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.
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.
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.
For podcasts on every Liverpool game this season, transfer gossip, the lowdown on new signings and more, subscribe to TAW Player for just £5 per month. Minimum sign-up is just one month. If it’s not for you, all you’ve shelled out is a fiver! More information here.
Our latest FREE show is here, just press play:
spot on – but it looks increasingly like Sakho isn’t taking any notice and wants to hang around, training with the U23s. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next few months.
Yet another episode in the mad LFC soap opera. Which gets madder by the week.
F’in spot on !
Well written opinion. Social media elicits knee jerk reactions to everything ; nice to see a well thought out opinion.
I’m happy with where we are at and the job Jurgen has done so far. It’s a building process and we probably won’t see the final result for another year or two. But we are seeing improvement and the ride is going to be fun !
Klopp’s the boss. If he thinks a player needs to go out on loan, or gets sold, or whatever, that’s the end of it. Let him crack on with winning the league!
The drug situation definitely hasnt helped him….
The fact he then acted like a tit just made Jurgen’s mind up.
I still hold out hope of a reconciliation.
Can’t help but think Klopp is testing him….
That “someone on Twitter” was none other than Paul Tomkins and it was a very good point, very well made. Things didn’t happen overnight at Dortmund. Time to trust Klopp.
Sakho in No Longer’Boss’Shock.
I love Sakho but no one’s gonna be that bothered about him because we conceded too many goals with him in the side last season anyway and it’s just a straight swap with Matip who’s meant to have similar strengths and weakness to come in and partner Lovren.
Would be an interesting ‘what if’ to know how Klopp would’ve dealt with all of Suarez’s shit in 2013 before that season though…
It would be interesting to see the breakdown of who was centre back when goals where conceded. ie was Skrtel an ever present, was it the Sakho/Lovren combo etc.
It’s been obvious that Jürgen feels some love and affection for ‘Mama’, as he has often called him publicly. But Jürgen is German, which is synonymous with discipline and hard work. There’s room for the camaraderie of a laugh, but no room for being a distracting, undisciplined cut-up during the business hours of hard practice, a pre-season international tour, and staying focused for what will obviously be a highly competitive PL season.
If an ESPN article written when Sakho joined LFC is true, he has a long history of expressing petulant immaturity, albeit with a charming and disarming grin that has always made him a fan favourite. But that doesn’t mask what managers have learned about him. There are reasons why he lost the Captain’s armband at PSG, and his arrogance at not discussing the fat burner supplement with the LFC medical staff had an enormous negative impact.
Behaving disrespectfully during the tour — enough to cause him to be sent home — clearly indicates he learned nothing from that potentially career-ending doping episode. Jürgen Klopp is entirely within his rights to put Sakho on notice that the time has come for him to grow up and behave like a man worthy of pulling on a Liverpool FC shirt — or accept some entirely reasonable consequences.
Hi Ellie, I completely agree with you on these points.
You are right about Jurgen’s German work ethics and mindset. iIt has started to, if not already permeated within the rest of the individuals, Sturridge included (I hope).
Sakho just needs to get with it and get on with it. He’s not the only defender and Jurgen is wise to this.
Looking forward to the next game.
Mixed feeling about you sacking that kid.. I thought that was really funny! I would have kept him around and bided my time to get him back!
As for Sakho, if he hasn’t learnt to get his shit together and be more professional after the drug incident, then Jurgen is probably right to get him out of the club.
As usual I agree with you Ian but if the season does not go as well as we hope expect the idiots who post ill informed crap every day to have field day.
They will also criticize certain transfer decisions, there are too many fringe supporters across the world who can’t wait for success and to put the knife in.
Jurgen’s methods will.take time but not everyone will have patience.
Great article. enjoyed reading it. You have eloquently documented in written words what a lot of our fans are thinking regarding this topic.
Playing for LFC is a PRIVILEGE not a right!! With that privilege come responsibility which requires those representing our amazing club to be capable, professional, and above all passionate about making LFC successful. I feel Sakho’s actions are not aligned with our expectations and we must trust Jurgen’s judgement on this!!
I hope Mama bucks up and puts the effort in now to getchange Klopp view. He’s a quality player and can be an asset to a long season.
I admire Klopp’s overall approach, and have no problem with him disciplining Sakho, or anybody else.
Still, there are people who are arguing that not having Sakho’s services available to us will not be a big loss, that he’s “sixth choice” CB for LFC with available personnel and similar nonsense.
I am second to none in strong support of Lucas Leiva, but anyone who says he/she prefers Lucas to Sakho at CB on a regular basis (maybe for tactical reasons on a couple of occasions if both are fit and available, but that’s it) ought to take up badminton or archery as their sport, as they basically do not understand football, in my opinion.
Lucas or Sakho? Where did that come from? That’s a decision to be made for a dark day when Lovren, Matip, Klavan and even Gomez are all unavailable.
As it stands, Sakho has never been the no1 CB at our club. He is clearly too erratic on and off the pitch.
Lucas or Sakho? Why be so dismissive of Lucas- his past colleague Mascherano has no problem fitting DM or CB roles
I struggle to remember when Lucas ever looked out of place at CB or was the sole or ultimate cause of a goal for us. In fact he’s been a damn saviour to Lovren, Mor and Mig many times- plus he’s steady and has the players trust. Pshhh.. he can pass simply to colleagues, not opposition players. Unique!
I also struggle to forget the many times that head-the-ball Sakho was the cause of such calamities. Or made our team feel confident.
Oh- Must go now, my archery awaits before my badminton match!:-) (jokes- Lucas any day please- sell Sakho in Jan- he’s a disruptive influence plus he’s mostly crap)