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Duncan Oldham: I just want to focus on the football

Liverpool FC

In 2022, I published less than a handful of editorials on KOPTALK throughout the entire year. It’s been 3 months since I last found the interest into putting down my thoughts into text. I have continued to provide my audio and video content on a more frequent basis, but even that has been hit and miss due to the ongoing ‘will they or won’t they sell’ speculation. I have been a Liverpool FC shareholder, season ticket holder and I even wed at the Anfield stadium back in 1999. I have had the Liverpool FC badge etched into my arm since I was 17 and I’ve fulfilled every dream you could imagine relating to the club that most supporters would be envious of. However, following the Reds these days is at times tedious. It’s problematic for me as editor of this website, that’s for sure.

I still care, I still want the Reds to win everything, but these days I would liken my love for the club as been bit like when you’re in a relationship with a chick that you know isn’t as exciting as it once was, but you just can’t bring yourself to let her go. The Liver Bird is the only bird that I have loved unconditionally. I could never walk away from her, but rather than wanting to squeeze her tight and look to the future, I can only look back at how things used to be. Back in November I found some new hope. The club was officially made available for purchase, although I believe it had always been available despite FSG’s claims that it wasn’t. Subsequently, I thought maybe we’d finally find new owners with a little more TLC and desire. Regardless of what these so called ‘Top Reds’ believe, my wish for Middle Eastern investment was about football people owning the club, people who genuinely love the game, people who want to compete, people who want to literally destroy their neighbours. I have never wanted a Sugar Daddy or irresponsible spending, but when the current owners can’t fund transfer fees in the £20m to £30 range unless the manager sells first, there’s something wrong. Back in the day, a Liverpool manager would indicated to the club’s Chief Executive that he wanted a specific player. The CEO would report this back to the board and the board would find the money to make it happen.

Today, Liverpool fans spend more time examining the accounts and trying to understand finances than they do player statistics and form. Those that ask why we can’t compete with our rivals are patronised by a handful of Liverpool FC journalists who haven’t got a spine between them. The old skool hacks we used to have along with proper exclusives are long gone. While the clique of LFC journos toe-the-line to ensure they’re not completely frozen out to ensure their mortgages continue to be paid, the so called ‘content creators’ who churn out podcasts and videos on YouTube do so with a similar air of conformity because they know that if they ask the difficult questions or support alternative views that they won’t be given access to players who boost their revenues. With 25 years experience, I know how it works, but I, unlike them, WILL ask questions that sometimes need answering, which is why I remain a lone wolf, an outsider, making videos on a mobile phone in my kitchen and not sat in a flash studio funded by the masses and do you know what, I’d have it no other way.

Contrary to the FSG OUT brigade’s olympic tears and the arguments put forward by the Net Spend Boys; hacks, supporters’ groups and influential ‘content creators’ do not receive brown envelopes stuffed with cash from FSG to toe-the-line. However, some supporters who proudly define themselves as anti-FSG, often argue that sweeteners don’t always come in envelopes, unless of course they’re hospitality tickets. I don’t know about you, but I miss the old skool hacks that ran proper exclusives and that would ask fair questions when things were going wrong. For example, a number of supporters, some of whom are ‘local’ (coz that’s a big deal these days apparently) opted to fly a plane over Anfield when the Reds took on United. The clique of journos that focus their writing on LFC, did nothing to reach out to the organiser to ask why he and those like him felt as he did. Instead, those fans were ridiculed and the organiser devalued, because he was a not a match-going fan and because he didn’t live in Liverpool, on Merseyside or even in the country. Those that funded the plane – and the second one that’s apparently being organised – apparently don’t have a voice because they’re online supporters. The fact their voice is mainly aired online is true, however, some of those pesky fans are born and bred scousers. The hacks won’t admit that though. Those that protested were deemed to be in the minority, although I’m not sure how they measure that, but even if they were, it’s a section of the fan base that has an opinion and their views shouldn’t be mocked by anyone.

For transparency, I’m neither FSG IN or FSG OUT. I don’t hate the owners, I think they’ve done some really good things for the club, but I don’t feel they are ambitious enough. They bought the club thinking Financial Fair Play would see them right. Had there been no FFP, I guarantee they wouldn’t have touched a purchase which John Henry described as a steal at the time. While I don’t hate them, I wouldn’t shed a single tear if they did sell up and leave. I am sick and tired of seeing Liverpool fans arguing over them. It is absolutely toxic online, the worst I have ever seen. I have seen both ‘sides’ receive horrendous abuse but I have also seen they say some inexcusable things. What saddens me is the ‘out of town’ and ‘anti-locals’ vibe is gaining ground again. This must stop. There are plenty of people from the city who support a change of ownership and who certainly welcome support from all over the globe. Equally, there are plenty of non-locals who support the idea of FSG remaining. Nobody should be placed in a camp by default because of who they are and where they’re from. Those that oppose out-of-town supporters are a certain type of fan, the type that have hated on me for decades. They do not represent the entire local fan base despite what many may feel. While there are many more supporters that are not from Liverpool and have therefore no choice but to offer their support online, don’t forget that all of the club’s supporters groups and those that many refer to as ‘Top Reds’ are also online. These OOT online supporters which I guess I have to categorise myself as, have as much right to an opinion as anyone when it comes to the club they invest their money and time in. However, they don’t all speak for me as there’s plenty of planks in that category too. There’s good and bad on both ‘sides’, just like in all walks of life. I hate seeing comments that mock OOT and/or online supporters but I also hate seeing comments that try to tarnish the local supporters too.

