Duncan Oldham: Who cares about Liverpool FC?

Jerome Sinclair

When I read today’s reports that Watford were apparently closing in on Jerome Sinclair, I showed no signs of any frustration. On the contrary. This would have given me a perfect opportunity to run my mouth against the club’s owners but I wasn’t going to use that as an excuse because I’m actually happy to see the back of any player of any age who doesn’t want in. If someone doesn’t want to be a part of Liverpool Football Club, cheerio.

Liverpool will have offered him enough coin and incentives but he has chosen to try himself elsewhere. No problem. That’s his choice and I respect that. Good luck to the lad.

But I am sick of these youngsters getting some game time and then thinking they’re the next best thing. The reality is the kids are sometimes called up under the pretence that they are good enough to be used but it’s usually because there’s nobody else. Some of them are promising talents, but who has broken in recently and held down a place in the team. If you can’t keep some of the current regulars out of the side, you’re probably not very good [yet] so I suggest you forget about fancy cars, bling and stupid jeans that hang half way down your arse and focus on your development. You’re not rappers from NYC, you’re a bunch of hopefuls that the club has given a chance to.

If Sinclair’s exit is eventually confirmed, either now or in the summer, then his agent Aidy Ward will have moved out another young player who didn’t have his heart set on playing for us. When Raheem Sterling was sold to Manchester City, I didn’t shed a single tear. I actually punched the air in celebration. Gone was another one who already thought he was as important as John Barnes. The reality is, as good as a player he may be, compared to the standards Liverpool used to have, he would have been lucky to get an invitation to clean Digger’s boots had he been around back then.

There is an obsession with the youngsters at the club. This has been brought on by supporters who are desperate to see someone better in the first team than what we already have. Truth be told, they’re not better. They might be one day but they’re not now. There’s some talent but few are good enough at the present time. There is too much hype placed on some of them.

The Academy is important and it’s a great to observe a real gem come through, but it’s been overhyped ever since Fenway Sports Group (FSG) took control. These days it feels like it exists to paper over the cracks when needed. The best thing to happen at the Academy recently was the re-appointment of Steve Heighway. He was a player from before my time so there’s no love-in there, it’s purely because of the success the Academy had in churning out talent during his first spell. This was a great move.

If you’re good enough you play. If you impress then you stay involved. It’s not rocket science. Unless you break through and make a substantial impact and a difference to the team, you have absolutely no right to make demands that you do not deserve. If you become someone, the fans will demand your entitlement on your behalf.

The problem today is there are too many people at the club that just don’t care. This affects us from the top to the bottom. Who really cares about Liverpool Football Club today? We no longer have owners that care. We no longer have the likes of a Steven Gerrard or a Jamie Carragher in the team; players that cared. There’s so many kids imported in from outside the area that few of them are going to care that much about the club. As long as they end up with a career somewhere, that’s all they’re going to be bothered about. Human nature of course.

I believe the manager cares. I believe we have club ambassadors that care, but they’re on the payroll so they’ll never speak out publicly, and the fans, well they’ll always care but unless they’re united, nobody gives a shit what they think anyway.

The Bootroom was disbanded. Liverpool fans who owned the club were replaced by people who don’t care for football never mind the club and gone are the likes of the legendary former Liverpool CEO Peter Robinson who connected with the fans. Players (especially kids) are imported left, right and centre and people wonder why there’s no Carraghers, Gerrards, Fowlers and McManamans on the pitch demanding more.

When you lose people that understand Liverpool Football Club, the area and the fans, you start losing your soul. There has to be change and modernisation but that doesn’t mean you ever have to lose what you’re supposed to be about.

I sat across from the Directors Box on Sunday and thought about how much things have changed. Bang opposite me was this new development which will definitely be impressive. The new main stand is going to look great but truth be told, I couldn’t give a shit about it. We’re led to believe that it will provide additional revenue for the team. Has a single commercial deal in recent years – and there has been plenty of them – made a penny bit of difference to the team or benefited the fans? FSG have whored us out to everyone and anyone. This is something they’re good at. Marketing. If they were as successful with selling the club to potential signings as they are at selling advertising we’d be laughing.

Below the new stand development are rows of empty seats vacated by the owners. When things were going wrong over the years I used to look at the same Directors Box to observe the chairman and his chief executive. I knew they’d be hurting if we lost a match just like the rest of us peasants would be. Today, there are more empty seats in the Directors Box than people who sit there and give a shit.

In front of the suits, I used to watch the Bootrooom staff barking orders from the side of the pitch. There’s no longer a Roy Evans or a Ronnie Moran that knew what it all meant to us. Back then they thought about us, today people at the club generally think about themselves. Behind Evans and Moran would be rows of players who wanted to play for Liverpool and who were classed as good enough to do so.

On the pitch would be influential players who were considered to be amongst the best (usually). They had no future resale value because a player was bought for the present and not the future. Had he not been bought then he had graduated from the youth set-up having spent years walking around the club’s facilities looking up at the pictures of the club’s legends who once graced Anfield. When a player retired or maybe moved elsewhere to end his career at a club that would be considered not as big or as important as us, there was a very good chance a picture of him would be framed and hung for the future kids to see. It’s not often that such pictures get hung in the corridors these days.

So many people that cared have been replaced by people who do not. People have to be replaced, time moves on and all that jazz, but we seem to replace the best with pretenders or stopgaps at every level.

If the people at the very top of the club don’t care, then why would those at the bottom? We need more people that care. The more people that care and ‘get it’ the quicker you will see success return. I truly believe it’s not just about buying the best players and appointing the best managers.

The owners will never understand or relate and those below them tend to toe-the-line and look after themselves. Right now, the only person who I genuinely feel gives a shit about the club and who won’t toe-the-line is Jürgen Klopp. We know he cares because he took a job based on who we are and what we were. He could have managed clubs that are currently considered far more attractive than us. We are blessed to have someone who understands what Liverpool FC should be about. I’m hopeful that he will drill this in to the rookies, the senior players and when needed, the owners. We need a new mindset at LFC.

Klopp needs as much support as he can get. You, like me, are probably just an ordinary fan but that doesn’t mean we have to sit back. Supporting the manager isn’t just about being vocal in the stadium. There are more fans outside the stadium on match days than in it. People like Sinclair and Ward shouldn’t be making demands, the fans should be. We can demand that the manager receives the full backing and support that he deserves. If we don’t back him up, if there isn’t change, he will leave. I’m not saying this based on a lack of backing or support at this present time, I’m just stating the obvious. If FSG take him for granted or try to mug him off, it will backfire.

FSG have been presented with a real opportunity having landed Klopp. Fair play to them for achieving that. Finally they have done something that I approve of. Let’s hope they build on this. Let’s hope the mindset starts changing. Let’s hope more people start to care.

Do you agree with me? Drop me a comment below or join me in our Executive Lounge discussion forums on our members’ website.


Duncan Oldham
KopTalk® Editor

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