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Anfield Naming Rights, Standard Chartered Blunders, and Other Friday Notes

Alvaro Arbeloa Celebration

Bond rip-offs and international updates and taking the piss out of Joe Cole. Plus the longest blog post in intertubes history and illusionists and polls and distracting videos and even the revival of the pre-match borderline intelligible cross-blogination discussion. And there's probably some other stuff that I'm forgetting, too. Like Jonjo Shelvey's penis.

So. Are you not entertained?

Well, we certainly hope you are. Still, so much for quiet international breaks and nothing to talk about, but thank Fowler football's almost back anyhow...

* Remember that part where there was going to be a stadium announcement by the end of last week? Yeah, not so much, though we do have some non-news of potential stadium sponsorships and potential stadiums that mostly adds up to news letting us know there's no news. Got that? Me neither, but here's what Ian Ayre had to say anyhow:

We are actively looking for a naming partner if we were to move to a new ground, but that clearly does not apply if we decide to remain at Anfield.

No final decision has yet been made, but a considerable amount of work continues on analysing the options open to us, be that a refurbishment of our existing home or the move to a completely new LFC Stadium in Stanley Park.

So, I guess no news is no news?

* Meanwhile, Standard Chartered kept themselves entertained during the break by doing their best to piss off the fans, publicly discussing their preferred direction for the club and what they would like to see done to boost the value of their brand's investment. According to Standard Chartered big-wig or maven or guru or something Gavin Laws:

The real power for what Liverpool could do for us, and I think for the English Premier League, is if there was a way they could nurture foreign players from Asia, a great Asian player--you see what Park Ji-sung does for Manchester United.

The markets in Asia and the Middle East are so nationalistic, they are very proud about their countries. Matches become huge events. One appearance from a player, say from Dubai in the Premier League, and you'd have the whole of Dubai watching it.

If Liverpool brings in Dubai's next global superstar footballer (don't tell me who their first one was--I'm sure it'll come to me in a minute), we'll know who's calling the shots. Fortunately, with the new owners in place, this seems rather less likely than it would have been under Hicks and Gillett, though it still can't help but set the teeth on edge that some random financial wizard1 thinks being shirt sponsor entitles them to play football manager with the club.

But that wasn't the end of it, as Gavin Laws went on to talk about how glad Standard Chartered was that LFC spent the first six or so months of the season a manic-depressive mess:

If Liverpool were winning the league and were keeping at the top of everybody's minds then it's fantastic for a sponsor, but I would have thought that Liverpool have had more exposure around the world this season than anybody else. Without the turmoil at the club there wouldn't have been that publicity. They are a mid-table team, who have an outside chance of getting into the Europa League again.

Oh. Well. Good to know the whole Hodgson fiasco and nerve-wracking sale process was good for your investment. And nice touch with the mid-table comments, too. I'm sure it'll endear you to the supporters, which is always good for the bottom line.

* Then, in case you missed it yesterday, Sid Lowe had a ranging interview with former Red Alvaro Arbeloa as Real Madrid prepares to take on Spurs in the Champions League, with another former Liverpool player getting a supporting role:

When the final whistle blows on Tottenham Hotspur's visit to the Bernabéu on Tuesday night, Alvaro Arbeloa will head straight for Peter Crouch and ask his former Liverpool team-mate to swap shirts. When the final whistle blows on Real Madrid's visit to White Hart Lane eight nights later, he will do the same. One Crouch shirt is not enough: Arbeloa is after two.

It is not because they are friends... it is because he needs it. And because Raúl Albiol does too.

It's a fun read, though it will remind you just how much Liverpool have missed having Arbeloa's calming influence on the backline. Not to mention his patented leaping celebrations whenever the team scored.

Well, that was certainly a jam packed Friday notes. By the time you're done, it should be just about time for Ed to wander along with the West Brom preview. In the meantime, while we wait for the return of club football in the hope it will make it easier to come up with things to entertain you with here on the blog...

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