Idiot of the Day #2 – Forum Muppet & Friends

Idiot of the Day #2 – Forum Muppet & Friends
March 2, 2009 Paul Tomkins

I wondered why I kept getting referral links from the BBC football website. 

Here's why – idiots are on the loose, and some tit called Tomkins is in their sights.

Watch out on the official Liverpool website for Rafa's official mascot/cheerleader, Paul Tomkins, whittle on about stats, Man Ure, zonal marking and a bit more about Man Ure. The phrase 'Polishing a Turd' must've been coined for this fella. I stopped reading his articles a few months back, but no doubt he'll come out today or tomorrow with a biased article, completely ignoring the fact that we play horrible football, that Rafa has bought more duffers than Houllier, that Kuyt doesn't warrant a place on the bench nevermind the starting 11, and that Rafa's attitude over the past few months has no doubt has an effect on the team.
The team were woeful on Saturday….. FACT
We play horrible, at times unwatchable, football. FACT
Some of the team, we won't name names, KUYT, are shocking buys, who are detrimental to the team, I don't care how much of a workhorse he is. If he's out of position then he's only hindering play. FACT
Playing Skrtel where he did hindered the team. FACT.
El Zhar will never make it, FACT.
Babel has lost all confidence due to Rafa's lack of man-management skills. FACT
Did I mention Kuyt is rubbish?? That's a fact no-one can disagree with.

Tomkins, take a leaf out of Rafa's book and only deal in facts, not figures.

Once Tomkins has the nerve to write what most fans think, then I'm afraid he's wasting his time. There are too many turds at Anfield, but I don't want them praised and polished every week. I want them flushed out, like all turds should be.

Quality, eh? Why don't I put as much thought and skill into the pieces I write? Who knows. Other fans weighed in with their digs, as I’ve come to expect, including the United fan who was spamming my blog. 

Still, one poster had a response I smiled at:

Regardless of what I think about Tomkins, none of the statements you made, ending with the word 'FACT' are actually facts, they are just opinion. Get yourself a dictionary. Then read it from front to back – it might keep you occupied and off this board for a while.

For the record, I have nothing good to say about Saturday's defeat. I did submit a considered reply to the above thread about me, merely to put my point, but moderation means it was refused. Which is very funny, considering what I was replying to. Maybe I might have offended one of the people being offensive about me? 

Thank you for contributing to 606. Unfortunately we've had to remove your content because it broke one of our House Rules.

Postings to BBC messageboards will be removed if they: 

* Are considered likely to provoke, attack or offend others 
* Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable 
* Contain swear words (including abbreviations or alternative spellings) or other language likely to offend 

With that in mind, I'll post it here. 

However, by using my right of reply (which the BBC so kindly denied me), it should not be inferred that I am taking people like this seriously – but it does play on my larger concern that people like this take themselves seriously. 

I'm a "coward" and I "do not have the nerve" to think like the kind of United fans who hung banners around Old Trafford in 1989/90 telling Ferguson to piss off. I am going against the angry masses, therefore I am wrong. Okay, sure.

Then there's David, the friend of this blog, whose post calling me a sad little man who is dying appears to have been deleted, but made me laugh all the same.

Anyway, my reply:

Noticed a few people clicking to my blog from here over recent weeks, so thought I’d post a few thoughts.

I couldn’t care less what the fans of other teams think about me. I don’t write for them, I write for Liverpool fans; most United fans certainly won’t like what I write, or agree with it. I don’t expect them to. That’s football.

Of course, Liverpool fans are a pretty wide-ranging bunch, from the intelligent right down to the frothing village idiots that all teams attract. I accept that I will not appeal to a proportion of Liverpool fans, but that I will appeal to more than enough to make it worth my while.

What I write for the official site is edited. I have criticisms of players edited out if I make them. I accept that. What I write is designed to fight the flow of OTT criticism in the media and from rabid fans who are either too passionate or too stupid to assess the situation with any clarity.

But I prefer to look at the bigger picture anyway. Liverpool have done well enough in the league to qualify for the Champions League every season under Rafa, bar his first, when he won the European Cup. While I’d rather the Reds were the current European champions, instead of United, it’s no mean feat that Liverpool are ranked #1 based on the five-year coefficient. 

Arsene Wenger is a wonderful manager, but he’s fallen well behind Liverpool since Rafa’s arrival, and is struggling to even make the Champions League. The only two teams to have finished regularly above Liverpool have squads that cost far more to assemble (go work out the figures if you don’t believe me), and in Ferguson’s case, far longer to put together. When United won the league in 2007, they had 14 players who pre-dated Benítez (Rooney included, though he was signed at the time Rafa arrived), and still have 9 now I believe. What 14 players from 2004 would have helped win Liverpool a league title in the next few years? Traore? Biscan? Le Tallec? Diao? Diouf? Cheyrou? 

