January 26, 2008 |

Liverpool will get their new stadium at around ₤99m less than previously quoted. The punch line of what was becoming the source of the League’s running joke has finally been delivered. And there is little mirth in the outcome for Reds fans. LFC will get saddled with about ₤105m ($215m) debt and the interest payments on the refinanced loan amounting to between ₤30m and ₤40m per year.
It also means that the Dudley Do-No-Rights will remain as Liverpool’s owners in spite of being despised by 90% of anyone who wears red.

As the ink still dries on the contract, the platitudes and outward expressions of support for Rafa and the bang up job he is doing have come flooding out. But history, the short and torrid one,  would suggest that all this ostensible back-patting and fist-pumping coming from the owners isn’t worth the tabloid it is printed on. Fiascos, it seems, are now cooked in less than 24 hours at Anfield. And stabbing knives take even less time to sharpen.

What makes this whole debacle even more boggling is the fact that both men own successful sports franchises, and so should be well aware of how damaging public brawling and sophomoric escapades outside of the stadium can prove to be to morale and performance.

I, for one – and I will be the only one – am willing to let bygones be bygones. Indulging in overblown injustices won’t catapult Liverpool back at the top of the log. Making good on transfers in the off-season will. This, more than any photo op or poorly lacquered façade, will get the much-maligned duo back on the Christmas card list. I hope that this is atop the American’s agenda come May and not more memos reading “use what you’ve got.”             

Stevie Nichol, ex-Red fullback extraordinaire and current Revolution coach has expressed some disappointment with the way that affairs are being handled, and specifically the very public nature thereof. His tenure at Liverpool saw the business of Liverpool handled inside the grounds and headlines were reserved for heralding more on-the-pitch successes – and occasionally the odd stadium disaster that plagued Reds fans in the 80s.


I just want to move on and up. ‘Nuff said.
I love the FA Cup, but the Havant and Waterlooville match lead up is becoming tedious even for someone that lives for a good underdog story. Every article is starting to take on overtures of a made-for-TV-movie where words like “plucky” and “heart-warming” grace the cover. My take on it? Two balls up. Way up.
I read one of the player’s blog entries posted on major publication websites. Apparently he got a ₤14 hair cut from his “lucky” hairdresser. He might want to have gone and seen his ophthalmologist. $28 for a haircut? He got robbed blind.
He should set up an appointment for the taxidermist, too. He might want to know just how badly he’s going to get stuffed. Non-league teams generally don’t do all that well against the guys who do nothing other than play soccer for millions of pounds and for their respective countries.
But, again, that is what makes the FA Cup such a special competition. Anything is possible. No one expected a bunch of amateurs who drive cabs or pick up garbage in order to pay their bills to compete. And yet here they are in the fourth round of the FA Cup playing one of the most storied teams in world soccer and a team that has won it 7 times.
Rafa won’t leave much to chance today. He needs some silverware to cover up the dusty spots in the cabinet for the 07/08 season.
Itandje will probably see some time in net. Finnan will slot in for the injured Arbeloa with the ginger ninja, Riise, more than likely getting the nod at left back.
Midfield will be Captain Courageous Stevie G and Not-too-Xavi Alonso, and my money will be on Crouchie and Kuyt as the strike partnership with Babel and Pennant on the flanks.  
As a side note, I love Italians. If they aren’t hitting goalies with flares, stabbing opposing fans or killing police officers at games they still know how to grab headlines. Both AC and Inter Milan received letters with bullets in them. Real bullets. Although, any threatening-letter writer worth his salt would bullet his main points so as to make them punchy and more menacing. One shouldn’t mince words when lives are being threatened.