BBC BLOGS - Dan Walker
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

Hodgson, Torres and a cup shock

Post categories:

Dan Walker | 12:15 UK time, Thursday, 13 January 2011

If only Roy Hodgson had waited for another 90 minutes.

Last Saturday's Football Focus was an interesting one. For the first time in a long time, the whole programme was pre-recorded. It might have actually been the first time ever.

We had visited a few of the FA Cup third-round underdogs prior to the show, starting in Dover on Monday and finishing outside Wembley on Saturday, and then stitched the whole show together before it went out on BBC One at 1215 GMT. It was a bit of a beast to do and took hours of meticulous planning, so you can imagine our pain when we got word that Hodgson and Liverpool had parted company just before the show went out.

I really felt for the editor of last week's show, James Daniels. He had put in weeks of planning to ensure the programme did not turn into a clichéd FA Cup preview.

I totally understand if some people tuning in were miffed that there was very little reaction to the news from Anfield but if you try to make creative programmes you have to take the occasional risk. We shall continue to do that in the future, although we have learned a few lessons. And fear not, there will be a good look at all things Liverpool this weekend, especially after what happened at Blackpool on Wednesday.

From a personal perspective, the highlight of the third round took place on Monday night at The Broadfield Stadium. If you have read this blog in the past, you will know that I am a Crawley boy and went to my first Town game in the late 1980s.

Sergio Torres celebrates his winner with the Crawley fansSergio Torres celebrates his winner with the Crawley fans

Things have changed a lot since then. In fact, things have changed a lot since last season. The team have new owners who cleared a debt of £1.4m and spent big, hoovering up the best talent from the non-league and beyond.

There are all sorts of inflated rumours about how much Crawley have spent on players and wages. I don't think any team would ever turn down fresh cash but the extra financial backing has made Crawley very unpopular. Buying success at any level - whether you are Chelsea, Manchester City or Crawley - is almost always seen as cheating the system.

That is one of the reasons why not many non-league fans are celebrating Crawley's success. The other reason is the manager. I am not going to use this blog to regurgitate stories about Steve Evans - you can look them up yourself - but it is safe to say that Crawley fans do not have many songs for their manager, who is not particularly popular at Boston United, one of his former clubs.

Having said all that, it was wonderful to be there on Monday for the greatest night in the club's history. I remember beating Northampton Town in 1991 in an FA Cup run that eventually ended miserably in the third round at Brighton.

Things were very different this time around and it was great to take Lee Dixon down to see it. I think he got a taste for non-league football when we visited Thurrock to watch them play Dover last week. Most fans have another team they support and there were always plenty of Crystal Palace supporters in our school playground. Tottenham and Arsenal also featured highly. It just so happened that every Crawley Gooner was out on Monday night, so Dixon signed about 400 programmes and had his picture taken by hordes of fans for whom a red and white scarf covered all bases.

Lee Dixon watches Crawley shock DerbyDixon enjoyed a night to remember

The pre-match steak and ale pie went down a treat, too, and I even had time to do a pre-match interview with BBC Radio Derby, predicting a 2-1 scoreline. I even told the presenter, Colin Gibson, to keep an eye on Sergio Torres. Very rarely do I get anything right. No doubt the weather helped. The light rain throughout the early evening had developed into a steady drizzle by the time kick-off arrived. When the Derby players trotted out, Dixon nudged me and said: "Look at their faces, they don't fancy this."

We were sitting next to the Mayor of Crawley, who had brought his family and enormous necklace along. He gave a double fist pump when Craig McAllister bagged the opener and, like the rest of us, went bonkers when Torres slotted in the winner.

Three seats away was an incredibly vocal bloke with a beard and a bell. His abuse was aimed equally at Derby's Robbie Savage and Nigel Clough. On the rare occasion Rams manager Clough left the sanctity of the dugout, the bell was shaken vigorously and a flurry of unsavoury language followed.

When Crawley won a corner in the 91st minute, a giggling Dixon, for the eighth time in the second half, turned to me and said: "Now would be a good time to score." As the ball was pulled back to Torres, I adopted a strong grip on his left shoulder. The mayor's wife let out a high pitched shriek as the Argentine midfielder wrote a little bit of FA Cup history. I am not sure the result was enough to persuade Dixon to come to Torquay for round four but I think he enjoyed his first experience of Crawley.

Turning to this week's show, we have got plenty planned - all of which will be live! Sunderland boss Steve Bruce will talk derbies, while Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart will look ahead to Tottenham's trip to Manchester United. If you want to follow the build-up, the best place to do it is at twitter.com/danwalkerbbc. If you have any comments or questions about this blog or the show then whack them below.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Haven't posted in a while, so thought I'd congratulate on an interesting blog Dan.
    Second congratulations of the post go to the great result for your local side.
    I live quite close to Dover and was disappointed to see them bow out of the comp on Saturday.

    One question, if you had the luxury of picking your opponents for the fourth round would you want a big side (Man U, Chelsea etc) or would you want a lowly league side who you might have a better chance of beating and progessing to the next round?

    Bill S, Preston ESQ

  • Comment number 2.

    I love lower league football...born in York

  • Comment number 3.

    Good Blog Dan. Fantastic result for Crawley, isn't that the reason why we love the FA Cup so much?

    Ted "Theodore" Logan

  • Comment number 4.

    HI Dan,

    Love reading how you described the match. You must have been the top English class.

    Great blog and I'm sure Dixon has a blast. You never know, you could be taking a car load (from FF) with you to Torquay. Never mind the manager and money, it was a great result for the 11 players on the pitch, who hopefully beleive they can do the business again in round 4.

