What do you think they’re smoking over there at Anfield?

Since I posted this article an hour back there have been a couple of comments from Liverpool fans taking issue with what is here.  That of course is fine, but I would urge first time visitors to take a look at all the comments here and indeed the home page of this site first.  It makes for an easier discussion.

By Tony Attwood

John Henry’s infamous tweet “What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?” on 24 July 2013 is possibly one that he might wish he had never written, especially when later he confirmed (as if it needed confirming) that Suarez’ contract did have a £40m release clause in it (which was the cause of the row between Arsenal and Liverpool.)

It is a phrase that has come back to haunt the boss at Liverpool, and one that will be tagged alongside his name, and that of Liverpool, for many a year to come.

And indeed it will be dug up when people like Brendan Rodgers watches a match like that yesterday and says, as he did, “we were the better team and created the best chances.”  I am not sure that is true.

Rodgers and Henry both have a habit of saying the very funny in a dead pan voice – aided of course by the press who never quite manage to join the dots.  Let’s start with Rodgers who said of the tactics at Liverpool…

He has often said, “I’ve always worked along the statistic, that if you can dominate the game with the ball you have a 79 per cent chance of winning a game of football….

“When you’ve got the ball 65-70% of the time, it’s a football death for the other team. We’re not at that stage yet, but that’s what we will get to. It’s death by football. You just suck the life out of them.”

But statistics are odd for then along came Liverpool 0 Aston villa 1 in which Liverpool had 75% of the possession, or Liverpool 0 Hull 0 in which Liverpool had 66% of the possession.

Or Newcastle 1 Liverpool 0 (65%) or Palace 3 Liverpool 1 (64%) or indeed Arsenal 4 Liverpool 1 (54%).

And that surely is the Rodgerian problem – he doesn’t learn from facts, and he doesn’t learn (like his boss doesn’t learn) when to shut up.

Here’s a good one

 “Look at Tottenham. If you spend more than £100 million, you expect to be challenging for the league.”   Liverpool spend over that in the summer of 2013 alone and has spent over £200m in total.

Or, “We play with 11 men, other teams play with 10 men and a goalkeeper.”

Well, what do I need to say about his total football line up yesterday?

(Of course it is not just Liverpudlians who say funny things.  Speaking of yesterday’s game a Man U supporter said, “My 88 mother could have saved 3 of the arsenal goals.”  She must be some old bird – but lets get back to the Mersey…)

Rodgers said, “I will leave no stone unturned in my quest – and that quest will be relentless.”  And we might say, well, yes, ok, but a quest for what – another finish around 6th or 7th, which is where Liverpool have been in recent years.

Or how about

“I think there are three players who will let us down this year – the cause, the fight, everything – and I have written them down already in these three envelopes.”  A year later following the Henry approach to interviews he said, “there never were any names”.

A prediction that three of your own team will let you down?  Maybe that is how some businesses are run, but it is now how I run mine, and I am not sure it is the right way.

Of Luis Suarez he once said, “He’s a good guy…. He’s so clever.”

And this is where it starts to get weird as in “I’ve always said that you can live without water for many days, but you can’t live for a second without hope,” and “I always say a squad is like a good meal. I’m not a great cook, but a good meal takes a wee bit of time. But also, to offer a good meal you need good ingredients.”


“I believe a young man will run through a barbed-wire fence for you. An older player looks for a hole in the fence.”

“They don’t have to sell. They have a choice. Maybe Southampton’s objectives have changed. They were looking to be a Champions League club, I believe.”


“Lots of players are really impressed by what we are doing as a club and really excited about coming to Liverpool.”  Like Balotelli.  (Incidentally Balotelli didn’t play yesterday, and wasn’t even on the bench because Balotelli himself decided that he was “not right” and refused to travel to the match.)

“We obviously lost a world-class player but our challenge now is to progress. It will be slow but steady and that will always be the best way to get to where we want to.”

But what of Henry?

In 2012 he wrote to supporters saying his board would “never again” sanction the absurd transfer fees and wages that were granted under former manager Kenny Dalglish and director of football Damien Comolli.  He continued…

“We will build and grow from within, buy prudently and cleverly and never again waste resources on inflated transfer fees and unrealistic wages. We have no fear of spending and competing with the very best but we will not overpay for players…

“Spending is not merely about buying talent. Our ambitions do not lie in cementing a mid-table place with expensive, short-term quick fixes that will only contribute for a couple of years…

“In Brendan Rodgers we have a talented young manager and we have valued highly his judgment about the make-up of the squad. This is a work in progress. It will take time for Brendan to instill his philosophy into the squad and build exactly what he needs for the long term.”

Ah well, they can always hope.

