YOU know how I do this by now. Ramble on for a while, get into a groove of some kind on the introduction while looking for a point; find that point, pick up a bit of pace and keep going until I hit a level of mania. Throw these things together. Make them up as I go along. Either that or there’s a hell of a lot of hidden craft going on here to give that illusion. You can make up your own minds on that.
Not today. Today there’s preparation. Preparation and (probably) a complete lack of mania. I have reached an almost zen-like level of absolute calm about all things Liverpool.
The preparation? YouTube. But not the YouTube that consists of goal clips and tricks that make the most meagre talent look like a world beater accompanied by dire dance or dire heavy metal. No, my YouTube morning involved more creative searching — and it’s been absolutely fruitless.
The ‘thing’ I needed, the clip that I was after? Can’t find it. I reached out to the universe in my whole new zen state, being all one with everything and all that, tapping into cosmic vibrations and stuff and it didn’t turn up. So I’m going to do that bit from memory and you’re going to have to trust me on it.
First though, let’s talk birthright and heritage. And this isn’t one of those “Scouse fans know more about how to support the club than the out of towners”. It’s not. No matter how much you think what follows sounds like it might be. And anyway, plenty will tell you I don’t even count as a Scouser. I was born in Bootle, I live in Bootle and I haven’t actually lived IN Liverpool itself since 1989. Try telling Carra he’s not a Scouser though. Dare you.
The thing is, we sometimes forget just how bloody lucky we are to come from here. Look at what we’ve got. Look at everything we’re born into. Look at the glory. And not just us, the Bluenoses as well. Football wise, they’re so much bigger than your Newcastles, your Villas, your Spurs. They’re not us, but most people aren’t us. They’ve had their moments though and they’ve got all this other stuff that we all share; this incredible city with its amazing buildings (and, as I write, its bloody awful weather — 7th of July, torrential rain) and its fantastic culture and history and….there was something else wasn’t there? Oh yeah, the music.
The music. Fifty plus years of the best music the world’s ever been given. Tons of it, coming out of our ears. And you know where I’m going, you know where I have to go, you know I’m heading back to the beginning. You know what we gave the world. We gave the world The Beatles. Us. Nobody else, nowhere else, us.
And I know some of you don’t ‘get’ The Beatles, that’s okay, I won’t stop talking to you over this; my wife doesn’t ‘get’ The Beatles and we’re still cool. This though: The Beatles are the single greatest, most influential, most important band ever to walk the planet. I’m quite happy to bore you senseless with all the whys on this elsewhere but what’s important here is that we — this lucky we in this fabulous city — didn’t give the world a band, we gave them a socio-cultural phenomenon.
(Look, it IS about football, honest, I’m getting there.)
We gave them this phenomenon that was so big, so important that when the singer — who was 25 years old, twenty five bloody years old, and had already made the single greatest artistic leap in human history (Tomorrow Never Knows — we’re not even discussing this point) tells a journalist that his band are more popular than Jesus, the world stops. And listens. And complains.
There are death threats. Actual death threats, not Twitter fume death threats, the death threats that come from people who are actually going to kill you. The Klu Klux Klan smile and point out that they’re a ‘terror organisation’ and are coming for the lads. THAT’s on YouTube…
And the world’s press is doorstepping these lads who are the most famous people on the planet and the oldest is 25 and the youngest is 22 and there’s every chance somebody somewhere is going to kill at least one of them and possibly all of them and in the midst of all this — and this is where YouTube fails and we go with my memory and it’s not even on the Anthology DVD, I know, I’ve been checking, research and all that — a journo doorsteps John and Paul and asks them about the threats and Paul adopts this beatific smile, this zen-like level of absolute calm about all things and, in the face of all these threats and in spite of all the danger and flying against all reason and reality, he tells the interviewer that “everything will be fine, it will all be fine, just wait and see”.
And he believes it. All of it. It’ll all be fine. All of it, just you wait and see. And that’s where I am. In the face of the fume, utterly calm.
We’ve got a new coaching set up and everyone hates it, everyone’s complaining. This O’Driscoll bloke? Never won anything, been sacked everywhere he’s been, just another yes man for Bodgers (love the poster on the Echo site who insists on calling Brendan ‘Bodgers’ all the time despite the fact the joke got quite old quite a while ago). Because we all know O’Driscoll don’t we? Know exactly what he’s like and what he’s capable of. Never heard of him a fortnight ago, thought we were appointing some bloke who played rugby, but now? Now we’re experts on the tactical and personal failings of a bloke that WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. Apart from the fact that everybody who’s ever worked for him seems to think he’s one hell of a coach, despite the fact that the guy who’s just given him the job as his No.2 was saying two years ago (when we all thought he was a genius and were singing songs about the fact, remember) that he deserved to be in a bigger job. Apart from the fact that every single statement you hear about his coaching philosophy sits perfectly with everything we want from our team.
