Liverpool 0-3 Real Madrid….time for Rodgers to make the hard decisions!

Christopher William Shankly Carline

Whilst last nights 3-0 reversal to Real Madrid may not have come as a surprise to many; for me it should mark the occasion where the manager draws the line and makes some hard decisions to try and rectify both our problems at the back and our issues going forward.

The first 20 minutes of last nights game threatened to produce a Liverpool performance that could in some way identify with those of last season. Pressing, pace, intensity. Sadly all that was undone when Ronaldo raced onto a clever one two and lobbed home. I think everyone in the ground knew there was really no way back then and whilst it would be harsh to have a go at the defence for the first goal (believe me I did, there were more than enough red shirts for one to drop off realising the give and go was apparent), the self capitulation back to schoolboy defending and goalkeeping that has been a constant feature of our play this season soon came back to haunt us. A free header allowed for one of the best strikers in world football right now for number 2 and some inexplicable goalkeeping and defending for the third (from a set piece AGAIN) put the game as a contest to bed.

Let’s address once again (I’m using that word a lot here); the Mario Balotelli issue. Yet again, no movement, greedy and selfish play, workrate sporadic at best. Brendan Rodgers is an admirable guy and a top manager. Id bet good money he is driven by the potential to be the manager proclaimed to have brought the best out in Mario. To be the manager who finally sees him produce this mythical wold class talent. It isn’t going to happen though. And Rodgers needs to realise that now and draw a line under it and start looking at his other options up front in an attempt to try and get us out of a frustrating rut. The persistent chance giving to Mario is hurting us all over the pitch; hurting morale with the players and hurting morale with the fans. For the first time last night, there was a unanimous aura that showed fans have lost patience now. When the substitution was announced it was cheered ironically. Brendan now needs to work with the front 3 options, still minus Sturridge, to come up with a system that bring goals and fluidity back, from a selection of Sterling, Coutinho, Borini, Lambert and Lallana. Mario needs to be consigned to the bench for the foreseeable future and I agree with Carra in that he won’t be here next year. It is as simple as that.

The problem at the back isn’t as easily sorted. Moreno and Lovren should be persevered with. Lovren in particular for me is being negatively affected by the madness going on round him and behind him. He is trying to do everything and is trying too hard to compensate for others deficiencies. The problem we have is who partners him as right now, Skrtel, Sakho and Toure are all as bad as each other. Step forward however one of the main protagonists. Mr Mignolet. Nobody likes a smart arse, but as with Balotelli,I made the call on Mignolet when we signed him. My sentiments were that Pepe Reina was still one of the best goalkeepers in Europe and possessed a complete set of skills needed by the best goalkeepers, namely that as well as being a good shot stopper; he had the respect and command of his back four, the confidence of his back four and could command his penalty areas. Mignolet in comparison has just one of those skills. He is a good shot stopper.

I actually said at the time that replacing a goalkeeper and getting it wrong can affect the back four and that is EXACTLY what has happened. They don’t  trust him as he isn’t vocal enough and does not command his penalty areas in any way. Is it any wonder therefore that when balls come into the box, we trip over each other?  Yet again last night he made a hash of dealing with the set piece for the third goal. There was talk of Victor Valdes but he looks destined for Utd now. I’d have gone and got him. Mignolet has no competition and he knows it at the moment. Signing him would be a bold statement. Starting him would have been even bolder and could have proved to be the fresh start needed for the back four. Whether that ship has sailed is another matter. If it has; we need to look at addressing it in January.

I do have to finish on a positive. Once again, Lallana shined when he came on at half time. Why he was left out I am not sure. He has been our stand out performer this year and fingers crossed he is straight back in for the weekend.

The Life of Bill Shankly

Bill Shankly is an inspiration. Not only to football, but to anyone who has ever faced struggles in their life. He was born in the coalmining village of Glenbuck, Ayshire, in 1913, with very humble beginnings; however, through hard work and perseverance, he went onto become one of the greatest football managers of all time.

Bill Shankly was undoubtedly a very intelligent man, despite the fact he left education at just 14 years old to begin work at a local colliery. Not shy of hard work, Bill spent two years down the pit; however, he seen football as his way out of it.

Professional Football

Shankly was one of 50 Glenbuck son’s who escaped the coalmining village to make it in professional football in the first half of the 20th Century; however, none of them would leave a legacy behind quite like William. The Shankly family all shared a passion for the big game, with four of Bill’s brothers all making it as professional footballers.

Shankly finally made it as a professional footballer when he signed for Carlisle United in 1932, but it was at Preston North End where he really shone on the pitch, when he joined the club just one year later in 1933.