Man United
Man City

 From the Anniversary files…. Arsenal on this day…

5 April 1929: Herbert Chapman resigned from Arsenal after a 1-2 home defeat to Newcastle.  In his four seasons thus far Arsenal had been league runners’ up and defeated FA Cup finalists, both previously unachieved, but he felt this was not enough.   His resignation was rejected.

5 April 1930: David Jack was the first Arsenal player to captain England.  He made nine appearances for England at a time when England only played three games a season, and scored three goals.

5 April 1966: 8,738 turned up at Highbury for Arsenal 1 WBA 1.  Aside from the 1914/15 season (where crowds were very low due to the start of the war) this was the lowest crowd at Highbury until the match just one month later which 4554 attended.

49 Replies to “What do you think they’re smoking over there at Anfield?”

  1. Rodgers’ inability to keep quiet often leads to him undermining his own players, as in his comments on Balotelli being bought because nobody else was available. Also, his recent comments about Sterling, apart from being confusing and fairly meaningless have been very patronising to the player. Film showing him with his arm round Sterling, lecturing him like a child, adds to this impression.

    I think that Sterling is over-rated and would not add anything useful to our squad, but he is obviously a much more talented player than Rodgers ever was.

  2. Yeah, they definitely smoke something at Anfield! I looked again closely at Coquelin, we will be some player in two seasons’ time. Bellerin, what is he worth now? Two young players who may have saved us atleast 30m Pounds. Great business!

  3. Brendan Rogers = Massive ego who loves the sound of his own voice and thinks everyone else does aswell.

    John Henry = Decent Businessman who likes the cameras but just has no idea about the ‘core product’ of the football business. People moan about Stan but he appreciates he has to learn the business of football which is why he stays away from the journalists and stays silent.

  4. Liverpools false-sense of supremacy can be extremely grating at times (the fans are usual the worst for this). Saying that though; its all the more enjoyable watching them inevitably fall short of expectations :D!

  5. Ray – to answer your question:

    First, the banner headline on the home page of this site has been since Jan 2008 “Football news from an Arsenal perspective”.

    So when the owner of a Premier League club makes derisive remarks about Arsenal (as John Henry did) then it becomes the sort of thing we cover here. The view that Henry expressed, and his later admission in a major sporting conference that he lied about the situation, is unusual in football – normally most owners stay away from this sort of comment about other clubs.

    Thus the whole thing about Henry, and his manager Rodgers, is of interest in football in general I believe, and particularly so because their commentaries have at times related to Arsenal

    But even if they didn’t relate to Arsenal they’d still be interesting football news. I know many blogs are very singular in their view of the world, focussing only on their club. We try to be a bit more broad minded.

  6. Arsenal fans must be so proud securing qualification every season for a competition they’ve never won. Another glorious failure is 11 months away when you go out on away goals. How a club can consider itself big when it’s never even be a champion of Europe is beyond me and you think Liverpool have a false sense of supremacy? The irony is fantastic. * * * * * 77 78 81 84 05

  7. Dave – before making a statement on a website it is sometimes helpful if you take a little look at what the site is and does.

    For example just before the Arsenal Liverpool match we ran the piece examining the meaning of the phrase “superpowers of football” and wrote this of Liverpool…

    “Most certainly they have a history to be envied. Between 1977 and 1990 they won the Football League nine times – having done what Arsenal wanted to do after our European and Double exploits at the start of the decade (but which Bertie Mee was unable to achieve).
    “And they won the European Cup four times during that era, and once since. Again, let’s not be churlish, it was a remarkable achievement that every Arsenal supporter would have loved to claim for our own.
    “But their last league triumph was a quarter of a century back, and their last FA Cup win was nine years ago. And indeed they were a powerhouse long before Arsenal – winning the league five times up to 1923, while of course we didn’t get anything until our first FA Cup win in 1930. They have won the league 18 times to our 13. We have won the FA Cup 11 times to their 7.”
    I think such openness reflects well on this site – as does the fact that the Liverpool official site fully recognises the behaviour of Liverpool fans at Heysel.

    It is I guess just a different style and approach from that which you are used to.

  8. Jammy J, you support Arsenal, falling short of expectations is all you lot have done for the last 10 years. Let’s put this article into perspective here. You won 4-1 yesterday, Liverpool were crushed by a far superior side, and you lot sit here digging up old quotes from Anfields hierarchy. Jesus, just enjoy your win, because you’re always only a few weeks away from booing your own team off the pitch, and slagging your manager off.

  9. What sort of website is this?? An Arsenal site that worries about what other teams are saying or doing?

    Oh, and it was 51% possession for Liverpool yesterday, not 54%.

  10. Tony, I don’t think we will ever convince Liverpool fans that we have any right to comment on their club/s. The occasional Citeh or Spud has come on and agreed with a post but Liverpool fans are so passionate about their club that the blinkers are well and truly in place. When I was growing up they won everything. The moments when we won things at their expense (in 1971 and 1989 for example) stand out like beacons. The poster above is rightly proud of their record in the European cup/CL. But just like our dominance in the 1930s its in the past.

