Wednesday, July 06, 2005

So now he's staying

So now SG has decided that he is not leaving Liverpool.Can this man make up his mind what he wants?WEll this issue has me so tired that I am not going to comment instead I will put up some opinions from fan sites.

I'm not sure if overseas readers are familiar with the Okey-Cokey-Cokey (is it a worldwide phenomenon?), but I can assure that it is not related to Bolivian marching powder. It involves putting your leg 'in', taking it 'out', and putting it in again. And, predictably, taking it out once more.

Basically, it's a dance that involves a lot of indecision. And it's a rather annoying dance at that.

Ninety minutes: the length of one football match, and all it took for Steven Gerrard to make redundant my article, published at 1pm yesterday, on why he should either sign up, or ship out. Turned out he was doing the latter.

Then at 9am this morning, just as I was about to publish my follow-up piece on how the club can move forward in his absence, given the dramatic change of events, he goes and changes his mind. Again. And dramatically.

I pride myself on trying to commentate on the major events surrounding the club (the quality of these commentaries is open to debate), but I'm struggling to keep up with the changes in this saga.

So my piece yesterday, while still out of date, is partly relevant again: sign up, or ship out. Sign up, or ship out.

"He realises how much the club means to him," said Rick Parry, and a sense of dŽjˆ vu engulfed me. I had to check the date of the BBC article: was it from 2004? While Parry did not confirm it, I had to wonder if it all a bid to make fans burn their 'Gerrard' shirts and pay £40 for new ones.

Can we take our affections being played with anymore? Gerrard is coming across like a man trying desperately to leave his wife for a mistress, but ends up staying out of a sense of fear and misplaced loyalty. Alternatively, maybe it is only in the 'leaving' that he realises what his heart actually contains. If it's the former, trouble still awaits; if it's the latter, then there is still some hope. But frankly, I'm getting a little cynical.

Why does it take such extreme reactions to make Gerrard realise what the club means to him? Didn't lifting the freakin' European Cup six weeks ago mean anything? How did that get forgotten yesterday, and remembered today? That's where I'm struggling to keep up. What has changed?

Surely if his heart was 100% in the task, he'd not come so close to leaving in successive summers? Without wishing to state the obvious, either he wants to play for Liverpool, or he doesn't. What we don't need is what lies in between. We don't need 50% commitment to the club and the cause. We don't need Stev Rrard or Even Ger; we need Steven Gerrard.

I was looking forward to Rafa building a new side, full of players who want to play for Liverpool, be they from Bootle or Timbucktu. Now we have one sulky, confused malcontent throwing the manager's plans into disarray by the hour. Frankly, it's starting to seem far from good enough. It needs more than a press conference; it needs a big beaming smile from the club captain.

This was my thinking at 8.59 am this morning:

[i]While he would never admit to wanting Gerrard gone, I feel Rafa will see the positives: a player who was outgrowing his boots, and who was unbalancing the club.

Ben’tez' problem was that, as the overseas coach, he would be on shaky ground if seen to force out a local icon. Of course, if Gerrard was 100% committed to Liverpool, and humble in all his actions, Ben’tez would have no desire to see the back of the player. The 'old' Gerrard (pre-summer 2004), who would never give leaving Liverpool a second thought (even when the team was stagnating), is not the player Ben’tez is losing.

He is losing a player who feels Liverpool is no longer good enough for him; that he is too good for Liverpool.

No manager wants a player he has to virtually beg to stay at the club: to ask his captain to 'please do us a favour' and stay to grace the team with his presence. It sets a bad tone for the entire club. Especially when that malcontent is being paid £100,000 a week ÐÐ the wages of five good players ÐÐ to do the manager the 'favour' of staying and turning out for his team.[/i]

So while the news has changed, that's basically my position. And I guess it remains the same: stay, or go, just don't muck about. All this indecision is doing the club more harm than good. (I'll save the earlier article, just in case there is another dramatic, unexpected, surprising change of heart, and I'll have all bases covered, unless Gerrard states that all he wants to do is play for Marine on YTS wages.)

A Steven Gerrard who wants with all his heart to be at Liverpool is a massive asset; anything less, and we'd be better off with £40m. If he stays, it's up to him to show it's for the right reasons.

