Klopp Cult

To witness the unveiling of a Liverpool manager can at times feel like being transported into a scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. The more Jürgen Klopp moved to play down his Messianic qualities yesterday, billing himself as a “normal guy from the Black Forest”, the more he succeeded in preaching to the newly converted ... Two quotes from the film sprang to mind as Klopp radiated charm and charisma on his first full day at Anfield yesterday. The first is when poor Brian’s claims to ordinariness are met with the claim that “only the true Messiah denies his divinity”. The second is when, again, he tells his followers that he is not the Messiah, only for one of them to respond: “I say you are, lord, and I should know. I’ve followed a few.” - Times of London.

Liverpool Football Club have proclaimed the arrival of a redeemer, Lord Jurgen Klopp. A messiah born in a little stable somewhere in Germany who will rescue them from mediocrity and render onto them salvation from the woes that have befallen the once great club since its banishment from the Garden of European glory.

The wise men of media punditry have lauded the arrival of the Saviour, only a minority amongst their number graphically outlining the long financial, cultural and sporting decline of the club. Jeremiahs are never popular even when their voice is more needed than the musings of the sentimental and sycophantic.

Klopp believes his team can arrive in championship heaven within four years and asks for a bit of hope from the fans. Dope rather than hope might produce such an expectation.  It might well be nothing to do with his personal belief in Jesus that he can harbour such expectations for a team that has been on the decline for almost three decades.

Yet if he falls short he will not have to refund his substantial earnings to the church of the lost souls by way of indulgences to lessen the punishment for failure, "up to £7 million a season ... could earn in excess of £25 million over the agreement."

No time spent in Purgatory and all that. Managing in Switzerland is as hot as it is likely to get for Klopp if he does not make it to Nirvana. The fans will foot the bill, paying for their own misery. Much like the fools that throw their hard earned dollars into the evangelical bucket of the mega rich televangelists.

Thinking that religious people are deranged for holding onto a belief that some guy with a beard is going to ride over the hill and save them, while sneering at them for lining the pockets of mega rich ministers, are soccer fans any wiser, remunerating  the plutocratic soccer players and managers? Think of what Toxeth could do with an extra 4 million a year ... schools, hospitals, soup kitchens in Cameron's neoliberal utopia.

Einstein warned that insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting a different result. Klopp’s last season as coach at Borussia Dortmund is salutary in that rather than distinguishing him from Brendan Rodgers, who despite coming close on one occasion failed to set the Premiership alight, his side's results were remarkably similar to the Liverpool manager he replaces. He appears to have suffered from the same inability to defend.

As it sits, it is very hard to identify with this Scouse based gang of globe trotting millionaires strutting their wares on the field and giving very little back in return. If they have anything in common with the 96 fans who lost their lives in 1989 watching a good team I fail to see what it is. Any attachment I have to the current lot is not really for them at all, more to do with the emotional attachment to the victims of Hillsborough. For that reason I like to see Liverpool do well but for few other reasons.

It is possible to see how the massive pay differential between the current crop and the players of Glentoran ~ the East Belfast team I followed as a child ~ can be rationalised, but not justified. Multiple times the wages they are certainly not multiple times the talent. Glentoran managed a 1-1 draw against the old enemy, the Blues, at Windsor yesterday, Curtis Allen scoring in the fourth minute of added time. I derived more satisfaction from that than anything Liverpool have managed in quite a while. At a game like that the spectator is more inclined to feel they got something for their money rather than watching Preening Prima Donas. How much does Curtis Allen get a week?

Back in the day I attended those Belfast derby games at both Windsor and the Oval, never once paying in, getting ”lifted over” every time. Also back in the day I was memorised by a Liverpool side that beat the Blues 3-1 in a pre-season friendly at Windsor.  Nostalgia for sure but better than nausea at the modern day greed.

And who shall we look to if Klopp fails? Best to go atheist on messiahs. He is the last, none to follow. Klopp is now landlord at the last chance saloon.

Meanwhile the question still  awaiting answer:
Will Liverpool recapture the glory days of the seventies and eighties or are they in terminal decline? A question that seems debatable today but that would have been unimaginable in the glory days of the 1980s.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

7 comments to ''Klopp Cult"

  1. The farmyard derby comes to the Prem : Klopp vs Mou .

  2. I would be happy enough if you stopped nicking our feckin players...

  3. MH are you referring to Curtis Allen?

    We might just have a Blues man now!!

  4. Oh ffs sake take off yer rose tinted sentimental goggles. "Back in the day" football stadiums were dangerous, inside and out, the play on the field was slow and the players ate and drank like it was going out of fashion. All good players got a good bootin' and the pitches were like ploughed fields. I suppose you still want to see the players paid 2 and 6 for a week's work? What would Toxteth do with all those millions? Toxteth is a much better place than it was 25 years ago and you want to take away their biggest love, Liverpool FC? You sound like a Soviet era apparachik spreading doom and greyness. Knock down Anfield and build a big factory for the proletariate! Damn those capitalists!
    I lived in Madrid for 6 years, for 5 of them I had a season ticket for Atletico. I got to see Torres and Aguero then Forlan and Aguero destroy defences. I got to see Messi, Ronaldo, Lampard, Gerrard, Kaka, Henry, Ronaldinho and a host more for €500 per season, less than €20 per game. I got to sit with 45,000 fanatics in a safe, comfortable stadium to watch the highs and lows of a football season. I got to see what Atletico means to the working classes in the "barrio". You can reminisce about the Cock 'n' Hens in the 70s all you like and rail against the money in the modern game all you like, but I will take the modern game any day, olgarchs and all.

  5. Peter,

    if I spent my days watching Bangor I would feel that way too!

  6. Klopp just oozes charisma. I wrote an article calling for Van Gaal to go, Klopp was the replacement I wanted for United, before other clubs like Liverpool had got there, now its too late.

    PS maybe Dr McIntyres prophetic tendency wears off onto his readers, since I had also called Corbyns accendency on a Mick Hall piece on the labour leadership elections that had actually omitted Corbyns name, at a time he was 600-1 at the bookies to win. If these things come in three's I should add for posterity my third prediction was for Dr McIntyre to undergo some Bruce to Caitlyn Jenner type tranistion. Interesting times ahead for Liverpool (and their supporters).

  7. Friends in Germany tell me Klopp is OK, a likeable guy and good manager, time will tell. Rogers was the type of manager who believed his own PR hype. which shows perhaps he is not that confident in his own shoes. Klopp brought a smile to my face when he said he was happy with the set up at Liverpool which allowed others to buy in the players, saying it worked well (opps). He is known for micro managing both club and men if he gains some success the yanks will be off..

    Not sure if true but I read for the first time Liverpool had no local lads in the side, is that true?

    Looked at what the bookies are offering on Corbyn to be PM the other day, thought I would have a flutter but best I could get was 8/1. Perhaps yet another example of the mainstream media being out of touch with reality on ground?


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