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Weekend Guest Post: Recapping the Season With the Beatles


**This weekend's guest post comes from Matt, who's been posting as LucasLeiva21 (not the real Lucas, as we found out recently) over the past year. He takes a unique approach to recapping the season gone by, drawing on Liverpool's most famous non-footballing native sons to take a look at how things ended up in the 2010-2011 campaign. Submitted before the Aston Villa match, it's a great combination of two of the most prestigious Merseyside products. You can get in touch with Matt at mts0189@ya​**

The 2010/11 Liverpool F.C. campaign was, if nothing else, an emotional roller coaster for all involved. Fears of relegation and going into administration, very real possibilities just mere months ago, have now been supplanted by a strong sense of optimism for the next campaign, a campaign that ought to include a serious challenge for title number nineteen and a return to the Champions League in 2012/13. Before we look ahead at the season to come, though, it's necessary to reflect on the season that was. While I consider myself a perfectly articulate gentleman, I am humble enough to acknowledge that this season was a bit beyond my comprehension. Such lack of comprehension has led me to consult the music and lyrics of Messrs. Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starkey, in a perhaps vain attempt to capture the mixture of misery, suffering, optimism, and joy that was the 2010/11 Liverpool season.

Let me tell you how it will be,
There's one for you, nineteen for me,
Cause I'm the Taxman,
Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
Should five per cent appear too small,
Be thankful I don't take it all,
Cause I'm the Taxman,
Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat,
If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.

Taxman (August-September 2010): Tom Hicks and George Gillett can be called a lot of bad names for sure. I personally liken them to taxmen, draining the club of its resources through their financial mismanagement. George Harrison wrote the song as an attack on excessive taxation by Prime Minister Harold Wilson, but I find it perfectly apropos in looking at the reign of Hicks and Gillett.

Mr. Hicks and Mr. Gillett had little intention to better the club unless it helped their bottom line, and once their other investments around the world faltered, it became clear as early as the summer of 2008 that players would only be brought in if others were sold, and even then, only a portion of the sales would be put into player acquisition. I’m referring of course to the Gareth Barry saga, where Rafa was put in the difficult position of trying to acquire a left-footed English player to address both the lack of left-footed players on the squad and the upcoming homegrown rule. Of course, this purchase apparently required the sale of Xabi Alonso, and the shopping of the Spanish midfielder set in motion his departure following the brilliant yet anti-climactic 08/09 campaign.

This of course led to the displacement of Javier Mascherano. The loss of Alonso, amongst other factors, contributed to a miserable 09/10 season that saw the loss of Champions League competition for the club and the end of the glorious Rafalution. Mascherano showed up for the 10/11 opener against Arsenal and put on a determined defensive performance in a 1-1 draw that saw a curiously class effort by David Ngog undone by an even curiouser stupid moment by Pepe Reina. After teasing us with such a performance, the Argentine sat out of the Manchester City match in anticipation of his sale to Barcelona, a 3-0 thrashing with a goal by the aforementioned Gareth Barry and the latter goals supplied by another Argentine who has an uncanny resemblance to Frankenstein. The match also saw a recently-concussed Daniel Agger look stupid while playing out of place at left-back, a shining example of the Hodgsonian illogic that pervaded the early months of the season.

By the end of September, the squad was without two centerpieces of its title run of 08/09, in a precarious financial situation, and all too close to the peril of relegation. Oh, and we fucking lost to Northampton Town in the Carling Cup. Yeah, that happened. All thanks to the taxmen draining the club of its wealth to pay off a mountain of debt, and sapping from it the depth and quality necessary to compete for silverware.

You say goodbye and I say hello, hello, hello.
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello, hello, hello.
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello.

Why, why, why, why, why, why,
Do you say goodbye, goodbye.
Oh no.

