“I WERE looking at him all game and he were quite far off his line so as soon as Riyad’s played it through and it’s bounced quite high and I’ve got no support, I’ve just took me chance and luckily it’s gone over the top of him.”
Sod the grammar, sod the swapping of tenses (God know, I do it often enough and will probably repeat it again in a second), sod the mangled syntax. That — THAT, THAT RIGHT THERE — is the entire point. That’s the season in one go, that’s the difference — that’s why we’re eighth.
And I don’t mean the goalie. Coming back to this. Doing the usual detour first.
I’m not one for conspiracy theories: I don’t believe the moon landings were faked in a studio in Elstree by Stanley Kubrick, nobody can ever tell me why they’d do it and everyone ignores the fact that there were another five years of the buggers.
I don’t believe 9/11 was an inside job, either. Nobody can ever give me a convincing ‘why’ or a ‘what did it achieve then?’. I don’t believe in the illuminati, that’s just bollocks put out by bored rappers; there’s no-one running the world, the world’s a mess.
All that said, I do believe that Princess Di’s alive; she lives on an island with Biggie and Tupac and they go for a ride on Shergar every morning.
And I’m quite prepared to believe that at some point yesterday morning every member of the Liverpool squad received a mysterious call from a guy with an accent that sounds like it belongs to a Cheers extra saying: “Do us a favour, lads, take their minds off the ticket prices tonight would you?”
Bing-bong, commence Operation Fume Deflect.
I’m prepared to believe that because the alternative is that our first team contains a high degree of useless sods unable to think for themselves, commit to an idea, make a decision or have enough faith in their abilities that they can pull themselves together when they concede the inevitable goal that every one of us watching, either in the ground or (like me) on a Portuguese stream on the iPad, can see coming.
It was another one of those wasn’t it?
Another one where it was obvious from very, very early in the game that the only way that we could possibly win this game was to try and stop Leicester from scoring.
Once they’d managed that we might as well have packed up and gone home.
It’s the movement question again. They have it, we don’t. Not at the moment.
The lads who do the movement have started back in full training again this morning. Please God, at least one of them ended the day in one piece — that’d be a bonus.
It’s the movement with intent. We lack intent, we lack purpose, we lack vision. We lack the vision to try the obvious.
We’re willing to play lovely little passes around the edge of the penalty area but unwilling to shoot while we’re in there. And the reason we lack intent is simply that we lack the guy to give the ball to who we know will be able to do something with it.
We’ve got tons of lads who can do the support movement, even our number nine — when we bring him on and he manages to become more anonymous than he was when he was on the bench — can do the support movement. Nobody to do the putting the round thing in the oblong thing movement though.
That’s what Leicester have, they have the lethal movement, they have the lethal vision. They have the fact that Riyad Mahrez knows for an absolute stone cold fact that he can ping a long pass over his shoulder to the space where he knows that Jamie Vardy will run to.
They have the fact that Vardy has the vision and awareness and sheer bloody sense to watch our goalie and be aware that he’s going to be off his line, that he has the sheer bloody sense to follow every ball that goes loose anywhere near him in the knowledge that he WILL score at some point.
Who do we have that does that? Daniel Sturridge. Coutinho to ping the ball, Sturridge to chase. Please, God, let his legs last, let him make it to the League Cup Final because that’s looking like our last hope for the season at the moment.
Could be wrong, like. The kids could turn over West Ham at their place. The kids could go on an FA Cup run that proves to be legendary and a wonderful diversion from the first team throwing the top four away. The kids might then transmute, through sheer force of will, desire and display, into the team that walks into the UEFA Cup games and shows their might. The kids could end the season as gods. The kids should have played last night.
(Quick aside: that Leicester passing move? The one where they carve us apart and could have a penalty? Thing of beauty wasn’t it? Far more ‘us’ than we managed last night.)
That last paragraph? The one before the aside? That’s the one where you can pull me apart and call me an idiot. That’s what it’s there for.
It’ll make a pleasant diversion from us all arguing with each other over ticket prices on Twitter.
