to be a proper fan I should be slagging off Fergie, Ferdinand et al and cursing Moyes and coming up with all sorts of offensive nicknames. For me though, such behaviour is the mark of the lowest common dominator type of fan. Friendly banter is one thing, but nasty yob-like personal attacks are pathetic.

In my view, real fans respect the opposition; criticise when it is necessary, give praise where it’s due and have the ability to assess contentious issues objectively, instead of being unfairly biased toward the club they support. If Gerrard dives, fans should have the balls the admit it. Same goes for Ronaldo. If Liverpool get a penalty at Goodison that is blatantly not a penalty, the fans should admit it, not just accept it because it gives the team an advantage.

If I had to choose though, I’d say United, purely because of the never-ending succession of unlikeable players you seem to attract, i.e. the likes of Ronaldo, Rooney, Ferdinand, the Nevilles etc. When it comes to Everton though, I have lots of time for David Moyes, who I believe is one of the best managers in the league.

RoM: What would Liverpool have to do this season for you to class it as a good one?
JK: Drop the cautious approach and ridiculous team selections that have blighted much of this season and go for broke in every game from now on. This means no more playing ‘not to lose’, no more league draws (10 already – unacceptable), and no more taking the foot off the pedal during games. Bottom line: Champions League final and second in the league, culminating in Rafa taking his tiresome roadshow to Madrid and Liverpool appointing Martin O’ Neill.

RoM: Would you like Wayne Rooney at your club (if he didn’t ‘hate’ you)?
JK: Absolutely not. Rooney is as far away from a ‘Liverpool-type player’ as it is possible to be. His attitude on the pitch is a disgrace and he is a terrible role model for youngsters hooked on football.

For me, talent is not enough – a footballer’s character and attitude are just as important, which is the principal reason I have such a problem with Gerrard. Rooney is incompatible with Liverpool FC’s Shankly-led, socialist philosophy, the very thing that drew me to the club in the first place.

RoM: How do you feel about the possibility of us matching your 18 titles this season?
JK: Sick to the stomach. It should never have been allowed to happen but, regrettably, it seems like it will happen very soon. Despite this impending dark day in Liverpool’s history, I have nothing but respect for Alex Ferguson and his tenure as United boss. His aim all along has been to smash Liverpool’s dominance and he has certainly achieved that.

Rivalries aside, he is quite simply the greatest club manager in world football today. Still only the 4th best manager in British history though, after Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish ;-)

RoM: Would you seriously consider emigrating if we win all five?
JK: I won’t have to consider it because it’s never going to happen!

EDIT: Reaction to my interview with 'The Republik of Mancunia'.

The Liverpool Way
Liverpoolfc.tv (Deleted) New thread HERE
Red and White Kop
Six Crazy Minutes

Funny stuff! :-) Isn't it amazing how different opinions provoke such vitriol?

Click HERE to follow Liverpool-Kop on


  1. You're one weird person.

    Are you so bitter you have to pose as a Liverpool fan and go through this whole charade to undermine us?

    You utter crank, I pity you.

    Ps. Kanwar is a manc and his alias on that site is Scott The Red.

  2. Please, for the love of God, change the record already!

    This 'you're posing as a Liverpool fan/you're someone in disguise nonsense ran its course about 5 years ago!

    Having said that, as long as I'm pissing off the gutter fans, I'm doing something right :-D


  4. Unlike the "rabid" fans whom you seem to take utter delight in deriding, Jamie, I don't find your views repugnant, just specious. For someone who purports to offer “critical realism”, you display a deplorable propensity for incessant derision of "gutter fans" and little flair for actual football debate. Indeed, you have still not responded to my post from 5 days ago.

    Nevertheless, as futile as this post may be, and I do not profess at any attempt to proselytize you, you make some audacious, unfounded statements in your interview with "Republik of Mancunia". Whether you were impelled by some ludicrous egotistical streak, or merely emboldened by the stupidity of the insulting posters, you have issued a challenge "to debate about any pertinent issue re (sic) LFC".