Hello, Goodbye (6-15 October 2010): I think it’s fair to say that when New England Sports Ventures (or what has become the Fenway Sports Group) announced their purchase on 6 October and defeated the bastard Taxmen in court on the 15th, Liverpool fans around the world were saying hello to the new ownership and utterly unconcerned with giving a proper goodbye to the old regime. The new ownership, led by John Henry and Tom Werner, removed the debt albatross from the neck of the club and promised a more responsible business plan from that point on. Now if only we could get better results…

Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see.
It's getting hard to be someone.
But it all works out,
It doesn't matter much to me.

Let me take you down,
Cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about.
Strawberry Fields forever.

Strawberry Fields Forever (November-December 2010): I’d be lying if I said I’ve ever understood John Lennon lyrics, but then again, I didn’t quite understand what the hell was going on with Liverpool at this point of the season. An acceptable string of results in November raised hope that proved foolish with a horrid December, where a 3-0 win over Aston Villa was followed by losses to Newcastle and Wolverhampton, not to mention the two uninspiring draws in Europa League action that month. Wanting to close my eyes, and misunderstanding everything I was seeing while they were open, I didn’t know how much longer Hodgson could stick around. I know I wasn’t the only one confused---Noel wrote this shortly after the New Year---but it was clear that Mr. Henry had to act quick and remove Roy Hodgson from duty so it could all work out for us.

The lyric “nothing to get hung about” was evidently something that young John Lennon would say to his aunt when she told him not to play in the garden by the Strawberry Fields Salvation Army house. I think most rational human beings would agree that being a shitty manager isn’t a hangable offense. But his performance did warrant a pink slip, sooner rather than later…

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter,
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here.
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
And I say it's all right.
Little darling, the smiles returning to their faces,
Little darling it seems like years since it's been here,
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
And I say it's all right.

Here Comes the Sun (8 January 2011): The proverbial sun that seemed like it had been away for years was none other than King Kenny Dalglish, returning to manage his old club and bring it back to its rightful place in England and Europe. After five miserable months of Hodgson’s Reign of Error, Dalglish was probably the one person who could bring smiles back to the faces of the Kop, and make the long cold lonely winter a bit warmer for Liverpool fans around the globe.

I dig a pony
Well you can celebrate anything you want
Yes you celebrate anything you want

I do a road hog
Well you can penetrate any place you go,
Yes you can penetrate any place you go
I told you so, all I want is you.
Everything has got to be just like you want it to.

Dig a Pony (28 January 2010): With the transfer window closing on Monday the 31st, Liverpool F.C. had all but locked up the acquisition of Ajax stud and Uruguayan World Cup hero Luis Suarez on Friday the 28th. Like 96.7% of all John Lennon songs from 1968 and on, “Dig a Pony” revolved around Lennon’s obsession with a certain woman of Asian descent who will remain nameless because I don’t like her and I assume without any proper knowledge that she played more than a bit part in breaking up one of the greatest bands ever.

So now that I’ve gotten that off my chest…what were we talking about…right, Suarez! So yeah, he’s awesome and stuff and signing him was really cool, and we all really desired him like Lennon coveted that Asian chick. Surely, signing a player of his quality would indicate to the dissatisfied Spaniards remaining on our squad that staying at Anfield would be an option. Right Pepe? Cool, glad you’re staying, bro. Fernando? Nando?

Father snores as his wife gets into her dressing gown
Picks up the letter that's lying there
Standing alone at the top of stairs
She breaks down and cries to her husband
Daddy our baby's gone.
Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly
How could she do this to me.

She (We never thought of ourselves)
Is leaving (Never a thought for ourselves)
Home (We struggled hard all our lives to get by)
She's leaving home after living alone
For so many years. Bye, bye.

She’s Leaving Home (31 January 2011): So this is the part where I talk about how our Spanish Iscariot pulled a LeBron and took his talents to West London. This resulted in Henry, Comolli et al. netting a cool £50 million from some crazy Russian guy. Meanwhile, Torres went on to score like 50 goals as Chelsea went on win the Premiership and the FA Cup, and they’re almost certain to win Europe as well! Or not.

