Everybody may be on pins and needles watching the transfer front, wondering if the rumoured Suarez deal will finally go through, wondering if the Babel to Hoffenheim deal will finally go through, and maybe even wondering if the agreed price with Hoffenheim was always just a way of setting Babel's value as a bargaining tool in negotiations with Ajax over Suarez. Still, there are other things going on in the world to concern ourselves with, and even a few things going on in the Liverpool world, too. With Hodgson a welcome memory and Fenway Sports Group--formerly New England Sports Ventures--starting to settle in, Liverpool chairman Tom Werner recently had an extensive interview with the LFCtv that addressed a number of interesting issues.
On the chances of Dalglish becoming the permanent manager come the end of the season, and on what FSG will be looking for in any long-term managerial appointment:
We've said at his press conference that he fits the criteria that we're looking for for a manager. He's extremely competent, he's excellent at man-management, he knows the philosophy of the club and he's been everything we could have hoped for. At the same time we are certainly looking at what we can do to strengthen the club in the long term and he would be a candidate.
As I said, you have to understand the philosophy of Liverpool. We understand it ourselves. We've had a great history here and I've watched a lot of videos and watched the attacking, the relentlessness of the team, never being satisfied with a draw. You can just study the words and the actions of our great managers, Paisley and Shankly, and I certainly would include Kenny Dalglish as part of that triumvirate. They know what it means to win and what it means to be a big four club. Our intention is not just to become eligible for the Champions League, but to be the best team in the league.
It certainly does appear as though Dalglish is genuinely good at the man management side of things, though of course the last manager--who himself came in with a reputation for being a great man manager--did his best to set the bar subterraneanly. Meanwhile, while they may just be words, hearing Werner talk about the club's history as he does, of heroes and attacking legacies, is hugely comforting. There will always be that little voice of doubt with any corporate entity, that fear that they are only saying the right words and that it's all calculated, but our former owners could never manage to even say anything like the right words, and to date FSG at least appears to be doing their level best to live up to the things they say.
On the current January transfer window:
It is our intention to improve the club short term. We know there are ways to improve the club and we do have targets. We hope to announce something but we are going to be driven by long term decisions. It's very important for us to strengthen the club not just this season but next season. I think our supporters understand that if we can move forward and be better, not just this week but next week and the week after then that's more important than any short term decision.
I understand the desire that fans have that we need to be successful and regain success quickly. I guess our message is that we are hard at work at it, it's going to take a bit of patience but we are moving forward and we will hopefully improve the club this season.
In the immediate aftermath of the club's purchase there were a lot of conflicting stories in the press about whether FSG would be willing to spend, and just how much they would be willing to spend. Or at least the press liked to make it out that there was uncertainty, as at the core of every story, whether it suggested that tens of millions would be spent or only tens of pence, was the idea of looking for value to improve the club's playing staff long term. FSG always said that they would spend, and even spend big, if the value was right. The by all accounts extremely serious attempt to land Luis Suarez currently underway--but to not pay well over the odds for him--seems to again back their words up, and I suspect their actions on this front reflect what most fans do want in the long term.
Now we just have to hope that they can pull it off, of course, but once again the effort is there, and that's comforting. Elsewhere in the interview there's talk of Comolli and stadium issues and various odds and ends, so if that Suarez transfer doesn't go through in the next ten minutes you'll always have something to click over to and spend a bit more time on. In any case, it's nice to be able to feel at least a little bit good and hopeful about Liverpool Football Club both on and off the pitch once again. It had been a while.