    The pre recorded FF didn't bother me. Poeple are to fussy. If you don't take risks and do things, how are you expected to know .....

    Feel bad for the boy Roy. Where do you think he'll go next. Stay in PL or drop down a gear to get back into the swing of things. Hope it hasn't dented his confidence too much.

    RSCruz would be a good buy for Man U? What you think?

    Baby number 3 is coming in a few weeks. URGENT advice needed. I has been watching how alert you have been lately and i'll need some of what your on to get me through.

    MB

  • Comment number 5.

    Quite amusing with regards to Crawley Town, being that "Dan Walker" scored against them in the League match the previous weekend. Maybe he gave them luck.

    I wonder how many think that ditching Roy Hodgson so soon will prove to be a fruitless exercise... Dalglish hasn't exactly got off to a winning start (not his fault) which kind of provides further evidence that the players either haven't got it in them at the moment to perform better more consistently, or that some of them just aren't good enough. The dismissal of Hodgson is symptomatic of the short-termist attitude prevalent in football.

    The Liverpool fans chanting for Hodgson to go are as naive as the Newcastle fans in the past who constantly chanted for Keegan to come back. They don't seem to realise that the successful clubs are normally the ones who don't chop and change their manager every five minutes simply because the myopic fans decide they want him out. A few more defeats for Liverpool might see them being a little more realistic and realising that a long-term approach is the only true road to sustainable success. That's what they used to do in the past after all when they were the champions.

    I notice the Late Show is coming back - thought it odd that they introduce it around half way through the season, rather than nearer the beginning.

    Not the one with the short, hairy legs.

  • Comment number 6.

    Dan, i'd like to say congratulations on the win, despite the fact I am an AFC Wimbledon fan. Let's hope Crawley are distracted from their title challenge by a lengthy cup run!

  • Comment number 7.

    Good blog Dan.
    I first went to see Crawley in the early 80's and, other than the last great cup run, have seen a fair bit dross over the years with many ups and downs.
    This time round it's not really shock that they've beaten 2 decent league sides as this is the best Crawley team I've ever seen by a long way.
    Having been at both the Swindon and Derby games, Crawley were the better team in both games and deserve to still be in the cup. Definately no non-league luck in either of the ties.
    Hopefully they can get through the next round and get a big prem team. They deserve it.

  • Comment number 8.

    With seemingly so many sides putting out weaker teams due to prioritising the League campaign, a committed team with decent resources like Crawley could quite easily progress a fair way in the Cup this season. Ipswich showed last night what a committed team can do against a top side playing in all its available competitions, that also has injury problems. Maybe someone can do a "Millwall" and reach the final again, like they did a few years ago.

    Mind you, a thrashing for a lower league team wouldn't be great entertainment in the final of course.

    Andrew Preview

  • Comment number 9.

    Football lookalikes - Sergio Torres looks like the son of Carles Puyol of Barcelona and Tugay, that Turkish midfielder who played for Blackburn! Well done Dan, I watched FF and enjoyed the format. Many miles (& hours) clocked to get it done no doubt. I loved how you left Robbie Savage looking rather lost at the local bus stop, after him being barred from the club! All set up nicely for a big upset. I wasn't bothered about missing the Liverpool manager update - the news was reported so widely that there's not much you can add. Quick question - was the guy with the bell in the crowd the same Portsmouth supporter who always has his belly and tattoos out? Has he defected?!

  • Comment number 10.

    I enjoyed that.

    Mark Wallington

  • Comment number 11.

    As a Nottingham Forest fan working in derby i'm used to being on the end of a fair bit of abuse. But after seeing Derby thrashed 5-2 at the City Ground and the defeat at the hands of The Mighty Crawley....Oh the joy! I've laughed that much i've given myself a hernia.

    Fair play to Crawley though, a great result for them. Just proves Derby should have employed a manager based on his CV rather than his DNA.

  • Comment number 12.

    5. At 14:24pm on 13th Jan 2011, Eric Morecambe wrote:

    "The Liverpool fans chanting for Hodgson to go are as naive as the Newcastle fans in the past who constantly chanted for Keegan to come back."


    Yeah, all five of them (Newcastle fans). Yet another myth about Newcastle that idiots continue to believe.

  • Comment number 13.

    Dixon looked terrified at one point last week. He actually provides good entertainment for someone relatively dull. Hansen was not happy with him through the week, Links attempting to play devils advocate.

    A good show last time round, then you have Savage dressed like a Hooray Henry approaching a public bus, just shows how far removed from reality some footballers are. I appreciate he plays off his flamboyant persona, but a simple shirt and Kecks wouldn't do him any harm.

    Would it be possible to quiz Bruce on how the Tyne-Wear derby is for him now compared to him growing up as a wee lad. His loyalty must now have changed, but does it still have the same importance, or more so now he is manager of Sunderland.

    Edmund Trebus

  • Comment number 14.

    #12

    Thank you so much for calling me an idiot. I'm not about to try and find evidence to confirm or debunk your comment about it being a myth, but it is true that thousands of Liverpool fans were involved with their petition regarding Hodgson, as well as all the other stuff on match-days.

    Evidently, if I asked you what you think of it so far...? You would say rubbish!

    Glenda Jackson

  • Comment number 15.

    "hoards of fans"? I thought that journalists belonged to the educated classes...

  • Comment number 16.

