Free Friday: Twitter Psychopaths, Keeping Coutinho & Solanke’s Development

Free Friday: Twitter Psychopaths, Keeping Coutinho & Solanke’s Development
July 28, 2017 Daniel Rhodes
In Free, Free Friday

By Chris Rowland and Daniel Rhodes.

Here is our weekly round-up of five extracts from articles or comments that have appeared on the site during the past week.

This is just to provide a flavour of the debates our subscribers get involved in during the week. If you fancy a bit yourself, there’s a Subscribe tab at the top. 

1 – Mark Cohen’s thoughts on Barca’s interest in Coutinho:

An important point:

Nobody should be pissed off with Barca for coming for our, or anybody else’s players. They are a football club in a capitalist system that is entitled to do so, even considering the ‘tapping up’ laws so flagrantly flouted by every club on the planet when it suits them.

What is important to recognise, is that in the battle to keep/buy your players/targets, you need to play your hand the best you can.

Barca have their way of doing this:

You are a player with Barca in your DNA therefore it is your birthright to play for us when we request it.

Barca’s method of ‘DNA selling’ might work on some clubs but it cannot be allowed to gain traction with us. Either pay the proper price when you bid for our players or there is no discussion.

The difference between our pursuits this summer and their derisory crap offer for Coutinho … is that we have offered a proper above market price for Keita and VVD whilst they are playing the DNA card.

We must rebut them without fail whilst continuing to do our best to procure the players we need.

2 – GlasgowRed, replying to Paul Tomkins’ new article Liverpool Fans have Jumped the Shark, Nuked the Fridge, with a cautionary tale about the potential dangers of mobile phone technology:

I think some of the subtext in your article is that people have lost the ability to think rationally. Too many people are conditioned by social media, fake news and the constant desire for instant gratification that most folk think is their god-given right.

Living one’s life in the matrix can have a devastating impact on one’s ability to think clearly and rationally.

At least once a day take a walk, read a book (an actual book!), go see a band you’ve never heard of, play a board game with your kid, plant a flower, cook a meal from scratch, learn to play an instrument, make love! Or fucking anything that does not involve connectivity to the online world. Do something that is REAL! It’s the only way to stay sane in this messed up world we live in.

A final anecdote which shows how fucked-up this world is.

I’m currently persona non grata with my eldest. She starts high school in a few weeks and is already saying she’ll be bullied cos she doesn’t have Instagram or snapchat.

She is not yet 12 but only last week her ‘friend’, a lad who’s parents are holier than thou, asked her to send him a topless picture of herself so he could pass it on to his pal who fancies her. I’ve spent my whole life living in a tough city and there’s not much I haven’t seen. It takes a lot to shock me but this knocked me for six! Whilst she instinctively knew that this was wrong, I had to explain that:

  1. It’s illegal at your age!
  2. If you were to do it, that picture would be all over the internet within 5 mins of you pressing send
  3. Some of your friends who do have Instagram and Snapchat and who sit in their rooms all day without their internet usage or texts so much as being monitored by their parents would adhere to this boy’s request because they don’t know any better.

So that my darling is why you don’t need these apps and whilst you may hate my guts now, in a few years you’ll realise I was right.

The Louis CK gig where he goes on about the old phone is brilliant – my favourite comedian of the modern era without doubt. I’m going to get my girl to watch it to see how lucky she is just to have a fucking mobile phone!

3 – Mark Cohen again, responding to a superb post by Joe Bloggs about Barca’s Coutinho interest that later became this article:

Super post above by Joe Bloggs!

Echoes many of my sentiments expressed over the last few days in the Phil issue and our transfer situation et large.

I think it is important to step into the psyche of our owners and their respective understanding of our ‘status’ in Europe.

FSG are winners. They took the Red Sox from a near hundred year drought to multiple World Series wins and are well on course for another this season.

I am sure they love sport, and I am certain that they enjoy very much being custodians of such great and historical institutions as Liverpool and the Sox, but everyone here needs to know that above all, FSG exists to make loot. Lucre, Dough, Buckazoids or whatever else the kids call them these days.