This is why I’m sick of it all. I’m sick of hearing these pillocks shouting at each other and trying to exploit something that they think gives them more ground in their pathetic arguments. They’re like political extremists. Have you seen how the left and right carry on? I don’t see a difference at all and let’s be honest, the possible sale of the club to a Middle Eastern country is about politics too. Jesus, I remember the days when we didn’t give a **** who owned the club and we just cheered the side on. If someone from Liverpool opposed Middle Eastern ownership because they feel strongly about human rights, the way homosexuality is handled or some other cause that I watch football to try and escape from, that’s up to them. They shouldn’t be mocked. Equally they shouldn’t be mocking some Liverpool supporter in Qatar or Saudi Arabia that is just as passionate about the club. I have attended games home and aways for decades but it never made me more important than someone who has never been able to. If you think you’re more important because you attend games, I’d argue that makes you a bit of jumped up clown. Today, I’m not a match-going fan through choice and I couldn’t care less if that makes my opinions now less valid. The only difference between the two is that people at the games maybe see some off-the-ball stuff that someone watching at home or in a bar may not see and I do think this can play a part when rating a player’s overall contribution to a game. However, the fan watching the game on TV has the luxury of seeing on-the-ball action things far more closely and from various angles, many times. That’s it.

My country of origin, the United Kingdom, has taken part in many terrible things around the world over the years so I think I’d be a hypocrite to single out Middle Eastern countries for their ill-advised decisions and policies. Potential investors from the Middle East may be private investors, just like FSG are private investors from The States. Does John Henry and Co. support America’s political policies at home and overseas by default just because they’re American? That country is pretty f*cked up too with racial injustice, corrupt police departments, the death penalty and at times, they treat their women pretty badly too. Only this week it emerged that South Carolina Republican lawmakers are considering a bill that would make a woman who has an abortion eligible for the death penalty. I bet you won’t see ‘Top Reds’ mentioning that or the recent LGBTQ club shooting in Colorado Springs where 5 people were shot dead and 25 others injured when trying to justify why Middle East investment should be forbidden. Attitudes from Governments and some of its people are not just messed up in the Middle East.

Qatar Reds

Anyway, it would appear that even those pesky Arabs won’t meet FSG’s valuation of the club so minor investment may now be the only option anyway. I don’t think minor investment is the long term solution, but do you know what, I find myself at the point of past caring. I had hoped we would see a takeover so that the pathetic arguing would stop and that any newcomers would have a fresh slate to begin with. I thought it would be good for the club and the fan base as a whole. I don’t oppose American ownership, I don’t care about from what region potential new owners could come from, I would just want them to be football people with ambition. I’m not sure that the US offers many potential investors that are football mad. I’m back at the point where I just want us to talk and watch football again without every discussion taking us back to the owners. When we missed out on a transfer back when I started this website, nobody called David Moores a useless c*nt, but when it became clear that he had taken the club as far as he could, attempts were made to remove him. The difference between Moores and FSG is that he was a football man and the club meant everything to him. He had the grace to step aside when he knew he couldn’t do much more. He didn’t leave with billions.

I’m grateful for what FSG has done for the club overall, but I just feel that they have taken her as far as they can. They can leave with billions and I wouldn’t begrudge that one bit. Right now though I’d support any change that saw the fans at peace again. I can’t get my head around why people argue over millionaire footballers and billionaire owners and this is why the top flight game is a huge turn off for me. I get more satisfaction receiving photos of my grandson turning out and scoring for Scarborough Under 7s these days. I’m hoping that one day my passion will return, but while fans fight and while businessmen continue to milk you all dry, I don’t think it will.

I will always love the club that once meant everything to me. I will always want the club to do well for those of you that have supported me and walked with me since the 1990s. KOPTALK is my life. It’s all I know. My heart remains with the KOPTALK community who I so desperately want to see celebrating. I guess I should be happy clappy and pretend that I love everything LFC. Well I’m not and I don’t. This ownership and the way the top flight game has changed has sucked all the enthusiasm out of me. However, that doesn’t prevent me from providing those who follow KOPTALK with interesting content and a different angle. It just means I will tell it as it is and that will include telling you things that you might not want to hear. To be honest with you, that’s always how things have been around this place anyway.

My advice to both sides of the FSG IN /OUT argument would be to stop shouting at each other and show each other a little more respect. You don’t have to agree with each other, but you can respect your counterpart’s right to their opinion. There are no prizes for having the biggest e-penis. My advice to the clique of journalists would be to reach out to those who you mock to try and understand them. You don’t have to change your views, but grow some balls and stop patting each other on the back. You’re an absolute joke. I don’t have time for these so called Twitter ITKs but there’s no wonder that some of them are more appealing to the average fan than you lot. Your monopoly is over. Every single one of the clique has the same opinions as each other yet if you put 10 ordinary fans in a room together, there’s no way they’d all agree. Funny that isn’t it?

Finally, whatever is or isn’t happening on the ownership front, it needs resolving very soon. We must have stability at the club. I don’t see that at Anfield or in the fan base.

I will continue to cheer on the Reds with the many friends I have made through this website. I’m still walking with you and always will be. I want the best for Liverpool Football Club and will always support and defend those who want the same and that includes whoever owns the club, providing they show commitment, enthusiasm and ambition.

YNWA

Signature

Duncan Oldham
KopTalk Editor

  • Please alert me to any typos etc via dunk @ koptalk.com as I really CBA to go back through all of that 😉