    Great Blog Dan, really enjoyed reading it. As a Wycombe supporter I have seen Sergio play numerous occasions and I was very pleased to see him score the winner on monday night, considering he had such a rough start to his career in England, having to work nights in Boots and then play the same day for Basingstoke before signing for Wycombe. He is a very nice guy and i'm so happy he is putting his namesake out of the spotlight, if only for a short while

  • Comment number 17.

    Great Cup FF last week - made a nice change from the league - and well done Crawley Town! Is Mr. Savage still talking to you or did he get the first bus out of town after you showed him where it was ;) ?

    You spoke about how FF was pre-recorded last week thus preventing a timely discussion regarding Roy Hodgson's departure from Anfield (Garth hadn't been interviewing him had he?) - I'm sure you'll make up for it on this weeks show.

    My question is...are there any more pre-recorded 'documentary style' shows in the pipeline outside Focus like you talked about in your blogs at the end of last season? One on the future of the Olympic Stadium would be interesting.

    Kasper Peter Schmeichel

  • Comment number 18.

    Nice blog Sir. Quite enjoyable reading as I sipped on my hot chocolate with Terry's Chocolate Orange to dunk.
    I've just come in from shoveling unfeasibly large quantities of snow during my lunch break and found that, in the mean time, you had posted your latest piece. I'm sure you approve of my dietary delights, especially in light of the 28 inches of snow that fell, and the Arctic conditions that persist.

    FA Cup weekend was grand. I liked the coverage you provided on line, good stuff; and by and large I liked the results too. The pre-recorded issue did not make a bit of difference to me for obvious reasons. I was really pleased with the CCFC -v-Stoke result. Not so pleased with the Gooners last night, but you can't have everything.


    You said Dicko might not get to Torquay for the 4th round. Will you?

  • Comment number 19.

    Good Blog Dan. I would say the Hodgson situation is absolutely ridiculous, but see many hypocrites on the message boards. There are many on the message boards saying that Hodgson should have stayed and yet are calling for manager's like Grant's head. Hardly seems fair to me, especially considering as like Hodgson did, Grant has the nucleus of the side from last season. It seems to be one rule for one manager and another for the next depending on his popularity....
    The show last week was great, thought it had a nice fresh approach to it, which is always nice to see on FA Cup Third Round Day.

  • Comment number 20.

    Crawley to win the cup!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    Dan.

    Well done.

    I like my face, it just fits.

    Anyway everybody where did it all go, all that time.

    Whoah!

    You gotta love the FA cup, things happen

    Victor

  • Comment number 22.

    Really enjoyed FF, it was a bit strange seeing Robbie Savage sitting in the same bus stop I drive past on my way to play football on the pitches next to Broadfield Stadium. Will there be any more on the game on this weeks show?

    This cup run has been incredible so far but I hope it doesn't come at the expense of Project Promotion. Come on the Reds!

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm cuurently living in Israel and am sorely missing the English football shows (along with the English punditry). Since the website versions of FF and MOTD aren't available if you are out of the country I wondered if anyone has any ideas for how I can bypass this and still watch the programmes? Before the moderators remove this I assure everyone that I am still paying the TV licence fee back in Blighty.

  • Comment number 24.

    #14

    You're welcome. I didn't deny the Hodgson part of your story. Just baffled as to how you likened it to a mythical situation that never occurred at Newcastle. We're not all Messiah craving, bed-sheet waving lunatics you know.

  • Comment number 25.

    Evening all. Apologies for the lack of comments from me today. It's been a busy one. I promise to return tomorrow to address any issues or questions.

    Well done everyone. Thanks for the comments and keep them coming.

    Neil Kinnock

  • Comment number 26.

    As a lifelong Derby County fan I have a few things to say:

    1. Well played Crawley
    2. Anyone who considers this a 'shock' is not a Derby County fan. This was no shock.
    3. Derby County are the quintessentially English team. A proud history but underneath it all, disorganized, half-hearted, daft and rubbish. Like Basil Fawlty. That's why I love them.
    4. The difference between Forest fans and Derby fans is that Forest fans hate Derby more than they love Forest. Derby fans love Derby first, hate Forest second.

    Clough to stay!

  • Comment number 27.

    I live in Australia, so don't get to see MOTD or Football Focus, however, on behalf of all the Villa and Birmingham fans, whose comments I read in 606 boards, why is the Blues- Villa derby not being featured? The Midland teams are always being ignored in favour of the North-West and London teams, and have been for as long as I can remember, up until I left England in 1991 (and I have been watching football since 1966!). The Midlands is a hot-bed of football, and their fans are as passionate, if not more passionate, than the fans of London and the North-West.
    Please don't ignore them!

    William McGregor 1874 VTID

  • Comment number 28.

    Surely a mention must also go to Blackpool completing a first league double over Liverpool in over 3 million years.....

  • Comment number 29.

    #28: Andrew,
    Recognizing Blackpool's achievement is a bit more complicated than simply referring to the statistical anomaly that they did the first league double in how ever many years. For most of us there are conflicting emotions in the whole thing.

    I have two younger brothers, who have been Liverpool fans since they were in nappies, though I don't think either of them has been to a Liverpool game. My bros & I used to get into dreadful fights, me being an Arsenal fan (we all shouted for Cardiff City but they were in old league 3 or 4 at the time). So anyway I usually support who ever plays against Liverpool.
    However...
    the tangerine / orange men fired up such a rage on this blog not too long ago because some of us questioned the colour of their strip. So I am not too keen on them winning either...
    I guess intellectuality I note the anomaly of B'pool beating L'pool; but emotionally I'm just not bothered. I feel sorry for Roy Hodgson. I imagine he made a pretty penny out of the whole sorry saga, but that is not the point.