    Liverpool are a decent team and one of the biggest clubs in the world. But as we discussed yesterday they have a difficult time ahead, an uncertain future if you like. They need to build a new ground for the 21st century and finance it whilst staying competitive. At the same time the clubs around them are all improving. If I was a Liverpool fan I’d be watching the DVD of Istanbul and reading my Glory Years scrapbook too because, unlike Arsenal, for the next few years at least their best is behind them.

  11. The Henry comment “What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?” – was used by the media to ridicule Arsenal and especially AW for weeks – even after the Suarez transfer saga was long dead.

    Rather than apologize for his deliberately misleading remark – Henry rejoiced in lying about Suarez’s release clause – showing everyone what a classless specimen he really is.

    In any industry/business/profession etc, honesty is the first essential, without it trust confidence and competence all deteriorate.

    Wrt the earlier article about Liverpool being a dominant force in football – well 25 years ago Liverpool were certainly a major club, no doubt about it, unfortunately for their fans they have deteriorated from that position & with two gentlemen at the helm who are economical with the truth, the club appear classless compared to their former glory status.

  12. Oh Dear Oh Dear – calm down, calm down. You’ll never walk alone? I think Ferry cross the Mersey is more appropriate.

    Rodgered? well & truly. Look back at the glory & weep. What has happened to a club that was rolling in Moores finance after it went west?

    The economics that Wenger has studied has held Arsenal in good stead. The honesty & integrity also helps. The season is not over & nothing is certain……yet.

    COYG we play the beautiful game.

  13. I believe Rodgers has made balotelli a worse player than he actually is. Initially he was playing him up front alone without any kind of support, and then to come out with comments such as the one John quoted can only alienate players and make them not want to put their bodies on the line for you. Of course balotelli has a poor attitude, but let’s face it, he’s certainly not the type of striker who will score only 1 league goal all season. I think Rodgers has dismally failed to manage his players well.

  14. Excellent article, Tony.

    I’d like to note that Arsenal’s victory yesterday was achieved with class – and despite the tinkering Taylor. The 1-5 was achieved using the typical shenanigans. Remember the ghost foul by Mert on Suarez? It “took place” on the half way line. “Free” kick taken from 30 yards further up the pitch. Goal scored was off side. And so it went on, with Liver players kicking at will, unpunished.

    Have a look at Da Brodge’s man management skills (ego), and see if you can spot why some players mightn’t want to stay:

    You know, after watching that docu series on C5, I worried for Liverpool. And I loved it when a few days later, Arsenal went to Anfield and Diaby ran the show.

    But you can’t say anything about Liverpool, innit?

  15. We had a good win surely but lets not forget that Liverpool were half the strength with Gerrard Skertl Lallana out and half fit sterling and sturrige.

    Mayb Rodgers need to learn a lot and we can question his transfers and signings but remember he was close to winning the title last year with Suarez in the team.

  16. Can’t say I’m with you on this one,Tony.

    Whereas hating Utd and Chelsea is by now as natural and automatic as breathing, I don’t feel anything like that hostility towards Liverpool.

    Plenty of times I’ve been irate at shoddy behaviour from pundits of a Liverpool persuasion, but that’s more a part of my general conviction we get a hell of a raw deal from pundits as a whole.

    As for the Suarez thing, John Henry was immensely cheeky with the ‘smoking’ line, but as for the behaviour of violating the contract itself, while not cricket, I can’t get particularly angry over it because of…how far from cricket modern football is.

    My anger for that is reserved for journalists- supposedly they are neutral unbiased observers. So it was they who should have been apologising to Wenger once it was revealed the infamous bid was in fact nothing of the sort. It was a bid that should have triggered the potential release, and once that was clear, all sorts of discussion should have taken place which didn’t.

    I think it’s an uncharacteristic mistake to hammer Rodgers for saying dominance of possession gives you a 79% chance of winning. Or rather, that picking out some defeats rubbishes his claim is. I am only of middling ability when it comes to anything statistical- but that sure doesn’t sound right.
    Even if, over a long enough period to make for telling stats, there was a pattern of Liverpool dominating possession while winning way less than 79% of matches…that still wouldn’t dynamite his point. He didn’t even say- ‘we will win 79% of the games in which we dominate possession’. He merely used a stat, presumably from a sound source, to back up his belief that, generally, dominating possession leads to winning football matches much more often that not

    In effect, to ridicule Rodgers for that is to ridicule Wenger for much that he has said over the years which agrees with it. How often has he, Wenger, mentioned possession, shots on target,etc, and how often, after a defeat/draw, have the press mocked him for it?

