The best news since the last Issue came out is, we now know fans will be allowed back inside Anfield, albeit in a vastly reduced number, on October 24th when we play Sheffield United. How the club manage this we have to wait and see and that will be the time for comment. To slightly change a famous quote, it’s one small step for mankind but a giant step for football fans.
After the longest season on record we’ve now had the shortest close season. I don’t know what others think but in my mind the game’s restarting too soon. In fact October 24th might have been a more ideal date. Despite opinion to the contrary, footballers are only human and can’t be expected to just play and play. There are far too many fingers in the pie; The Premier League, The FA, The EFL, UEFA, FIFA and of course, the TV broadcasters who may have the fattest fingers of them all. At a time when governments around the world are telling us if we travel anywhere we do so at our own risk they expect footballers to jump on planes and jet all over Europe, playing in soulless bowls to suit and satisfy who? I know top flight footballers are elite athletes but as someone said when Bojo caught the bug, coronavirus doesn’t discriminate. They could have shelved all Cup and International tournaments until we at least have a better picture of where our lives are heading. However, those tills need to start ringing.
As it is the new season is here and just like last year our pre-season was more miss than hit. Just like last season a lack of activity in the transfer market is causing some fans concern. I think we need at least a couple of additions but I can understand the reluctance to follow the path others have gone down. We are living in a wait and see environment and if the club start throwing money around they may well pay a far greater price in the long term. Whether Jürgen is genuinely happy with the situation we don’t truly know but I’m sure he understands it.
Players such as Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, Rhian Brewster and Neco Williams, and I’m sure there will be others, deserve the chance to show their worth. We can’t pre-judge anybody but it’s interesting to note the number of quality young players emerging at other clubs via the academy route and let’s not forget, clubs can pay £50m for a flop, a big price tag guarantees nothing.
Two seasons ago the experts said Manchester City would walk the league, they didn’t. Last season they said it would be a two-horse race; it wasn’t. Our squad is nowhere near the size of some of our rivals but it wasn’t last season. The way last season ended wasn’t normal; the new season won’t be either. Last season I did have expectations but this time around I don’t know what to expect. Does anyone? One thing I do know is, we should leave things to Jürgen and those around him. The world tells us to prepare for a new normal but nobody knows what that is and it’s same in football. In fact all sport is in an uncertain world, let’s get through that uncertainty first.
This is the fourth issue of RAOTL since lockdown and that is thanks to our subscribers, contributors and those who have bought a copy. Thanks also to Paul the Printer because his help has been invaluable.
JJP Still searching for the answer without knowing the question