  • Comment number 30.

    #29 It's not really, they did the double over Liverpool, simple as that.

  • Comment number 31.

    19. At 20:48pm on 13th Jan 2011, SuperDannyGabbidon wrote:
    Good Blog Dan. I would say the Hodgson situation is absolutely ridiculous, but see many hypocrites on the message boards. There are many on the message boards saying that Hodgson should have stayed and yet are calling for manager's like Grant's head. Hardly seems fair to me, especially considering as like Hodgson did, Grant has the nucleus of the side from last season. It seems to be one rule for one manager and another for the next depending on his popularity....
    The show last week was great, thought it had a nice fresh approach to it, which is always nice to see on FA Cup Third Round Day.
    ----------------------------------------
    It has got nothing to do with popularity, It is all about Nationality. If you are English the media protects you (Hodgson, Allardyce etc) If you are a foreigner (Rafa, Mancini, Grant or Ancellotti) then they spit venom at you. Still the xenophobic English media panders to the lowest common denominator. It amazes me that such a fuss is made of racism in football in this country (a problem which thankfully has largely been eradicated), when it is clear that Xenophobia is a far big problem.

  • Comment number 32.

    27. At 05:51am on 14th Jan 2011, Larry wrote:
    I live in Australia, so don't get to see MOTD or Football Focus, however, on behalf of all the Villa and Birmingham fans, whose comments I read in 606 boards, why is the Blues- Villa derby not being featured? The Midland teams are always being ignored in favour of the North-West and London teams, and have been for as long as I can remember, up until I left England in 1991 (and I have been watching football since 1966!). The Midlands is a hot-bed of football, and their fans are as passionate, if not more passionate, than the fans of London and the North-West.
    Please don't ignore them!

    William McGregor 1874 VTID
    ---------------------------------------------
    Because Birmingham are as dull as dishwater and both them and Villa are perennial also rans? Agghh just realised that is in fact a mirror image of Everton and my club Liverpool! Perhaps you have a point!!!!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    29. At 10:33am on 14th Jan 2011, blaenorynyclwyd wrote:
    #28: Andrew,
    Recognizing Blackpool's achievement is a bit more complicated than simply referring to the statistical anomaly that they did the first league double in how ever many years. For most of us there are conflicting emotions in the whole thing.

    I have two younger brothers, who have been Liverpool fans since they were in nappies, though I don't think either of them has been to a Liverpool game. My bros & I used to get into dreadful fights, me being an Arsenal fan (we all shouted for Cardiff City but they were in old league 3 or 4 at the time). So anyway I usually support who ever plays against Liverpool.
    However...
    the tangerine / orange men fired up such a rage on this blog not too long ago because some of us questioned the colour of their strip. So I am not too keen on them winning either...
    I guess intellectuality I note the anomaly of B'pool beating L'pool; but emotionally I'm just not bothered. I feel sorry for Roy Hodgson. I imagine he made a pretty penny out of the whole sorry saga, but that is not the point.
    ----------------------------
    How anybody can feel sorry for any Premier League football manager that gets the sack is beyond me! Lets look at Hodgson shall we?

    He was there 6 months. Purchased rubbish (Konchesky, Cole, Poulson, Jones), Sold off 3 promising young players, Alienated the fans with his Fergie love ins, Defensive negative tactics, Worse results in living memory, lost to Manure and Everton. ( I could go on and on...) His reward? Anywhere between £2 million and £7.5 million (depending on which source you believe!)Also he will most likely be back in work within the next 6 months! I think I will save my sympathy for more deserving cases!

  • Comment number 34.

    #33
    Is the length of time he had, and those players, really enough for them to settle in and start to play well? That issue is exacerbated by a team apparently having rock bottom confidence. I would be inclined to agree regarding Konchesky, although wouldn't necessarily say he is rubbish. Cole has spent quite a long time injured, so that's not Hodgson's fault.

    People were on his back from the off it seemed, criticising the fact he was appointed at all, so he was on a hiding to nothing. However, Liverpool are not such a long way away from the European qualifying places and if Dalglish can instill some confidence, they may well be capable of getting into the top 6 or 7.

    The point is that if you don't give someone a chance, you're not giving them a great opportunity to succeed are you?

    I'm sure he will be very richly remunerated, but it will still be a personal blow to him.

    Clearly there are more deserving cases from the point of view regarding the money side of things but it wouldn't be unfair to reserve a small amount of sympathy.

  • Comment number 35.

    @33

    Step into the real world my son. Poor Hodgson is being made a massive scapegoat here, the problems i'm afraid run far far deeper.

    Roy was not given money 1st and foremost so you can only judge his signings relative to the money he had to spend.

    Benitez spent 14m on Alonso, 23m on Torres, 20+ on Marcherano, 18m on Johnson, 19m on Aquilani

    Alonso, Torres and Mascherano were they key figures to a 2nd place finish in 2009.

    These are huge sums of money. If Hodgson had the ability to spend 10+ million on 5 players do you think he would have brought in Poulsen, Konchesky, and Cole?

    Fact was, he didn't have that cash and had to scrape for international players on a Budget and got England capped Cole and Konchesky and Poulsen a world cup calibre player for Denmark.

    Why has this happened? Because Benitez demanded and spent huge sums without delivering the title, and ultimately failing to deliver champions league football in his final season. What happens when you fail to enter this huge money spinner of a competition? Your best players want to leave and they are also not affordable in terms of loan repayments and wages. They get sold. Their fees go towards huge debts and you are forces to live within your means, which is a Europa Leage Team.