But, you know, we’ve never heard of him and we’re all experts so he must be cack mustn’t he? A month ago, none of us had heard of Firmino either but we know for an absolute fact that he’s great. We don’t rate O’Driscoll because……well, he’s won nothing and he’s proven nothing in management and he’s been sacked at every club he’s managed. We should have Sami Hyypia instead because…..oh, yeah that’s right. Much as I love Big Sami, we’d all take a flyer on him but not on the other bloke. How about we take the leap of faith there? How about we take it everywhere?
Let’s take it with Danny Ings. Let’s stop complaining about the ever rising fee that the tribunal are going to set — like we know anything about how the tribunal is going to think — and let’s decide that he’s going to cost £10m and let’s decide that if we’re going to have a third or fourth choice striker then he SHOULD be at least £10m and let’s decide that the lad wants to do the job and we’d rather have a lad that wants to do the job than a lad who looks like he can’t be arsed and let’s go — yeah, step up from Mario and Fabio, I’ll give this a crack, see what happens, maybe it’ll be fine.
And maybe that ginger lad we signed as a back-up keeper will be better than the previous back-up keeper? I mean, what are the odds on that one? And maybe big Si will keep going like he was going in the second half of the season and he’ll be fine. That’d be cool, wouldn’t it? And it’d mean that all we’ve done is quite sensibly got a spare for nothing who’s better than the last spare. Yeah, having that.
Speaking of lads who cost nothing. Our new number seven. Less fume than I expected on the fact that James Milner got the No.7 shirt. Makes sense though. Nobody believes that he’s a Suarez-esque player so there’s no pressure on him to be that. And no pressure on Bobby Firmino either. Take Assaidi’s shirt, there’s every chance you’ll be an improvement. Oh look, we’re talking improvements all over the place. Go on, you believe O’Driscoll’s an improvement on Colin Pascoe don’t you? If he keeps his legs covered on match day he’s going to be one up straight away. And we’re getting a new first-team coach who has a history with the club so that’ll keep us happy won’t it?
Soz. Milner. I was talking Milner. The mania slipped in for a second. Chilled again now. Milner doesn’t take the eight. He might be replacing Steven but he’s not replacing Steven. No pressure. He’s giving us balance and experience and he’s won things and he’s cost us nothing. Just think: it could have been Jonjo Shelvey in that shirt next season. Another improvement. Tons of the things.
That Clyne lad? Better than Glen? There you go then.
You know what? I’m even willing to get on the Benteke bus here (it’s going to be like the Venga bus but much more fun). Do I believe he’s a Liverpool player? No. Is he the player I’d sign? Not unless we were also getting another, nippier, more mobile striker at the same time. Is it my choice? No, so I might as well be cool with it.
I might as well be cool with everything. Cool with Ian Ayre who has — lest we forget — managed to get six signings sorted out BEFORE THE TRANSFER WINDOW OPENED. Have the Mancs done that? No, they haven’t. I’ll give you a choice now; Milner, Ings, Origi, Clyne, Bogdan and Firmino or Depay and….well, that’s it. And their assistant manager? Won nothing in management, has he? How many games did he win as a manager? And they wanted Clyne didn’t they? Wanted Firmino. Didn’t get them. Chose us over them. Milner chose us over extending at City or going to Arsenal. Chose to come and play for that manager who all the ITKs were saying was sacked and wouldn’t start the season because he hadn’t spoken to anyone and FSG hadn’t made any statements.
Maybe we don’t need to make statements. Maybe our not making statements is our statement. We are in a good place. We’re doing everything with a calm grace. A beautifully hypocritical grace at times; City? You want Raheem? You’ll pay what we want or he goes nowhere. Villa? We want Benteke, we have every intention of getting him but we’re not paying ‘that’. Whispers this as it’ll start a whole new Twitter fume but we seriously look as though we’re behaving like a big club — we look serious, we look like we mean business, we look like we’re carrying some authority all of a sudden.
And that’s how we want to start the season. I wanted mania. I wanted the madness of the Suarez days. Now I don’t know. I want calm, quiet, authority. I want arrogance, I want to cruise past opponents, I want to swat them away casually and act as though it’s what we’ve always done. I want an almost zen-like level of absolute calm about all things.
It’ll be fine, it’ll all be fine. Just you wait and see.
Pics: PA Images/David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
Subscribe to TAW Player: http://www.theanfieldwrap.com/player/subscribe