Shankly was a brave right half who made a total of 337 appearances for the club, helping the team to win the FA Cup in 1938; however, his time at Preston North End was interrupted by his service in the RAF in World War II. Like all aspiring footballers dream of, Bill Shankly played for his national team, Scotland, between 1938 to 1943, and often spoke of his “unbelievable pride” when they played against England, winning the match 1-0.

Shankly leading out Preston FC

What made Shankly different from many of the players on the pitch was that he believed the game should be played fairly, and was proud to say he was “never sent off the field or had (his) name in a referee’s book”. To him, tackling was an art that was all about timing and the sole objective of winning the ball – and he stood by this philosophy through his management career.

Shankly was, by no stretch of the imagination, in love with football. During the summer of 1933, he event spent his spare time training, and it is claimed he developed a unique long throw-in by throwing balls over a row of houses, asking the boys of the village to retrieve them for him.

Management Career

Carlisle United

Whilst Shankly was a successful footballer, it was his management career that would define his legacy. Shankly started his managerial career the same way he started as a professional footballer: at Carlisle United. He joined as manager during the 1948-49 season, when the club was in the bottom half of the Third Division North. With sheer hard work and unrivalled skills, Shankly ensured Carlisle United finished 15th in the table, after only being in charge for just a few matches. It was here that Shankly’s management potential was born.

Shankly used the power of psychology to motivate his players, falsely informing the team that the opposition were not fit for the match or that the opposition had a tough journey to the ground. After a disagreement with the club over player bonuses, Shankly resigned from the club and took up an offer from Grimbsy Town, following a failed interview at Liverpool FC.

Grimsby Town

Shankly was to make or break Grimsby Town, as they had been relegated twice in two seasons, dropping from First Division to Third. Some of the club’s best players had also been transferred before he even arrived as manager. However, Bill strongly believed there was more potential at Grimsby Town than at Carlisle United, and was pleased with some of the remaining players he still had to work with.

Shankly Grimsby

Bill brought new players to the club for low fees, which helped to make a challenge for promotion in 1951-52, but the club finished second, just three points behind Lincoln City. Following a disagreement with the club for their lack of ambition, and due to him and his wife feeling homesick for their native Scotland, Bill Shankly made the decision to take up an offer as manager for Workington to be closer to home.

Workington

Bill enthusiastically joined the club in 1954, seeing Workington as a challenge he believed he could win. When he joined, Workington were at the bottom of the Third Division North, but by the end of the of the 1954-55 season the team finished at a credible 8th place.

During his time at Workington, Shankly was responsible for many of the administration duties, and would often answer calls and deal with mail. However, Shankly’s problem was that Workington shared the ground with a local rugby club, which he believed was ruining the playing surface. On 15th November 1955, Shankly resigned at manager and joined Huddersfield Town, but this time as assistant manager to Andy Beattie.

Huddersfield Town

Shankly initially joined Huddersfield Town as assistant manager, but took over the role of manager in 1956 when Andy Beattie resigned. Shankly was responsible for the signing of some of football’s most rising talents at the time, including 16-year-old Denis Law, and Huddersfield Town’s most capped player, Ray Wilson.

However, Shankly resigned from the club when they intended to sell the team’s best players with no money to buy replacements, and delightfully accepted an offer at Liverpool FC as manager in 1959.

Liverpool FC

Shankly believed Liverpool had great potential, as the club had been in Second Division for five years prior to his arrival. Bill Shankly knew that in order for the club to succeed, major changes were necessary. Liverpool Football Club was a shadow of the ground fans know and love today, and it is all thanks to the legendary manager who insisted that £3,000 was spent to repair Anfield and water the pitch.

He also immediately connected to the club’s supporters, who he believed were “his kind of people”. Few could argue that it was Shankly’s forceful personality that transformed Liverpool. He brought a sense of pride, loyalty and determination that no other Liverpool manager ever had, and his passion for the game was infectious.

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He also knew that in order to succeed new players would need to be brought in. Shankly separated the wheat from the chaff, bringing in new players that helped the club make history, including the likes of Ian St John, Tommy Lawrence and Ian Callaghan.

Despite a shaky start, the team improved season by season, and by the end of Bill Shankly’s management career at the club, Liverpool FC had become a First Division club that had won two FA Cups (1965 and 1974), the UEFA Cup (1973) and the FA Charity Shield in 1964, 1965 and 1966.

Retirement

With a heavy heart, Bill Shankly called a press conference on 12th July 1974 to announce his retirement from football. He reportedly felt tired from all the years of management, and finally decided the time was right at the age of 60 years old.