    The fear must be what happens next? Gerrad is irreplaceable but the wrong side of 30. The body begins to fail Carragher, Torres wishes to leave and the signs are that a league finish that consitutes Euopean football is becoming increasingly more difficult.

    To sum up, why not have kept hold of a man that has recent experience on getting a poor team to a Europa Final. Winning this could have restored massive pride to a terrible situation. Liverpool may still do this, but could have done it with Hodgson at the helm

  • Comment number 36.

    @33

    In addition, how galling is it to be writing players off after just 6 months. I always believed the anfield faithful never got onto the back of their players, that they supported players in red and managers through thick and thin.

    You cannot expect instant success with signings, especially during difficult times.

    This time 2 years ago, Leighton Baines was still struggling to force his way into the everton side as a 1st choice left back. He's now arguably in the top 3 in the league. The same time, Fellaini was being described as a huge expensive flop, A year later he's pirrouetting around Man City players.

    Vidic and Evra were slated as poor signing back in 2006. 4 years on and they have been the mainstay of a side that has won 3 league titles, and a champions league trophy.

    Malouda, that other expensive flop in 2008, tears the league apart in 2010.

    Have some faith, and back them

  • Comment number 37.

    34. At 12:09pm on 14th Jan 2011, Eric Morecambe wrote:
    #33
    Is the length of time he had, and those players, really enough for them to settle in and start to play well? That issue is exacerbated by a team apparently having rock bottom confidence. I would be inclined to agree regarding Konchesky, although wouldn't necessarily say he is rubbish. Cole has spent quite a long time injured, so that's not Hodgson's fault.

    People were on his back from the off it seemed, criticising the fact he was appointed at all, so he was on a hiding to nothing. However, Liverpool are not such a long way away from the European qualifying places and if Dalglish can instill some confidence, they may well be capable of getting into the top 6 or 7.

    The point is that if you don't give someone a chance, you're not giving them a great opportunity to succeed are you?

    I'm sure he will be very richly remunerated, but it will still be a personal blow to him.

    Clearly there are more deserving cases from the point of view regarding the money side of things but it wouldn't be unfair to reserve a small amount of sympathy.
    --------------------------------------------------
    Lots of points you have made here I disagree with nearly all of them!

    1. Not Hodgsons fault Cole is injured? No it isn't but looking at his record over the last few years it would be foolish to expect him to stay fit for a sustained period of time.
    2. Give Hodgson time? Usually I would agree on giving a manager time, but Hodgson was so out of touch he had to go before he inflicted more damage.
    3. Should be capable of getting top 6 or 7? THAT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Rafa was apparently let go because the team came 7th (although in reality it was due to boardroom politics). Maybe scrapping 6th or 7th is the sort of lowly 'ambitions' hodgson had, and a huge reason why he had to go.
    4. Yes Hodgson will be highly remunerated, but I don't think it will be a blow. He just didn't really get a big teams expectations.
    5. Konchesky is rubbish. Worse left back I have seen play for Liverpool and I'm icluding Djimi Traore!

  • Comment number 38.

    35. At 12:33pm on 14th Jan 2011, tomefccam wrote:
    @33

    Step into the real world my son. Poor Hodgson is being made a massive scapegoat here, the problems i'm afraid run far far deeper.

    Roy was not given money 1st and foremost so you can only judge his signings relative to the money he had to spend.

    Benitez spent 14m on Alonso, 23m on Torres, 20+ on Marcherano, 18m on Johnson, 19m on Aquilani

    Alonso, Torres and Mascherano were they key figures to a 2nd place finish in 2009.

    These are huge sums of money. If Hodgson had the ability to spend 10+ million on 5 players do you think he would have brought in Poulsen, Konchesky, and Cole?

    Fact was, he didn't have that cash and had to scrape for international players on a Budget and got England capped Cole and Konchesky and Poulsen a world cup calibre player for Denmark.

    Why has this happened? Because Benitez demanded and spent huge sums without delivering the title, and ultimately failing to deliver champions league football in his final season. What happens when you fail to enter this huge money spinner of a competition? Your best players want to leave and they are also not affordable in terms of loan repayments and wages. They get sold. Their fees go towards huge debts and you are forces to live within your means, which is a Europa Leage Team.

    The fear must be what happens next? Gerrad is irreplaceable but the wrong side of 30. The body begins to fail Carragher, Torres wishes to leave and the signs are that a league finish that consitutes Euopean football is becoming increasingly more difficult.

    To sum up, why not have kept hold of a man that has recent experience on getting a poor team to a Europa Final. Winning this could have restored massive pride to a terrible situation. Liverpool may still do this, but could have done it with Hodgson at the helm

    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Lots of points, again I disagree with most of them!

    1. Look at Rafas spending more closely. Liverpool have paid nothing like £18 million for Aquilani. For starters a chunk of that money was owned by Roma for the Riise transfer. A large amount of the total fee is add ons etc. The same also applies to Johnson (although I confess it was a bad signing). Alonso and Masherano were sold at a profit. At the very least we will get our money back if Aquilani completes his move to Juventus in the summer (I hope he doesn't as he is a quality player who was bombed out by Hodgson). Torres if sold today would go for more than what he was purchased for. Johnson is the only dodgy one!

    2. If Hodgson had £10 million to spend on 5 players I shudder to think how he would have wasted it! Please also bear in mind it's not as if Rafa purchased all the players above in one transfer window! In fact in Rafas first season transfer window he spent roughly the equivilant as Hodgson and brought in 2 quality players in Alonso and Garcia.

