Liverpool: Clear As Day 2013-14 Issue 9
The ninth instalment of Vital Liverpool's latest serialising of editor Gavin John Day's acclaimed Clear As Day football column...
During the course of the past season Vital Liverpool editor Gavin John Day has continued to pen his monthly Clear As Day column for LFC fanzine Anfield Roar.
With the campaign now over we are delighted to be able to share these articles with you and will be publishing the series at regular intervals over the coming weeks.
In this instalment, the ninth and final Clear As Day of the 2013-14 season, Gavin praises the club's rise from the doldrums and compares their spending of the three title challengers.
Clear As Day 2013-14 #9
Originally published: April 2014
Endless column inches have already been filled with gushing platitudes and superlatives concerning Liverpool's amazing season. And rightly so.
Such has been our fairytale rise from also-rans, it's hard to imagine what journalists and pundits will have left to convey if, and at this stage it remains purely an if, we do successfully close out the campaign and earn a first league title for 24 years.
The swashbuckling style of play, the fervent Anfield atmosphere and the host of British talent within the squad have all received blanket press coverage.
As have individuals such as manager Brendan Rodgers, record-breaking striker Luis Suarez and captain fantastic Steven Gerrard, all of whom won Premier League awards this past week for performances in March.
One of the most pleasing by-products of this phenomenal campaign is the boost it has given the club's image in the eyes of rival fans.
The past few years have seen Liverpool stumble from crisis to crisis with the football world looking on with a mixture of disgust and concern.
It is hard to believe that only three and a half years ago the club was on the brink of going out of business, drowning in a toxic debt of over £230million at the time of Fenway Sports Group's intervention.
Subsequent writs and court cases from former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillette helped to tarnish our once great reputation, but nothing can compare to the public mud-slinging which followed the Luis Suarez racism saga and our botched handling of the situation.
Further Suarez-related incidents have followed but even he, after being public enemy number one throughout the country, is now rightly regaling in positive plaudits after letting his feet, and not teeth, do the talking.
It might be a natural part of the British psyche to root for the underdog but I've still been pleasantly surprised to meet ardent Manchester United fans who've been forthcoming with praise and, although begrudgingly, even admit we deserve to win the championship.
Whether we do so or not remains undecided but this weekend's match with Chelsea will go a long way to determining the outcome.
Everyone connected to Liverpool FC, and it would seem the vast majority of neutrals, will be hoping we can pull it off but even second or third position would represent an amazing achievement for a team which finished seventh last season and eighth the year before.
Never before, in over 20 years of the Premier League, has a team who finished outside of the top three the season before gone onto win the title the following season. So to do it from seventh would be truly remarkable.
Admirably, Rodgers and FSG have even managed to turn the side into title contenders without spending a fortune.
The Northern Irishman has parted with a net total of just £20million this season and, out of the six notable incomings, only goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has become an established first team presence.
By comparison, City's outlay on new recruits during the current campaign is over £100million, with a net spend of almost £90million.
Chelsea have spent in a similarly staggering manner but have at least recouped some sizeable fees in outgoing transfers for a net spend of 'just' £53million.
To put further context against our transfer activity, according to figures calculated by the Transfer League, only four teams in the top 10 - Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Stoke City - had smaller net spends than the Merseysiders.
Teams who've spent more than Liverpool in net terms also include Cardiff City, Norwich City, Hull City and West Ham United.
With UEFA seemingly finally set to start imposing sanctions against clubs who contravene their financial fair play rules, the Reds also appear well placed to go on and prove this season hasn't merely been a freak occurrence.
Given I was just seven the last time Liverpool were champions of England, I still cannot fully comprehend the magnitude of what it must be like.
It's going to be a nervy few weeks but even the excitement of just being involved is intoxicating.
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Previous articles in this series2013-14Clear As Day Issue 1Clear As Day Issue 2Clear As Day Issue 3Clear As Day Issue 4Clear As Day Issue 5Clear As Day Issue 6Clear As Day Issue 7Clear As Day Issue 82012-13Clear As Day Issue 1Clear As Day Issue 2Clear As Day Issue 3Clear As Day Issue 4Clear As Day Issue 5Clear As Day Issue 6Clear As Day Issue 7Clear As Day Issue 8Clear As Day Issue 9Follow Gavin on Twitter @superbag
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