Friday, 6 April 2012
Kenny Cannae Go Too Soon
Regular readers will know I’m not one to home in on soft targets. I leave that to other so-called pundits. However in the case of Liverpool I’ll make an exception.
There were many predicting that the magnificent Carling Cup Final victory (when they stumbled past a plucky but average Cardiff side like a drunk stepping over another drunk) would be a tipping point for the club. Well it has been. They’ve been backsliding ever since.
Liverpool have been the worst side in the Premier League since Christmas. That’s right. Worse than Wolves, the team that’s so desperate to have you over that you get two free goals with every visit.
Worse than QPR, an assemblage of hooped misfits whose ground staff get the bath running early otherwise Cisse gets even more pissed off.
Worse than Aston Villa, a team with all the creativity of a sock drawer. Alex McLeish gets short shrift from the Holte End – and he’s probably earned it. Then again McLeish performed very similarly with Birmingham City last year as Dalglish has with Liverpool. Tin-pot victory preceded horrid decline.
The difference with Kenny is that he is of course a legend. There’s not a true fan that doesn’t have a Mount Rushmore of Scouse countenances emblazoned across his or her mind.
Shankly, Paisley, Fagan, Dalglish – and if you’re utterly pathological in your support, Benitez. And let’s not be churlish, the achievements of the first four especially were phenomenal.
Only Dalglish has returned. It looked like a fool’s errand, trying to stabilise a faltering outfit being led into the wilderness by the plodding Hodgson. And yet the Reds finished last season with a team humming with self-belief and capable of playing and winning matches without necessarily relying on a Dirk Kuyt toe-poke.
The Yankee pass-the-parcel saw the music stopped with John W Henry and the Fenway Sports Group. Funds have been made available and by Gawd the boss has spent it. Wisely he sold Fernando Torres, in the belief that he was uncapable of separating the laces that some evil bastard had glued together just before the World Cup in 2010.
That money has gone on: Andy Carroll, who can’t score either but by some accounts often hits the bar; Jordan Henderson, who is something of an all-rounder in that he can’t actually do fuck-all; and Stewart Downing who keeps resembling a decent player without ever really being one.
Oh and Luis Suarez, who mixes brilliance with brainlessness in the best traditions of footballing maverick geniuses.
Dalglish has tried to integrate these expensive wallies and it hasn’t worked. Not one player of a North-Eastern bent has done owt but look a bit shit (though Downing had a good Carling Cup final). Meanwhile Maxi and Kuyt keep popping up off the bench and making the team look better. Does King Kenny adjust accordingly? Nah.
Henderson starts but couldn’t deliver a simple message to the next-door neighbour let alone a telling final ball. Carroll needs some decent service but then again he never gets himself into positions where its absence becomes relevant.
Alan Shearer has said that Dalglish is the right man to take Liverpool forward. But there’s a man who knows that the status of ‘legend’ means that the fans give you a lot more rope. Shearer’s tenure over Newcastle’s drop into the Championship saw such a strong commitment to winning ugly that he hired Iain Dowie as his Number Two.
No one’s blamed Shearer at the Gallowgate. It's illegal. You'd get hanged from the Angel of the North.
But even Koppites must wonder what exactly Dalglish can add to the club nowadays. The man was an utterly brilliant footballer - no one could back his arse into a tightly-marking defender and turn away from him quite like Ken. And he managed one of the most brilliant sides ever to grace English club football.
And it’s clear that it’s as much his love for the club as his sense of vocation that’s seen him return. That sentiment was enough to hoist the Mickey Mouse Cup. Or at least that’s what Scousers called it when Boro won in 2004.
I know... any excuse!
But it’s not going to be enough to lift the club now.
Neither are Kenny’s uppity post-match interviews:
‘Good point today, Kenny?’
‘What d’ye mean?’
‘Draw was a fair result?’
‘Look don’t have a pop at my players. I cannae fault ‘em. Even ths shite ones.’
Kenny deserves the legend status. Let him keep it. And give him a nice way out.
Reality is descending on the Etihad too, which is nice. Balotelli continues to be the focus and just as Dalglish seems incapable of resting poor purchases, so Mancini’s affection for a lad who’s barely acquainted with sanity is baffling.
There’s no doubt that Citeh will lose the title now. I doubt the feeder club Arsenal will be too obliging this Sunday. Game over. Fergie's sitting pretty. Now there's an oxymoron.
In other news, it’s the US Masters golf tournament. That’s right, the old freakily green course in Augusta and bastion of all things backwardly golfish. No women allowed, and for a long time it was the same for blacks unless they were lugging a bag of clubs around for you.
Golf revels in its traditions and in my limited experience that means chubby twats in V-necked sweaters telling you how there are too many immigrants in this country whilst one of them to makes him his gin and tonic.
Why Augusta won’t allow women to be members is beyond me. I mean who the fuck does it think it is, the Church of England? No, wait, they’re way more progressive.