    I know the typical fate of dissenters here, but I just couldn’t agree on this one. Could be the pick-your-battles, tactical streak in my nature, but it doesn’t sit right with me viewing Liverpool as downright enemies as well as rivals.

  17. Actually Steve Arsenal have far surpassed my expectations. What Wenger accomplished with such tight financial restrictions compared to how much the other clubs had is nothing short of extraordinary.

  18. Re John Henry as a businessman. I actually know something about this. He was, to be fair, very successful through the 80s, 90s and early part of this century. He made his money during this time. However, the last few years have been pretty poor and he closed his fund to external investors 2 years – which means he is now only managing his own money. According to Wiki his wealth peaked at a little over US$1bn – which is actually not that high considering his multiple sporting investments and the potential drain on his resources resulting.

    What is also noticeable is the fairly high turnover of sporting enterprises he has previously owned. Contrast with Silent Stan who never sells clubs he has bought. In fact some other interesting comparisons (per Wikipedia):

    – Similar age (Kroenke a couple of years older)
    – They both grew up childhood fans of the St Louis Cardinals baseball team (at least I think so).
    – Kroenke has 2 degrees and an MBA, Henry dropped out of a philosophy degree.
    – Henry peak net worth around $1bn, Kroenke’s around $6bn.
    – Henry somewhat vocal, Kroenke silent.
    – Kroenke very rarely interferes on sporting side, Henry… you decide.

  19. Rosicky@Arsenal – No.

    Per my comment on previous thread, I think you could only argue that Skrtel and Sturridge from first choice XI were missing. Gerrard and Lallana are not regulars and Sterling looked fit to me (played 90). For us, one could argue that only Debuchy and – possibly – Ox were absent. I don’t count Wilshere and Arteta so I don’t think you can count Gerrard and Lallana. Also, Skrtel and Gerrard’s absences are self-inflicted so little sympathy.

  20. @Dave
    You mentioned the dates of the Liverpool European Cup / CL wins and indeed Liverpool fans do bleat on a lot about the history of the club but let me just make sure one thing is clear. Four of Liverpools great successes mean almost nothing. The Eurpoean Cup was a tournament of minnows until the CL was formed. 90% of the teams in it were rubbish and in effect the entire tournament was between four or five teams. Getting through the semi final was practically a buy. It was not difficult at all to win it. Liverpool were in it because they won the league often in this country which was a great achievement but the European Cup? Nope. No better than a Leavue Cup. Don’t believe me? Go and look at who Liverpool played to win those trophies. I do believe in one of them they played minnows all the way to the trophy. CL win in 2005 was indeed a great moment where some credit is actually due, despite it being very lucky and off the back of Gerrard cheating for a penalty. Harsh facts for you. I would rate Arsenals achievement during the CL era as far more impressive than winning a trophy 4 times where only 4 or 5 teams were a threat. Liverpool fans like to big up their history a lot, but in truth it was achieved in a truly terrible era for English football and Liverpool were perhaps the only decent club. No wonder they won the league so many times and then of course went on to win a share of the very weak European Cup trophy. Let’s remember that even Forest (twice) and villa won that trophy. It’s because any half decent side winning a top league was a shoe in all the way to the semi final and then just a couple of wins to the trophy.

    Besides it’s all history anyway. Liverpool have totally disgraced themselves as a football club over the last few years with stupid comments and support of the Suarez. The entire club is tainted and it will never recover.

  21. For reference , here’s Liverpools ‘heroic’ history in the European Cup prior to the CL format:

    4 wins:
    1977 – didn’t play a single top team to win the trophy. ‘Gladbach in the final was the most ‘difficult’. You could compare them then to something like Inter Milan now.
    1978 – same again. Benfica and ‘Gladbach on the way – and only 4 matches to win the trophy!
    1981 – a ‘buy’ through to the semi final and then two good wins – can happen in cup tournaments. Wigan beat City for example in the FA Cup.
    1984 – a penalty shoot out win vs Roma after playing no top team at all to get there.

    Take note of all the opportunities Liverpool had also and all the teams they lost to – often small teams.

    Liverpool fans can glory in the 4 wins all they like, but they are no better than a League Cup win (which is actually harder) or a Charity Shield. It only took 4 or 5 wins, most against poor opposition to win the trophy each time and Liverpool only managed it 4 from 12 attempts.

    Crap trophy I am afraid and exactly why the format was changed.

