13 May 2009

The one thing worse than Man United equalling Liverpool’s league title record...

Manchester United seem certain to win the league this year and equal Liverpool’s record haul of 18 titles, but there is also another long-standing and long-cherished Liverpool record of similar importance being threatened by United this year.

Only one manager has won the European Cup three times with the same team, and that man is the legendary Liverpool manager (Sir) Bob Paisley.

We’re now faced with the horrific prospect of Sir Alex Ferguson equalling Paisley’s record if Man United beat Barcelona in this year’s Champions League final.

Even worse, if Ferguson hangs around for a few more years – which he undoubtedly will – he could even surpass Sir Bob’s record. And that would be unthinkable.

Let’s briefly consider the worst case scenario: Ferguson stays for another three years and wins the CL twice and the league twice; he would retire with Man United having more league titles and the same number of European Cups as Liverpool, and Ferguson himself would be at the top of the pile when it comes to most European Cups won by a manager with the same team.

Totally depressing, isn’t it?

As much as I respect Ferguson’s managerial ability, this cannot be allowed to happen! This is another reason why missing out on the title this season is so hard to take. The title was there for the taking; Liverpool’s name was on the trophy, but as usual it all went pear-shaped.

Winning the title this season would’ve made it 19-17 in our favour; clear daylight between us and United. Now, the pressure is on even more next season because United – and Ferguson – will be desperate to finally overhaul us in the title stakes and thus secure the bragging rights they’ve been denied for the last 50 years.

Paisley’s superb record is now in the hands of Barcelona, who simply must beat United in the CL final. They’re definitely capable of it but I just have this sickening feeling that United will sneak it.

So - on the 27th May, all Liverpool fans must transfer their allegiance to Barcelona in the hope that Bob Paisely's amazing record remains intact.

Come on, Barca!


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  1. So - on the 27th May, all Liverpool fans must transfer their allegiance to Barcelona in the hope that Bob Paisely's amazing record remains intact.

    I really dont think that was in doubt anyway...!

  2. jeez, where have you been for 2 years... its the only thing thats keeping old purple nose going. he just wants to say he came to knock us off our perch - and he did that so he can retire and go into folklore. we must not let this happen

  3. Makes you wonder why "Sir" Alex is in fact "knighted" when he is yet to equal a record of someone who was not and was not able to be post humorously knighted. They may equal records, but this season has clearly shown the level of corruption in football and how some teams always benefit from incorrect decisions. With debts of nearly £1billion chasing - Ferguson, will at some point retire - will the debt be worth it? When players have to leave to service debts.... the mighty will fall while true class will prevail.


    oh and come you Barca!!

  4. Unfortunately, history is about to repeat itself. LFC won the League Cup, League Title and European Cup in 1984. UTD are about to do exactly the same, with the Euro Final 2009 being at the same place we won it - the Stadio Olimpico, Rome!

  5. United can still lose 2 games. Stranger things have happened. United have a very proud Arsenal to defeat and a dogfight against Hull. I will never give up hope. The mentality of fighty to the death is the only way forward - never surrender! This season we have at least 18 titles and 5 European trophies, next year we will have 19+ titles and 6 European cups. Think forward and think positive, not backwards. If whiskeynose overhauls the records he probably deserves it, but I doubt very much that he will.
    Mark (LFC Fan) - Dublin

  6. How long has it taken old whisky nose to get close?

    Even if he does equal or surpass it the real achievement for Paisley was how much in he won in the relatively short time he did it, something Ferguson can never do.

  7. Lets compare apples with apples and not others.. Calculate the cost of players that Paisley had, and same for AF, if Paisley had that such money then,..... he would have had more titles than AF....

  8. it's money football now and not brains football... would love to see a salary cap for all teams being equal... then it would be more of how managers are able to manage and prepare thier players... Imagine having a machine of 1 MB RAM trying to compete with a machine of 4 or 8 MB RAM???...... hands downs...

  9. "Liverpool’s name was on the trophy"

    If that was true--and of course it isn't--then it's thanks to RB. The truth is some team always needs to be second and only one team can actually win any given trophy. Might as well say Chelsea should have won it for the last 2 years because they came...second! Second is not first and Liverpool have lacked United's consistency in the end. From first saying RB was "incapable" of winning the PL, JK now criticises him for throwing away something that, just a short time ago, he was "incapable" of ever winning anyway! That's what I mean about changing the goal posts!

