Thanks to Chris Burgess for submitting the following blog article for inclusion on Anfield Online. You can read more of his articles on his blog Chris Loves Football
FAO: Liverpool Football Club Owner, John W. Henry
Firstly, let me congratulate you on your recent purchase of my beloved Liverpool FC. What a bargain. I was delighted that you were to be our antidote to that disgusting pair of filthy loudmouth Americans (no offence), Hicks and Gillett.
Unfortunately John, it’s been all downhill for you since you bought the club. A landslide. Now I’m not talking about performances on the pitch – at the time of writing, the Mighty Reds are on the back of a famous victory over Chelsea. A 2-nil first half pummelling followed by a casual bit of bus parking. Easy. I heard that Yuri Zhirkov is LITERALLY still rocking and crying in the depths of Lucas’ back pocket (figuratively speaking).
So as far as the onfield performances go, we’re “sound” (this means “all gravy” in Liverpool in case you didn’t already know). What I’m disappointed in is your performance in the boardroom. More specifically: Damien Comolli, newly appointed “Director of Football Strategy”.
When I saw this news on Sky Sports I felt like it was your way of sticking two fingers up at me. I was disappointed – even, outraged – that this opportunity had passed me by, so I am writing to you to inform you that I will be seeking legal advice regarding the fact that you hired somebody without advertising the position through the appropriate channels.
For Heaven’s sake Jonathan, what were you thinking? You’ve missed a trick mate. As somebody who goes from temp job to temp job like a polite and affable Craig Bellamy with a 2:2 in Media and Marketing, I am regularly scouring the likes of Fish4jobs, Monster.com,and Gumtree.co.uk for work, and didn’t see this “Director of Football Strategy” vacancy anywhere.
Imagine my disappointment when a full-time position in my local area went unapplied for. I’m not just disappointed for me, Johnny-boy; I’m disappointed for my fellow Liverpool fans – because they’ve been deprived of somebody with the best interests of the club at heart, somebody with a keen eye for detail (4-weeks of data entry experience? TICK.), and somebody who is familiar with all of the behind-the-scenes workings of a football club thanks to many hours spent on the simulated football experience “Football Manager 2010” – described by many as ‘even more realistic than real life’.
On Football Manager I have turned Liverpool, a club in financial turmoil, into a streamlined cup-winning machine, whilst also winning a few cheeky cups with Brazil (just the small matter of the 2014 World Cup…) and later Italy (consecutive European Cups – 2024 and 2028, thank you very much).
My favourite player was a young lad generated by the game called “Nobert Papp” (no, really…). Papp was a Left Wing-Back who I signed for buttons in the 2016 season, and he seemed to have everything stacked against him. Even his computer-generated, pixelated hairstyle was a bit rubbish.
’7th best defender at the club’ they said. ‘Would not be a worthwhile signing’ harked the backroom. ‘Potential to be an average player’ claimed my scout. ‘Looks like an ugly version of the kid on the Haribo packets’, quipped a jealous friend. I could go on. After giving him his own unique training regime and lavishing him with praise after every match I was fighting off bids from other big clubs every summer. I’m not ashamed to admit, John Dubya, that the day that my Norbert added me to his list of “Favoured personnel”, I wept. I wept big salty tears of pride. That’s right John. I’m a man, and I cried. Deal with it. I cried because I cared.
The day that Papp announced his retirement, I was disconsolate. I felt like a part of my soul had been ripped away from me, and I just couldn’t face playing the game for at least 4 hours. Yes, May 31st 2038 was a very dark day for me indeed.
He was like a son to me; we’d been through it all together. I felt a real bond with him and his 32-bit bowl-cut, and I even got into a big row with my girlfriend for writing ‘To my lovely Norbert…’ on her Birthday card.
(Her name is not “Norbert”).
So when I turned the TV on and saw some that you’d hired some randomer to come in and do what I did for free for the next 31 years on the computer I felt sickened. Sickened.