    1st Round – KR Reykjavik 5-0, 6-1 (11-1)
    2nd Round – Anderlecht 3-0, 1-0 (4-0)
    Quarter-Final – Cologne 0-0, 0-0 (0-0) replay 2-2 – won on coin toss
    Semi-Final – Internazionale 3-1, 0-3 (3-4)

    1st Round – Petrolul Ploiesti 2-0, 1-3 (3-3) replay 2-0
    2nd Round – Ajax 1-5, 2-2 (3-7)

    1st Round – Jeunesse Esch 1-1, 2-0 (3-1)
    2nd Round – Red Star Belgrade 1-2, 1-2 (2-4)

    1st Round – Crusaders 2-0, 5-0 (7-0)
    2nd Round – Tabzonspor 0-1, 3-0 (3-1)
    Quarter-Final – St Etienne 0-1, 3-1 (3-2)
    Semi-Final – FC Zurich 3-1, 3-0 (6-1)
    Final – Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-1

    2nd Round – Dynamo Dresden 5-1, 1-2 (6-3)
    Quarter-Final – Benfica 2-1, 4-1 (6-2)
    Semi-Final – Borussia Moenchengladbach 1-2, 3-0 (4-2)
    Final – Bruges 1-0

    1st Round – Nottingham Forest 0-2, 0-0 (0-2)

    1st Round – Dinamo Tbilisi 2-1, 0-3 (2-4)

    1st Round – Oulu Palloseura 1-1, 10-1 (11-2)
    2nd Round – Aberdeen 1-0, 4-0 (5-0)
    Quarter-Final – CSKA Sofia 5-1, 1-0 (6-1)
    Semi-Final – Bayern Munich 0-0, 1-1 (1-1) won on away goals
    Final – Real Madrid 1-0

    1st Round – Oulu Palloseura 1-0, 7-0 (8-0)
    2nd Round – AZ Alkmaar 2-2, 3-2 (5-4)
    Quarter-Final – CSKA Sofia 1-0, 0-2 (1-2)

    1st Round – Dundalk 4-1, 1-0 (5-1)
    2nd Round – HJK Helsinki 0-1, 5-0 (5-1)
    Quarter-Final – Widzew Lodz 0-2, 3-2 (3-4)

    1st Round – Odense 1-0, 5-0 (6-0)
    2nd Round – Athletic Bilbao 0-0, 1-0 (1-0)
    Quarter-Final – Benfica 1-0, 4-1 (5-1)
    Semi-Final – Dinamo Bucharest 1-0, 2-1 (3-1)
    Final – Roma 1-1 won on penalties

    1st Round – Lech Poznan 1-0, 4-0 (5-0)
    2nd Round – Benfica 3-1, 0-1 (3-2)
    Quarter-Final – FK Austria 1-1, 4-1 (5-2)
    Semi-Final – Panathinaikos 4-0, 1-0 (5-0)
    Final – Juventus 0-1

  22. @Jayram
    I agree with you to some extent- the apparent instability of European Cup qualification in those days (with only the league winners qualifying), led to the current, much improved format. While a good competition must be a little dynamic- not the same old teams every year- that competition was rather extremely dynamic- it was quite likely that you might have only one repeat contender (defending champion)! Tournaments need an element of continuity for the ‘regulars’ (the big teams) to play and understand each other quite often, and build rivalries.

    That said you can only beat what is in front of you. True, the champions league is a much bigger, better and more competitive tournament than the old European Cup but that is due to the phenomenal growth of football as a global sport. Football today is more exciting to watch. But this evolution of the game can blind us to the significance of history. You use the term ‘top team’ a lot. Today’s traditional European powerhouses Bayern, Madrid and Barca were a lot less dominant those days. You seem to dismiss teams that are not strong anymore- Ajax, Benfica, Gladbach etc. Not to forget the Eastern European teams- they were pretty strong back in the day. Today’s large gap, between the Premier League teams and those teams, was a lot smaller those days. Even within the First Division, anybody could beat anybody else. That the First Division wasn’t home to the world’s finest doesn’t dilute its significance. Arsenal’s five titles in the 30s cannot be discounted because they were won in the 30s. Not saying you meant that at all- it’s possible that you might reach that conclusion by extending your argument.
    If there is one detriment to the growth of football, it’s the lack of equality today. You had teams like Forest winning the league and the European Cup (not because of a sugar-daddy mind you). I cannot see that happening anymore.

    Looking back, it is very easy for us to massively overrate the present and underrate the past. Let us not do that. Let us not whine about Liverpool’s past- full credit to them for being five time champions and all that. As it is, they have enough of their own fans to whine!

  23. Hrishi
    I’ll go with Jayram on this one. A trophy that’s won after 3 or 4 matches doesn’t have the same worth as one won after 8, 10 games or more. The chance of slipping up dramatically increases the more games you play. One could argue the world cups won when there were few countries taking part might not have the same significance as those nowadays. If my memory serves me well Brazil once won a tournament that had a total of 13 teams. That’s not to take away anything from them, but winning after only three matches may mean can actually win the tournament without really having been tested. A side could fluke it, if they get a lucky draw. Even though one could argue most of the sides at the world cup are just there to make up the numbers, the fact Brazil will now have to play six or more games before the final reduces their own chances of winning it through other factors like fatigue, injuries, suspensions, etc.