    As for the CL Final--yes, I hope Barcelona win. However, if AF wins it again, then so be it: he's been a phenomenal manager over the years and is probably the last of his breed. Bob Paisley's achievement was to win it 3 times in 9 years. If AF does win it again, then that will have been 3 times in well over 20 years! It's easy to forget that the reason BP was never honoured with a knighthood, was because most of his success came in the Margaret Thatcher era when Liverpool (as a place and a culture) was associated with opposition to conservative power in Britain--and Thatcher never allowed people who she saw as rivals to make any gain from the honours system. In the end who cares? Ferguson, in different times, got a knighthood for winning it once!

    Sometimes it's not appreciated the way in which Liverpool opened up the door for other English teams in Europe. The Nottingham Forests, Chelseas, Arsenals, Man Uniteds and Aston Villas of this world all suddenly started getting to semi finals and finals after Liverpool had won it--for the first time in 1977 and, a generation later in 2005. No doubt all the players in these teams thought: "We're, domestically, as good or better than Liverpool at the moment--so if they can do it, we can do it too."

  10. How is it 'changing the goalposts'?

    This season is precisely why I don't believe Rafa is capable of winning Liverpool the league. We should have won it; the title was there for the taking. Chelsea had 2 managerial changes to deal with; Arsenal were still in transition; Man U started badly and we raced into a 7 point lead at the top.

    If a Manager cannot triumph in these circumstances and fails because he basically sabotages himself, then quesitons have to be asked about whether such a manager will ever be capable of delivering the league.

    One thing is certain in my view: In the current cash-obsessed climate, Liverpool will not have a better chance than this at winning the league for years.

    The next chance will be when Ferguson leaves, Wenger leaves and/or Chelsea's ageing squad needs to be overhauled. By then though, Steveb Gerrard will be in his 30s, Carra will be on the way out, and with no youth players looking like they'll establish themselves in the same vein, it's hard to see where the next league title is coming from.

  11. Records will always eventually be broken. One day, someone will put Usain Bolt's sprinting achievements in the shade. The fact is that for too many years, the team stood still. Infected with complacency and living off past glories, we never really worried about getting back to the top of the tree - after all, there was always 'Next year'.
    With Ferguson and Utd, 'Next year' doesn't matter. It's 'This year' that's always counted.
    And, oddly enough, Shankly and Paisley both believed that too.
    We're starting to believe it at LFC again.
    But like our recent explosive form, it's come too late to stop Utd.

  12. That's a very negative view, JK. As Liverpool were not even in contention last year, it's hard to see why they should have suddenly leap-frogged Manchester United and Chelsea to win it this year. It was possible but never likely. Perhaps we should listen to the view of Liverpool pundit Peter Tompkins on this. He has noted that no team has just suddenly come from nowhere to win the PL. Blackburn were second before they won it. Chelsea were second before they won it too. Man U. and Arsenal have been winning it and coming second for years (though latterly, Arsenal have fallen off and I don't believe they could suddenly just win it again next year). It seems a transition season is needed when a team gets close during which it comes to believe fully that it CAN win the PL. I would say that this is RB's achievement this season. Next season Liverpool will not feel a sense of inferiority in competing with Man U. and Chelsea.

    Finally, let's forget this "capable" and "incapable" nonsense. Is Wenger "incapable" of winning the CL because he hasn't done it? Obviously not. He came close against Barcelona and if luck had gone his way--as it did for Liverpool in 2005--he might have won. He is "capable" of winning it--he just hasn't done so. My 21 year old daughter is "capable" of passing the driving test, but so far she just hasn't bothered taking it. If RB had had the luck this season that he had in 2005, then he could have won the PL on his backside (like Clough before him) watching Man U. drop points. Instead they've taken about 22 from the last 24 and we've watched the possibility of a 19th PL title disappear. Good on Man U.! Good on Liverpool for next season and in the future! If Man. U. win the PL with 90 points or thereabouts then we can say it was just too much for Liverpool to match that kind of consistency this season. But if that consistency had not been there, then certainly RB and Liverpool would have proved themselves "capable" of winning the PL with about 85 or 86 points.

  13. Jaimie, so glad you pointed that one out. I thought I was the only one who knew that fact. It, however, is surprising that the maximum number of European Cups won by a manager is only 3. However, I think even if Fergie does equal or break Paisley's record, Rafa will break it. He's too good in Europe to only win it once.

  14. JK wrote above - One thing is certain in my view: In the current cash-obsessed climate, Liverpool will not have a better chance than this at winning the league for years.

    What exactly do you mean by this?

    Surely you cant mean that liverpool wont win the league in the near future because they cant compete finacially with those other clubs?

    Didnt you just write an article stating that lack of funds isnt an issue?

