WWTS…What Would Ted Say!
I love a great movie line. Always have and always will. When my buddy and I were enjoying a few pints one night on a recent trip, I swear we communicated with each other using movie quotes from the classics. And why wouldn’t you if you could? When you are able to land the perfect reply to a situation through the lens of a classic fictional character, it’s instant gratification.
You may be wondering what any of that has to do with Liverpool Football Club. Ted Lasso has become one of the surprise sensations to come out of Hollywood in quite some time. When NBC was trying to promote their new deal with the Premier League, then Saturday Night Live star Jason Sudeikis was brought on for a series of comedic commercials acting as an American football coach brought over to lead a soccer team in England. It wasn’t until years later that Apple agreed to bring the character to life for an initial ten-episode series last year. Personally, I was skeptical. In case you hadn’t heard, Ted Lasso annihilated the competition at the recent Emmy awards given for television programs. This success was a greater upset than Leicester City winning the Premier League. No one could have predicted it. Even Jürgen Klopp loves the show, recently admitting in a post-match interview that “getting mentioned by Ted Lasso is better than getting the trophy for best manager.”
I don’t know how true that really is, but the fact is Ted Lasso is a fantastic show loaded with great quotes. Admittedly it’s not the best show if you are looking for authentic football storylines, in fact, at times, it can get downright cringeworthy. But it’s well worth the watch. So, after Liverpool entered the recent international break on the heels of a 3-2 road defeat at West Ham, my social media feed looked like the sky was falling. Every piece of news related to Liverpool Football Club was negative. For two whole weeks, I had to deal with reading about the next cause of the Liverpool apocalypse. It got me thinking of a very relevant question about these impending doomsday scenarios. What would Ted say? I dug into the archives of the show and tried my best to answer that question with a myriad of Ted Lasso quotes plus one from a supporting character.
“Chelsea drop points at home to Burnley, and then we go and blow a great chance by losing at West Ham the next day!!!”
“This is a sad moment right here. For all of us. And there ain’t nothing I can say, standing in front of you right now that can take that away. But please do me this favor, will you? Lift your heads up and look around this locker room. Yeah? Look at everybody else in here. And I want you to be grateful that you’re going through this sad moment with all these other folks. Because I promise you, there is something worse out there than being sad, and that is being alone and being sad. Ain’t nobody in this room alone. Let’s be sad now. Let’s be sad together. And then we can be a gosh-darn goldfish. Onward. Forward.”
If there is one takeaway that most everyone associates with this show, it’s the concept of being a goldfish. This is extremely difficult for any long-time Liverpool supporter. We’ve had to live through over thirty years of agony watching Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United win title after title until they ultimately eclipsed our perch. It’s hard to be a goldfish when that annoying United fan constantly reminds us how shit we were under Hicks and Gillett. The pain ran too deep and the scars are too visible. But now the tide has shifted, and we all see the real opportunity to get back on that perch. The margin is so very thin. We’ve proven that 97 points earned in a season may only be good enough for second place. That’s only seventeen points off the maximum possible, so every loss is magnified in this new world of perfection. Still, you can’t let that loss foster negative thoughts about the squad. The players need to be goldfish, so should the fan. I play a lot of golf, and it’s no secret that perfection in golf is impossible. I find I am playing at my best when I can forget about the last bad tee shot. Instead of dwelling on why I missed the last shot, I try to focus on how I can turn that into an incredible par that my friends will be toasting after the round. Be a goldfish and minimize the impact when the inevitable negativity creeps in. It’s great advice.
“I hate the international break. Every time we get players like Hendo, Sadio Mane, and Andy Robertson who go off and get injured and we lose them for important matches.”