I don’t understand why everyone rates this Damien Cannoli fella anyway. What’s he ever done? He signed Bale, Bentley and Berbatov. Big whoop. Sure, Bale is playing alright at the moment – BUT! He was originally signed as a fullback on the presumption that his big flappy ears would block any view of the penalty area when the opposing winger attempted to cross the ball into Tottenham’s box. A ridiculous theory that failed – Bale played a record 24 Premier League games for Spurs without being on the winning side (although he does have ENORMOUS ears).
Also, I don’t rate his work ethic at all. Bale, Bentley, Berbatov? Obviously he lists all of his potential targets alphabetically and gives up as soon as he sees three average players. It goes without saying that there hasn’t been a decent player whose name began with “A” since “Aldridge”. Or “Alan Hansen”
Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘I’m sorry Chris but I’m new to the area my head is swimming in an unfamiliar world where “chips” aren’t crisps and “McSupersize” is a novelty, not the standard afternoon snack between meals. Please give me a second chance!’ Well it’s your lucky day, John la, because I’m sending in my CV to apply for the position of…
“DIRECTOR OF THE DIRECTOR OF FOOTBALL STRATEGY”
I even took the liberty of “doing a Mike Jeffries”, rounding up some local D-listers to record their thoughts on camera for me. Unfortunately I don’t actually own a camera, but I can assure you that when I rang him, Liverpool legend John Barnes ACTUALLY said ‘Please take Chris Burgess away [and give him the job]’, and ‘I’m going to call the police if you keep ringing my house [and get them to sign a petition to make sure that John W. gives you that job, because you really deserve this opportunity because you’re hardworking, reliable, and proficient with all standard Microsoft Office packages – including Word, Excel, and Powerpoint].’ He’s a nice bloke is Barnesy, very forgiving.
Ian McCulloch, from Echo And The Bunnymen, was also very vocal in his support. When I rang him he said that ‘not giving this lad the job is a bit like you coming to me house,[defecating] on me doormat, rolling up the doormat and posting it through me door, kicking through me door and slamming it into me Nan’s face because she lives with us because of her angina stopping her getting up the stairs in her old flat, [inaudible for a few seconds] jumping up and down on me Nan’s head, picking up the [dirty] doormat and swinging it round above your head so that [muck] flies everywhere and pebbledashes me hallway, [inaudible, followed by hysterical laughter, followed by more inaudible, followed by what sounded like him crying but I can’t be sure] and then punching me pet cat Silver in the stomach and then setting fire to the cat and everyone else in the house and our garden as well, over and over again. [Inaudible] I can’t believe you did that to me, you [expletive]!’
Food for thought, Henry m’boy.
Now. Let’s talk contract. My last job paid me £238 per week, however I consider that this CONSIDERABLY undervalues a man of my esteem, talent, and dedication. Therefore don’t even waste your time rubberstamping your offer to me unless it’s got a big fat “£265 per week” on it. You gotta pay for the best Jonno.
Also, I’d like to take a penalty in the Kop End at half time during a game. It doesn’t have to be a big game, and I definitely don’t want it to be against a proper keeper. I’ll just wear a hat or something and cough a bit when I’m coming out so nobody asks any questions about why I’m there. In fact, I’ll choose a kid from the front row to go in goal – although you may need to ask the groundsman to iron out the wheel tracks before the second half starts.
I have attached my CV for your consideration and I am thrilled at the prospect of attending an interview,
P.S. By the way – what are you doing putting the club in the hands of somebody called “Damien”?! Have you never seen Only Fools and Horses?!
P.P.S. And also, when you said that you wanted ‘younger talent’ at the club, I’m surprised that you’re not doing all of the scouting yourself! In a completely unrelated note, my regards to Mrs Henry……
Written by Chris Burgess on 9th November 2010.
If you are offended by any of the comments made in this letter, they were probably written by John Corcoran, Chris’ mate and editing assistant.