Today, The Record outdoes itself in non-story news.
Taking an article from their sister-paper, The Liverpool Echo – and when I say “taking” I mean it literally; it’s the same piece and the same writer’s by-line that’s on it – they have gotten themselves a nice wee tale of Gerrard one-upsmanship that is so weak it needs crutches just to stay standing.
The headline makes the story sound impressive, although even it falls pathetically short of being a major piece of news; “Steven Gerrard and Rangers handed first refusal on Liverpool youngsters by Jurgen Klopp.”
But you don’t even have to get far – just look under it at the sub-heading – to get the first sense that it’s even lamer than it looks at first glance.
“The Ibrox boss will be offered the opportunity to sign any U23 and academy players the club look to send to Scotland on loan before anyone else.”
Which, I don’t know, sounds less than impressive.
Let’s do as George Long’s translation of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations recommends and ask ourselves thus;
“This thing, what is it in itself, in its own constitution? What is its substance and material?”
Liverpool has a large youth team, and as we’ve seen this week they’re not happy about the idea of sending the better players from its ranks to play in the SPL. Celtic’s move for Harry Wilson has allegedly collapsed for that very reason.
Anfield snobbery, certainly, but of no consequence to most Celtic fans who would rather we gave our own youth prospects a go than play those who are from somewhere else.
So, if we consider that the very best Anfield youth players – Wilson is mentioned in the article as one who’s definitely not going to be let make the journey north – won’t be allowed to come up and play in Scotland what does that leave?
It leaves the middling footballers, the lesser talents, and of those how many would Celtic realistically be interested in?
Why, the easy answer is none.
So remove us from the equation entirely, because we’re not in it.
Sevco would get first pick of those players who are left, then.
Presumably over teams like Aberdeen, Hibs, Hearts and other SPL sides who might fancy it.
And since we know, from the Wilson deal, that part of Liverpool’s conditions are that their on-loan players who come to Scotland actually start most games, how many clubs would be in competition for these second tier talents?
Not very many, if any at all.
So Sevco would get first pick over exactly who?
Could you get a more blatant example of clickbait pish?
This is my favourite part of the piece;
“Klopp feels his rising stars would be in safe hands under Gerrard after he impressed the German as Liverpool U18s manager before making the move to (Ibrox).”
First up, Klopp isn’t quoted in the article.
In fact, nobody is.
So we have no way of knowing what he thinks.
But say that were true, say he does believe they’d be in “safe hands”; why aren’t the really good players being allowed to come up?
Why is it just the dreck?
Here’s the elephant in the room, okay?
This is the bit that never gets said in the press but is glaringly obvious to some of us.
If Liverpool valued Gerrard as highly as the hacks here seem to think he would still be at Anfield right now.
Those who say you don’t do go from coaching an Under 18 team to the first team manager’s job are quite right; but you can go from there to the Under 20 team and from there to the top spot. If it can work at a club like Barcelona it can work anywhere.
There’s no “requirement” that Gerrard go and learn his trade somewhere else. The idea is a smokescreen to cover for the fact that Liverpool didn’t exactly fight tooth and nail to hang onto him. Rumours persist that the only job they were willing to offer him was a global ambassadorship, a sort of grip and grin “public face” of the club, the kind of thing John “Der Bomber” Brown does for Sevco … except Gerrard’s version would have been classier. It probably wouldn’t have involved flying, half jaked, to far flung places like Belfast on EasyJet.
Gerrard’s coaching skills were not rated at Anfield; that’s just a fact. That he was allowed to take so many backroom boys with him shows how their particular talents were viewed at the club. Did Sevco even need to pay compensation for these folks?
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; Liverpool will not do this guy any favours. They will forever be grateful to him for his services as a player, but that’s where their loyalty stops. Their first priority is for themselves and they have bigger things to worry about than how he does at Ibrox. He’ll sink or swim there on his own merits, because that’s how it has to be done.
Celtic are not being “snubbed” in favour of the Ibrox club. This is not a case of Anfield looking out for a famous son. The people running Liverpool are hard headed above all else. Gratitude there has a short shelf life. Ask Brendan Rodgers.