    With regards to quality, I also think it was a lot easier for a side to dominate then than now. Players weren’t changing clubs at the drop of a hat like they do nowadays. Back then, once you built a good squad you could expect them to stay together for quite a long time, and if they were the strongest in that period then the chances of winning everything during that period was quite a real possibility. These days every summer is like a soap opera with all the transfer madness. Players change clubs just like that. Shady characters are looking to football to clean their money and all of a sudden a team that may have been average at best in their league will find themselves being able to attract the best players if bought over by an oligarch due to their new found wealth, upsetting the balance in the league. As a result I don’t think we will ever see any team dominate a league as was common with the Ajaxes, Madrids, Liverpools of yester year. Teams also know how to nick a win using negative tactics like bus parking, cheating, etc, these days. To summarise, it’s a lot more difficult for a team to win now than it was back then. Having said that I don’t think I’d heard of at least 50% of the club’s in ththat list. Even though the standard of football from those poor footballing countries might not have changed much, the fact sides like Barcelona need to play 8 or 10 games to win the CL means it’ll be taxing to their overall fitness and injury capabilities, regardless of quality of opponents, making it more difficult to win. If one throws in these meaningless friendlies used by Fifa to raise money one can see there are now many stumbling blocks than in the older days.

  24. G Alvino: this site is exactly what it says it is. A site that deals with football news from an Arsenal perspective. If it worries you, please feel free not to read.

    The 54% figure comes from the Guardian.

  25. Rich

    “My anger for that is reserved for journalists- supposedly they are neutral unbiased observers. So it was they who should have been apologising to Wenger once it was revealed the infamous bid was in fact nothing of the sort.”


    Although a bit of a piss take the problem is not so much what Henry said but the way the media just lapped it up, without ever questioning it’s validity, and to make it worst, when the truth did come out what do we get by way of contrition from the media? Nothing.

    Personally I think Liverpool fans are blinkered, but honestly I don’t mind that. I honestly wish we had such fans, instead we have blogs dedicated to the ridicule of our own manager and the destruction of our football Club. That is a disgrace.

    And yes I do get fed up listening to all the ex Liverpool players steadfastly refusing to discus 9 years and one FA Cup as a failure. Or refusing to EVER mention the 25 year title less years, BUT, I wish we had such loyalty in our ex players.

    Instead they cant wait to stick the knife in.

    And finally it’s hardly Rodgers fault that the media lap up everything he says. Don’t forget our aaa friends have expressed a keen desire to have his services at our Club.

    Personally my beef, as if you didn’t know, is as always with the media and the way they constantly deride and criticise us yet overlook the failings of others as mere trivialities.

    Yesterday Liverpool where without some big players and they missed them, as we did at there place last year, but with there 1st choice 11 they are still a very good side, it’s there squad that’s weak. We also had players missing Yesterday that would of been starters last season but we didn’t even notice, because our squad is now so good.

    I prefer to reserve my vitriol for the media.

  26. Is it another coincidence or is there a sinister conspiracy that 2 other English clubs that also won the old European Cup never won the EPL ?
    I’m of course talking about Nottingham Forrest (2) and Aston Villa .
    Man Utd were the only exception .

  27. When it comes to Rodgers, I can’t help myself thinking that he has overperformed given the mess he had inherited from Kenny Dalglish. Dalglish had spent enormous money to bring Carroll, Downing, Henderson…and with an exception of Suarez, they either failed or took time to settle.

    Rodgers did sign two excellent bargains – Coutinho and Sturridge, gave Sterling a prolonged run in the first team, put faith in Henderson and transformed Liverpool from being a rather boring team that were closer to the middle of the table than to the top into a team that finished second scoring over 100 goals in the process. Credit where it’s due.

    Now, where Rodgers sucks:

    -he has failed to spend the money from Suarez’ sale properly, made idiotic comments about his own players (Balotelli) and, especially, about foreign managers,

    -he has failed to prove he can do it when half of his team is out and/or when he is faced with European football.

  28. jayramfootball,

    By virtue of your 12.41pm & 1.02pm posts, I am now burying the hatchet over ‘those’ posts for which I have been harassing you 🙂 Good job. Bravo!

    Football fans are not known for nuance and the talk of old European cup triumphs requires nuance. While we must give credit to teams for winning trophies at any time in their history, the obsession of Liverpool fans with their 4 European cups & 1 CL trophies and their usage of such to win all footballing argument is annoying to say the least. It gladdens my heart to see your contextual review of the trophies and why they are not all their fans are claiming them to be.

