By Aaron Cawley.
If you are of a certain generation, you will remember a song from The Clash entitled, “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?”. But what does this song have to do with football?
At the moment, there is a building faction within the Liverpool fan base that want current owners, FSG, out of the club. And I’m quite sure John W Henry has at least once thought about those famous song lyrics in difficult times.
Being a Liverpool fan in the current climate is difficult. We have just had a January where the team won one match from ten games, and are yet to win a league game in 2017. Fans were calling for a signing last month but as the month drew on, we all realised it wasn’t going to happen.
For some, this suggests a lack of interest from the clubs owner; that they are tight-fisted and are only interested in pleasing the club’s shareholders. This point I understand. After all, FSG are businessmen and are not in business to blow £100 million every six months in a sport that is so fickle. No. They are in the business of making money and turning Liverpool in to a viable commodity. They are in it to make money. But what owners of football clubs aren’t?
Would fans be happy if Liverpool were run like Manchester United? Constantly in debt, spending big, hoping that the investment pays off and they win things on the pitch. FSG are no Roman Abramovic or a Saudi Royal family. They don’t have endless hoards of cash. They do what they see fit and do things that will benefit Liverpool in the long run, not the short term.
Let’s not forget when FSG took over Liverpool, the club was hours from going bust. Hours from having to rebrand itself and losing a part of the history that managers like Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan had spent years shaping.
Look at what happened to Rangers in Scotland, who were in a similar situation to Liverpool. Unfortunately, they had no silver lining and past victories mean little to them now.
People say FSG don’t spend money, so let’s take a look at that. How many £20 million plus players are in the current team? How many players of that value have come and gone since they took over? I’m not going to talk rubbish about net spend, as it’s not their fault that they have managed to get top dollar for average players over the last three to four years.
FSG are in it for the long haul with Liverpool, and fans have to accept that. Over the years they’ve done 90% of the things called out for.
A top class manager was required; in came Jürgen Klopp. Fans wanted to increase the capacity of Anfield, so they built a fantastic new main stand and have plans to do the same with Anfield Road. They brought in world class players like Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané. FSG also froze ticket prices, albeit after a short stand off.
I understand that we are Liverpool and should be attracting world class players to the club every year, but without playing European football, that’s becoming a enormous task. FSG aren’t going to blow massive money on wages or players just for the sake of it because they’re following a business model; a model that has proven successful in the past for a certain other Premier League club.
It is going to take time to get Liverpool back to the top of their perch and I feel we have to allow FSG to do the job they set out to do. Under their care, Liverpool, for the first time in its history, are valued at over a billion pounds, are back in the top ten richest clubs in the world and have some of the lowest debt in European football.
Will they sanction a move for a player valued at £50 million pounds? Probably not, but they will give Klopp the funds he think he needs to get Liverpool back to the pinnacle of both European and domestic football.
Finally, before answering this, have a long hard think about it. Do you really think there was no money to spend on players last month? Check Klopp’s history as a manager and how many times he’s signed players in January. And would you be happy as fans knowing that Liverpool are constantly under threat from folding month on month like under the previous owners? Would you be happy with the club buying in players who were only in it for the pay cheque and not the history of the club?
If your answers to the above questions are all yes, I suggest you have a long hard look in the mirror because, without FSG, the Liverpool we know and love today wouldn’t be sitting fourth in the Premier League, wouldn’t have a world class manager and certainly wouldn’t have some of the top talent on its books that it currently has.