In front of an 80 000 Nou Camp crowd, Mallorca restricted Barcelona to a 1-1 draw, to the frustration of the world’s most technically gifted team. At the Santiago Bernabeu, Deportivo La Coruna were receiving a real special lesson from a new force that is re-emerging to dominate Spanish football after a very long time of anonymity. Watched by a 60 000 vociferous crowd, Real Madrid were shifting their name tag from the ‘pretenders of the crown’ to be the ‘contenders of the championship’.
Cristiano Ronaldo opened the floodgates and closed proceedings with a salvo in a 6 gun salute meant to send a message of the arrival of Jose Mourinho to the Nou Camp. I am cork sure the message got there, maybe not well received, but they got it. Madrid were 6-1 victors on the night.
Before being carried away, both teams have won 4 of their 6 opening matches of the season, Real scoring 12 and conceding 2 compared to the 10 against 5 of Barca. Real drew twice and are without loss while Barcelona were beaten once and have a single draw. While all the talk is about these 2 teams, they actually occupy the 3rd and 4th spots. Valencia and Villarreal won 5 out 6 of their matches and are first and second respectively on the standings. They are only a big deal if you consider they will make way for Real and Barca when they start fighting for 3rd and 4th at the end of the season. This is the one bit that makes La Liga boring.
To the real deal now. Liverpool entertained the world with the wizardry of Kenny Daglish, Peter Beardsley, Ian Rush, John Aldridge, John Barnes and Bruce Grobelaar, just to name a few, in the years gone by. Actually, a decade that ended 20 years ago. They made winning a double fashionable and a treble was a choice that they did not care to pick. Never in my life-time have they started the season so badly. They have been a very bad team in the last 3 seasons, yes, but not this disastrous.
The people who took football and played it with hands, calling the former version sucker, to spite their former colonial masters and took another English games called cricket and converted it into a boring version called baseball, have finally seen the light and honoured up with a genuine helping hand to buy Liverpool. Those Premiership teams who were living on borrowed time will have to make way on the top 4 spot. Or is it too little too late? Time will tell.
Mark Broughton, Board Chairman of Liverpool believes a deal with New England Sports Ventures, who run the Boston Rex Sox baseball team will be concluded during the weekend barring the legalities of dealing with the current owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks. It appears the Chinese pretenders were never in the mix after all. It is believed the new owners will pay off a major part of the club’s bank debts. Liverpool will exchange hands for about GBP 300 million, a figure Hicks and Gillett feel is below the actual value of the club.
My humble opinion is that they have a case. A team with such history is supposed to be at least double that. On the other hand, if I was to part with money for Liverpool, paying even 50% of the figure Red Sox guys will pay, would make me feel like buying a steak and kidney pie without both the steak nor the kidney. Liverpool had been turned into a carcass. There is a very good chance it will see its glory days again, but it will be hard living with the feeling of paying to be screwed.
Tom and George and Rafael Benitez were present watching the team sink. If they had done everything they could to have the team make the profits Arsenal are making, they would make the claims with a quarter of the guilt they should have when they claim the price being paid is low. They worked on a project that sank in value and likeability and they have only themselves to blame.
Now that there will be money and stability at the climb, Liverpool will go further down or straight up. If it is the later, then those who always want me to believe money is not a motivation can go to hang.