Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Robbie Rafa's Ruin

I write this, on a Charlton blog, because we once made a bid for Robbie Keane (and if we did not then we should have), in 18 months the guy has accumulated a transfer value back and forth between Anfield and White Hart Lane of around £35 million, so Tony Mowbray must be rubbing his hands in glee getting this striker on loan. But this article is not really about Robbie Keane, Celtic, Tony Mowbray or Spurs its about Liverpool and more specifically Raffa Benitez.

After I made my conversion from top division Chelsea to second division Charlton, I never believed that I would ever see Charlton in the top flight (we are now three promotions later) and rather than adopting Chelsea back as my top flight team, i chose Liverpool, influenced by the glory years as well as the Beatles. So it pains me to see them in the position they are today.

Robbie Keanes loan to Celtic, who play in the backwater of rubbish football, shows how ludicrous was Raffa’s decision to pay £20 million for the irish striker. Don’t get me wrong . he is a good striker, why else would curbs have gone for him, but £20 million was always over the top and then to compound things Raffa did not start him regularly.

Over the years Raffa has spent a lot of Money on players and you can look at the current Liverpool side and count on three fingers the quality players they have got Gerrard, Torres and Caragher. None of the big 4 rely like Liverpool do on such few players. He has spent a lot of money and for what? The European cup? Is that it?
Hopefully Rafa’s time at Anfield is coming to an end, if not then they will soon be fighting amongst the mid table hopefuls, wishing for a top four place with the likes of Man U, Man City, Chelsea and Spurs!

Monday, 1 February 2010

At The Crossroads

In the first season of the Championship just after Christmas we were about second and poised for a good push on an immediate return to the Premiership. Team mismanagement, through over use of the loan system and financial necessity, the sale of Andy Reid and injuries put paid to that and we ended up mid table. With the squad we had after years of punching above our weight, we were patting below it. So two years later what has changed, well divisions for a start. We started the year 2nd though and we are at a cross roads in our chase for the poor mans riches of the Championship.
The positives are that we have Parkinson and not Pardew. We have seen that Parkinson is not an impact manager, he slowly builds putting the pieces in place till he has some semblance of a team. Some may say that Parkinson is not the man and that recently some of his substitutions have seemed bizarre, but overall he has performed well and on no money even to have got us to where we are has bee n little short of amazing. Whilst he had some failures last season with his loanees, it must be remembered that they were brought in as we scrapped the bottom of the barrel once everybody else had had a pick of the “crème de la crème” of loanees. This season it has been difficult to complain, whilst Mooney has looked ropey in the last couple of games, despite scoring, he has overall made a positive contribution, Omosuzi has got better and better and in my mind is a strong competitor for the right back position, whilst Ikeme was not a decision many of us agreed with, once he got rid of his ring rustyness he did well.
The negative is that we are skint, where as Pardew could wheel and deal in the loan market at least, we do not have two brass farthings to rub together and we have no topless white knights riding in to save us. We do not have an out and out goal scorer at this level (Chris Dickson’s spell at Gillingham seems to have been the peak of his career and the failure to sell him to Gillingham may be a mistake we rue, come the summer when he hopefully walks away.).
After the recent three home games on the trot we could reasonably expect to have picked up 9 points and with Leeds stuttering their games in hand could have been negated, instead three abject performances have resulted in only 4 points and the gap between 2nd and 3rd widening and next weeks opponents Swindon soaring along on the outside rails.
So we are at a cross roads, we could continue to drive towards promotion or we could as many now believe sink towards mid table obscurity. Many fans predicted relegation this season, so even mid table obscurity can’t be bad – can it? For the sake of our club, we need promotion, our squad is on borrowed time or is it borrowed money, if we are in this division next season then we will lose most of the senior squad, for two reasons. We won’t be able to afford them and we will no longer be able to feed their ambition .
The board have poured £7 million in the club to keep it afloat this season, one has to ask, what about another £1 million please just for a striker – says the man who has little money to contribute himself .
The signing of Reid has been good, but we need to use him and Sam to enable us to go about playing the football that we were playing earlier this season. With the exception of maybe Norwich and Leeds, there are no teams home or away that can live with us as a footballing, passing team and we have to get back to that. We also need to go back to strong foundations at the back, to be a platform for driving forward. If we are solid then we can have the confidence to break forward and put the opposition under pressure. Christian daily has lost some of that assurance that he had earlier this season with the changes of the other three around him, hopefully now we are back to full strength with the exception n of Youga (who it appears from his comments in the shop last week is a while away from contention), the assuredness of the defence will return.
February, beginning with three away games, against leading contenders for the playoffs and March are critical and then we move into the April games of death with Colchester, Norwich and Leeds all at home (Leeds is May, but that is close enough). We are at a cross roads now, because if we do not pick up form now, then April will be meaningless as we are condemned to future years of potential mediocrity.