LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, April 14, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates with Mamadou Sakho after the dramatic 4-3 (5-4 aggregate) victory over Borussia Dortmund during the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I SACKED a lad on Christmas Eve once.

As opening gambits that I’ve written go, I’m not sure it’s as strong as, “So, I killed a dog,” but let’s run with it, shall we? It’s pertinent and it happened. I sacked a lad on Christmas Eve. You’d think I’d be ashamed of that wouldn’t you? Sod it. I’m not. It was his own fault. He was being a tit.

I think I can talk about it now, it’s a long time ago and I’m sure all concerned have moved on quite happily; I was in my twenties, think that shows exactly how long ago it was. Long ago that you didn’t have to worry about things like HR, and you could sack a lad on the spot, on Christmas Eve, for being a tit. Don’t think they let you do things like that anymore.

He was a lovely lad as well. Really nice guy. Only a temp but sorted out the Xmas do. Everyone liked him. I liked him. Cracking night out in one of Hull’s less glamorous clubs. And, if you’ve ever gone clubbing in Hull, you know exactly what level of ‘glamour’ we’re talking about. Great night out, though.

Decent worker as well. No real problem at all. So, given all that; him being a nice lad, good laugh, decent pint, decent worker and only having about a week left anyway, why did I feel the need to sack him. The day before Christmas? You’ve seen the answer, above, but just to reiterate in a more polite manner; he thought he was funny.

Christmas Eve, I’m in charge of my own shop for the first time, ready for the busiest day I’ve ever worked. Been in since somewhere around seven, but it’s now nearly half-eight and we’re due to open and I have no staff and I’m worrying. And the phone goes. And it’s one of my full timers, phoning in sick. Then it goes again. A part timer. Again, a temp. Again, the lad who’s about to be sacked. I have no staff. Going into Christmas Eve and I’m on my arse here. We hit five to nine and there’s a knock on the door. The first member of staff. Then the second. And then, and then, and then. And I have no idea what’s going on.

Until the lad who has five minutes left in the job turns up, grinning his gob off and going, “What do you reckon, boss? Funny, eh? My idea, that.” And I go, “You’re sacked, knobhead.” He doesn’t believe me at first but I repeat it, and he’s still not sure so I repeat it again and explain it. Because, if you take that shit, you know what you are? You’re the guy that takes that shit.

I don’t know Mamadou Sakho. He seems like he might be a nice lad. Good laugh, likes a joke. Bet he arranges a cracking night out for the lads. I know that he’s definitely up for doing charity work, we’ve all seen his painting and decorating stint. Nice guy. Possibly inclined to act the clown.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 17, 2016: Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho on his phone on the pitch before the FA Premier League match against AFC Bournemouth at Dean Court. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The photobombing the boss when he’s doing an interview? The zany guide to Alcatraz? Possibly really amusing when it happens the first time. Jürgen Klopp looks like the kind of guy that’s up for a laugh. The first time. Maybe the second time. The third time? Not sure that’s happening. So Mamadou gets sent home. Nearly missing flights, missing meetings, missing physio? Getting less amusing by the second. Maybe the end of last season and the suspension were somewhat less than amusing to Jürgen, maybe that added to stuff that was going on that we didn’t know about.

Maybe, just maybe, Twitter doesn’t really know anything about the inside of Liverpool Football Club? It’s a possibility, isn’t it? So, when the word breaks out that Jürgen actually quite fancies loaning out Mamadou in order to have him prove that he’s up to the challenge of playing for Klopp’s version of the mighty reds, maybe the correct response isn’t, “What’s he doing? He’s letting our best defender go? Is he mad? He doesn’t know what he’s doing? He’s damaging our chances for the whole season.” Maybe the right reaction is actually, “What if Mama’s actually a bit of a knobhead?” I’m not saying he is, like. I’ve said I don’t know the lad. Could be a cracking bloke. But what if?

What if you have a player around the team who’s just a pain in the arse? What if you have somebody who’s more trouble than they’re worth? What if you have to spend so much time sorting out what he’s up to that you’re wasting time with others? What if he’s just getting in the way of what you’re doing that day, and life would be easier if he was at Stoke?

Then you send him to Stoke, don’t you? Simple as. You remove the problem.

And I’m not saying that Sakho’s a problem. But Jürgen definitely seems to be hinting at the idea that this might be a possibility, doesn’t he?

Think back to last October. Who did you want? That’s right, you wanted Jürgen. And why did you want him? Because you trusted in what he was doing, because you knew what he’d done at Borussia Dortmund. As someone pointed out on Twitter yesterday, there seem to be a lot of people who, when they said they wanted Jürgen to do the job that he’d done at Dortmund, what they really meant was that they wanted him to have already DONE at Liverpool what he’d done at Dortmund, they didn’t really like the idea of the building. In the way that there were those that looked at the Sadio Mane signing and went, “Oh for fuck’s sake, another Southampton player.” That sentence seems to have disappeared very quickly.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 14, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates the 4-3 victory over Arsenal with Sadio Mane after the FA Premier League match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And questioning the Georginio Wijnaldum signing, and the playing of Adam Lallana, and the starting without a striker, they’ll all vanish as well. We got the man that we wanted, to do the job that we knew he could do. Time to let him do it, time to trust him. And, if trusting him means trusting that he has a bloody good reason to want Sakho away from Melwood, no matter how much you or I might rate him, then you do it. And you do it based on the idea that he might know more about what the inside of Liverpool looks like than we do.

Because you know what he is, don’t you?

He’s the guy that doesn’t take that shit.

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