Liverpool The Real Big Spenders According to Ferguson: Who's Cracking Up Now?

Mick MenaceCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2009

BOLTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 17:  Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Manchester United at the Reebok stadium on January 17, 2009 in Bolton, England.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

At the Friday press briefings leading up to this weekend's fixtures Alex Ferguson announced that Liverpool under Rafa Benitez had spent £25 million more than he had as United manager. 

The obvious implication he was making was that Liverpool was the club buying success and that he was having to make do with rooting for change between the cushions of the couch.He had been flabbergasted by Rafa saying that the difference between his team and the Liverpool team was £100 million. 

I'm not sure if he actually said "flabbergasted" but I like that word. 

So he had the "sports technology department check it out." That sounds really cool. I wonder what a sports technology department does when it's not doing basic Internet searches and simple arithmetic.It does kinda make you wonder why he couldn't do this himself. 

I'm sure even Gary Neville or Wayne Rooney could help with the computer stuff (well maybe not Rooney but Vidic has some free time coming up). The arithmetic is fairly straightforward and he could probably borrow a calculator from a player's agent.

Maybe he can't remember how much he's spent on these guys. I mean you would think that every time he sees Nani or Anderson play he think's "£35 million! What the f**k were we thinking?" but maybe not. 

Maybe he's going senile. It would explain what he was saying about being the better team last Saturday at Old Trafford. Maybe he wanted an answer that made him look good and deflected attention from Liverpool.

I'm a software testing engineer and I work in the area of performance testing. My job is to determine how fast an application runs and how much memory and other things it will need. Part of my job is to try to make our product look good. Sometimes it's necessary to emphasize the good performance and neglect to mention or underplay the poor aspectsdespite what you might read, software is rarely perfect. 

I don't really lie. You could call it being economical with the truth.

Ferguson was correct in what he said as long as you're ridiculously economical with the truth. He was talking about gross spend over the time Benitez was at Liverpool and only that time. Benitez has had to replace almost an entire playing staff in that time because what he inherited was aging or crap or aging and crap (Harry Kewell).

Ferguson conveniently ignores selling players and the net spend is pretty close to the same for both clubssomewhere around £85 million. Not exactly pennies but player prices at the level they're competing are ridiculously high and are made worse by Chelsea's previous spending habits.

It also ignores that United had a pretty good squad when Benitez arrived. It's well worth reading Paul Tomkins' article on the official Liverpool website. I wouldn't claim Tomkins is unbiased but he does point out that when you add up the transfer fees for the United squad you get £206 million, and if you do the same for Liverpool you get £127 million. 

OK, that's not a difference of £100 million but Tomkins leaves out Carlos Tevez (I bet West Ham wish they could have done that) and I'm pretty sure I saw him playing last Saturday so that gets us pretty close to that £100 million number.

United has the highest turnover in the English game by quite a distance. They have an enormous stadium and a massive fan base. No other club has adapted to the changes in the English game as well as they have and thrived. They have a clear lead in the title race and are favorites for the European cup with a remarkably easy draw. 

Shouldn't Ferguson be proud of this? Or at least be quiet and show a little class for once?

At the end of the day all of this is just a little bit childish. I mean it's OK for us to come on here and call each other names and make spurious claims (actually it's kinda fun) but these are grown men leading two of the biggest clubs in the world. Enough of the schoolyard stuff. What's next? Sticking their tongues out and pulling hair? 

Although, neither of them has very much hair so that would probably be really funny.

Benitez should have ignored the taunts about Liverpool players "crumbling under the pressure of leading the league."  Right or wrong the "Rafa rant" (TM) only gave the press a story which made his job harder in the long run. Ferguson has been doing this backhand snide remarks about competitors for years.

The media call it "mind games"  but it should really be called "schoolgirl taunts."

I happen to think that he didn't "knock Liverpool off their f**king perch". After Hysel and Hillsborough, they began a decline that was accelerated by Graham Souness and only partially addressed by Gerrard Houllier. Manchester United just happened to be best positioned at the time of Liverpool's decline to over take them.

It could just as easily have been Blackburn or Leeds, if it weren't for lousy management or Jack Walkers' death. Or even Arsenal under George Graham. Now there's a thought to frighten small children.

Maybe Alex Ferguson can actually see that Liverpool under Rafa Benitez are slowly climbing back on to their perch.


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