Their purchase of Liverpool in an epic swindle was, without detracting from them as sports fans, done to make money.

It should not be forgotten that the purchase of the club was quickly followed by a massive investment under Kenny which yielded little by way of immediate results  and was thus adjusted to a more circumspect longer term view project to restore Liverpool to the top.

This has led to us being (rightfully) seen as a stepping stone club to the Spanish giants over the last few years, and even for a while degraded into us being a stepping stone for the likes of City with Sterling jumping ship.

These last few years of watching the likes of Suarez, Sterling, Alonso, Masch and Torres leave us has left us with a feeling of general inadequacy when it comes to our size, our pull and our ability to construct long term meaningful projects and see them to fruition.

Now, the thing that needs to be clear is that FSG do not suffer from such inadequacies. They have one winning sports team and one rapidly growing one, and they are not confused as to which one will become the crown jewel.

To repeat an earlier post’s point:

The Red Sox are presently valued at 2.8bn dollars, whilst we are at around half that. Baseball is not a growing sport, it is not a global sport (great though it is, I love it matter of fact), and it’s overall growth potential is dwarfed by that of football.

Regardless of how inadequate we feel, we are one of the top ten biggest football clubs in the world, one of the most storied sports clubs in history with one of the largest global followings, playing in the most watched league on the planet and all this whilst being unable to supp at footballs top tournament meaningfully in almost ten years.

Indeed, Liverpool have not been outside the top leagues top 8 in over fifty years, a feat unparalleled by any other sports team in a comparably difficult set up.

We haven’t won much over the last while, but our ability to remain in the spotlight is utterly undiminished by this. Remarkable.

In short, at 1.5bn we are undervalued by about 50% at least and probably by much more, and the ensuing years will show this. I am not sure where the buck will stop, but I can guarantee you one thing, FSG won’t be loathe to jump in and go long Liverpool when it is so clear that there is a fortune to be made from speculating.

Now, it should be recalled that FSG are big time winners with the Sox, and that they didn’t get to number one by scrimping around on player rosters and selling Crown Jewels. For all the misinformed talk about them being  ‘moneyball’ specialists, they are, in fact, Moneymaking specialists, and their record in Boston proves this, with a very expensive wage bill year in and year out coupled with a big player spend the staple of their success.

Yes, they try to do it smarter, and yes they try to purchase unearthed gems, but ultimately the smartest thing they do, is recognise when they need to speculate to accumulate and there is no greater time to press that button than Liverpool right now.

FSG took on, and beat and then regularly keep on beating the biggest and richest sports institution the planet, the New York Yankees.

Do you really think they crap themselves for Madrid and fucking Barcelona? Do you?

FSG stand back for nobody and we mustn’t confuse a period of steady rebuilding with a recognition of second class citizenship when it comes to the Spanish Giants, or anybody else for that matter. There is always a bigger fish, and FSG so happen to have fried them before.

To bring this back to Phil, Keita and VVD.

Firstly, I am surprised how little has been made of Liverpool willing to throw 130m on two players after years of enduring carefully budgeted net spends in the tens of millions, with 7 in, 7 out the norm. It’s almost like everyone is too scared to voice it incase FSG find out that they are spending enormous sums of money and will revert to the old policy of buying young gems and polishing them…

FSG know what they are doing and their actions are usually very deliberate. They are spending a fortune now, because now, with the TV loot and the global support and the massive interest in this football league, now is the time to make sure that when the world is carved up, it isn’t upstarts like Leipzig or PSG or even stinking old players like Juve, Barca and Real that rule the roost – it’s Liverpool.

And if it is impossible to rule the roost, then at least make sure that you are one of the roosters, alongside those stinking old bastards, and not a silly clucking hen like Leipzig.

Keita and VVD are just the beginning and you can bet your butt that if Mbappe was keen, we’d have pressed the trigger on a 100m plus purchase because it makes sense to market us as the giant we are.

On a slight tangent, the best signing we’ve ever made: Klopp.

