The Fans View

The £17 Million question

Glen-Johnson-LiverpoolI do not know whether it is my complex personality, but I have always tried to stick up for the underdogs throughout my life. I guess that I have been an underdog too on some occasions but when everyone is picking on a helpless victim, I will usually try to offer some support. This act will often cause me to become the new target of the abuse, but I can cope. After all, you have to remember that “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” and all of those other corny sayings that you were told when a kid?

I am not suggesting that Liverpool Football Club circa 2009-2010 and Glen Johnson can be compared to the terrified eleven-year old being ferociously bullied by a trio of deranged year 10 thugs for the sake of his packed lunch, the carefully counted-out bus fare, and his dignity. However, the criticism of this team and this particular player has been hysterical. I know that the club and this player can fight their own battles but I wanted to be a bit more reflective during this particular international break.

It has become a bit of a game in itself to write off this season at Anfield. I appreciate that the Spurs result was pretty disappointing, the Villa game was not much better, whilst the Stoke win was dismissed as pretty routine. The Bolton tussle seemed to be pointlessly freakish when it should have been a win on paper.

While all of those results have been chalked up on the board, Real Madrid and Manchester City have been splashing their chequebook around the world like a psychotic hedge fund manager. In contrast, the reds have spent £17 million on what some people have derided as an ex Portsmouth defender who had not done much at Chelsea during his stay in west London. Coupled with the departure of the popular Xabi Alonso, and an indifferent August in terms of results, the public mood seems to be pretty black in L4.

The worst aspect of the criticism against Glen Johnson is how it is seems to be delivered by hands for most of August. Mutterings that mostly focused on the £17 million price tag above his head have gently grown to a level that a free morning poster screamed through the morning gloom that Johnson was the weak link in the England team.

I appreciate that everyone is entitled to their opinion but it was a shock in the September early morning gloom of deepest dull Warwickshire, to see a glossy picture of a perplexed Glen Johnson coupled with a rant about whether this player is of sufficient quality for the national team.

I have sat through numerous World Cup qualifying campaigns and miserable penalty shootouts. I also know how we like to blame someone or something for our sad exit, so I am starting to wonder whether Johnson is already set up as the fall guy if (or when) England crash out in a quarter final or semi final shootout. It seems that this blame is based on the fact that Johnson likes to be an attacking defender in a country that still worships a solid back four.

I love to see attacking defenders in a team, with a fluidity of formation but a general understanding about everyone’s specific duties. The accusation seems to be that Johnson does not understand that his main duty is to defend, which seems to be a total insult to a considerably seasoned professional. It is obvious that he understands that role, and as the season develops, it is probable that he will gain an extra yard of pace to patrol the right wing in a similar way to Ashley Cole on the left wing.

Should I give up on Glen Johnson? Of course not and I remain convinced that Glen Johnson will bring something to the team that his predecessors in the position often failed to do. I would also suggest that it is too early to dismiss Liverpool Football Club from anything that is meaningful during the coming season that is less than five weeks old.

I also like to think that there is more quality in the side than just Gerrard and Torres, which has been suggested in many newspapers. You could call this hopelessly optimistic talk, but I refuse to be hysterical about this team when there is way too much league football to be played before the clock have turned to GMT, or the fat lady has sung on the last train out of Liverpool Lime Street.

With England having qualified for the 2010 World Cup, and this personal criticism will probably end if the national team does well in South Africa. We will look back at these early autumn days and wonder why some of us had it in for Glen Johnson, the England team and Liverpool Football Club.

8 comments on
The £17 Million question

  1. I fully agree with all the above comments. Frankly, I don’t think the culture of finding a scapegoat to parade in the press is healthy for football, unless the performance really merited a fair bashing. Glen Johnson is a great addition to LFC, I think he will provide dividends until the end of his term at Anfield (hopefully, throughout the rest of his career as well). What I think Rafa has to do is to find a balance between GJ’s and possibly Insua/Aurelio’s style of attacking play and consolidation of defense. I think that will come sooner than later, if last season was any indication. YNWA, let’s kick Burnley’s asses

  2. Glen Johnson has been a breath of fresh air for us. Everytime he goes forward or receives the ball wide in an advanced position, he’s causing problems for the opposition. The quality of delivery is fantastic. His defensive play needs a little work but we’ve bought a great footballer who could learn to play anywhere. I expect him to play at left-mid at some point and let’s face it, up-front isn’t out of the question considering he’s a better finisher than Voronin or Ngog.

  3. He has already scored and produced a number of assists for Liverpool. I have 100% faith in the player, I like his style, and believe he is worth ALL the money LFC spent on him, and more.

  4. Glen Johnston is a breath of fresh air to the team this season, our problem over the last few seasons have been teams putting 11 men behind the ball and our inability to break these teams down due to lack of attacking creativity which has seen us draw instead of win too many games, and subsequently cost us the league title last season, no doubt about that.

    I have watched with great excitement this season what GJ has brought to the team. last season our defenders lacked this attacking flair and were virtually onlookers in games where teams sat back and defended, teams can no longer do this on the right flank as GJ is marked when coming forward and therefore pulls a body out of that crowded penalty box, even at that he is likely to deliver a quality cross, score e.g. bolton or win a penalty e.g. Spurs. If everyone had started the season like GJ we would be sitting pretty at the top of the league, lets not even discuss his England performances, who cares!

  5. I agree it looks like johnson is being made a scapegoat for england,while terry gets away with slack marking for the croatia goal.Johnson tried to stop the cross but got turned,which happens,terry didn’t attack the ball or mark eduardo who had a free header 6 yards from goal, the croat was the only 1 who followed the ball in and eduardo was still in acres of space for an easy tap in. Plenty of others could have stopped the goal yet Johnson is the only 1 taking any blame.
    Is it because the player was at fault was St john Terry who is worshipped by the press despite being a poor mans carragher? me thinks so.
    They also convieniently forgot about johnsons contribution going forward and his cross for one of the goals but the british press do love a scapegoat and it appears to be Johnsons turn,Andys right he should just quit if he keeps getting grief and see how far they get with wes brown.

  6. Hi Tim, I agree that some of the criticism aimed at Liverpool’s form have been well over the top, however we have to recognise that the performances so far haven’t exactly instilled confidence. Tomorrow’s game against Burnley has become a big game now so only time will tell.

    In relation to Johnson I for one couldn’t care less about the reviews he’s getting in an England shirt as long as he does the business for us. I was a little bit shocked at the price tag when he was signed but any concerns I had have been forgotten because I think he’s been surperb since he arrived.

    No need to panic yet.

  7. We finally have a very good (young) outside back that attacks. This adds a whole new element to the team. He has already had assists and a goal. I seem to remember last uear against opponents like stoke we couldn’t finish well enough. He is a well needed additive to our attack. Yes against better teams he needs to stay back more but to be honest he is very dangerous on attack. I know we all know that we finished second due to the fact we couldn’t find the back of the net against the likes of stoke and middle to lower level teams. He is just what we need for those games. I just hope in the big games he can pick the right times to attack and right times to hold back. I welcome him to our team with open arms. I believe this can be our year eventhough selling Alonso was a mistake. The true reds to the top of the league like it should be. YNWA

  8. I’d like to know who they think is better in that position. He should do a Carra and retire from international football. I’d rather every Liverpool player avoided international injury by not playing for them – wouldn’t worry me in the slightest. I’d rather we won every trophy going and England never qualified for another major tournament ever again.

    So there!

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