Some of us might be able to spend the day watching Raheem Sterling's wonder strike over and over again, but that doesn't mean there aren't other things out there to worry about from a Liverpool point of view. Besides, a quick break to catch up on the Monday news and notes could do you good...
* First off, God wants a job. To the uninitiated passing through that would be Robbie Fowler. And in particular he'd like a job with Liverpool.
Some day, at least, since right now he's off getting his UEFA coaching badges and talking about his dream of returning to Liverpool in some capacity once he has them:
"Eventually that is obviously the aim to try and get back there and be a part of that club again because I was there since I was 11 and it's a big part of my life."
Well, there you have it, then. We all dream of a coaching staff of Fowlers and Hyypias. And I guess Carragher can come, too. As long as he promises not to teach young defenders his patented hoofing techniques.
* While former players have been off sprucing up their coach credentials, the club has been putting the finishing touches on the 2011-12 pre-season friendlies, with news coming out of a prestige friendly at Anfield on August 6th against Valencia.
Which of course has to mean Mata's on his way to Liverpool, and not just to play in a friendly. I mean, have you ever in your life heard of a club playing a friendly against another club if they didn't first get a player from them as part of the deal? Wait, don't answer that.
Still, it does all seem to have come out of nowhere given the caliber of opponent, and it's that which is leading some to speculate that a friendly where Valencia takes the gate could be part of an immanent deal. Of course it could just as easily be that Fenway Sports Group, after witnessing first hand the reaction of supporters to Rafa Benitez at the Hillsborough ceremony, have decided to arrange a suitable match at which to acknowledge the importance of the former manager to the club. And then of course it might just be a friendly with nothing to do with anything and with Liverpool perhaps not even being in talks with Valencia about Mata anywhere outside of the magical land called Twitter and the Daily Mail articles that quote Twitter as fact.
But surely it means something. Unless it doesn't. In any case, it's an interesting and appealing friendly. As far as those sorts of things go.
* Meanwhile on The Tomkins Times, anybody wondering just what UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations really mean can get an overdose that would kill an elephant-sized hit. First things first, there's a need to clarify for many people exactly what the rules are and what the results of breaking them would be. To that end, the Financial Fair Play system is essentially an extension of the current licensing system Europe's governing body uses to determine who can participate in international club competitions:
In recent times the highest profile club to have been denied a license is Real Mallorca who were unable to take their place in the Europa League (UEFA say a total of 27 clubs have been refused a license over the years). For 2011-12, 3 clubs have been refused a licence, including FC Timisoara for next season Champions League. UFFP is simply a complicated extension to the UEFA licensing system. So in theory a team in breach could be denied entry to the Champions League group stage and the £25m minimum that comes with it.
It's not a system that's used all that much right now, especially when one considers just how many floundering clubs are out there. Another way to look at it would be as a pan-European version of the English FA bylaws that denied struggling Portsmouth a spot in last season's Europa League to Liverpool's benefit, with Financial Fair Play seeking to extend that concept to clubs that while perhaps financially viable are still willfully spending more than they're bringing in through direct club revenue. Quite how stringently it will be enforced is an open question, but that will be its basic framework.
The article moves on to look at Liverpool's sources of income, breaking down the importance of an expanded or new stadium and increased gate revenue—as well as exploring the likely results of missing out on Champions League football. The loss of Champions League revenue especially will be a huge hit to the club once reported years start catching up to last season, and it will play a large role in the club seeing media revenue fall behind commercial revenue for the first time in the past decade. Still, not all of that will be the result of a big hit to media revenue, as under Ian Ayre the club has seen revenue from both the kit sponsorship and shirt manufacturer more than double in deals with Standard Chartered and Warrior.
Those recent improvements in commercial revenue might allow the club to tread water financially relative to where it has been in recent years, at least in 2012-12, the first year of Financial Fair Play. In order to improve the club's overall clout in the market and to compete with the top earning clubs in the league and on the continent, though, improved gate income and a return of Champions League money becomes a must. And more than that, the club will have to worry about cutting the fat when it comes to player wages, as those are expenses that will count against revenue for Financial Fair Play.
With revenues unlikely to increase for the first year of UFFP it becomes critical for the club to cut relevant expenses to reduce the risk of breaching “acceptable deviation”. John Henry has talked on a number of occasions about “bad contracts” and the poor value/depth of the squad for the size of the wage bill we have. Both Swiss Ramble and AndersRed show how the Liverpool compares unfavourably with our top 6 competitors, not least the seemingly rampant wage inflation of recent years. Our latest wages to turnover ratio is the highest it’s ever been at 62%, edging toward the UEFA “red flag” level of 70%. Our aspiration should be to become a lot leaner like Spurs who have a similar cost of squad with arguably better depth but with only 60% of the wage bill.
And that's not even the half of it, as it really is massive article filled with charts, graphs, and more numbers than you can shake a pocket protector at. But if you've got the time and any kind of interest in Financial Fair Play and what it actually means to Liverpool, it's a must read.
Well, that about does it for today, though there's always the aforementioned Sterling highlights to watch one more time. Or you could join us on Twitter to wait for the current insanity over FIFA corruption to inevitably morph back into the regularly scheduled transfer window insanity. Either way it's people playing with insane amounts of money like children playing with pennies, so in the meantime...