The reason is not because he is a master tactician (he is), and it’s not because he is German (a bonus), it is because he is a waterfall of charisma in a world where a trickle is celebrated.

Klopp is the embodiment of everything our club wishes to be: Intelligent, Fierce, working class, working hard, fair, funny and above all a winner.

With him as your face, and the growth of football as your currency, you cannot step into the shadows, you have to embrace the fight and you have a man capable of articulating what it is you are trying to sell.

With that all said, Coutinho’s dreamboat has come in.

Now, we have heard the thoughtful arguments of Paul and many other intelligent folk on TTT over the last few days, and I agree broadly with everybody who ultimately says: “keep him, but not as a slave, so if he truly wants to leave, let him go…”

My issue is, with the club now playing with the big boys, sitting at the top table and getting ready to compete for all the top prizes, why should Coutinho feel like a slave?

It is up to the likes of Klopp to make sure that Phil understands what we’re doing here and that we are building towards being the very best not in some far off world, but in the here and now and that Coutinho can be the hero of all this.

If, after having his head turned back towards the Kopp by Klopp, he still wishes to go then fine. We won’t keep slaves, but he needs to understand and understand good: Barca don’t decide his fee, we do, and 80m is an insult in a market where we have to pay 70m for a player with one years top-flight experience.

I don’t give a flying continental damn about players that want to play for their dreamboats Barca and Real. Good luck to them, and I don’t begrudge them nothing, but what won’t happen under FSG, is these guys leaving for a pittance when these other blokes arrive with a petite sized Barca shirt in their hands.

So, if we can’t make him stay, by showing him what we are capable of, then make Barca pay way over the odds to remind them that, if they want to be the self proclaimed biggest baddest club in the world, then they’d better have the money to write the cheques that their asses can cash.

Finally, pretty long rant this one, we must stop playing this ‘players have dreams too’ flute.

It’s a load of crap.

They are earning a fortune of money, far more than many of us will see in twenty lifetimes and get to play football all day. They have the opportunity to be the best they can be, in a field that rewards it with constant adulation and if they find themselves already at one of the biggest, global and stories sports institutions in the world and don’t see it that way, then it is our fault for not selling ourselves as big enough for them and not Barcas fault for coming in like Daddy Warbucks at an orphanage.

We have won 18 titles & 5 European Cups. We have also won hearts and minds with the cities (Everton included) response to an awful tragedy a quarter of a century ago. Where Madrid had Franco guarantee their success, we had Shankly, a storied multifaceted character that brought untold future success to a city that was never promised anything. We had to earn ours. And that’s the way it’s always been.

I know many of you hate the chest thumping “We are Liverpool!!!” warcry, but maybe that is because in a quieter, more thoughtful sense we all sometimes forget how lucky we are that “we are Liverpool.”

And that really ought to be enough.

4  – Benjamin on psychopaths, Twitter & content profiteering:

Truly one of the best articles on TTT that I’ve ever read – and I read ’em all pretty much!

Forgive me but your diagnosis of catastrophisation & entitlement might be built into an equation

catastrophisation & entitlement = confused and deluded individual

These individuals are knowingly or unknowingly addicted to something very bad for them, some kind of instant gratification they seek out through (anti) social media interactions. We should pity them because there’s no way it can be good for them, unless they are all pyschopaths.

Interestingly, it is said that 1% of the populalation are pyschopaths and it is known that around 2% of twitter users post over 50% of posts.

Is there a correlation here? Well I’m no statto but I’d posit there’s a strong chance that the heaviest twitter posters are far more likely to actually be pyschopaths.

So Paul my conclusion is that you are attempting to reason with a pyschopath when you engage with an average heavy twitter poster.

That’s probably like telling a joke to an alligator in an attempt to get it to stop eating you. Or knitting with spaghetti. Or talking to your lottery numbers in an attempt to make them luckier. If you get my drift.

Futile, in a word.

For normal people (ie non-pyschopaths) I think living in the always-on digital world is simply bad for our health over a certain threshold – which is probably 15 minutes a week!