    3. England capped does not imply quality! I give you Boothroyd, Carson, Rickets, Wise etc! Konchesky is poor and Cole mediocre at best.

    4. Benitez spent a fair bit of money but recuperated a lot as well. Certainly he couldn't compete in transfers (and most importantly wages) with Man Utd, City, Chelsea and probably Spurs. I would argue that until his last season (where the club was divided by boardroom turmoil) he constantly over achieved.

    5. What happens next? Gerrard is certainly not irreplaceable! In the last 18 months he has been poor and disruptive. He has definitely lost a yard of pace and if we could get a decent offer for him I would be happy to sell. However if he can be convinced that he is NOT a central midfielder (he lacks tactical awareness and discipline) and is played off Torres again then I would keep him. Also on another note Gerrards two best seasons for Liverpool were when he played on the right and when he played off Torres. Both under the management of Rafa Benitez.

    6. Torres has stated on numerous occasions that he wants to stay. (But don't expect that to influence the garbage media).

    7. Hodgson is NOT a winner. We would have had no chance of winning the Europa League with him in charge.

  • Comment number 39.

    @38

    Your 1st point.

    Please don't attempt to sugar coat an expensive bad signing.

    Yes the money may have been owed and some in installments but what are you suggesting, that crouch should be devalued?

    Because 6m was meant for Crouch repayments, Johnson was 12m? So what, Crouch went on a Free Transfer??????????

    So Aquilani cost just 13m, because Roma decided to say "No pay 13m and we'll get rid of the Riise debt" so Riise has also gone for free.

    What does this highlight, that not only did he pay 12m and 13m for Aquilani, but he let Riise and Crouch go for free!!!!!???

    Now let's remove the sugar coating, no matter how the deals were done, Liverpool agreed to honour a transfer of funds to the value of 18m each for these two players. Thus believing they were worth these sums of money.

    And as a passionate Everton fan, Steven Gerrard is irreplaceable. He is a fantastically talented player and he came through the ranks for nothing. A huge Liverpool fan and has scored goals in Major finals against AC Milan, West Ham and Man Utd. His best season? Probably 2005/2006 in terms of performances, when he played in Central Midfield

  • Comment number 40.

    36. At 13:11pm on 14th Jan 2011, tomefccam wrote:
    @33

    In addition, how galling is it to be writing players off after just 6 months. I always believed the anfield faithful never got onto the back of their players, that they supported players in red and managers through thick and thin.

    You cannot expect instant success with signings, especially during difficult times.

    This time 2 years ago, Leighton Baines was still struggling to force his way into the everton side as a 1st choice left back. He's now arguably in the top 3 in the league. The same time, Fellaini was being described as a huge expensive flop, A year later he's pirrouetting around Man City players.

    Vidic and Evra were slated as poor signing back in 2006. 4 years on and they have been the mainstay of a side that has won 3 league titles, and a champions league trophy.

    Malouda, that other expensive flop in 2008, tears the league apart in 2010.

    Have some faith, and back them
    ----------------------------------------
    1. Writing players off after 6 months? Konchesky in particular has had a whole career of mid table mediocricy. Since he arrived at Liverpool he has continued in the same vein! Poulson was a good player, but Juventus must have snatched Hodgsons hands off! A 30 year old who had barely played for a year moving to the Premier League (faster pace). It was never going to work! Cole as mentioned earlier has been injury prone for the last few years (and was obviously just after a big pay day).

    2. We were not expecting 'instant' success with new signings. What we were expecting/hoping for was a manager who would not loan out 2 quality first teamers (Aquilani and Insua) and replace them at a cost of +£10 million with inferior players like Konchesky and Poulson.

    3. The Anfield crowd does not get on our players and managers back. But Hodgson is not one of ours, he was dumped on us by the Hicks & Gilette clowns who brought him in to replace a clearly far superior manager (Benitez).
    4. I take your point with the player examples given. (Although I thought Fellaini looked a player from day 1 although hardly at £15 million). Malouda, Vidic and Evra were quality players before they arrived and as such time was rightly given for them to settle.
    5. Don't worry. With Hodgson gone and King Kenny in charge us Liverpool fans actually do have some faith again.

  • Comment number 41.

    Aloha Walker!


    Good blog once again, my fine fellow. Bravo.

    The big teams get all the press, it's fantastic to see the wee teams like Crawley get the coverage for a change. They may have spent big in the non-league ranks, but they still (well) beat a top Championship side!!

    Worth reading your blog every week just to see what Andy Connor has commented. You make my week, big guy!


    (Here's one for you Dan)



    Charlie MacDonald.

  • Comment number 42.

    @40


    Fair comment. I just feel the Liverpool fans are little bit unfair on Hodgson, especially over transfers.

    He got some stuff massively wrong. Praising the team after the derby defeat was one. Personally, it was the first time i'd ever witnessed a Liverpool team coming to goodison with no fight or aggression. It was defenseless.

    Liverpool fans seem to love Benitez and I cannot argue with how they feel about him. He certainly had one stregth ahead of RH, and that was at creating hostility towards Sir Alex Ferguson.

    I don't believe Insua is that much better than Konchesky, but since PK joined he has been really poor and at best he is ok. But he's not the weakest link in the side.

    Lucas, Babel have been consistently poor since joining the club. Skrtel is becoming increasingly exposed. Even the consisten Reina is making more mistakes than usual. Torres does not look interested and Ngog is not a suitable alternative. Kuy cannot deliver a cross that doesn't the nearest defender (although this does win a lot of corners) and to me is all round dire despite pulling his tripes out.

