Consolidation still key despite Old Trafford display

SO NOW the penny is beginning to drop. From the start, this season had ‘CONSOLIDATION’ branded into its wrinkled flesh and we’ve seen little to change that perception.

A galling admission to make in the middle of September after dejectedly traipsing out of the vile pit.

No rash judgements about failure — whatever that word actually means nowadays — should be made on the back of defeat at United. If you remove the freakish Houllier years from the records, our results there have been appalling.

One win for Rafa, one for Kenny, two for Bob; Shankly did better, abetted by Busby’s retirement if truth be told. It has always been a nightmare of a place in every way.

Ah but the manner of it, say the purists, that’s what is truly galling. Sorry, but precisely when did Liverpool take the game to them on their soil? Hardly ever, under Evans a few times maybe — a fat lot of good it did him.

We had the odd smile this year; a few minutes of glee after the equaliser and an assertion from the mutants that Howard Webb is a Scouser (and I thought Comedy shared a coffin with Peter Cook) but sadly it was the same old miserable reluctance to test what is beginning to look a dodgy defence.

Team selection was positive but again we were hoaxed by flattering deception. The ‘comeback’ was a straw to clutch but it was no more valid than the idea we “battered” them 4-1 18 months ago. Roy’s got the same number of points as Rafa from the equivalent fixtures thus far, so the real business starts now with a sequence of winnable games.

He has to become more positive from now on if he is to outwit the internet lynch mobs decrying his every decision and statement. The putrid waft of Retribution will linger in the air for as long as he demonstrates he has little more to offer.

He didn’t get the job to ‘emulate’ the preceding, appalling season. The fairer supporters are trying their best, knowing that Jesus himself could not have brought this club back to life at the moment, but to go down without a fight would be pointless.

It’s not just the still-grieving Rafalytes he has to contend with. Of all the Anfield Legends still alive and kicking, none outrank Dalglish. There was a significant core of our support that would have had him back in the dugout in a heartbeat.

This may be as close to heresy as you’re likely to get about The King, but the cynics may suspect this book of his was originally timed to coincide with his coronation, no doubt doubling the sales in the process.

A hasty rewrite was probably in order once the offer of his services was declined, but from the juicy selections the press have dangled before us one thing remains abundantly clear; it would be moronic to pretend Kenny still doesn’t want the job, and that will put anything he says or writes from now on under the microscope. Some were even questioning him in Rafa’s time. The story about him agitating to come back in the 90’s, a time when he still had the power albeit with Blackburn and widely recognised as the moment United really got away from us, smacked of an attempt to link past incompetence with today’s venality.

“Don’t make the same mistake again” seemed to be the sub-text, which would be as welcome to Hodgson as a fart in a spacesuit.

The web conspiratorium will go into overdrive of course. Despite being snubbed by Purslow, Kenny still seems palsy walsy with him, snuggled together at virtually every game now.

This further fuels the theory that Roy was hired to ‘take the hit’ for what everyone knew would be a lifeless, ambitionless season, leaving no option but for Kenny to dust off his cape and fly to the rescue, perhaps with new owners and some transfer money.

Far-fetched obviously, and with one fly of Jeff Goldblum proportions in the ointment; Tom Hicks is still haggling and hassling, cajoling and schmoozing.

What seemed impossible two months ago now looks frighteningly real; the slug may yet retain control of his mythical meal ticket. At what cost I can’t imagine, and frankly wouldn’t if I could, for sanity’s sake. When defeat at Old Trafford becomes of no consequence, you know you’re in trouble.

Up to the neck.

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