What are these "Rules" You Speak Of
This was written on the evening of Thursday 7th June 2017 – it all may have changed by the time you read it.
So, I thought that I’d have a bit of a break from writing about Saints. As I write Claude is still a dead man walking and the transfer window isn’t open.
Do you want the long version or the short version?
Okay, short version. Liverpool tapped up Virgil, Saints got the arse and reported them to the Premier League and then Liverpool knew that they were guilty as hell and apologised and pulled out of the chase in the hope that the Premier League didn't impose sanctions.
The even shorter version is that Liverpool are cunts.
The full version is that news broke on Monday from several Liverpool media outlets that Virgil van Dijk had indicated that he wanted to join Liverpool as opposed to joining Chelsea or Manchester City or heaven forbid, staying at Southampton. In the normal scheme of things, no one as good as he is would choose to join Liverpool ahead of Chelsea or Manchester City. The media world was in a frenzy with the BBC writing a piece to declare that Virgil would be signing for Liverpool as he indicated that as its preference. It was written in the usual style of ‘Big club gets what they wants, small club doesn’t matter – just accept it and be grateful’.
Woah boy - Hang on just a goddam minute, he's got five years left of his contract to run and Saints categorically said they do not need to sell and that we don’t want to sell. Then more details began to emerge and they were that Virgil was swayed by Jurgen Klopp’s personal involvement in trying to sign him. Wow, hang on a fucking minute. So, if this is to believed, the manager of Liverpool has got personally involved in trying to sign a player that he had no permission to speak to and so M’lud, one must logically conclude that this is a clear case of tapping up and that my friends, is against the rules.
My head was already racing with all this going round and I actually had a short Twitter exchange with Phil McNulty, who is the head of sport at the BBC and writer of the BBC article. I have an issue with the BBC reporting gossip, what with it being funded by licence fees and all that but all he was interested in was the Liverpool side of the story regarding them being the club the Virgil wanted to join. I said to him that surely the tapping up angle was the story here as Liverpool have already picked up a ban from signing use players for using underhand inducements to a 12-year-old. In other walks of life but that’s called grooming. McNulty wasn’t interested in the slightest in that angle and just arrogantly signed off with a condescending, we'll see and I'm convinced that I'm right attitude.
In the meantime we had to tolerate a ridiculous amount of arsehole Liverpool fanbase gloating and the Liverpool media waving their collective dicks around. “Oh my God, a player has decided to join us ahead of Manchester City and Chelsea, it's the Klopp effect… We are on our way back… We’re the biggest and best club in the land… You’ll Never Walk Alone…. Fuck off!!!
From a Saints fan angle, of course we were all thinking that the board had caved in yet again and despite saying they didn't need to sell, they were going to sell to the first bidder who came along, directly contradicting what Ralph Krueger had said in an interview about a week ago.
On Tuesday, the Saints board had obviously met and the local Daily Echo journalists then ran a story saying that Saints had got the right arse over the reports and had asked the Premier League to investigate if Liverpool had it done anything wrong. Talk about negotiating from a position of strength as they obviously had.
In the meantime, John Cross of The Daily Mirror, never the most reliable of publications, had printed details of Liverpool flying Virgil to Blackpool of all places to meet Juergen Klopp and then receiving several text messages afterwards regarding the potential move. I don't know whether all of this was true but if it was, the personal involvement of Klopp was going to be like a noose around Liverpool’s neck. Phil McNulty the BBC didn't get back to me after that despite my repeated goading on Twitter. ‘Hi Phil, remember me from yesterday…”
Wednesday went by and then at about 5 o'clock came the glorious moment...
“We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk"
“We respect Southampton's position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player.”
Apparently it was a misunderstanding – misunderstanding my big fat hairy arse. What a shower of cunts. With a grovelling apology, came the news that the Premier League would be dropping the investigation. This is of course the only reason that Liverpool apologised in the first place because they fucking knew they were guilty but good old John Cross from the Mirror, who is my new journalistic hero, went to print again to say that Southampton still wanted the Premier League to investigate and the most interesting part of that was that apparently, other clubs were lining up behind Saints to give Liverpool a kicking.