    On a side note.
    You state we wont win the league again until fergie leaves.

    Just like he had to wait for Dalglish to leave and souness to take over.

  15. Jaimie - I take it from your lack of answer that is what you meant then - lfc wont win the league in the near future because they cant compete financially.

    I know you are a busy man but if you are going to make these types of arguements you must be prepared to back them up.

  16. To be fair you do change the goalposts quite regularly to make a negative point about different subjects.

    A quick scan of some of your past articles reveals this to be true.

    I`ll just highlight a couple of examples but I am sure there are many more.

    In December 2007 you wrote an article criticising the players for giving POSITIVE comments to the press after they had qualified for the knockout stages of the champs league.

    Then from jan 2008 to march 2008 you wrote several articles discussing liverpool players and their NEGATIVE comments.

    Saying things like -
    "Thomas Jefferson once said something that sums up Gerrard and the rest of Liverpool’s whining brigade: ‘Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude’.
    how are Gerrard’s comments supposed to inspire his team-mates or the fans?"


    "Liverpool's winning mentality has been eroded by a team of weak-minded LOSERS...and Jamie Carragher is the biggest culprit!
    Bill Shankly once said: “A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe you are the best and then make sure that you are.
    the current Liverpool team is full of defeatist, whining LOSERS"


    "I appreciate that Gerrard was asked a direct question, but what happened to being positive, and inspiring the team and the fans with fighting talk? Isn't that what captains are supposed to do...?"

    All these were written when the team wasnt looking so good. They were out of the title race and deeply disappointed.

    Then in April 2008 you criticised them for making POSITIVE statements before the champs league semi final with chelsea.

    Could they have just been trying to inspire the fans? Like you wanted gerrard to do just 3 months previously.

    Then in august 2008 you interpret some of carras comments as NEGATIVE to make the same point again

    In april of 2009 youre back to slate the players for making POSITIVE comments once again.

    Its a good job youre not the lfc press officer - the players wouldnt know if they were coming or going.

    They cant express their disappointment of a season not living up to everyones hopes without you slating them for being defeatist.

    Yet they cant make positive comments when they are on a good run of form without you accusing them of being big headed.

    Whilst also insisting that they SHOULD be being positive using "fighting talk" to inspire the team and fans!

    How can they do both?
    Its seems that you will have a go at the players no matter what they say.

    Another example of you changing your mind just to have a go is -

    in dec 2007 you wrote - "what has remained consistent is the system: 4-4-2. This is what the players are used to but, most importantly, this was a WINNING SYSTEM.

    Part of Rafa’s tragic flaw is his pig-headed insistence on changing things when there’s no need. What reason was there to change to what basically amounted to a 4-3-2-1?"

    Then in may 2008 you wrote - "When is Rafa going to learn? The 4-2-3-1 formation DOES NOT WORK AGAINST TOP DEFENCES! The Gerrard/Torres partnership only works against inferior opposition, and this has been proven time and time again this season."

    Jump to march 2009 and you wrote - "It is no coincidence that as soon as Liverpool reverted to the 4231 formation, performances began to improve.... it would surely be madness to change things now.As long as Gerrard is at the club, Rafa should stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation "

    So you didnt want him to change from 4-4-2 to the "absurd" 4-2-3-1 formation or have gerrard play up front with torres... until we started winning doing just that.

    You didnt even want him to try it. The formation and players were to defensive , just like rafas whole attitude toward football, and The Gerrard/Torres partnership only worked against inferior opposition, you said.

    How wrong you were.

    You couldnt just put a little faith in what rafa was trying to do.

    You had to quickly type out some scathing articles just to prove how mad rafa was.

    It is only now he has a squad of players good enough to be able to play his preferred formation effectively.

    Youve praised other managers for having "Stubbornness: a refusal to back down from what they believe is the right way of doing things."

    Well rafa certainly did this with his formation and tactics but didnt quite have the personel to pull it off properly.

    Now he (nearly) has and look whats happened.

    We are still challenging for the title ( just), have scored more goals than everyone else, have scored 3 or more goals in 6 consective games for the 1st time in years etc.etc.

    If you had got your way we would still be playing 4-4-2. Well, rafa would have been sacked if you had trully got your way.

    Those scoring stats sort of blow your rafa and his defensive mindset theory out of the water somewhat.

    I know you will say that he will just revert to the same defensive tactics next year but that is just your defeatist nature showing through.

    You nearly always write with a glass half empty attitude when discussing rafa and lfc.
    In a previous thread discusing if this season has been a success, there were 8 games or so to go and you said - "what happens if we lose those 8 games and finish 4th would you say that was success."

