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Tuesdays With Roy

Roy Watches Liverpool Burn

"We came here tonight really hoping that after not playing for a while we would get out and give a great performance," he says.

"Might be nice if that mastery of the obvious extended to how you set out the side," I say.

"It was probably as bad a team performance as we've given, certainly here at Anfield, and to compound the problems we gave them a goal as well, so we don't have a disappointing nil-nil, we have an even more disappointing 0-1."

"I suppose Blackpool and Northampton might have a little something to say about that, but it's certainly up there as one of your three worst performances. At Anfield. Overall you're at least looking at doubling that--probably more than doubling, given how much worse your sides tend to look on the road."

"Credit to Wolves, they did well. Their game plan was good, they stuck at it and they were very physical in a lot of challenges all over the field, and I don't think we had the tempo or intensity in our game to be able to say we deserved anything more than what we got."

"You're right," I say, "their game plan was good. Relatively. A bunch of Championship scrubs and Mick "One in the Hole" McCarthy ran circles around you. So fair play to them. Is that about it?"

"If I was a supporter I would be extremely disappointed as well with that performance, as are all the players."

"You know how I know you're about to set a new record for 'Dumbest thing Roy Hodgson has ever uttered in public'? You say something half-way sensible. Get people nodding along a little bit, thinking you might not be a senile lunatic who's set up chicken-wire runs through his house so the neighbourhood raccoons can live in the basement while having a comfortable mode of egress, and then bam! it's crazypants."

"I don't like hearing those things of course because I want to do the best job I can do," he says. "I'm working as hard as I can, so I can't say it's something I really appreciate but at the same time I am not in control of those things and it's the Kop's way, the Anfield way, of showing that they are not happy at the moment with what the team is doing."

"Hmm, not sure that's your best moment, but I suppose it's not obviously and completely batshit insane..."

"As the manager, you take responsibility for that, so I have to take that criticism on the chin as well."

"Right," I say. "Any second now..."

"Ever since I came here the famous Anfield support hasn't really been there," he says.

"And here. We. Go."

"There was the problem with the former owners--"

"And there was the problem that you came out against the supporters having a problem with the former owners."

"There was the fact that Kenny was so popular, but the job went to me--"

"Well, Kenny probably wouldn't have slagged off the fans and shirked responsibility at every turn, so he has that going for him."

"I have had to live with that," he says.

"Oh you poor dear! You poor, delicate flower! Accepting a job you still don't understand and leading Liverpool to their worst first half points total since they got demoted back in the fifties, and doing it all while saying just about the worst possible thing every time you talk to the press. Meanwhile some mean people in the stands aren't backing you fully and completely. How horrible!"

"I have to hope the fans will become supporters because we need support."

"Brilliantly said. Because I'm sure the best way to get the Kop backing you fully and completely is to tell them they aren't supporters. That's even better than when you told them not to protest the owners. Also, do you have to work to be this ridiculously, bafflingly, idiotically tone deaf? Do you practice in front of a mirror? Or is being this stupid the superpower you were blessed with?"

"We are not deliberately losing games."

"Well that's good to hear," I say. "So the whole breaking up the Lucas-Meireles partnership, the only silver lining in this horrible season, and one that you stumbled on completely by accident after buying Poulsen to replace Lucas and insisting you didn't know where to play Meireles, was down to contemptible stupidity rather than malice. That's certainly a weight off my shoulders."

"I'm just glad I was able to do a bit of good, then. Hold on, son, what are you doing now? We're two floors up and I'm not sure that's..."

I scream to drown him out and head towards the window like a spooked animal. I have to get away from him, have to end the suffering, and my only thought is escape at any cost.

"Wise. Oh dear." He shuffles over to the window and peers down. "Oh, a twitch. He's still alive, then. Though I'm not sure a leg is supposed to bend like that. Perhaps I should call an ambulance? Yes, that seems a sound course of action. We'll have to make sure he's alright to watch the match on Saturday from his hospital room, as I'm sure now he's shaken the rust off old Steve G will look a dynamo in central midfield and watching that might help with the recovery. Lucas wasn't as sharp against Wolves, though, but I'm sure that's just coincidence. Perhaps it's time to give Poulsen another shot. Not sure quite why I'm talking to myself... Right, about that ambulance..."

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