    Nottingham Forests won it twice while Aston Villa did once; are these teams now greater than Arsenal as a result? Barcelona’s first one was not won till 1992! Were the 2 previously mentione English winners greater than Barcelona before 1992?

    Even the enhanced and much more competitive CL was won by the worst Chelsea team of the Abrahmovic era! The team that finished 6th below Newcastle in the Premier league won the CL and while the vastly superior team of Mourhino’s first coming fell short despite beating the rest of the Premiership black and blue. Like in all cup competitions, LUCK plays a huge role on who wins and who loses and the winners should be less arrogant.

    Liverpool FC and its fans have every right to be proud of their European achievements but they need to curb the glee with which they trot out the figures in their desperation to find relevance in a football world that is leaving them behind

  29. Al,
    Certainly.. I am not suggesting that the European Cup was as competitive as the Champions League. I made the exact opposite point in my post. Though it wasn’t 3-4 games long (more like 9 games required to win it), it was nowhere near the rigours of the current Champions League. You make a valid point about settled squads making it easier for teams to dominate back then- the difference then was that this option was open to a number of clubs by virtue of the relative level playing field then, and Liverpool made the most of it- domestically at least. The trade-off there would make it an interesting debate.

    Onto their European exploits and you can hardly call them a dominant side simply by looking at their players. Three fine Scotsmen in Dalglish, Sounness and Hansen surrounding an English core, during England’s most unsuccessful period internationally (after failing to qualify for ’74 and ’78), can hardly be termed dominant in a European context and yet they won 4 out of 8. That certainly does reflect well on Liverpool. How does that reflect on the competition?- not so well.

    Where I differed from Jayram was how this could be used to disregard those achievements. The fact that the competition was sub-standard (by today’s standards) should not, in my opinion, be used against the teams that have won it previously. If it was used against Shankley’s and Paisley’s Liverpool, it could be used against Chapman’s and Allison’s Arsenal. My view is that, given the numerous complexities involved while comparing two eras, we just let both be.

  30. Tony
    People on legrove often question why we didnt sign a Cdm last year when Ramsey was injured.
    i dont have an answer
    Can u shed some light on this.

  31. Rosicky@Arsenal, why on earth do you care what’s said on there? It’s full of kids that think they deserve success rather than support the team.

  32. Great win and a performance to match.
    Credit to Coq – since he’s been in the team we no longer look so open and shaky with the high line. He is tackling, intercepting, doing the ugly stuff. I have wanted a top physical midfielder for a long time now, but we might have him already. If he keeps his level up, he should be a starter next season.
    We look like we can realistically compete for the title next season. If we can just sort out the injuries, we don’t need too many additions.

  33. Sorry i know this is OT (well its kinda on topic as hes a scouser) but just thought i would share this: http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11095/9791484/thierry-henry-and-jamie-carragher-criticise-newcastle-and-tim-krul

    Carragher – “He is actually waiting for him and smiling. When you play a derby game you don’t just play on the day, there is the build-up through the week, the training ground, the press, everyone is on edge, you build yourself into a frenzy when you despise the opposition.”

    Despise the opposition? Really? Despise?! I know this probably isnt a bit deal to most people, but reading that quote has made me dislike the man even more. Why do they choose the biggest, most brain-dead, knuckle dragging arseholes in English football to become pundits? (A part from Henry of course haha).

  34. I don’t think Brendan Rodgers is a poor coach but he has not excelled as a manager, yet. Liverpool is a good side and he has had his share of victories in his short time as a top flight manager. However, his purchases haven’t panned out, especially, the money dished out with the sale of Suarez. We all know what Wenger would have done…buy 1 or 2 and bank the rest until he found someone worthy of spending it on. As for Rodgers’ comments…meh. He is paid to support Liverpool not us so if his comments sound self-serving so be it. As for Liverpool’s historical record and Arsenal’s…theirs is better, full stop. However, at present, they are a step behind us.

  35. Not having seen all the comments from Liverpool fans, but in a way, if they are loyally backing their team, can only credit them. Think some of our WOBbles could learn a thing or two from passionate supporters, back your team even on a bad day rather that rush to agree with the media in general, especially the sun, the Manchester guardian, piers morgan and Adrian Durham in slating the team you claim to support

  36. I was just amazed that Brendan Rodgers said all these things. Once again I thank our lucky stars that we have Arsene Wenger whose remarks are well considered and reflective of years of experience and thought about his job and the people he is responsible for.

  37. Comments like “what are they smoking at Arsenal”… makes me appreciate “silent” Stan.

    An owner’s regular comments can only hinder the management of any organisation. You can’t have two people giving out different messages to the media. Recipe for Desaster!

  38. GoingGoingGooner

    “As for Liverpool’s historical record and Arsenal’s…theirs is better, full stop. However, at present, they are a step behind us.”

    I think the reason Tony felt the need to run this article is partly down to the notion that if we don’t point out these things no one else will.