However, whilst Shankly said goodbye to football, football would not say goodbye to him. Shankly would regularly visit Melwood to watch the LFC players training, then managed by Bob Paisley. He would also often attend Manchester United and Everton games, and praised the clubs for the warm welcome.

In honour of his football career, Bill was awarded an OBE in November 1974, attending Buckingham Palace with his wife, Nessie. Bill fell in love with the city of Liverpool as much as the city fell in love with him, so he and Nessie continued to live in their semi-detached house in the West Derby area, which was closely located to Everton’s training ground at Bellefield.

Tragically, Bill Shankly died on 29th September 1981 at the age of 68 years old, but his legacy lives on in the hearts of football fans across the world and at Liverpool FC.

QPR 2-3 Liverpool . Reds players need to step up to the plate to lift the post Suarez hangover!

Christopher William Shankly Carline

I don’t think there is a Liverpool fan on the planet who can claim they didn’t watch the QPR game yesterday and feel a plethora of emotions and feelings. Frustration, anger, embarrassment and relief were some of those that I personally felt; some more than once and not necessarily in that order.

The post Suarez hangover however on the face of it seems to have made our already defensive frailties worse, and found it’s way further up field to tamper with our fluidity and goal scoring prowess. I however; do not subscribe to it being all down to the knock on effect of being without the majestic Uruguayan and quite frankly; think it is about time the players looked within themselves and stepped up to drag us from our slumber.

Of course losing Luis Suarez was going to impact us. He is a genius and was our leading goal scorer; our talisman. And of course; players have every right to feel sad and depressed by the loss of a man who was as popular off the pitch as on it; as we fans do, but enough is enough now.

The majority of our playing squad are international players. Right now; there are far too many of these players who are letting the manager down with sub standard performances. Far too many who are waiting for someone to wake them from their slumber when the only way they will wake is if they wake themselves. It isn’t going to just happen for you. You have to make it happen for yourself.

Take the back four yesterday. Johnson, Skrtel, Lovren and Enrique. Three out the four, established international players in their positions, one a £20 million pound acquisition only last Summer on the back of fantastic performances at Southamption; and all four, established Premier League players with a wealth of experience. There is no way therefore; that overnight, these players lose the basic ability to defend, regardless of who they are playing for, what system they play in, or who their team mates are or were.

There are far too many schoolboy individual errors perpetrated by experienced players who look half a sleep and at times, disinterested.  Take the first equaliser. Vargas starts the move with a chipped punt. Experienced defenders allow a QPR player a completely free header in the six yard box, to head back across goal where the man who started the move is running in, off the left shoulder of our left back who has fallen asleep and paid the price. Take the second equaliser. Despite players pointing to the space where the delivery is likely to go, Liverpool players are once again sleeping allowing a QPR player to beat them to the punch. It is all silly schoolboy, lackadaisical defending that players of this calibre simply should not be guilty of.

Worse still is that yesterday, the tardiness seemed to have spread to further up field. No fluidity; no movement no sharpness or intensity (Sterling aside). We were outfought and out played by a side bottom of the Premier League who everyone freely admits should have taken the three points themselves rather than none.

It has fallen on some fans to blame the manager but I certainly don’t subscribe to it. Other than up front; the team is better on paper this year than last year. The only thing I blame the manager for is inflicting Mario Balotelli on us. He took a gamble and it has failed. I said it would and I’m correct. We need to cut losses and resign him to the bench for a run of games. Mario’s problem is that he has never displayed the potential to change his attitude and work hard to dig himself out of a hole. He has a victim’s mentality and always will; and the problem is that what is needed now to solve the problem is a good dose of home truths, hard work and a reality check for players. The fact is that these players need to be told right now; to stop feeling sorry for themselves; to shake it off and to put the hard work in again to drag themselves back to something resembling form, as right now the poor level of individual performances is collectively resulting in the poor form of the team. We believed in the system last year and we believed in the style of play last year. That hasn’t changed.

The concern is that this all needs to happen before Wednesday, otherwise I fear an embarrassment of magnitude could befall us.

 

The Letter Shankly Wrote to a 13-Year-Old Boy

Bill Shankly was a self-proclaimed man of the people. He loved the fans as much as the game of football itself, and he was never shy to tell them just how much they meant to him.

He was a wonderful manager for so many reasons, but most of all because he cared about the people who made the club, and that was the fans. Shankly himself once said: “At a football club, there’s a holy trinity – the players, the manager and the supporters”.

Shankly proved just how much one fan’s words meant to him, when he penned a letter to a 13-year-old boy, Chris Rafferty, whom he met when standing on The Kop.