    I will attempt to assess your claims, as posted on the response section to your interview on the website, one by one.

    You allege that you "didn’t want Rafa from the start for a number of reasons":

    i) "Negative, cautious style of football, evident from his Valencia team".

    In Rafa's first season at Valencia, the 2001/2002 season, they won the league by seven points. Despite being only the 5th highest scoring team that year, they still won the most games - 21. This might be because they had the most parsimonious defense.

    During Rafa's second league win, in 2003-2004, Valencia won by five points. They had the most wins (23) in the league. They were the 2nd highest scorers with 71 (Madrid scored only one more, but tellingly, they conceded twice as many goals), the best defence in the league (GA -27) and thus inevitably, had the best goal difference of 44. The team with the next best goals difference, Deportivo, had 26.

    How anyone could interpret these statistics as encapsulating a team who played negative, cautious football is beyond the realms of rational human conception. As Newcastle fans under Keegan would tearfully concede, positive football does not always guarantee good results.

    Despite the preposterous myth you seek to propagate, Benitez is not an "ultra-cautious manager"; his teams play balanced football, reconciling effective attack with solid defence. It does not always succeed, and he might not always have the players to achieve his goals, but your assessment of his playing style is fatally and irresponsibly flawed. You are simply reiterating the utter tripe disseminated by myopic pundits who don't bother to examine the "facts".

    As an instructive exercise, why not contextualize your claims by examining Liverpool's performance in the league this season. All the rankings/stats quoted are courtesy of Football365.com

    1. Liverpool's home and away records, up to date, are the 2nd best in the league.

    2. We are tied for the highest number of goals in the competition with Chelsea and United, albeit United have that ubiquitous game in hand.

    3. We have the best record in the league against top half competition. How this might be construed to be an embodiment of negative, cautious tactics is perplexing to say the least.

    4. Our record against the bottom half is the 3rd best in the competition. Admittedly, our inability to break teams down has been our failing this season. However, the performances are not as creatively insipid as you imply. Advocating this misguided notion demonstrates either an egregious ignorance of the statistics, or an expeditious manipulation of results to perpetuate a reprehensible agenda against the manager and the captain. Neither of which are defensible.

    5. We have failed to score in 6 games this season. In this respect, we are worse than ONLY Manchester United, who, admirably, have only failed to score in two games this season. Nevertheless, our record in these games is 0.83 points per game, which is considerably better than 18 other teams in the league, and marginally worse than United.

    6. In 9 games when we have been in losing positions this season, we have come back to win 6 of these games and drawn 3. Negative, cautious teams don't do this. To achieve one such comeback is perhaps fortuitous. To do this twice, is providential. Any more, and certainly the team must be given credit commensurate with their ability to overcome seemingly insuperable obstacles.

    Kanwar myth #1 consummately debunked.

    In light of these facts, I would contend that, if anything, Liverpool have been defensively fragile this season. United's laudable run of numerous 1-0 wins are testament to the fact that a stingy defence is paramount to winning games.

    ii) "Favoured use of two defensive midfielders, which he transferred to Liverpool, thus stifling the team".

    First off, Alonso is a deep-lying playmaker, not a defensive midfielder per se. While he expends considerable effort on defensive work, his creative role should not be overlooked.

    In addition, many teams in Europe play with two defensive/deep lying midfielders these days - Real Madrid (Gago and Diarra - nullified by Alonso and Masch the other night), Milan (Pirlo and Gattuso when fit/Ambrosini), Barca (Toure/Keita and Xavi) amongst others.

    I think Real Madrid and Manchester United will attest to the fact that two defensive midfielders do not actually stifle Liverpool.

    Kanwar myth # 2 refuted.

    iii) A history of arguing with the board and public-politicking, stretching all the way back to his time with Extramedura and Osasuna.

    Whereas Ferguson is single-minded and has clarity of purpose, Benitez is depicted as a stubborn, self-serving, intractable, rabble rouser. Come off it, Kanwar.

    iv) "Too many similarities between him and Gerard Houllier in terms of style of play, footballing philosophy (i.e. play not to lose rather than play to win) and poor treatment of players".

