Liverpool Football Club have proclaimed the arrival of a redeemer, Lord Jurgen Klopp. A messiah born in a little stable somewhere in Germany who will rescue them from mediocrity and render onto them salvation from the woes that have befallen the once great club since its banishment from the Garden of European glory.
The wise men of media punditry have lauded the arrival of the Saviour, only a minority amongst their number graphically outlining the long financial, cultural and sporting decline of the club. Jeremiahs are never popular even when their voice is more needed than the musings of the sentimental and sycophantic.
Klopp believes his team can arrive in championship heaven within four years and asks for a bit of hope from the fans. Dope rather than hope might produce such an expectation. It might well be nothing to do with his personal belief in Jesus that he can harbour such expectations for a team that has been on the decline for almost three decades.
Yet if he falls short he will not have to refund his substantial earnings to the church of the lost souls by way of indulgences to lessen the punishment for failure, "up to £7 million a season ... could earn in excess of £25 million over the agreement."
No time spent in Purgatory and all that. Managing in Switzerland is as hot as it is likely to get for Klopp if he does not make it to Nirvana. The fans will foot the bill, paying for their own misery. Much like the fools that throw their hard earned dollars into the evangelical bucket of the mega rich televangelists.
Thinking that religious people are deranged for holding onto a belief that some guy with a beard is going to ride over the hill and save them, while sneering at them for lining the pockets of mega rich ministers, are soccer fans any wiser, remunerating the plutocratic soccer players and managers? Think of what Toxeth could do with an extra 4 million a year ... schools, hospitals, soup kitchens in Cameron's neoliberal utopia.
Einstein warned that insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting a different result. Klopp’s last season as coach at Borussia Dortmund is salutary in that rather than distinguishing him from Brendan Rodgers, who despite coming close on one occasion failed to set the Premiership alight, his side's results were remarkably similar to the Liverpool manager he replaces. He appears to have suffered from the same inability to defend.
As it sits, it is very hard to identify with this Scouse based gang of globe trotting millionaires strutting their wares on the field and giving very little back in return. If they have anything in common with the 96 fans who lost their lives in 1989 watching a good team I fail to see what it is. Any attachment I have to the current lot is not really for them at all, more to do with the emotional attachment to the victims of Hillsborough. For that reason I like to see Liverpool do well but for few other reasons.
It is possible to see how the massive pay differential between the current crop and the players of Glentoran ~ the East Belfast team I followed as a child ~ can be rationalised, but not justified. Multiple times the wages they are certainly not multiple times the talent. Glentoran managed a 1-1 draw against the old enemy, the Blues, at Windsor yesterday, Curtis Allen scoring in the fourth minute of added time. I derived more satisfaction from that than anything Liverpool have managed in quite a while. At a game like that the spectator is more inclined to feel they got something for their money rather than watching Preening Prima Donas. How much does Curtis Allen get a week?
Back in the day I attended those Belfast derby games at both Windsor and the Oval, never once paying in, getting ”lifted over” every time. Also back in the day I was memorised by a Liverpool side that beat the Blues 3-1 in a pre-season friendly at Windsor. Nostalgia for sure but better than nausea at the modern day greed.
And who shall we look to if Klopp fails? Best to go atheist on messiahs. He is the last, none to follow. Klopp is now landlord at the last chance saloon.
Meanwhile the question still awaiting answer:
Will Liverpool recapture the glory days of the seventies and eighties or are they in terminal decline? A question that seems debatable today but that would have been unimaginable in the glory days of the 1980s.