    Mereilles looks to be a good signing by RH which suggests to me when he had to spend quite big, he got it right.

  • Comment number 43.

    Rams Fan Here;

    Well done Crawley, you deserved the victory. Thoughts on the game, Derby were poor and rarely threatened, Crawley looked good in spells. We didn't deserve the penalty (it wasn't one) but Tubbs should have been red carded for a very poor challenge. Oh well, spilt milk...

    This was no shock, a 2-1 prediction is what I called too (as another Rams fan has already said above). Derby incessantly disappoint in games they should be winning. The return of Addison is vital as in terms of physical strength we are on non-competing terms bar Miles and Shaun Barker.

    Derby absolutely must take some measures to bring in at least one or two good players, we really need it. Hulse went, no replacement. Until Derby start competing in the transfer market we can kiss goodnight to competing in the league and cups, queue more results like this.

    As said however, well played Crawley. I can see them being promoted, good squad of lower league players.

  • Comment number 44.

    I must say that I am flabbergasted that a BBC blog about Football Focus and Crawley Tow in particular has devolved into the same old tedious bickering over Liverpool as every other blog post does...

    Any mods fancy getting rid of all the off-topic nonsense? Ta.

  • Comment number 45.

    44. At 15:05pm on 14th Jan 2011, Chris Cunningham wrote:
    I must say that I am flabbergasted that a BBC blog about Football Focus and Crawley Tow in particular has devolved into the same old tedious bickering over Liverpool as every other blog post does...

    Any mods fancy getting rid of all the off-topic nonsense? Ta.
    ----------------------------
    Of course, the blog title mentions Hodgson and mentions Liverpool vs Blackpool.... But don't let that fact stop you!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    #44 the boy's a fool!

    #45 despite calling me an idiot, and disagreeing with most of what I've typed, I will agree with you on your point here... I think there are probably more comments on Crawley than Liverpool anyway overall which is about right since most of the blog is on the "mighty" Crawley Town.

    On another note, here's hoping Man Utd finally lose a league match this weekend... not that I like Tottenham, but just don't want to see Utd start to run away with the title.

    Des O'Connor

  • Comment number 47.

    I live just a fews miles down the road from Dover, though I hail from Yorkshire, it was a shame to see Dover go out against Huddersfield, though many Huddersfield fans had nothing but good things to say about Dover, I hope they can use the cup run as a springboard into the Conference and further.

    A big well done to Crawley on beating Derby as well, here's hoping that Crawley can keep the non league banner flying proudly for another round or so yet!

  • Comment number 48.

    32. At 11:11am on 14th Jan 2011, JamTay1 wrote:
    27. At 05:51am on 14th Jan 2011, Larry wrote:
    I live in Australia, so don't get to see MOTD or Football Focus, however, on behalf of all the Villa and Birmingham fans, whose comments I read in 606 boards, why is the Blues- Villa derby not being featured? The Midland teams are always being ignored in favour of the North-West and London teams, and have been for as long as I can remember, up until I left England in 1991 (and I have been watching football since 1966!). The Midlands is a hot-bed of football, and their fans are as passionate, if not more passionate, than the fans of London and the North-West.
    Please don't ignore them!

    William McGregor 1874 VTID
    ---------------------------------------------
    Because Birmingham are as dull as dishwater and both them and Villa are perennial also rans? Agghh just realised that is in fact a mirror image of Everton and my club Liverpool! Perhaps you have a point!!!!!!

    The main point I was on about TamJay1 is, regardless of how dull you may think teams from Birmingham are (and that's usually been Birmingham City not Villa), even though Liverpool have been just as dull and uninspiring, that they, due to their 'Big 4/Sky 4' legacy, always tend to be talked about, screened on MOTD, etc, regardless of how well teams from outside the North-West and London, are doing at the same time!!

  • Comment number 49.

    46. At 16:07pm on 14th Jan 2011, Eric Morecambe wrote:
    #44 the boy's a fool!

    #45 despite calling me an idiot, and disagreeing with most of what I've typed, I will agree with you on your point here... I think there are probably more comments on Crawley than Liverpool anyway overall which is about right since most of the blog is on the "mighty" Crawley Town.

    On another note, here's hoping Man Utd finally lose a league match this weekend... not that I like Tottenham, but just don't want to see Utd start to run away with the title.
    ----------------------------------------
    @46 Erm I didn't call you an idiot! But we do disagree on a lot. But that is the whole point of blogs like this, If we all agreed on everything then it would be a pretty boring world. I've seen all sorts of extreme and crazy opinions on these blogs (most from Phil McNulty) but that’s all part of the fun!

    Anyway We can definitely agree on hoping that Man Utd lose this weekend.

  • Comment number 50.

    #49 I thought I was guilty by association, based on your remark...

    12. At 15:58pm on 13th Jan 2011, Fergie wrote:
    5. At 14:24pm on 13th Jan 2011, Eric Morecambe wrote:

    "The Liverpool fans chanting for Hodgson to go are as naive as the Newcastle fans in the past who constantly chanted for Keegan to come back."

    Yeah, all five of them (Newcastle fans). Yet another myth about Newcastle that idiots continue to believe.

    All reasonable people can find common ground somewhere, and I'm glad we have regarding Man Utd... and you're right, this place would be mightily dull if everybody agreed with each other.

    Angela Rippon

  • Comment number 51.

    Hi Dan, Kudos on a (another) great blog. As a Sunderland fan, c ould you please please ask Steve Bruce if he can get me any spare tickets for the game please? ;) The match to me is bigger then christmas and I have a lot of Newcastle mates. If he can get a 5 - 0 victory he'll be immortalised. What are your predictions, surely they must give you an opinion?