    Gerard Houllier’s win percentage was 51.47; Benitez’s win percentage is 56.87. If results offer even a vestige of insight as to a manager’s footballing philosophy, then surely Benitez’s record of being the 3rd fastest Liverpool manager to achieve 100 league wins is a consummate repudiation of your preposterous allegation. Play not to lose, my arse.

    Myth # 3 abjured.

    With respect to your argument about treating players poorly, it is evident that Benitez is an unflinchingly ruthless manager. Granted, his treatment of Keane was alarming, but I would like to reserve comment for the simple reason that this situation is at once too recent for conclusive judgment, while at the same time too remote for topicality in the context of the current season. Keane has claimed that he felt disrespected, but I do not possess sufficient knowledge of the manager’s motivations in order to make an objective analyis. Nevertheless, I exhort you to clarify which players have been subjected to mistreatment by the manager.

    v) "The Real Madrid connection: In my view, Benitez’s eventual goal is to manage Real Madrid and given his connection with the club, he will sooner rather than later. This is why he places more emphasis on winning the Champions League - this is a more impressive achievement on the continent than winning the premiership".

    You incessantly pontificate that Rafa is devoted to Champions league success in order to secure his future as Real Madrid manager. Have you ever considered how much revenue European success has brought us in the last 5 years? Without this income, and the lure of playing for a successful European club, the likes of Torres, Agger, Reina and Mascherano would never have arrived. We all wish that Liverpool would win the league tomorrow, Kanwar, but unfortunately this notion is far removed from reality. Squad building takes time and patience. These are not just cliched, recycled myths, they are football truisms. Stability, continuity, faith in the manager – these factors foment success. Not febrile, reactionary, vacuous sensationalism.

    2. "I have never once stated that ‘Gerrard is crap’ - that is just typical simplistic misrepresentation. My main problem with him is not ability but attitude, character, demeanour and lack of leadership ability. Furthermore, I have always maintained - and still do - that Gerrard cannot be considered truly world class until he has performed on the international stage, i.e. in a major tournament for England. Gerrard has *never* done the business for England at the world cup or Euros, and he has had plenty of opportunities to do so".

    You have, on numerous occasions, berated Gerrard for his tactical ineptitude and “positional indiscipline”. Is it convenient now, for you to abjure these claims?

    I have honestly lost count of the number of instances in which Liverpool players have declared their admiration and respect for the Liverpool captain, and what he represents. This is an unequivocal endorsement of his leadership ability, not by the fawning, sycophantic fans and media but from his team mates.

    I understand that your monomania (thank you to the Liverpool fan who provided this nomenclature on a forum) with Gerrard is exacerbated by the fact that he almost went to Chelsea, twice. As much as you might idealistically demand unwavering loyalty from Gerrard, I would not begrudge the man an opportunity to pursue success in another team. Football careers are ephemeral, and if he felt that he might fulfill his personal ambitions at Chelsea, then I can’t argue with that. What I do disagree with, however, is your reprehensible attempt to depict his actions as that of a mercenary, as opposed to those of a young, accomplished footballer coveting trophies and glory – fundamental imperatives for any sportsman. You may think that I am condoning his behaviour. Ultimately, it is a matter of opinion.

    Admittedly, Gerrard has not lived up to his reputation in international football tournaments. Unfortunately, Mr. Kanwar, the Champions League, by virtue of being Europe’s elite club competition, is used as the contemporary reference point for a player’s “greatness”. We could argue for days as to what the appellation “world class” entails, but forgive me for concurring with Zidane’s appraisal instead of your dubious assessment.

    3. Benitez did not inherit a poor team; that is pure fantasy perpetuated by blinkered apologists. Just like at Valencia, Benitez inherited a team fill with good players and achieved some success with practically the same team. Where he fails is in building a team of his own capable consistently challenging for the league title.