    I replied by saying I would like to think we would win those 8 games and pip manu to the title.

    It hasnt happened quite like that, but my glass half full attitude is closer to the mark than your glass half empty view.

    You are never prepared to just wait a while and see if they can prove you wrong. The daggers are out immediatly something doesnt go exactly the way you think it should.

    You almost come across as a glory hunter wanting success right now or rafa should go.

    I know, I know this site is here for critical debate and not to fawn over rafa and co.

    But even the harshish critic can hold his hands up and say - hang on Ive changed my mind about that, once in a while at least.

    You almost did it in the kuyt article comments, not going as far as openly admitting you were wrong about him, but close.

    It was only in August of 2008 that you said he should go and the team would always suffer when ever he was in it.

    Now you are saying he should stay as - "he will still play an important role for the club"

    Sounds like youre being pretty fickle to me.

    See, rafa gave him the time to adjust to his new role and he rewards him with 14 goals.

    Rafa had said "He [Kuyt] is a very, very good player for any team or squad. He's a fantastic professional who can score goals" but you couldnt believe him.

    If you had got your way he wouldnt have even been at the club this season.

    Even Jamie Redknapp is changing his opinion of rafa. The facts just dont back up his misconceptions anymore.

    the "fact" that two holding players is too defensive is one redknapp has been beating rafa over the head with as well. Well he has to find something else to attack him with now.

    While I am venting a little ( forgive me please) i must mention a few other things that may have, after this season, changed peoples perception of rafa.

    Sorry, back to your assertion that rafa has this defensive attitude. I shant mention all the goal stats again for this season because that has been done to death.

    Rafa talks about having a balance between attack and defense. This season we have almost found that balance.

    Its about having that flexibilty to defend really well but still get forward and score lots of goals.

    Lets look at manu a moment - Why has fergie been playing roonie on the left wing for nearly all the really important games he has had this season?

    Why does he play park ahead of nani?
    Why does he play fletcher in the centre?

    He plays them because he knows they will all work as hard in their defensive duties as they will in attack.

    Rooney on the left and Ronaldo down the middle is the clearest example of this.

    fergie has reverted to 4-5-1 a lot this season, with roonie left and ronaldo upfront on his own.
    He simple cannot trust ronaldo to chase back so he has to play roonie out of position - something you heavily criticise rafa for doing.

    Fregie has relied on his defence to keep him top of the league this season - it certainly hasnt been total, flowing, attacking football.

    Liverpool have done more of that.

    Another critisicm of rafa has been his rotation policy. Hopefully this season can lay that one to rest as well.

    fergie has used 32 players this season ,chelsea 29,arsenal 31, villa 27, everton 25. ( all figures from sky sports squad pages)

    rafa has used only 26 ( 28 if you include pennant and keane)

    This points to rafa playing a more settled side and not rotating as much as many other clubs.

    Again he may have done it in the past but he is showing that he is not afraid to change his tactics if the need arises. Not stubborn at all.

    He had to try his rotating theory because that had worked for him in the past. He has stuck to his princibles but just tweaked the numbers a little to better suit the premiership.

    You have praised fergie in the past for always playing his best team.
    If anything over the years fergie has seen the light and is ironically now rotating more than rafa does - he hasnt fielded the same team in consecitive weeks all season long.

    I`ll finish up with the last question you got asked in your infamous interview by the Republik of Mancs -

    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"

    Well we didnt get to the champs league final and we did get another draw against arsenal.
    Apart from that though the team and rafa did everything you asked. Went out to win everygame and on course to finish at LEAST 2nd (see my glass is still half full).

    We havent seen a liverpool team attack so effectivly like they have recently for donkeys years.

    O`neal - the same o`neal that had got a winning formula, storming up the league and really threatening arsenal for 4th. The same o`neal who then changed this winning formula by trying to shoehorn heskey into the team whilst ignoring the more effective striker - Carew.

    Youve criticised rafa for both of those things.

    And finally rafa aint going nowhere. Ha ha.

  17. JK - sorry for the huge post above, my fault for going online after getting in from a night out.

    But even in my drunken haze I think I made some valid points that I would like your opinion on , when you get the time.


  18. Actually it's great that someone has gone to the trouble of searching through all of JKs past writings in order to point out the clear inconsistencies that a glib writing style is unable to cover. Kudos to you Anonymous--but don't hold your breath while waiting for a reply from Jaimie Kanwar.

  19. A team can only win 1 league title per season so how can Paisley possibly have achieved it in less time than Ferguson ???????????????????????????????