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Compelling numbers for a Glory of '66 journo to hang a "Hodgson isn't doing nearly as badly as some are making it out to be!" narrative on? Or just more of the usual bullshit? Sorry, no prizes for guessing right, especially when it's got the various LFC-obsessed twitters and forums all abuzz.
For the record, the Sunday Times has gone and compared Benitez' point totals after six league matches with Hodgson's point totals after eight and called it a day. Yeah, that seems like a bit of an underhanded way to make a point to me, too. If they hadn't been blinded by their Benitez blood lust and had instead compared records for both after eight matches the totals would read 13, 10, 11, 16, 20, and 15 points for Benitez in order. Followed by Roy's underwhelming six points after eight league games.
When you see the real numbers there isn't actually a story here--well, aside from how poorly Roy Hodgson has started the season--and as much as a part of me wants to just blame lazy mistakes, and as much as at the end of the day it probably was simply a lazy mistake that got the ball rolling, this wasn't just a throw-away line in a misguided article. I know I've made enough typos around here that I'd be foolish to look to string somebody up for an honest mistake. However, no matter its likely innocent beginning this wasn't a stat that some writer got wrong and built a story around. Rather it got a nice little graphical mock up treatment, one that would have involved a number of people having to sign off on this piece of Rafa-bashing, Roy-boosting tripe before it saw the light of day. A whole chain of ugly excitement right down the production line and a rush to get it to print and knock their old adversary down a few pegs while giving England's Next Manager a little boost.
They seem to say, See, it's not so bad. He's struggled a bit, sure, but it's a tough situation with all the off-field issues and still he's not that far behind anything that evil Rafa managed with his continental tactics. Heck, with a bit of luck third might still be within reach!
It may have been an innocent mistake when the first person latched on to the misleading numbers, but then the editor ran it to the art department and on to whoever else was involved, all of them too excited by the chance to hammer their bias down their readers' throats to step back and ask themselves if something seemed a little off. Too excited for anybody to double check the facts. In their end it betrays an editorial need to see something that isn't there.
|Don't stop believing.|
I'm one drunken jackass screwing around with photoshop and my browser's built in spell checker who's never claimed objectivity--what's their excuse?
As a part of an article I could excuse it. But that's not what it is, and so I can't. As it is, it comes across as another blatant sign of the media bias that helped get Liverpool into the mess it's in right now. A media raised on a proper English footballing mentality that was never really part of the Liverpool way to begin with and has little place in the modern game regardles. Chelsea, United, and Arsenal all embraced a continental approach to tactics and possession to varying degrees to reach their current levels of success, and under Benitez so too did Liverpool, though he was doing it at a club with more than a bit of history using that approach.
Meanwhile the English national side, despite bringing in foreign managers, still insists on embracing that innate English desire for personal excellence at the expense of tactical, team-based coherence over and over again. And over and over again they fail. Yet certain sorts of pundits raised to venerate this outmoded approach remain too stubborn or too stupid to realise their folly and have now helped to saddle the most outward-looking side in English footballing history with their stale desires for good old days that can no longer exist. And now they're invested in the situation and need to see it through to the end, even if that means an ending as bad as every World Cup's for England. Not that they would ever believe, deep down, that the English approach could fail, despite all its setbacks. Shankly looked abroad to drag Liverpool to glory all those years ago and still there are people getting paid good money to offer their opinions who don't have half a clue.
This latest episode is just further proof--as though any was needed--that many of the outlets that a large portion of those following Liverpool likely get most of their information from not only don't have any idea what's in the best interest of the club, they're so willfully blind to how successful modern football is played that they probably have no right to suggest theirs is a "qualified" opinion for anything above the Colaship.
The real shame is that some will read such dross--even some of those aforementioned who support LFC--and go on to believe it without a second thought, and at some point it will be regurgitated just like the "Benitez spent £300M on shitty transfers" narrative that pops up incessantly.
I half expect to hear cries of "Yeah, but he didn't start off that much worse than that horrible Rafa!" any day now. Probably with an, "And look at the weak squad Roy had to work with after the fat Spanish waiter wasted all of that nice man Hicks' money!" tacked on to the end for emphasis.