    The Karate Kid

  • Comment number 52.

    #41. Much love in the face sir

    MrSurreybloke,

    We dont talk anymore.

    Its so funny.

    Anyway, I raided my fridge last night. So now I rule my own fridge!! Ha ha, what a life I lead,

    Behave Paul Bag'o'peas!!

    Steve

  • Comment number 53.

    #52
    Alas I have been very busy of late Mr Andy Connor...
    I will give you one piece of advice for the future to make up for not talking lately... remember, she's just a devil woman, and she has evil on her mind.

    Don't say I didn't warn you.

    Eddie Braben

  • Comment number 54.

    Looks like Morecambe & Wise, followed by Cliff Richard rule the blog...

    There doesn't seem to be as much forwards and backwards banter between our blogger and his contributor's as there used to be... perhaps the relative lack of comments all-round is a post-seasonal slumber.

    When is the Fourth Round of the Cup by the way? Looking forward to seeing whether the lower teams can continue to progress or not...

    Well, don't want to be left out... so...

    What do you think of it so far?

    Ernie Wise

  • Comment number 55.

    #54 at 19:06 Pradeep1234
    Good point! Where is the blogg master?

    Jamtay and Morecombe (Various) We are relying on you to entertain us. Keep on going.

  • Comment number 56.

    #55
    Looks like Jamtay isn't around... nor is the blog master by the looks of it.

    What odds on Blackpool claiming another away win this weekend? If only Luton Town could add another orange strip to the Premier League.

    My neighbour asked if he could use my lawnmower and I told him of course he could, so long as he didn't take it out of my garden.

    Frank Bough

  • Comment number 57.

    nice blog dan.

    i was between you and the guy with the bell (i was wearing the aforementioned arsenal scarf); be nice if i saw you again at the emirates in the 5th round

    thanks for taking the photo of me and dixon!

  • Comment number 58.

    Decided to change my name in line with the M & W theme that's going on...

    #55 its a real shame its all dried up, there was some really entertaining banter going on here in some of the blogs last year, particularly the Andy Connor guy and some of the others.

    Hopefully it will get back to normal soon!

    Ernie/Pradeep

  • Comment number 59.

    I doubt there'll be anymore responses actually on this blog as its Football Focus tomorrow and it usually dries up on here by that sort of time anyway.

    Cross fingers there'll be more people (including Mr Walker) back next week.

  • Comment number 60.

    @ #26

    I think you've probably got a point about some Forest fans, and that's coming from a Forest fan. But I, and the vast majority of my fellow Forest fans, certainly don't hate Derby more than we love Forest. I think our fans have been a touch harsh with Nigel Clough, who after all devoted the best years of his playing career to our club. Commons, on the other hand, well that resentment's much more understandable.

    And the point about Derby being 'the quintessentially English team' is strange and I think it can apply to a lot of teams, not least Forest over the last few years. As poor as you were and have been in the Championship and Premiership, you should have seen some of the stuff we were playing under Gary Megson when we were mid-table in League 1! So I reckon you're being a bit fickle and short-termist with that point. It's also hard to romanticise Derby too much when you play at Pride Park, which is very corporate. I much preferred the Baseball Ground, which seemed to have more life and character about it.

    But anyway, credit where it's due to Crawley. No offense intended to Torquay fans, but I'm sure you were hoping for more of a glamour tie after that result!

  • Comment number 61.

    53

    Well after last time I won't ignore your warning

    Power to all our friends indeed!

    Here's to my new clock!

  • Comment number 62.

    I am here I promise. Here are my excuses for not being around this week...

    1. Lots of work
    2. Too many kids getting up at random times
    3. I ate a Chinese tonight and feel asleep

    Good to see a healthy debate developing in places.

    Here's a 100% guarantee. I will get to your specific questions and comments tomorrow.

    Enjoy Focus.

    R2-D2

  • Comment number 63.

    Why do they put all the matches at the same time !? ;-))) I can't go to the stadium tonight but sure I'll follow them up on TB website http://bit.ly/9COZlH

  • Comment number 64.

    Evening all,

    Thanks for taking the time to come on here & comment. All much appreciated.

    Luke Giles #1 I'd take a Torquay and then a whopper in round 5!

    Welfare4Wobblers #4
    I think Roy Hodgson will be out for a while. Not sure I agree about Santa Cruz - don't think he'd be a good buy for anyone.

    Eric Morecambe #5 Dan Walker's goal was a beauty as well!

    Jellywobble #9 I don't think he's the same bell man - hope not!

    Custodian #10 thank you bro.

    Adolfinho #15 the 'e' key on my keyboard is broken! Apart from all the ones I've just used.

    Andrew #16 he's a worker & a top bloke

    JoC #17 No plans set in stone but we are considering all sorts of different ideas.

    Blaenorynclwyd #18 don't think
    I can pal. It's Saturday at 3 so unless I can get a chopper London to Torquay is a beast.

    Andy Connor #21 You = mentalist ... but a nice one.

    Mpk87 #23 I think you need a really big satellite!

    Larry #27 we did the whole of FF from Villa recently and have had Birmingham on quite a bit too.

    Tremendous little Liverpool argument in the middle. 

    Thanks for all those comments again. If you've got any more then whack them down. 

    See you soon.

    Snoop Doggy Dog

  • Comment number 65.

    Monument to the author posed for this:) Since I was born in Russia, simply can not resist and be glad for the fact that the World Cup in 2018 will be held here!

 

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.