Joe Strange - Liverpool crisis is far from over
Published: 18 Oct 2010 - 11:58:56
So after more twists and turns than an episode of Lost, Liverpool's boardroom saga finally came to a conclusion on Friday evening.
For the red half of Merseyside it was the most satisfying of results. Tom Hicks and George Gillett were shipped back across the pond and in their place came a man with a proven track record of bringing success to an underachieving sporting team.
So what if he's another American? John W Henry's arrival means crippling debts of more than £280 million will be wiped clear and Roy Hodgson, if he's still in charge come January, is almost certain to have some much-needed cash to splash.
For Liverpool's fierce local rivals Everton, the financial turmoil which had surrounded the Anfield club had long been a source of entertainment. The Blues have had their own money problems to contend with over the years, with a manageable but gradually rising debt resulting in a distinct lack of investment in the playing staff.
So for fans of David Moyes' side to see the old enemy from across the park struggling to balance the books was a welcome, if not slightly enjoyable turn of events.
As an Evertonian myself, hearing the news that Liverpool's newest Yank had put pen-to-paper on a deal to buy the club provoked feelings of jealousy. Bill Kenwright has been trying to sell the club for years, but while Liverpool had plenty of foreign billionaires interested in a takeover, we can't seem to raise a penny of investment.
So to see Henry come in, spend a fortune on clearing a ridiculous level of debt, promise to build a new stadium and pledge money to spend on new players was frustrating to say the least.
I didn't want them to go out of business altogether but a nine-point deduction would've been like an early Christmas present.
Sadly it wasn't to be, and going into yesterday's Merseyside derby I was fearing a buy-out inspired backlash from Steven Gerrard and co. After all, Liverpool's form so far this season has been woeful and what better game to get your season back on track than against your local rivals also struggling at the wrong end of the table?
Fortunately all my fears failed to materialise as Liverpool put in yet another passionless, inept and spineless performance.
Fernando Torres looks like a shadow of the player who took the Premier League by storm, Joe Cole contributed almost nothing before being substituted in the second half and fellow new signings Paul Konchesky and Raul Meireles also failed to impress.
Whether it's the tactics, the players or the manager is still up for debate, but Liverpool are a million miles away from the side that came close to clinching the title a couple of seasons ago.
Yesterday's 2-0 defeat leaves them firmly rooted in the bottom three after eight games, an unthinkable position for a club of Liverpool's stature.
Everton fans taunted their opponents yesterday with chants of 'Going down', and while the Reds will not even flirt with a drop down to the Championship, their predicament remains a serious one.
Hodgson still has two-and-a-half months until the next transfer window opens and he must address his side's problems now instead of waiting for the chance to blow some dollars in January.
If he doesn't then he will be leaving via Anfield's exit door and Liverpool's on-field issues will start to rival the off-field ones they have only just managed to overcome.
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:joe strange
- A product of Brighton University's prolific youth system, Joe Strange has boundless energy and the enviable ability to cover every blade of grass in his Monday blog. Joe has written for a variety of football websites and fanzines and is also a regular contributor to golf.co.uk. Despite being born and raised in Kent, 'Stranger' is a diehard Everton fan and counts his team's penalty shoot-out victory against Manchester United last season as his most memorable football moment. Follow Joe on Twitter @joe_strange.
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