    First of all, Benitez signed Marchena, Mista, Curro Torres, Rufete, De los Santos and Salva in his first season as Valencia coach, replacing the departing Mendieta, Deschamps, Milla, Zahovic and Gerard. So he did not, despite your ridiculous, ill-informed claim, simply achieve some success (a league win!) with “practically the same team” as Cuper’s.

    One of the predicaments that befalls perpetual contrarians is that sometimes, they contradict themselves.

    On the one hand, you claim that Liverpool wasted money on creative “cacks”, such as Smicer, Diao, Sinama-Pongolle, Le Tallec, Kewell etc. Yet this was the calibre of players that Benitez was confronted with when he arrived at Liverpool. How then, can you justify your argument that the Liverpool team inherited by Benitez was inundated with “good players”? I challenge you to name one Houllier player that has subsequently been sold by Benitez who might still command a starting place in our current Liverpool XI. Moreover, which of these players have gone on to achieve substantial personal or collective success at other clubs?

    Instead of recognizing Benitez’s assiduous stewardship of the team that won the CL in 2005, you predictably ascribe his success to the alleged quality of the players he inherited from Houllier. Yet another example of your unfettered delusions.

    4. I think it is clear to any objective observer that Benitez is to blame for Liverpool’s failure to win the title this year, just like he has been the main problem *every season*. Whether it’s playing strikers on the left wing; playing 8 defensive players in must-win game, disgracefully subjecting a proven goalscorer to 28 sub appearances in 33 games, pointlessly leaving Torres out of must-win games; repeatedly playing the wrong (defensive) formation; repeatedly playing players out of position; repeatedly playing it safe and refusing to take risks; arguing with the board in public before important games or making stupid public rants that serve no purpose, benitez is definitely to blame.

    Again, I will reserve judgment about Benitez’s ostensible “failures” until the end of the season.

    1. Ferguson plays Rooney on the wing, and it is viewed as a tactical necessity. Anelka has played on Chelsea’s wing as well. Henry has been playing on Barca’s left wing the entire season! You seem unable to accept that tactical evolutions have imperiled the two-striker system. Playing two out-and-out strikers encourages hopeful punts – the much derided long ball system. Most top class teams today play with one main striker, with a supporting or deeper lying creative forward who play between the lines or drift out wide. The invective is getting soporific, Kanwar, move on.

    2. Benitez played 8 defensive players in the Portsmouth game because of injuries and the need to rest Alonso, Torres and Rieira. Contrary to your propaganda, Benitez made the necessary changes in the 2nd half, and we won the game.

    3. Crouch was not “disgracefuly subjected” to sitting on the bench. Torres was the main frontline striker, and hence any aspirations for a Crouch-Torres partnership would have been subjugated by the need to play 4-2-3-1 in order to effectively dominate midfield. Naturally, you won’t attribute Crouch’s development into a “proven goalscorer” to Rafa’s managerial acumen. Ultimately, Crouch was understandably reluctant to sit on the bench and appear as an impact sub in most games, and despite Rafa’s documented consternation, the manager recognized Crouch’s desire for first team football and thus he was allowed to leave.

    I refuse to comment on the board room politics of the club, particularly in light of the fact that Rafa has just signed a new contract. At this risk of appearing crass, might I offer a vehement HAHA.

    Jamie, it is evident that under the guise of “critical realism” you propagate sheer sophistry. You propagate claims that have not even a semblance of foundation in fact or objective judgment. Not only do your claims lack perspicacity, but the tiresome diatribes aimed at those who have the temerity to disagree with you are, frankly, execrable.

    God's Minion.

  5. I will respond to this post later. JK

  6. Jamie, I like your site and have always admired your stance on how we have actually played. You're very single-minded in how you critique the current Liverpool incarnation, and modern football in general, but you deserve heavy stick for the interview with Rep. of Mancunia. Firstly, I have no problem with interviews in general with rival blogs, or fanzines, and I welcome exchanges in general, but you have to take into consideration how representative your opinions are. Now you have to admit that you are not exactly everyones fave Liverpool blogger, regardless of whether you are right or wrong, and I see no benefit whatsoever of your interview. What you said is not a general consensus (I know you don't claim it to be), but it can be taken as that.