Shankly's letter

The letter reads:

Dear Chris,

Received your letter, thanks very much indeed. I really enjoyed your remarks about your loyalty to see me, and of course your mates. I can assure you that what you say to me means more than all the money in the world. I knew before I came to Liverpool that deep down there were thousands of people like yourself who were dying to have a football team. So I worked hard to give you that. I can assure you it was no easy task. However, it worked in the end, and you have a team and a ground, and I am proud of all of you.

Give my regards to your Dad, he must be a busy man Chris, as football takes up all your life.

Remember me to the boys on the “Kop”. I will come in again to see all of you.

“God Bless”

W. Shankly.

The letter was written in 1976, two years after Shankly retired as manager of Liverpool Football Club, and his influence on his fans was, and still is, as strong as ever.

The Shankly Family Foundation Fundraiser: Meet The Team

Happy Birthday

Last week saw the 1st birthday fundraiser of The Shankly Family Foundation. For those who may not know; I set the charity up 12 months ago in Grandy’s honour, in what would have been his 100th birthday year; to support grass roots football and provide positive activity for children and young people, two causes that were close to Grandy’s heart.

What The Shankly Family Foundation actually does

Shankly Family Foundation

The Foundation is chaired by myself and run by a board of 5 volunteers including me. In 12 months, we have achieved some unbelievable stuff, supporting Liverpool Schoolboys under the grass roots umbrella.

We have funded training, equipment and costs for taking the players to tournaments abroad. Sourced coaches and volunteers for the lads whilst and provided FA badges for budding coaches.

We delivered the first ever Shankly Family Foundation Cup for local county FA teams in May. This was completely free of charge and achieved a positive activity for children and young people across some of the most deprived areas of the City.

We also organised a fully funded Summer Programme for children and young people in Croxteth, Norris Green, Yew Tree, Knotty Ash and Huyton that engaged nearly 1000 participants.

Celebrations

Last Tuesday saw our first ever fundraising night to commemorate our 1st birthday.

It was held at 30 James Street: The Home of the Titanic, the hotel owned and run by Signature living whom we are of course delivering The Shankly Hotel with for August 2015.

Whilst on that topic, I can’t thank Lawrence and Katie Kenwright and their staff enough for the help, support and generosity they displayed in the lead up to and delivery of the event. Everything about them and their company conveys the Shankly ethos and the hotel is going to be a sight to behold next year, which will mean our 2nd birthday fundraiser will actually take place, excitingly at The Shankly Hotel.

Shankly’s Team Values

The main purpose of my blog however is that following the evening; I felt compelled to speak about the warmness, and humility of those members of grandy’s team who attended on the night to speak; in particular Mr Kevin Keegan.

We had Ian Callaghan, Chris Lawler, Roy Evans and Kevin Keegan who all answered the call to help raise some funds for the charity, and none of them disappointed.

The Shankly Team

 

They spoke with a warmness and emotion about my granddad that couldn’t help to elicit a tear, especially to those in attendance from the family like myself. We were regaled with stories and anecdotes that had everything; comedy, facts, emotion, passion and inspiration. It was Mr Kevin Keegan in particular who led the way however.

Another Great Man

Keegan was debatably the superstar of all the Shankly teams. A hero to millions, a legend and genius of the game; one of the first real global icons of the game.

Status like that in modern day football has given birth to one or two diva’s. Not Mr Keegan though and not any of the lads in attendance, all of whom have been schooled in the Shankly arts. I have met him on several occasions but this the most  time I have spent in his presence. He is hands down one of the most down to earth, humble and warm people I have ever met.

Keegan & Shankly

Kevin delivered a power point presentation to the audience. Its topical content was of course about my granddad but in a way that showed Kevin’s life and career story and how grandy influenced that. The audience laughed. The audience cried and the audience were inspired.

Keegan and his fellow colleagues speak about grandy with such passion and emotion that it is something to behold. Kevin profoundly proclaimed,

“whenever anybody asks us to do something to support Bill Shankly, we are there, no questions asked. That is the impact he had.”

As he uttered those words, he fixed his stare on myself and the family.

It is both refreshing and proud to witness how one man really did shape their careers and their lives, to the extent that they live to this very day by his visions and values; and that they hold them dear.

Auctions and Raffles

As the auction and raffles proceeded on the night; the lads even participated; Keegan even successfully bidding for a framed Kenny Dalglish shirt, the man who inherited the famous number 7 from him.

As the evening drew to a close; and fans were given the opportunity to meet the lads, have photos taken and have items signed; all stood for whatever time was necessary to meet the wishes of those who had come to meet their heroes.