“It’s kinda like all the nipples in that movie Showgirls. Halfway through, you don’t even notice. You just kinda get sucked into the narrative.” I grew up loving sports. I was an athlete since I can remember and a not half-bad footballer. Not a day went by in my childhood that I didn’t dream of that moment where I won a gold medal representing the United States. There is no greater honor than walking out on that pitch with millions of your countrymen rooting for your success to bring glory back to the motherland. Why should today’s professional footballers act any differently? I’ve got news for you. They don’t. Understand that this is not an issue that only affects Liverpool. Paul Pogba got injured in training for France last week and is out until the new year. Arsenal’s Sead Kolasinac picked up a significant ankle injury while playing for Bosnia-Herzegovina and missed our match against them on Saturday. Manchester City’s Jack Grealish left the England camp early as a precaution. The point here is, the best teams have the best players, who are going to be called upon to serve their country in an effort to qualify for the World Cup. Injuries during an international break happen so often, I hardly notice any more. Neither should you. Just get sucked into the narrative and appreciate how awesome it will be to see Andy Robertson leading Scotland in their first World Cup appearance since France 1998.
“I told you so. I knew that we were going to regret not adding to our depth last summer.”
“Sometimes the best stew is the one you leave sitting on the stove overnight ’cause you fell asleep watching Citizen Kane after too many beers.”
Who’s to say that anyone at Liverpool Football Club regrets adding depth? This is an actual comment to a post I read last week after it was reported that Sadio Mane left the Senegal match due to injury precaution. Had we added another player in the last window, LFC would have been forced to move another player out on loan, and most likely that player would have been Harvey Elliott. Granted his injury timing was unfortunate, but what I saw him accomplish in a short span of time at the beginning of this season was enough for me. He’ll be back on the pitch this season and play a part in whatever success the club ultimately achieves. Maybe Klopp and Michael Edwards knew this all along, so you can’t say that they “fell asleep” during the window. But I don’t think anyone can deny that Harvey makes the Liverpool stew better in the squad as opposed to being out on loan.
“Fenway Sports Group just bought the Pittsburgh Penguins. Just another place for them to take money away from Liverpool!”
“There’s two buttons I never like to hit, alright? And that’s ‘panic’ and ‘snooze.'”
This is perhaps my favorite Ted Lasso quote to date. It’s funny and appropriate on so many levels. It also serves a dual purpose. Supporters love to hit the ‘panic’ button whenever things deviate off course. But the fact remains that they only do this when things deviate off their course. No one really knows what the long-term strategy is for the club, so you can’t really tell if things are going to plan or not. Here’s a fact for you. The NHL has a hard salary cap. As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, the Pittsburgh Penguin’s salary cap will remain at $81.5M for the next season. At the same time, the Boston Red Sox paid their players $142.4M last season. Add them together and you still haven’t reached the $234.6M in wages that Liverpool reportedly paid their players last season. So what exactly are we concerned about here? FSG has consistently shown that they treat each of their investments as a single entity responsible for their own profit and loss. The Pittsburgh Penguins should not be any different. The second part of that quote is the ‘snooze’ button. I’m the first to admit that I love that extra nine minutes of sleep I get when I hit that button. But the business of sports is no place to rest on your laurels. If you aren’t adapting, you aren’t evolving, and you risk becoming stale. When it’s time to wake up and take action, you do it or risk falling behind. Venturing off into different arenas can be a good thing, especially when the risk is as low as it would appear to be. Is it be possible that FSG might learn something new from the National Hockey League? Something that may be transferable to the Premier League and possibly give LFC an advantage that no other club can see? Unlikely, but if you’re hitting the ‘snooze’ button then you might miss out on an opportunity to get an edge no one else has.
“Aston Villa just named Steven Gerrard their manager and I don’t know what to think.”
“Doing the right thing is never the wrong thing.”
Ever since Steven Gerrard took the top job for Rangers, I was skeptical that it was the right decision for his career. In my mind, he needed to remain at Liverpool Football Club and absorb as much from Klopp as humanly possible. Perhaps I had bought into the Shankly/Paisley relationship and was hoping that could be duplicated with our legendary midfielder. But truth be told, going off to Scotland and proving he could be successful was an important part of his development as a manager. He knocked Celtic off their perch and helped bring Rangers back to the top of Scottish football. He’s proven he can win as a big fish in a little pond. Now he needs to continue his professional development and learn how to win as a little fish in a big pond. Aston Villa is a great chance to do that. It will be difficult to see our iconic legend on the other side of the sideline at Anfield on December 11, but it will be great to see him help Villa avoid relegation and re-establish themselves as a Premier League regular club. I firmly believe that Gerrard is destined to become a future Liverpool manager, but I’d rather he acquire as much polish and experience as possible before that happens. Naming an iconic legend to be manager without proper seasoning is not a great recipe. Just ask Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Getting Premier League experience is the logical next step for Gerrard. It’s the right thing to do, which is never the wrong thing.