Just blocked a lad on Twitter — it was a bit of a novelty. I’m not famous enough to block people, could do with the followers if I’m honest; all these ITK idiot liars have gazillions of followers. I feel badly done by just because I don’t bother bullshitting about stuff that I’ve read in the paper.
Maybe I should buy loads of imaginary followers as well?
Anyway, lad, blocked. Was in the middle of an argument about the ticket prices with him — his contention was that if we wanted to compete with Chelsea, City, United, Arsenal, etc then we should shut up and pay. I was pointing out that Bayern, Barca, Dortmund etc do okay, he was pointing out that I’d failed to point out that they have 90k stadiums when it was pointed out to me that this was the lad who’d told Robbo to hang himself. Because of an article about football.
People claiming to be fans of the same team telling other fans to kill themselves? Seriously? Where do you even start with that one?
You can start with this idea though. The owners got it wrong. Got the whole thing wrong. Every moment of it. I’ll say straight off, I’ve not done too badly off this; by the looks of it my ticket may not change too much or at all.
I’m Main Stand, looking at the map that the club issued — wonderfully colour-coded so that you could look at the seating plan and wonder, ‘Is that THAT shade of grey on the index or is it THAT one?’ I am in the silvery bit or the dusty charcoal bit?’ It LOOKS — and I can’t stress that LOOKS anywhere near enough — as if the prices for the area that my seat currently occupies aren’t changing.
Currently. That’s the key on this one, currently. This is my first season as a season ticket holder. It’s my Dad’s ticket (and always will be), he’s been in that seat for decades, been in that spot for decades. Keeping that spot is pretty damn important to me. And I currently have no idea whether I am or not.
You’ve got the expensive bit down near Jürgen — we’ll get onto the £77 bit in a second — which seems to be a mix between the most expensive season tickets and the most expensive ‘match day’ tickets. It’s the most expensive of the EIGHT zones of the Main Stand. EIGHT. That’s EIGHT zones.
Did a bit of asking round last night, it appears (APPEARS) that pricing in the Main Stand this year was on a two-tier system. Next year, it’s an eight-tier system. So, the lads who currently sit in the block marked ‘how fucking much next year’ are looking at a price hike by the looks of it.
If they don’t want that hike or, more pertinently, can’t take that hike, where do they go? What’s the knock-on effect of that?
And the lads up the back? I can see this nice big band across the middle of the stand marked ‘Main Stand Middle Hospitality Seating’ which obviously means that — if people are keeping their current spot, IF — then that current spot is moving further back. Has anybody asked how the lads at the back feel about now being really, really at the back? Are their season tickets the same price? Doesn’t look like a freeze at that point, looks like a penalty.
So, I’m likely to be paying roughly the same as last year but have no idea if I’m where I want to be or not. And I’m lucky. I’m about as good as it gets. I could do the ‘I’m alright, Jack’ bit but being alright about this would be the same as being alright about the bedroom tax because it doesn’t hit me. Not being affected doesn’t make it right.
And that’s the season tickets. The season tickets are the easy bits, they’re the bits that cause the least trouble.
Sixty five per cent of them either freezing or reducing. It’s the match day tickets that are the big problem as far as I can see. That’s where the real issue lies.
Twitter was ablaze with the concept of the £70 ticket before the announcement actually hit. I asked questions of a few people, ‘where’s the link?’ ‘how do we know?’ ‘everybody seems to KNOW but I can’t find anything, is it just me?’ that kind of thing. The £70 was inaccurate. By a factor of only being 90 per cent of the true horror. Unless you count the £175 ticket. Which I’m sure we will, in a second or two.
Right. Genuine question. Who gets the match day tickets? How often do they get them?
How many are local fans buying them on a regular basis and for a long time who should really have a season ticket if their fancard-membership-loyalty scheme-whatever we call this ‘give us £30 and you might be okay for tickets’ thing in any particular season were converted across?
How many are tourists who just get lucky once a season?
How many are going to travel companies as part of their overpriced packages?
How many suddenly, surprisingly, sit on secondary ticketing sites?
Because these last two are getting tickets from somewhere. That’s one of the questions that I’d like to see answered.