Social media is of course designed to be ‘sticky’ ie to create repeat usage, and also designed to monetise us, the product.

The more of us there are using a product more often = more money

In the old days this method was used by Procter and Gamble (or any other similar company) to sell us more branded soap powder, ie ‘buy more Persil to wash more clothes = more revenue for P&G’

Today its far more pernicious, not least because we create the content that is consumed on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and these companies monetise our data and our attention. So they don’t have to invest much in creating an actual product which employs lots of people in a supply chain. Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger will be next. This is simply the world we live in. We create content, we load it up onto platforms run by other people. They make billions from it.

The only way to retain sanity is to simply avoid the world of always-on social media, avoid the entitled catastrophising self deluders and, as another poster wisely said, do some ‘real stuff’.

Of course, intelligent debate it on the internet can be found, right here amongst other places.

In an atomised world where platforms like twitter give every viewpoint has equal validity, no matter how inane, all we can do is take the advice of our elders, abstain from the things that are harmful, and seek out balanced informed minds who want a good old chat.

Seems like most of us made it here…

5 – Jeff on Solanke, and the uncertainty of player development

The simple truth is that no one knows what the future  holds for Solanke and the most accurate statement about him is that he has shown at every level of the football food chain he has played out that he is a talent which means there is the possibility that he might well be able to duplicate his performance at a higher level. Will he? This of course is the key question.

There is an old saying that money is the root of all evil. In football the pursuit of money is at least to me the reason why too many clubs whether we are talking about Chelsea or Real Madrid spend fortunes on young players and never give them a chance. On this point, a young lad named Borja Mayoral broke all of Raul’s records as a  youth player at Madrid and will almost certainly never get a shot at playing in the first team as Solanke never got a real chance to play for Chelsea’s first team. I might also add that there is a real chance that Real Madrid want to unload Marco Asensio and if this is true I hope Liverpool pay whatever it costs to bring this lad to Liverpool.

Now, the simple truth is that every established football or great footballer of the current era whether we are talking about say Messi or any of the greats from the past such as Cruyff were young lads who needed matches to become the players that everyone thinks about. Now, what is interesting about FSG is that they believe in giving young players a real chance to play and they do give young players a real chance to play. On this point, last night in his second game in the big leagues a 20 year of player named Rafael Devers hit a monster and I do mean monster home run. The Liverpool of Jurgen Klopp will give young players such as Salanke a chance to develop and we will find out if the is the standard Liverpool want in a player.

Now some may say that Liverpool should go out and spend untold millions and millions on established players but I am of an age where Bob Paisley knew how to buy and develop young players and I believe we will see the same with Jurgen Klopp.

Bonus: TTT subscriber Heisenberg reviews Anthony’s book:

This was a monumental undertaking for Anthony Stanley. The book provides a fast-moving, yet brilliantly detailed history of our great club in the Premier League era.

First things first – there is only one specific requirement to guarantee your love of this book; you must be a Liverpool fan. Jeez, even if you’re just a football fan that should do it.

Anthony has made a pretty impressive debut here, all the more remarkable when you consider how his writing came about via Paul Tomkins’ foreword anecdote.

A hell of a lot of work has gone into this publication. No stone is left unturned as Anthony takes us down memory lane time and time again.

But this is not just some nostalgic trip for old folk like yours truly. If you were born in the 90s or after the turn of the century then this book will fill in many of the blanks for you in your quest to understand the heartbeat of LFC …

All the links to buy the book can be found here on the book’s unique TTT page. 

Articles published on the site this week:

Monday July 24th:

Liverpool Fans have Jumped the Shark, Nuked the Fridge, by Paul Tomkins.

Tuesday July 25th:

The Age of Goliath Part 1 – Previewing the 2017/18 Premier League, by Mark Cohen.

Wednesday July 26th:

Listen to Jürgen: Coutinho is Not For Sale, by Joe Bloggs.

Thursday July 27th:

The Curious Case of Dominic Solanke, by Daniel Rhodes