    We have to sit there and listen to, and read, disparaging, often down right insulting garbage, spouted by people who know dam well the media will lap it up, and repeat it verbatim, as if indisputable facts.

    Much of it is, as we have seen, simply lies.

    But it is never recanted? Apologies, not even corrections, are ever forth coming.

    As for the discrediting of Liverpool’s achievements in Europe, though a little disingenuous, I feel it stems from an underlying disenchantment with how we are constantly maligned in the Media for our recent relative lack of success, whist others, with similar recent records, avoid such criticism, seemingly because of there ‘History’.

    Oh how far we have fallen.

    How our fans are being ripped off.

    How we are NOT a footballing super power.

    We are offered no such latitude because of our past Glories. In our case that is ancient history.

    Even when we do win something it somehow suddenly becomes a worthless pot.

    Yet Liverpool, who have also won just one ‘worthless pot’ in the last 9 years, as well as having the gross indignity of not having won a title for 25 years, escape with barely a whimper of condemnation.

    They of course are, in the Medias and Liverpool fans eyes at least, still a Global ‘Super Power’.


    The point is, whilst our ‘History’ seems to be conveniently air brushed out of existence and counts for nothing in stemming the tide of abuse that comes our way, it seems Liverpool’s ‘History’ is the grace that saves them from any such assault.

    As I said earlier, it is not really the Liverpool fans fault that this is how it works with the Media, but it is, and if we don’t point out the blatant Media inconsistencies, hypocrisies, and lies, nobody will.

  39. Jambug,

    The media, driven by their urge to print what people want to read, largely ignore any analysis into their stuff. The ‘crisis’ after each defeat is just a reflection of how important ‘right now’ is to them as opposed to the past week/ fortnight/ month. But this crisis is mentioned for almost every club- even Chelsea (I kid you not). We are certainly not the only ones getting the stick. The view that we are largely the only unlucky ones attacked by the media is a classic case of ‘confirmation bias’- looking for evidence that confirms our bias and ignoring any evidence to the contrary, thereby reinforcing our bias. Being Arsenal fans, you and I are likely to read a lot of Arsenal stuff on the media and over the past nine years, a lot of that stuff was extremely irritating and tiresome like ‘X years without a trophy’. That certainly does not mean that other clubs were spared- the media feeds on insecurity and negativity wherever they can find it.

    Apart from last season, I don’t think there was a prevailing view that Liverpool was a better team than Arsenal. Global superpower?- that run of wins last season may have misled many myopic media-persons, as is the norm, but before that?- not really.

    You make an interesting observation about history- how Liverpool’s history is apparently viewed more favourably. Assuming that’s true, we will give the media the benefit there as their history was arguably more glorious. That said, not many serious people consistently use that as a basis for them supposedly being a bigger club.

  40. hrishi

    You may have a point and make a good argument.

    The point you make regarding how, as an Arsenal fan, I would notice all the negative Arsenal stuff more than that written about other teams is certainly a valid point.

    I live amongst a lot of Chelsea fans and they certainly regard there treatment in the media as the worst.

    Similar views are held by Man Utd and Spurs fans.

    There is a particularly vocal Spurs fan at work that thinks all the ex Arsenal pundits are soooooo pro Arsenal and anti Spurs he has to turn the sound down….Sound familiar?

    But, that being said I stand by my view that overall we get by far the worse shake down from the media and here are a few reasons why.

    Where are our Hansons, Lawrensens in the media that stick by us through thick and thin?

    We had xxx without a trophy thrown at us EVERY day. How many times do we hear similar said about Liverpool and Spurs?

    How many times are 25years and 50 odd years without a title mentioned?

    How many other teams have a daily article on peak time sports radio dedicated to the derision of there Club? This particularly article has been running for over 5 years I believe.

    Howard and Reade, two of the biggest columnists in the red tops run a critical article on Arsenal almost on a weekly basis.

    How often do you get ex Liverpool, Spurs, Utd, Chelsea players doing double page spreads encouraging payers to leave as Wright has done on at least 4 occasions in the SUN. Henry, Vieira, Cesc and RVP.

    How many times did we get an ex Liverpool player suggesting ‘If Gerrard ever wants to win a title he has to leave Liverpool’ ?

    So ok, as I have said, whilst I conceded you do have a point regarding my obvious heightened sensitivity to anything said about Arsenal, I stand by my main premise that Arsenal do get a far worse press than our rivals, though of course EVERY Club ‘cops it’ now and again, but nothing like we do.

    You may be right and I may be wrong but that’s how I see it.

  41. An EXCELLENT article Tony!!!

    April 6, 2015 at 11:44 am

    That is exactly how I see it, and arguably – exactly how it is!!

    The Media and their agenda are at the base of every single issue!

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