Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Alan Green: No title but a Pool of cash

And Benitez gets primed to herald dawn of bright new era

Liverpool fans well appreciate, as does Steven Gerrard, that the Premiership title is beyond them this season. The skipper already looks to the Champions League as possible, and considerable, compensation.

But there's no way you can wipe the smiles off the faces of the red half of Merseyside this week.



You see, the wealth of the two current most powerful clubs in English football each has a downside.

Glazer's takeover at Manchester United is built on 'debt' and even Chelsea fans have a recurring nightmare about what might happen should Abramovich take his 'whim' and his money elsewhere.



In contrast, and I've pored over every publicised detail (and more) of what's going on at Anfield, it can only be 'win, win, win' for Liverpool.



This Dubai International Capital takeover is built on 'cash'. It is neither solely about glory hunting by a money-rich foreigner nor is it a business venture that has to pay its own way.

Every single quote attributed to 'sources' behind DIC suggests there's not the slightest thing for the club or its supporters to be worried about.



I was particularly taken with Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry's comment: "Already DIC have demonstrated a full understanding of, and respect for, the club's heritage and values."



That's essential. So, too, is the fact that to the proposed new owners, with the World's 5th richest man Sheikh Mohammed Al-Maktoum in the background, £450 million is no big deal.

Liverpool's debts will be wiped clean, the new stadium will be built and paid for and Rafa Benitez, a man not given to spending money unwisely, will have a huge treasure chest to turn to.



It was fascinating that the Spanish boss this week ruled out a move for Chelsea's Shaun Wright-Phillips. He'd earlier tried to sign the player before Chelsea threw silly money at Manchester City and Benitez well knows that, if Liverpool came calling again for the player, the London club would want more - "because it's Liverpool."



Ally that to a comment from a source behind DIC: "We are serious people with serious resources. That does not mean spending willy-nilly like Chelsea have done at times, so don't expect £21m a time on a succession of Shaun Wright-Phillipses who don't end up playing.



"But whatever money is required, in a way that makes sense for Liverpool, on and off the pitch, will be available."



While Liverpool fans have increasingly despaired over what seemed to be a relative lack of action behind the scenes at the club, with doubts about the direction of Chairman David Moores (though never doubting his love of Liverpool) and just `doubts - general' about Rick Parry, a wonderful rabbit has been pulled out of the hat.



There appears to be no downside to this deal. Actually, it looks like a marriage made in heaven. Liverpool are rejoicing and, shortly, Chelsea and Manchester United will not be having things their own way.



Fergie flags up blind spot

I speak only for myself. I was appalled at how Ronaldo behaved against England during that World Cup match and was a little surprised at how readily Rooney and United fans welcomed him back into the fold.

At least I was until I remembered that most of the fans at the biggest clubs tend to care far less about their country than they do about their club.

Look at the flags waved at England games: it's always 'Scunthorpe' or 'Brighton' or 'Carlisle', rarely 'Liverpool' or 'Arsenal' or 'Manchester United'.



But a) I have been praising Ronaldo, and Drogba for that matter, for the brilliance of their play this season, and b) any criticism I have of the player(s) is because of what he does. It has nothing to do with his nationality.



So, personally, I utterly refute the allegation made by Sir Alex Ferguson that the 'English media' couldn't wait to have a go at Ronaldo.

Nor do I accept that it was a "clear penalty" at Middlesbrough and the player didn't dive.

It wasn't and he did. And Fergie's abrasive defence of the player is wholly wrong. And he knows it.



Sven hovers with intent

I'm not a person to pay too much attention to rumour but the rumble of discontent I'm hearing with regard to West Ham is becoming too loud to ignore and one name keeps cropping up - Sven Goran Eriksson.

Alan Pardew's job seemed safe after the recent Icelandic takeover at Upton Park. Certainly, it seemed a lot safer than it would have been if the 'other lot' had taken control.



But Wigan's win on Wednesday night condemned the Hammers to a fourth defeat in five games - they're now in the bottom three of the Premiership.

And there are obvious continuing problems - the use and presence of the Argentine duo: the obvious unhappiness of the skipper, Nigel Reo-Coker.



I fear that pressure is mounting on Pardew. December is a critical month.



I gather that Eriksson has various options available to him in the New Year, in Europe as well as a couple of jobs in England. One of them is West Ham.