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You Will Never Walk Alone ? Or Will You ?

Being one of the most celebrated and decorated clubs in English Football sure has its repercussions.  Seven FA Cups, Seven League Cups and a massive Eighteen League Titles are the envy of gazillions of supporters and haters of the club worldwide. This success has not come easily at all for a club that came back with a Big Bang to win its critics over after being relegated in 1953.

Bill Shankly was one of the key reasons in the major reconstruction of Liverpool FC, when he took over as coach in 1959.  By the time he retired in 1973, he left behind a great legacy and history which would make any football coach turn green with envy or should we say Red? ( In line with the club’s red jersey and nickname ‘Reds’ ).  Promotion back to the English First Division in 1962 was the tip of the iceberg followed by Three Outstanding League Titles in the space of Eight years ( 1964, 1966, 1972 ), as well as UEFA Cup Champions in 1973 summed up the Anfield Giants rise to stardom and the club’s anthem “ You’ll Never Walk Alone “, became an anthem of success and a fashion statement too.   

The ‘Weight of the World’ will be on your shoulders with each day of rising success. To put it simply, when you do something well or extremely well and get noticed for it, then you will be burdened to maintain or keep improving on that and can ill afford to rest on your laurels. Over the years, Liverpool FC is one such club that has fallen prey to these predators of success. No massive trophies in the last 10 years except for the UEFA Champions League Title won in 2004 courtesy of a nail-biting 3-2 penalty shootout win against AC Milan and an FA Cup Title in 2006 have become unacceptable to the club’s disillusioned fans. A style of play that hinges on the borders of boredom and a sense of non urgency in killing off opponents especially the weaker ones, on the pitch so very often, have become a real predicament over the recent couple of years.

A whiff of fresh air, a new sense of optimism and a sense of renewed hope have been brewing at Anfield ever since October 2010 when ownership of Liverpool FC changed hands to John W.Henry of New England Sports Ventures coupled with the shrewd appointment of Kenny Dalglish as coach after being interim coach from the middle of the 2010/11 season that just ended 2 months ago. The footballing jargon, “ Form is Temporary, Class is Permanent ”seems most apt at this juncture. Kenny Dalglish seemed to have successfully brought back the missing swagger in the players style of play and a sense of enterprise and hunger in the way they performed on the pitch. This resulted in a stream of steady and consistent performances which ensured a healthy top six finish for a club that was playing with another possible nerve wrecking relegation battle at one point of time.

Inconsistency and losing seem to have taken a much needed holiday, which most fans will hope is a permanent one. Brilliant moves in the transfer market for hotshot strikers Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll   ( Both of whom have already put in some scintillating performances on the pitch, for the club in such a short span of time ) as well as the sale of misfiring and underperforming Spanish star striker Fernando Torres for a record 50 million pounds, have created a new generation of fan following for Kenny Dalglish and company as well as a shining ray of hope among the KOP fans that the glory days are back. King Kenny as he is endearingly referred to as, by Liverpool FC fans, is not a stranger to the club though, as he was an ex player/coach who was instrumental in winning Three League Titles, Two FA Cups and One League Cup during the club’s successful days.

The acquisition of midfield wonderkid Charlie Adam from Blackpool a few days ago was a masterstroke in the rebuilding program for future glory. A few more interesting and useful players are also probably on the way to signing for Liverpool FC after creative midfielder Jordan Henderson signed from Sunderland not very long ago. All said and done, the Anfield faithful remain hopeful that the trophies will start piling up once again and ending the season empty handed will become a distant memory very soon.


Suresh Menon ( S M )


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