The other one is ‘why can’t we convert regular buyers of match day tickets over to season tickets?’ I know the answer to that one though: Top price season ticket in the Main Stand works out at £54 per game.
Okay, too expensive and I’ve never worked out why the Main Stand costs £200 per season more than the Kop — you’re definitely not paying for the atmosphere — but could be worse. That ticket though? That seat? If it’s not a season ticket, if it’s only a ‘match day’ ticket then it goes up by £23. Same seat, same view.
The lad next to you is paying about 35 per cent less than you simply because he pays up front each season and you’re not in the privileged position where you’re allowed to.
For me, this is the biggest problem here.
However many tickets are being allocated to local schools and set aside for category C matches to go out at £9 a pop, there are local fans who may well have been attending matches for years who will now be punished simply for the sin of not being able to get a season ticket.
The £175 ticket in the Main Stand? The one that’s being marketed as ‘Low Level Hospitality’? Anybody know who that goes to? Anybody know what ‘Low Level Hospitality’ actually is? A really expensive ticket and a programme? Anybody? No? Me neither.
In the 13/14 season (Remember? The one where we were really good?) there were a few occasions, early in the season admittedly, where I rocked up and paid on the door.
On one occasion I was in the same row as my dad, the row that I’m in now; it cost £42. Three years on we’re looking at somewhere between £60 and £75. Those supposedly ‘casual’ match goers, the ones that get in when they can, when they’re able to pick up a ticket? They’re the ones that the official picture of the new stand thinks would be likely to wave flags. Flags in the Main Stand? Sure about that one, guys? Never going to happen.
And definitely not at £77 a go. What you get at seventy seven quid a go is an absolute demand to be entertained. What you get at seventy seven quid a go is the bitterness that we currently display at a misplaced pass enhanced a million times over. What you don’t get is atmosphere. Not the sort you want.
We’ve spent £100million on a new stand in order to add 8,500 seats, increase a proportion of the ticket prices despite the ludicrously profitable TV spend which hits in the summer and antagonise the fanbase that we need to provide the atmosphere which creates the ‘match day experience’.
What we really needed was for the owners before last to invest in a new stadium that held 70,000. The loan would be paid off by now and very little of the last 25 years would have changed. We might not have won a league title in that time but I’ve checked and we didn’t anyway. Still, no time machines knocking round, can’t change anything.
And we can’t change anything about where we stand now.
Next season is happening, the new stand is opening, anybody who’s moving is moving, anybody who is being seen as an opportunity to maximise profit through their willingness to pay whatever they need to in order to watch their team will be used as an opportunity to maximise profit.
What we didn’t need was a pricing structure that seems very much to confirm that global reach and commercial ventures are more important than the fanbase in the city whose name the club bears.
Ultimately there’s part of me that is realistic and accepts that Liverpool Football Club is a business run by owners who have a specific business model which exists to generate a profitable venture.
I’m not jumping on the ‘FSG OUT’ bandwagon but nor do I intend to be an apologist. I accept that they saved us from almost inevitable bankruptcy. We could easily have spent the last five years becoming Leeds. I accept that they have invested in players, they have backed managers for good and ill and money raised by player sales has been reinvested — either well or badly, and I maintain that some of the ‘bad’ could actually come good: look at Spurs.
And, crucially, they brought in Jürgen Klopp. But I’ll also point out that they have got things wrong. It looks, at the moment, as though the owners have got this one very wrong.
There’s time to turn this round. Both on the field and off. Sturridge, Origi, Coutinho and Skrtel returned to actual full training this morning.
The Liverpool side of the last couple of months with a fully fit, firing Sturridge at its point? Something to dream of, something to change results — think the glory of Southampton and repeat that.
Think of what Jurgen can do with the tools that he truly needs. Think of the summer — if (and yes, it’s a big IF and there’s probably nobody that believes it will happen) FSG are willing to back the man that they had the vision to employ and back him to the level that he clearly needs backing, if they’re willing to spend big, like BIG, properly BIG — then next September we could be looking at the start of something new and great and the ticket prices won’t seem anywhere near as contentious topic as they are today.
Today though? This week? Not much fun being a Red.