“If we don’t buy another midfielder this January, then I’m all for FSG Out.”
“Whenever I break up with someone, I spend months questioning it, wondering if I made a huge fucking mistake. But you’ve really helped me to feel good about this decision just by… being you.”
No further explanation needed.
“Michael Edwards is leaving after the season. I hope his assistant Julian Ward has learned from the greatest!”
“Boy, I love meeting people’s moms. It’s like reading an instruction manual as to why they’re nuts.”
OK, this quote may be a bit of a stretch. But I think you get the point. Michael Edwards is perhaps the greatest talent acquisition specialist I have ever seen. Not because of the players he could recruit, but because of the transfer fees, he could collect from offloading players no one wanted to see remain at Liverpool. The list is ridiculous and shows his pure evil genius. At the end of the season, he will depart and be replaced by assistant Julian Ward. He’s been with the club since 2012. Much like a mother helps dictate the development of her children, the hope is that Edwards did the same with Julian Ward. Time will tell. Edwards will be missed, but all will be forgotten once Ward offloads Sheyi Ojo to the Championship while recouping £10M in the process. (Yes, that’s right. Now 24-year-old Ojo is still on our books and is currently serving the eighth loan spell of his career at Millwall.)
“Chelsea and Manchester City are just too good. They’re running away with it. We’ve got too much going against us to compete over the long haul”
“You say impossible, but all I hear is ‘I’m possible.'”
Do you know how many times I told myself last season that Liverpool had no chance to finish in the top four??? Not a chance, playing with Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams as your two center halves. You know how that ended. Never again will I doubt a Klopp-led Liverpool squad can achieve great things. What they did last year should have been impossible. But they did it. With 27 matches remaining in the current Premier League (over 70% of the season), I know that winning our 20th league title is definitely possible!
“Our fan base can be so toxic at times”
“It’s just a group of people who care. Not unlike folks at a hip-hop concert whose hands are not in the air.”
I’m guilty of this one. We now live in a world of polarizing viewpoints. It doesn’t matter if you are talking sports, politics, or religion. Everyone has an opinion, and you’re either with it or against it. If you want to believe something to be true, a quick search of the Internet will lead you to an article confirming what you want to be true. What we sometimes forget, at least in the world of sports, is that we all care and just want the best for our team. There are multiple roads to success, and we are all convinced we know the way. But at the end of the day, we don’t know shit. We’re not at training every day watching the players and how they perform. We are not negotiating contracts with player agents in the back office. Yet none of that changes the fact that we all care about Liverpool Football Club. We just want to see the team win trophies.
Lastly, I want to conclude this with one final quote from the coaching genius of Ted Lasso:
“If the Internet has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes it’s easier to speak our minds anonymously.”
Let this quote serve as a reminder to everyone out there that just because you read something someone posted on social media does not mean you need to engage. Many times, these trolls are fans from rival clubs looking to get their deranged jollies from a battle of the keyboard. Ignore them. Take the high road. Enjoy the football, and revel in the fact that Liverpool is still alive to be the first club to win the quadruple. We’ve got two meaningless Champions League matches coming up, a winnable League Cup quarterfinal and a huge month of December matches including another Merseyside Derby all before Santa climbs down your chimney. Win, lose or draw (which is most certainly not listed in Revelations as the cause for the apocalypse), we are Liverpool! It all started on Saturday against Arsenal, where beforehand I predicted a 5-1 win for the Reds (close enough at 4-0!). But if they hadn’t won, that’s OK. Because as Ted told us earlier, “there is something worse out there than being sad, and that’s being alone and being sad. Ain’t no one in this room alone.” Never forget that. We are Liverpool! See you at the pub!
The opinions expressed in this blog are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of AmericanScouser.com or Liverpool Football Club. I am the author of the books Walking Through The Storm and The Golden Sky both available on Amazon, Kindle, World Soccer Shop, and other book outlets. Follow me on Twitter at @kjkendra11