    The other problem I have with it is that Rep. of Mancunia is not a bastion of balanced views that one would hope a wordy exchange of honesty could hosted on. One only has to look at what they say about the Rooney sending-off on their homepage no less:

    ++"Ryan Giggs goes to take the freekick early, so takes it from the spot where the ball is. Phil Dowd orders for the freekick to be retaken. Wayne Rooney picks the ball up and overhead throws it back to where the freekick should be taken. Wayne Rooney is given a second yellow card and sent off.


    Yes he was frustrated but never in a million years was it worthy of a bloody yellow card. Dowd should be reffing the fucking conference next week based on that decision. I only hope the fact it’s Rooney and not John Terry doesn’t stand in the way of our FA appeal. Although whether anything can be done, given that it was a second yellow and not a straight red, means we’re probably not going to come out of this one very happily.

    It’s not about today’s game, that was over in the first half. It’s about the game to come with no Scholes or Rooney. I’d still rather be in our position, we’re still leading the pack and whatever result Liverpool get tomorrow, we’re still top of the league. But holding on to that spot with three players missing through suspension is going to be trickier than it should be.

    I have never seen anything like it. Although no doubt Rooney will get ripped to shreds in the media for it. At least the rentboys lost and as it stands, with the same games played as Liverpool, we’re 4 points clear.

    FUCK THE FA."++

    Now do you see the problem with criticizing LFC blogs about their gutter-sniping, and the fact that manc site is at best no better, but obviously far worse, using your rule-of-thumb? I've never seen "FUCK THE FA" anywhere on a Liverpool blog homepage, especially in caps-lock. If that is what they put out front, imagine what you could find if you dig amongst the fora.

    The relationship of footy fans to fellow fans, their clubs and to rivals fans and their clubs is not democratic, and we all accept that, so it is a mistake to give such an incendiary interview, and just purport that you have that right. Of cousre you have the right, but is it wise? Especially as it seems that Benitez might be proving his doubters wrong (including me), and giving a poke in the eye to the Benitez/LFC witch-hunt that parades as journalism. You have to see the hypocrisy there, or at least the self-contradictoriness. But keep up the good work, you always aim to back up everything you say, and always try to accept points that you may have overlooked. But kudos to Kais-Sabir for his post.

  7. Hey Aiyic - thanks for your post. I definitely see where you're coming from, and I accept that my interview will not be well received by many Liverpool fans, but as you said in your post, my views are not representative of the wider LFC fanbase.

    From my point of view, there is a definite benefit in the interview - I loathe the notion that rival fans must hate each other with a passion and must always insult each others' respective teams/manager/players. I really hate the idea that in order to be a proper fan, you must 'hate' Man U and Everton.

    Many UK-based fans have this attitude in general - and act upon it - which is why UK fans are generally despised across Europe and the wider footballing community.

    I prefer to promote positive relationships between rival fans; I want to show (in my own very small way) that it is possible to at least *try* and be objective when it comes to rival teams, instead of being consumed by bias and never seeing things the way they really are.

    According to the majority of Liverpool fans, I should be slagging off Ferguson, Rooney et al with personal insults. I should be making fun of the Munich air crash. Similarly, Man U fans should be doing the same, and making fun of the Heysel disaster.

    Is this what being a fan is all about? If so, then I want nothing to do with it. Intense, passionate rivalry is great, and I'm all for that; however, when it degenerates into terrace yob mentality - which it inevitably does - then it is wrong.

    I gave my honest views to the RoM in the spirit of building bridges between rival fans. If that makes me a traitor, then so be it. I could've said things like 'Liverpool are the best and Ferguscum is gin-soaked cnut', but I'll leave that to the gutter fans.

    And re RoM - I agree, it is not a balanced site, but show me one fansite on the net that *is* balanced? There are none. Furthermore, there are *dozens* of Liverpool blogs/sites that are far worse than RoM when it comes being imbalanced/insulting to rival teams.

