What's in a Name?
By Alex Fairchild
Bill Shankly once said, that he looked up Everton's position in the table when he cracked open the Sunday paper - looking from the bottom up. Sadly for Shankly's once followers and the club, they might as well look at Liverpool's position the same way.
Sitting below Everton is crushing not only to Liverpudlians and the club's worldwide base, but also to the club's psyche and its good name. Last year marked one of the few modern occasions in which their blue rivals finished higher in the table. With a measly 8th place finish, Liverpool were lucky to cling to one of the world's most talented strikers and gain one of the Premier League's brightest managers. If Brendan Rodgers cannot right the ship in a few years' time, all will be lost.
But, Liverpool are a club of such might and history you may say in response. Though, don't Blackburn, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, and the like have history too? Those once successful clubs, granted they have not been as strong as LFC, are what Liverpool could become. It is a scary prospect for any supporter, but it is one that is very real.
For Blackburn, it started when Rovers dominated football's early going. Between 1884 and 1891, the team took home 5 FA Cups. Around the turn of the century, Blackburn assured themselves two more league titles, before winning another FA Cup in 1928. Though, that is where the Blackburn story ends, until Kenny Dalglish picked up the pages in the 1990s winning the Premier League in 1995. In between their victory in 1928 and their run 18 years ago, the club had the occasional spurt via cup win or by topping the table of a lower division. In 2007, Blackburn's Interoto Cup triumph looks a last hurrah until the next Dalglish comes around. While the Venky's board may have something to do with their recent downfall, the team's lackadaisical form over the past decade has led to the downfall of the organization.
As for the others, Leeds and Forest, their successes were there, but not all the rage. Leeds won the league during their successful charge in the 1970s. While failing to win the European Cup, they were runners up in the time's key competitions multiple times. Nottingham Forest grasped the European Cup's big ears in back-to-back campaigns and took home a league title one year previous.
These sides do not boast Liverpool's '18 leagues' nor do they have a supporters base as large as the team from Merseyside. However, the above teams were once powers. Blackburn, 'Dirty Leeds' and Nottingham Forest all boast strong footballing traditions, though all three of those sides reside in the Championship.
A name can only get you so far. Liverpool, once a name of power and domination, has lost its bite. People see Liverpool as a laughing stock and rightfully so. The team struggles to score on occasion and fails to capitalize on its chances. If this does not turn around soon, Liverpool's name may loose its luster, more than it already has and is. If the club fail to qualify for the Champions League in the near term it will all be over.
After all, when a footballer signs for a club, they do not want to remember the club's past, as they want to remembered as the club's past and present. If the pattern of Liverpool's struggle continues, their players will only be associated with that past to which they, themselves, wish to add.