You never give me your money
Your only give me your funny paper
And in the middle of negotiations you break down

You Never Give Me Your Money (31 January 2011): The last second treachery of our Spanish Iscariot led to the quick yet pricy signing of promising young English talent Andy Carroll. The signing went down at £35 million, which initially seems absurd for a player of young Carroll’s pedigree, but really isn’t when one considers the market for English players of half-decent repute, not to mention the whole window-closing-shut-rapidly thing at the time. There was certainly anxiety on the last day of the window around the negotiations, and whispers following the completion of the sale that young Andy wasn’t thrilled about leaving and wanted to stay with his boyhood club.

One sweet dream
Pick up the bags, get in the limousine.
Soon we'll be away from here.
Step on the gas and wipe that tear away,
One sweet dream came true today, came true today.
Came true today, yes, it did

Yet it appears Mr. Carroll is quite alright with his move to Anfield so far, and he looked mighty fine on 11 April when he had a brace against Man City. A mixture of injuries and other factors has prevented Andy from debuting as nicely as Suarez has, but the future is promising nonetheless.

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go.
I'm filling in the cracks that ran through the door
And kept my mind from wandering
Where it will go.

Fixing a Hole (January-March 2011): It was always apparent, even with the promising acquisitions of Suarez and Carroll and the excitement around the return of the King, that there was work to be done to repair the proverbial leaks dragging down the Liverpool Football Club. Results were not instantaneous, but it became apparent on the 2nd and 6th of February that Dalglish and his tactical consigliere Steve Clarke were capable of making the necessary tactical decisions to win. The dates above were of course a reference to the 2-0 victory over Stoke and 1-0 triumph over Chelsea, wins each reliant upon a rare three-man defense that allowed Liverpool to control the midfield against each opponent while playing wide with wingbacks Martin Kelly and Glen Johnson. Liverpool would crash out of the Europa League in March after two disappointing matches against Braga, indicative of the lack of depth at the club that remains an issue, yet this period also saw an encouraging 3-1 defeat of Manchester United, thanks to a Dirk Kuyt hat-trick inspired by the ingenuity of a Uruguayan that we all just can’t seem to get enough of.

Me used to be angry young man
Me hiding me head in the sand
You gave me the word
I finally heard
I'm doing the best that I can.

I admit it's getting better
It's a little better all the time yes
I admit it's getting better
It's getting better since you've been mine.

Getting Better (April-May 2011): After a regrettable loss to Roy Hodgson and West Brom on the 2nd of April, the squad began an excellent run of form that, for just a moment, made Champions League a slim possibility for next season. Convincing wins over Manchester City, Birmingham, Newcastle, and Fulham were accompanied with a thrilling draw at the Emirates, which included not one but two questionable penalties in added time, followed by the always beautiful sight of a heroic Scotsman telling a cowardly Frenchman to piss off, AND then to fuck off. Good stuff. Disappointing losses to Tottenham and Villa to close the season served as reminders of the lack of depth at the club.

That about wraps up the season review with Beatles tracks, hope you enjoyed it. Let’s all hope for solid acquisitions in the summer, so we don’t have a Long and Winding Road to Get Back to where we once belonged (and still belong). But while I’m at it, I would like to make suggestions for two player songs: Reina and Lucas. Both deserve songs, and if Alonso could have a Beatles song (and Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da of all songs, which manages to be the only horrible song on the White Album. Except for Revolution 9, which has no use whatsoever I’m fairly certain), then Reina and Lucas could get something similar.

Reina (Across the Universe): "Jai guru deva om/Nothing's gonna change my world" can easily be "Hey it’s Pepe Reina (Oh)/Nothing ever gets past you." Or so I think. Not sure what the other words to the song would be, but figured I’d throw it out there, with Reina not having a proper song and all.

Lucas (Something):

Something in the way he passes
Cannot be done by other holders
Something in the way, he covers
Its Lucas Leiva, well
Brazil’s gift to the EPL
Du-du du, du, du

Something along those lines might be solid. I’m no lyrical wordsmith, so someone else with talent can feel free to contribute in the comments section. I will be insulted, though, if one of these songs doesn’t catch on at some point or another in the Kop.

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