    Many LFC fan sites are so wrapped up in their blind faith blanket support that if see a hint of criticism they will be on your back.

    And believe me, the LFC blogs I criticised are far worse than RoM.

    As for Benitez proving his doubters wrong - me included - i really hope he does prove us all wrong, as winning the league will clearly be great for the club.

    I just can't see it happening though. as much as I would like it to. I think the post rafa-rant slump will be the clincher, and the points lost in that period, combined with the excessive number of draws in the league, will ultimately end up hurting Liverpool.

    After 5 years of Rafa screwing things up in the league, you'll forgive me if I don't have that much optimism in Liverpool maintaining their current form until the end of the season. You just know that Rafa will screw things up at some point.

    Here's hoping he doesn't, of course.

  8. Jamie mate,I've said on this site many times that I agree with you on some things and I don't on some other but I respect your view BUT you can really be hypochritical at times. For example,you said here that you respect Moyes,think that he's one of the best managers in the league and you think that insults are not acceptable and yet you have a picture of Moyes turning into Gollum on the top of the website. You also said much earlier(don't remember really in what article) that Rafa IS actually the man for the job but he only needs to drop his over cautious approach(and I agree completely with that) and yet now you're saying that you always thought that he wasn't the right man for the job and that you even want Martin O'Neill as our manager! What exactly are MO'N's virtues that would win us the league that Rafa doesn't have??

  9. Fair play, Davor - Thanks for posting. I see where you're coming from but...

    Re David Moyes: The Gollum picture is harmless fun, not a personal insult in any way. I have no doubt whatsoever Mr Moyes would see it that way too. It's far different to repeatedly calling him a 'bluenose cnut' or a 'worthless scottish twat', two of the tamer insults I've seen hurled at him on certain LFC sites.

    Re the other article - I believe it was this one from January 2008:


    I was trying to be positive about Rafa at that time, daring to believe - against my better judgment - that he would see eventually see the light. I did support Rafa once upon a time, but there was always the niggling feeling in the back of my mind that he wasn't the right man to win the league.

    And it's true - I've felt that way since the day he was appointed. If I'm positive about him, that doesn't meant that deep down I don't have reservations.

    The proof of this is this post below from the 31 May 2004 - just over 2 weeks before Rafa arrived at Liverpool:

    In the post, I explain why I believe Martin O Neill is the right man to bring Liverpool the *league*.

    At that time, my preferred choice was O'Neill, and I hold the same view today.

  10. Jamie - your response to Kais-Sabir's post was borderline nonsensical. All you did was blab on about how your views differed to many other LFC views. Yet you didn't even address even ONE of his points, (all of which I might add completely shredded your already dubious logic).
    As for your faith in Martin O'Neil - is this the same Martin O'Neil whose teams play one-dimensional punt the ball long to one speedy striker Martin O'Neil? The same guy who has spent the entire season to the dismay of Villa fans playing a midfielder at Right Back (Reo Coker) and a right back at left back (Luke Young)? The same MON who blows 50 mill on so on UK talent like Heskey, Sidwell, Shorey, Harewood etc? Even though he could go for far better foreign players? the same MON who has proven to be completely tactically unable to adjust in his recent losing streak? This is the same guy you want to run Liverpool? Laughable.

  11. What response are you talking about? To what post?

    Martin O Neill operates with the resources he has and brings players to his clubs that fit the profile of the club. You slam O'Neill, but he has taken Villa as far as it is possible to go in the current climate, i.e. into the CL places. Things have dropped off in the last few weeks, but his achievement is still immense.

    At every club, O'Neill gets the best out of what he has to work with. At Liverpool, he would buy different player, i.e. players that fit the profile of LFC. He would also get the best out of our players, something Benitez has consistently failed to do.

    What did Bob Paisley, Bill Shankly and Joe Fagan achieve on the managerial front before managing Liverpool? Comparatively zilch, yet that didn't stop them.

    I have no doubt that in the league, O'Neill would be superior to Benitez.