Keegan even brought a replica England shirt from his time playing for his country which he raffled off for The Shankly Family Foundation charity; signing and personalising it for the winner. All done off his own bat as he thought it would be nice and raise some money.

Old Values

It is at times like this that you ask yourself whether the modern stars of today; many of whom aren’t as good ability wise as those in attendance and many of whom won’t have won half of what these lads won or would be so humble and giving.

I suppose the difference is that they haven’t had Shankly as a manager and a mentor, although I do have to say, we can’t stereotype all modern day players and I am sure there are many who hold Shankly-esque values dear.

Kevin was keen to highlight his and the lads support for our hotel coming neat year, vehemently proclaiming

“This City has a statue and has gates, but it doesn’t have anywhere near enough to celebrate the life and achievements of Bill Shankly. This hotel is a fantastic, exciting idea and something we will wholly support!”

A resounding endorsement indeed!

Thank you

Since the event we have been inundated with people who attended on the night, thanking us for a wonderful evening at a fabulous venue with unbelievable service and company; everyone stating they cant wait for the 2nd birthday bash (at The Shankly Hotel!), but far and away, all commenting on the warmness of Keegan and the ex players.

Whilst on this topic; I really have to say a huge thanks to all those who attended, who bought tickets and put their hands in their pockets for raffle tickets and auction prizes. Your generosity really is so appreciated and The Shankly Family Foundation will prosper as a result of these efforts.

Before they left, I spoke to the ex players about events and promotions leading up to the opening of The Shankly Hotel next August. All pledged their support. It really is going to be something else!

by Christopher William Shankly Carline

 

Shankly Football News: Basel 1-0 Liverpool

No Time To Waste

So I tend to wait at least 24 hours before I blog post Liverpool football match; but I couldn’t help myself tonight. The tight pains in the chest and stomach  (no don’t worry I am not having a heart attack) signalling how my frustration starts to turn towards anger gripped me intently tonight.

Yet again, we were undone by a set piece and our inability to defend it properly. It really is beyond tedium now.

A frustrating football watch

Yet that wasn’t the biggest source of my frustration. If I’m being honest; we carved out just about enough chances to state we probably deserved a draw. The game was fairly open and if Liverpool players hadn’t displayed an uncanny knack for taking too many touches when in on goal, many of them inadvertent; we might just be ‘celebrating’ a point.

Not the man for the job

Alas not; and the source of my frustration weighs heavily on Mr Balotelli.

Liverpool football player - Balotelli

source; thisisanfield.com

I’m sorry, but Ill say what others don’t want to say. He isn’t even nearly good enough and I’m not sure he ever will be. I said it the very day we were linked with him. I said it the day we signed him and I’m saying it now.

Those who support him; I’d love to list what qualities he brings as I haven’t seen any. He is lazy, has a poor attitude, contributes more in petulance than with his football, is greedy and selfish. He looks like he doesn’t know where to make runs and consequently doesn’t run anywhere other than into his team mates way. He simply looks for it to happen to him, rather than making it happen and is more pre-occupied with trying to do it all on his own than playing for the team.

People say he has ability. Well I’m sorry, he has only displayed it in miniscule doses. “He needs the ball into his feet!” people yell. That’s funny; because when it does go to his feet his first touch and decision making is poor. The first time we held the ball up all night was when Rickie Lambert came on with his first touch.

I said from day one that I’d support him whilst he wears Liverpool Red and I stand by that, but it doesn’t mean I cant have an opinion on him and voice it in a forum that stimulates debate.

In summation

I’ll sum it up by stating that I think he was hugely the wrong option for Liverpool Football Club. Other targets fell away in the transfer market and we should have kept hold of the money and hung on for January or beyond. I firmly don’t believe he will work out here but as I said from the start; I’d love to be proved wrong but I REALLY don’t see it happening.

People commented on social media tonight about Markovic. He may have been poor but at least he was having a go. Can the same honestly be said of Mario. He’s played half a dozen games for Liverpool now and he knows what fans want from him but his approach doesn’t seem to change as game’s go by.

Final thought

Whilst I am writing; criticism should also be leveled at one of my favourite players Philipe Coutinho.

Liverpool football player -  Coutinho

source; thisisanfield.com

The Brazillian is a little genius, one of the most talented players around, and on his day is unplayable. But I have constantly outlined he is falling into dangerous territory with his anonymity in games. Quite simply, he needs to step up. Quickly. Otherwise he will fast disappear into the realms of an also ran, and the I told you so’s will soon point out that we got such a bargain at £8.5 million from Inter for a reason. It would be a tragic waste of talent.

A much needed tonic is needed. Quickly. I sincerely hope that West Brom at Anfield on Saturday provides that before the international break!