Liverpool continue to do much better in Europe and in the Premiership than in the two years before Rafa arrived – meaning he inherited a very average team and has improved it significantly. He has spent a lot of money (around £188m), but has also recouped a lot (around £108m) because he has needed a fast turnover of players, trying to improve the squad each season and quickly weeding out his flops to try someone else. He has also raised a lot of money due to progress in the Champions League, without which Liverpool would really have financial worries. All this has been done against a backdrop of two warring owners based on the other side of the Atlantic.

His best buy, Torres, has failed to start 16 of the 27 league games this season, and yet Liverpool have still had a good campaign, if not a great one after recent slip-ups. I don’t expect Arsenal to be at their best without Fabregas or United without Ronaldo. Yes, Liverpool have struggled lately, hence my most recent blog, but to be averaging over two league points per game and to have just won away at in-form Real Madrid suggests the team isn’t *that* bad. Rafa’s win % remains as high as Bob Paisley’s in league games, but that’s not good enough to win the league right now; but I’m not sure who could do better.

Rafa may well have bought more duffers than Houllier, but he’s also bought far more successes. Wenger has bought countless turds, so has Ferguson, but they’ve won titles in part based on the few they got 100% spot-on. Mourinho bought countless turds too, but he added Drogba, Essien and Carvalho to an already strong squad. That’s how it goes.

In my book Dynasty I asked long-standing fans like Brian Reade, Oliver Kay, Vic Gill (Shank’s son-in-law and a player under the great man) to rate all the players signed by each manager. Those contributing also included a man who went to Anfield for the first time in 1936, and another whose first game was shortly after, so it’s a wide-ranging group of knowledgeable Reds. Together, they rated Rafa’s signings fairly highly. In particular, the spine of players is rated incredibly highly: Reina, Agger, Skrtel, Mascherano, Alonso and Torres. Of course, if Rafa had been backed fully in the transfer market, he might have had Simao, Alves and numerous others too, but they were deemed too expensive at fees Chelsea and United could regularly afford to pay.

“Kuyt is rubbish, that’s a fact that no-one can disagree with” is the kind of opinion masquerading as fact that I rally against. Writers of such nonsense will never see that it is nonsense, so it merely makes me laugh. I can’t teach intelligence. Kuyt isn’t perfect but he serves a purpose. He’s not prolific, but he’s scored countless vital goals in the last two seasons.

Onto United:

David – ‘The Kaiser’ – I ‘banned’ you for spamming my blog, having made three posts in almost as many minutes. Feel free to say what you want about me on here on or your United forums, but I am not offering a service to United fans to rant, rant and rant in quick succession. The Liverpool fans who read my blog don’t do that, so I don’t see why I should let you. What you wrote was also largely illogical, as other posters noted.

My view on United is that they are at present a sensational team, albeit one scraping a few results – but I do think Ferguson intimidates officials (can’t blame him, it’s they and the FA who need to be stronger), and that Ronaldo gets away with kicking opponents when other players don’t. 

I think Ferguson has done a brilliant job over the years, but he already had the makings of a title-winning squad before Rafa arrived, as I’ve been pointing out for a while now. He’s also been able to buy more top-class footballers in the £20-£30m price bracket and pay better wages to help attract them. So it’s not really an even playing field, is it? Ferguson could not break Liverpool’s monopoly until Graeme Souness was in charge. So why should Rafa be able to break United’s when they still have a great manager and long-term continuity and stability?

I have never belittled United, beyond the odd bit of sarcasm; the piece you objected to was largely about how much worse Ferguson did in his first five years when compared with Rafa. 

So to compare Rafa with a fully-established Ferguson seems a little unfair, when Ferguson at the same stage was struggling (three out of his first four seasons were mid-table or below) and having to endure banners telling him to go. I also made the point that United would struggle a lot more without Ronaldo, because he’s such a good player; just as Liverpool have struggled without Torres this season. Last year United struggled whenever Rooney was absent, too, but this season, after spending £32m on Berbatov, they have more depth.

So yes, I am a turd-polishing, sad little man, if that helps you feel better. I’m not dying, however – as far as I know. But you can live in hope. – support my writing by buying my books. Compendium is available only from my website, while Dynasty and others are available through Amazon and other retail outlets.

"Tomkins not only shows why he is a prolific, talented writer but also cements his status as very knowledgeable and passionate Red. In my opinion this is Tomkins' best work to date; a thoroughly excellent read."

Vic Gill, Shanks' son-in-law and former LFC trainee

“The project that Tomkins has taken on here is highly ambitious: assessing each of Liverpool’s managers since Bill Shankly. He does this in his own irrepressible style of analyzing in detail every area that falls within a manager’s remit. And whilst Tomkins has a talent for such a task, where he excels here is in approaching each manager without any apparent pre-conceived ideas.”

Paul Grech,

"A unique analysis of the club's managers, which is no mean feat given the extensive bibliography of the club… informative … another perspective on the last 50 years at Liverpool."

Programme & Football Collectable Monthly