  12. Jamie - your poor response to Kais' rebuttal to all your ill-contrived arguments against Benitez. It's all well and good not liking Benitez but at least be factually correct in what you argue. Benitez did not just live off the remains of Cuper's squad at Valencia. He drastically reshaped it, lost most of Cuper's key players (Mendieta for one who was sold for a world-record fee) and took the squad to heights that they had never achieved. Once he left, Valencia fell apart - this is indisputable. He also took a threadbare Liverpool squad that Houllier had taken to a miserable finish in the Prem and barely challenging in Europe to winning the whole Champs League and the lack of quality in the squad is evidenced by the fact that virtually all of them have gone now and very little was recouped in return for them (i.e. because no one wanted dross like Diao, Cheyrou, Biscan, Traore etc).
    As for MON - what limited resources are you talking about? Are you not aware that under billionaire owner Randy Lernet, that Aston Villa now have far more cash than Liverpool and virtually zero debt? Are you not aware that Villa's net spend last summer was 50 million plus - making them one of the two biggest spenders in the Prem and far above Liverpool? Are you not aware that in the January transfer window just passed, Lerner gave MON the greenlight to spend as he wished but MON decided that Emile Heskey was the missing piece?
    Let's just stop this 'limited resource' myth you are perpetrating about MON and Villa right now.
    If you're going to make some points, at least try and back them up on a factual basis.
    It's sort of like you denouncing Benitez as a defensive coach while choosing to ignore the fact that Liverpool have scored more goals than anyone else in the Prem this year - and did the same last year across all competitions. Benitez is not a defensive coach. This is a myth. He is a coach that favors equal balance between attack and defence. Anyone who saw his Valencia teams play would know that. Now Houllier on the other hand, that's a defensive coach.

  13. Disbelief - Instead of just blindly asserting that my rtesponse to Kais Sabir was 'poor', how about explaining why?

    Re Valencia - The team did not fall apart *because* Benitez left; the financial situation is the root cause for the club's collapse.

    Re Houllier - The threadbare squad you talk about managed to finish second in the premiership in 2002, which is better than Benitez has managed.

    So most of Houllier's players are gone? What does that prove?! Is it not the case at almost every club in the world that the new manager builds his own team and replaces the previous managers players over time?!

    Houllier's squad pretty much won the CL in 2005; and many of his players have been integral to Liverpool over the last 5 years. So again, what exactly is your point?

    You've completely missed my point about O'Neill - I'm nor just talking about Villa, I'm talking about his *entire career*. He has got the best out of the players he has available - the players he is *able* to get.

    Money does not come into it - Villa are limited in the players they can actually buy because they are not as attractive a club as the likes of LFC, Arsenal, United etc. Thus, even if O'Neill has shedloads of money, he cannot attract the players the highest class of player because Villa just isn't an attractive destination at the moment. Why?

    1. Not playing CL football
    2. Mid-level Prem team for a number of years
    3. No real prospects if CL football for a number of years (until O'Neill took over of course)

    So, considering these things, O'Neill has and is working with limited resources: At Villa, this manifests itself in the limited sphere of quality players he can buy; at his other clubs, it is this plus the money issue.

    Villa are not like Man City - they cannot just go out and buy Robinho; they have a wage structure in place and it's juist not that sort of club.

    Benitez IS a defensive-minded coach. Goals scored is not the absolute indicator of attacking intent. Last season, Liverpool had 13 draws in the league alone. This season we're on 10 - joint highest in the league I believe. To suggest that Benitez is not a defensive-minded manager is just inaccurate.

    You cite Houllier as a defensive manager, but his teams were also top scores in all competitions a couple of times. So who is being contradictory here?