© Paul Tomkins 2005

Gerrard ready to sign four year contract
Steven Gerrard has all but committed himself to Liverpool for the rest of his career after a dramatic day ended with him thrashing out the details of a new long-term contract at the club's Melwood training ground this afternoon.

Memories of that night in Istanbul have played on Gerrard's mind. (MikeHewitt/GettyImages)
Barely 24 hours after Gerrard had informed Reds chief executive Rick Parry of his intention to leave, he is now on the verge of signing a four-year deal to complete an extraordinary and unexpected U-turn.

'He's staying,' said Parry. 'The whole thing will be sorted out in the next day or so.

'It is very welcome news. We are all absolutely delighted. Last night it did look as though it was going the other way so we are really thrilled.

'I am sure now he is going to stay for good. His commitment is complete and I am sure he will say that as well.'

Twelve months ago, Gerrard found himself in a similar situation when it was widely believed he would sign for Chelsea.

This morning, the 25-year-old woke up in his Merseyside home and once again had second thoughts over a career which looked set to send him to Stamford Bridge by the end of the week.

He then informed Parry of his decision to stay and has now pledged never to put the loyal supporters who barracked him into a similar situation again.

'The last five or six weeks were the hardest of my life because I wrongly believed the club did not want me,' he told the Liverpool Echo.

'I do not want to get into attaching blame to anyone. If I blame anyone it is myself.

'I wanted my future sorting out as soon as possible after the Champions League final but the longer it went on the more misunderstandings there were.

'I will be signing a deal, maybe even today. This will not happen again next summer or ever again as far as I'm concerned.'

This is the latest twist in an amazing six weeks since Liverpool lifted the European Cup with their sensational triumph over AC Milan in Istanbul.

At the time, Gerrard said he could not leave but with no contract offer forthcoming, he slowly started to believe his future lay elsewhere.

Supporters gathering outside Melwood this morning remained sceptical over Gerrard's motives, with one even hanging a 'Judas' banner from the training ground wall.

However, by lunchtime attitudes towards the Reds captain had softened as when Gerrard drove into the complex, as most of his team-mates were leaving following a training session he had been given permission to miss, the cheers were loud and long.

Whether such a welcome would be afforded to his agent Struan Marshall is debatable.

Most supporters believe Marshall to be the instigator of Gerrard's discontent, although the Huyton-born midfield player absolved him of any blame.

'I feel I must defend my agent Struan Marshall in this,' he said.

'He has taken a lot of stick but all along he has never done anything I did not ask him to.

'He is well respected at Liverpool and has done deals for me and other players in the past. He has conducted himself in the right way.

'He is a big factor in my decision to stay.

'I have committed my long-term future to the club and now I just want all this speculation to end - that is what I wanted all along.'

Parry declared himself satisfied with the day's dramatic events.

'The period has been a bit shorter than the protracted speculation of last year but maybe it has been more intense this time. But he is fully committed,' said the chief executive, who admitted he did not know why Gerrard had made such an abrupt about-turn but acknowledged the fans who backed him so much down the years must have played a major part.

'I just think he could not leave when it came down to it,' he said.

'His relationship with the fans and the club is strong and that has been proved again.

'Doubts crept into Steven's mind, I don't know why, but all that is history now.

'We can build a team around him and now we can start building for the game against TNS next week.'

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Good Riddance

So it's official now Steven Gerrard is severing his ties with Liverpool.Well what makes it all the more interesting is that he has given no concrete reason whatsoever for wanting out.He says he was disappointed at the speed at which negotiations began well LFC tried to sit him down 3 times earlier and he said no.He talks about a training ground spat with Rafa.Which player does not have training ground spats.Then he goes ahead to have his agents SFX splash crap about LFC all over the broadsheets and tabloids.He talked about success what success is bigger then the CL?It seems due to bad advice from his agent and being married to a typical footballers wife have lead to this.He forgets that there is no club where he will get the love that he gets at LFC and that kind of fan that is found nowhere else but at Anfield.
Well LFC survived Owen and came out stronger and so we will do the same with Gerrard.No one man is greater then the club.Don't let the door hit you on the way out Stevie