Then of course, all the dodgy deeds of the past came falling out of the woodwork to remind everyone what a scummy operation Liverpool is. The near identical tactics to try and sign Clint Dempsey from Fulham a few years ago – tap up, get reported, apologise. They are like the football equivalent of Katie Hopkins who has a modus operandii of ‘Tweet a load of shit, delete it once everyone’s read it and then apologise’. Liverpool only apologise when they get caught. So, get your popcorn and watch this space.
The investigation into Liverpool transfer dealings should absolutely still take place. No way should this be brushed under the carpet. The player has been unsettled and that is specifically what the rules are supposed to prevent. Saints now have to deal with, unhappy player who has responded in textbook fashion by changing his Twitter bio in removing a picture of him in a Saints shirt and replacing it with one in a Holland shirt and changing the sentence ‘professional player with Southampton FC’ to ‘professional player’. We also have to deal with the fact that our captain, whilst he has been injured and getting fit again, has being fucking off to meet Juergen Klopp to try and try and arrange a transfer for himself. So, in short, he's acting like a right wanker and so there are bridges to be built there.
Where it leaves us with Virgil is anyone's guess – he could still leave for elsewhere but we have to applaud the board for standing firm and striking a blow for the little guy. Another sale to Liverpool would have been too much and I think that they knew that. Virgil changing agent in the middle of last season to the Wasserman Group (I think they’re called) was always going to make things more difficult for Saints and their role in all this is an interesting angle as well. Maybe he’ll throw them under a bus and that could be a way to repair any damage done.
I really hope that the Premier League throw the book at Liverpool and they get something like being banned from making any transfers for the next three transfer windows. It would serve the bastards right. The arrogance of Liverpool and in particular, Juergen Klopp staggering. He is an over-hyped bang average manager who in four attempts against us last year, in a year when we really weren’t very good, couldn't even get his team to score one fucking goal. The irony is that we are probably getting rid of our manager because we weren’t very good at scoring goals. It's unbelievable that Klopp had these meetings and messages with Virgil in the first place. He knows the rules but the arrogant fucker obviously didn't think they applied to him. Yes they fucking do, dickhead. Hopefully the ‘Klopp effect’ will mean that they can’t sign anyone for a while.
The LFC Media is interesting to read. The ‘proper’ papers like the Liverpool Echo are up in arms at their incompetence and really fearful of the consequences and incredulous at what Liverpool had done which is bad enough to trigger the complaint and subsequent embarrassing grovelling apology. Of course, the media that poses as pseudo-official is still talking in delusional tones about how they could still sign him. Are they for real? The tone of the Liverpool fans on Twitter has somewhat changed – some directing anger at their owners, some at Saints obviously because we should just roll over and let him join a bigger club but strangely, none directed at their manager. Having to issue an apology (apparently Saints insisted on it being public) is crushingly embarrassing but on it’s own it’s not enough. They’ve done that before. Katie Hopkins is still using the same tactics.
Let us not kid ourselves that tapping up doesn't go on, of course it does but Liverpool have obviously crossed the line here in their absolute desperation to get back to where they used to be. Saints will have known that Liverpool were talking to him – anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional. Whatever happens now, the constant procession of transfers from Southampton to Liverpool is over for a long time and they are going to have to be squeaky clean with every transfer deal they do from now on because if any selling club suspects anything, they are going to be straight in touch with the Premier League. Ironically, there will probably be a massive rush for Liverpool to get other deals over the line before they get a transfer ban. Make it happen Premier League.
Summer as a Saints fan – never a dull moment – and the transfer window isn’t even open yet.
In case you were wondering, Phil McNulty, Senior BBC Sports Writer, is still not returning my calls.
If Liverpool Was a Person