“I remember seeing an American gangster film, and one of the characters said, ‘Foist is foist and second is nut’n.’ Then he took his gun and shot a bloke. Not many can be first in football.”
In saying that not many can be first in football, Shankly was saying that there is only one winner in football. In other words, because Chelski finished 2nd in the premiership, they were the last losers, with West Ham being the first loser. Football is a cruel game, where even only one team is glorified in any competition and that is the winning team. The rest are “also runs” even though their supporters may say, “we finished second”. The fact is that there is nothing in their trophy cabinet that says they won anything for finishing second. I know the Chelsea trophy cabinet is empty right now (in terms of 2010/2011 trophies).
In any country there are big teams, these team are title challengers in every single season. They strike fear in any other team and you can never write them off. In Spain, we talk of Real Madrid and Barcelona. In Italy there is AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juve. In Scotland we talk of Rangers and Celtic. In England the big teams are Liverpool, Man United ( ManUre) and Arsenal. Usually there are also seasonal teams that compete for honours inconsistently, like (again) Chelsea, Everton and now Man City (OMG more Mancs). They may have strong teams for a season or two, but are not considered as big teams, maybe ambitious is the word. The Daglish inspired Newcastle was once one of them.
Bringing the Story Home
I know that many fans are trying to be cautious when they talk of next season and what it may turn out to be. They do not want to be overzealous or over ambitious. Maybe it is because we have been saying “next season” for the past 21 years. So to them a more cautious approach is appropriate.
We are Liverpool, the biggest and the best team in the British Isles, if not the world. We are not afraid of any team or whoever. Next season we are going for that league title not because the Mancs now have 19, but because we are Liverpool. It is our right and duty to be title contenders every single season. That is why they call us a big team, because we fight for everything. A cautious approach is meant for that group I termed “the ambitious” not big teams, let alone Liverpool FC.
When LFC was in the second division, Mr Williams our chairman at the time said something really interesting to Shankly. This is what Bill Shankly said of it (at the time Shankly was the manager of Huddersfield);
“One day in 1959, when Huddersfield were playing Cardiff City, Tom (T.V.) Williams, who was then chairman of Liverpool, and Harry Latham, a director, came down the slope at Leeds Road to see me.
Mr Williams said, ‘How would you like to manage the best club in the country?’ “