AH, IT’S good to be despised again. Enemies of football once more. Ruining the game, the axis of evil etc. Funny how we didn’t hear these phrases when City were buying anything that moved. The bitterness in the reporting from respected journalists that really should know better concerning the Fernando deal has nailed many colours to the mast in terms of bias, and if anybody doubted it before, there are no such illusions now.
If any other club had signed Torres, it would have been perceived as a major coup . . . a signing of utmost significance . . . a statement of intent. But instead we are reading pieces littered with phrases such as a “desperate measure”, “betrayal”, “Torres’s true colours” and “classless”.
The hatred coming out of Merseyside, too, is just so utterly predictable and wholly pathetic and so totally Liverpool. Players move clubs all the time and as the power has shifted in recent years from the club to the individuals, so it is inevitable that all clubs will lose players that they value.
If Liverpool fans think that they should somehow be excused from the realities of the football market just because they are Liverpool, then they better wake up and quick. This belief that they are somehow special or different as well as being utterly cringe-worthy is producing the calibre of fan that thinks that burning Torres’s shirt on national television is something to be proud of.
Torres was only at Liverpool just over three years — he was not a born-and-bred Scouser who was playing for his boyhood team; he never vowed to remain at the club forever. Like it or not, why would Liverpool’s over-exalted and fade to grey “history” mean anything to him?
The facts are that Liverpool haven’t won the league in 21 years and have gone through a difficult period recently just like other clubs. Fernando Torres felt that he needed to move on. That is just football in the modern day I’m afraid. The fans have no right to feel “betrayed.” Steven Gerrard didn’t do it when he had the opportunity and his career has passed him by, fluke win in Istanbul notwithstanding.
So Liverpool fans have lost a player they adored — they’re bound to be upset — but is there really any need for the hatred? I was gutted when Joe Cole joined Liverpool and although I couldn’t wish him well, nor did I infect every blog, forum and radio station with the kind of bile usually reserved for mass murderers — and for the record Chelsea was Joe Cole’s boyhood club. I even heard one joker claim that it was Torres who cost Hodgson his job . . . not the classy “Hodgson for England” chanting and fan rebellion then?
But enough of those wanting to diminish this signing. I for one am delighted with the acquisition – Torres is simply world class and I look forward to seeing him get on the end of some of the balls that we know Lampard is so good at putting through. Some will point to Torres’s recent injuries and claim that he was a risky buy. I will point you to his goal tally and state that as risks go, it’s not the flakiest one we’ve taken. At the end of the day, all players are a risk. Will they settle in the city, will they get on with their team mates, will the formation and style of play suit them, will they get injured? Players are a gamble and this is a good one.
Had the club invested modestly in the summer, then such major surgery may not have been needed, but really, who would ever turn down Torres. City’s dalliance with the player had shown that there was a possibility of prising him away from Liverpool and £50 million was the price. Some may say that the cost was ridiculous, but transfer fees are ridiculous – you either accept it or not.
Also, call me sentimental, but I would have rather paid the £50mil than money plus Anelka. The Frenchman has served us well and I think we owed him more than reducing him to a makeweight in a deal. He is still an outstanding player and will be a fantastic addition to any squad.
As it was I was disappointed to see Sturridge go to Bolton. Hopefully this will not be one of those loan deals that become permanent.
All this without even a mention of Luiz who is very highly regarded by a great many footballing aficionados. He is young and obviously talented – exactly the kind of player we need to be getting in. Whether it’s all a little too late for this season I don’t know, but we must have improved our chances of fourth spot and possibly the Champions League.
One thing that was very evident as all the dealings were being completed on Monday night, was the high profile involvement of the likes of Ron Gourlay and Bruce Buck. Where were these two when things weren’t going so well?
I saw Bruce Buck on Sky, Chelsea TV and heard him on Talk Sport and Radio 5 Live within half hour of the Torres signing and Ron Gourlay was the man in all the photos as Torres signed the deal. Where were they when Wilkins was sacked, or when Carlo was alienated?
The fans have the measure of most people at Chelsea and they recognise Carlo as a humble and honest man. Hopefully these qualities will be evident to Torres and Luiz as well and will help them integrate quickly into the way we play. Terry, Lampard, Drogba and the rest of the players will ensure that they are bought into the fold on a social level too as team spirit has been a pivotal element in successful Chelsea sides in recent years.
All in all a surprising and fruitful week for Chelsea and one that could be seminal in the rest of the season. Never a dull moment in SW6. Sunday Stamford Bridge will be rocking — come on Chelsea!!