  14. Disbelief - thank you for that post; I thought I was ploughing a lone furrow here! Jamie, still awaiting a response to my post in this thread, and the Stevie G diving one. Then I will duly respond to your arguments in the "Liverpool buying creative cack" post. Cheers


  15. Jamie

    Benitez is defensive minded (as any quality coach should be) but he is not defensive. There's a difference. His teams at Valencia played attractive attacking football and so do Liverpool at times. The draws are more a relation of Liverpool lacking a creative tour de force along the lines of what Benitez had at Valencia (Aimar, Vicente, Rufete). But one would expect Benitez to address that this summer given his stated plan (read Carra's book) of addressing other aspects in order year by year. Flair being the final thing he wanted to address.

    Houllier's squad scored goals only because at one point the team had McManaman, Fowler and Owen. The moment those 3 left, the team reverted to Houllier's typically defensive outlook and conservative mindset. For further proof look what he did to Lyon immediately thereafter. Taking a glorious attacking team and turning it into a stodgy conservative team while alienating most of its offensive stars.

    The squad that finished 2nd in 2002 under Houllier did so largely with players that he didn't bring in. By the time he had brought in all his dross, the squad was clearly in decline and losing to the likes of Brondby and PSG in Europe. However you defend this man and slate Benitez who has undeniably improved Liverpool's performance in Europe and achieved more success in Europe than ANY OTHER TEAM over the past 5 years? Even without UEFA rankings to verify that, what other team has been to 2 finals and 3 semifinals in that span? The answer is none. Only Liverpool.

    As for getting rid of players, of course that's the norm. But doesn't the fact that most of Houllier's purchases were let go for barely anything an indicator of their lack of quality? Or how about the fact that most of the players that he signed for Liverpool has left Liverpool and even become a valuable contributor somewhere else? Diao? Cheyrou? Diouf? Smicer? Le Tallec? Biscan? Traore? The amount of money Houllier squandered on the likes of those players seems to have escaped your grasp as is the fact that virtually none of it was recouped.

    The financial situation at Valencia is at the root of Los Che's collapse? LOL. The financial situation has come to light only this past year and largely because the economic recession has made the Mestalla training ground worthless. The same training ground that Valencia believed could be sold to wipe out their debts the past few years. Valencia's performance immediately TAILED OFF the season after Benitez left, even though they did have exactly the same squad as the one that had swept all before them under Benitez. Not only that, if you even remotely knew anything about Spanish football, you'd know that Valencia have outspent every club in Spain other than Real in the last 5 years after Benitez left but with zero success. The financial problems coming to light right now have had zero impact on their last 5 years of mediocrity. Five years of which been spent spending vast sums of money on players to a degree that they never spent under Benitez.

    As for O'Neill. Again - compare his success at Celtic with Strachan. Strachan has less money yet has reshaped his Celtic squad and taken them FURTHER than O'Neill took Celtic. It's well known that while O'Neill is a superb man motivator, he has massive tactical limitations (As any current Villa fan could attest to).

    I don't have a problem with you criticising Benitez, but the fact is, you really don't have a solid intellectual answer for anyone who points out the basic flaws in your various theories. In fact, you tend to talk in massive generalizations as if assuming that everyone will take everything you say at face value. Look at your Valencia comment for a start? That was ludicrous. Anyone who knew anything about La Liga knows what caused Valencia's downfall. It was their inability to replace Benitez with a quality coach, Juan Soler's incompetence as president and squandering 20 million apiece on the likes of Zigic, Banega, and a host of other players who turned out to be huge failures.

    As for your response to Kais' very detailed post. I think it's pretty obvious that it was poor. You haven't established any sort of a factual basis at all to any of his factual arguments.

  16. I should note that I'm referring to Strachan taking Celtic further in the Champions League than O'Neill managed to.

  17. Disbelief

    You can keep casting aspersions against my intelligence/competence until the cows come home. That doesn't make you right, it just makes you appear patronising, snide and supremely arrogant.

    I deleted your last post because it was dripping with veiled insults. It's a matter of principle - if you cannot debate the issues without resorting to such gutter tactics then, quite frankly, I'm not interested in what you have to say.

    If however, you're interested in just debating the issues and are willing to put your attempt to discredit my intellecutal veracity on hold, then I'm sure we can have some good debates.

    The choice is yours.