Christmas Surprise – Elvis Presley Challenge returns one week only – Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers

The conqueror adrift causes dismay or glee.  Elvis was eminent in one decade but hapless in another. Those he had previously vanquished insisted that he had been lucky and not talented. Elvis reacted by making different music but his inclusive aspirations did not suit a confrontational and ideological age.

Less than six months ago, Brenda Rodgers was voted Manager Of The Year. His team had scored a record number of goals. Now, when faced by opponents with grit and organisation, his Liverpool team crumbles. Like Elvis in the 70s, Rodgers searches for a formula that will resist the opposition of others.

Elvis was unlucky with history because the worst thing that can happen to a man who conquers the world is for it to change.  Rodgers lost Suarez and Sturridge, and the instincts that enabled him to convert gifted attackers into the most dangerous forward line in the world are now redundant.  Pace has not disappeared from the team as some say.  There is none in the forward line but the squad has several light fast footballers.  Elvis lost youthful energy.  Having more than anyone, his reaction to loss was extreme. He overlooked the edge that made him so successful with the blues and decided to sing ballads.  Rodgers ignores attacking midfielders and plays defensive football.

Simultaneously simple and complex, the formulae of football and rock and roll are irresistible.  They also share the same capacity for deceit. What we watch or hear is always distorted by conspiracy. Rodgers has been called stubborn for persisting with the 4-2-3-1 team formation.  Elvis turned away from rockabilly and was thought pig headed.  We assumed that all a rock and roll star had to do was make great records.  We did not know that the situation was complicated by the demands of his record company, Vegas, Hollywood and Parker. The people who fund big money always leave fingerprints on what they have bought.  Borini has not been picked instead of the lumbering and tiring Lambert but the owners or Rodgers may want to drive the player out of the club and secure funds to buy a striker with pace and energy.  We cannot understand the situation with Elvis and we have no idea what is happening at Anfield.  Rodgers may not be being paid his ridiculous wages to manage a football team but to handle the situation until Borini is sold and Sturridge is fit.  Elvis was a mystery for most of his life because he was managed by an incompetent who was an expert in self-serving propaganda.  The activities of a football club are as transparent as decision making in a totalitarian regime.  Rodgers could be a genius who is in a bad situation or a mediocre talent once flattered by explosive and exceptional strikers.  We cannot know.  Unable to escape his situation, Elvis said he was tired of being Elvis Presley. If Rodgers fails, he will find another situation.  History might reveal enough for proper evaluation. Elvis was not that lucky.

Howard Jackson has had three books published by Liverpool publishers, Red Rattle Books.  His book Treat Me Nice compares Elvis to the Creature in Frankenstein.  His next book, Nightmares Ahead, will be published by Red Rattle Books in Spring 2015.  If you want to read more about Elvis and American culture click here.



Brazil Horror – Luis Suarez And The Bite


Luis Suarez and biting is like British Royalty.  Neither goes away.  Suarez leaves England rehabilitated and holding various awards only to sink his teeth into a handsome Italian. The cannibal is now a gourmet.  Swastika adorned Prince Harry once gave Republicans hope, an arrogant idiot who would fatally undermine the institution.  But idiots have advisors. Prince Harry has planted a tree in the rainforest outside Sao Paulo.  ‘Plant trees is what we do,’ said Prince Harry.  No mention of the other occupation, the collection of millions in rent and Government subsidies.  He made a trip to a social project in a non-typhus threatened favela. Prince Harry met the orphans of drug fatalities.

This is a World Cup that could be defined by blindness.  We watch Royalty plant symbolic trees or smile at innocent child victims and assume it is a step towards social justice when, of course, it is the opposite.  The smiles of the powerful help the exploitation continue.

The window of the suite that houses the ITV World Cup commentary team from the UK has been damaged by a bullet.  Somebody took a pot shot without killing anyone. The commentary team remains.  Only the best glass for the media, so everyone is safe.  The bullet indentation is visible but rarely mentioned.  Football is the circus that obscures everything, which is the intention.  I am a football fan but it is depressing to read about the superior intellectual life of the British Working Class* that existed before football arrived.

Much more has been written about the bite of Luis Suarez than the demonstrations that continue in Brazil. Political protests have featured balloons that say ‘FIFA go home’ and English fans were attacked by Brazilians, not demonstrators, who used explosives.  Little of this has been mentioned on British TV.  Instead, we have disease immune favelas and residents with impeccable teeth blessed by the latest camera filters.  And English football fans confirm in interviews that Brazilians are so friendly.  Somebody should mention the £500,000 damage inflicted on a single Mercedes dealership.   As once was nearly said, ‘The cries of the victims are not always just but we will never understand justice until we listen to them.’

Not much listening at the moment, unless you are Prince Harry planting a tree.   The dealership is worth thinking about.  10% of Brazilians have to survive on less than $2 a day, half a pint of terrible lager in England.  And yet a single shop will sit on the corner of a Brazilian street with over a $1m worth of stock.  Meanwhile, doubt free neoconservatives proclaim we live in the best of possible worlds.  Our Royalty speak to the poor, favelas look inspiring in Coca Cola adverts and nobody can deny the lucky people their Mercedes.  Football is a narrative that only has two outcomes.  One side beats the other or the two sides draw.   Dull perhaps but it contains the only victories left to those who are without power and wealth.  Come on, Brazil.


Howard Jackson has travelled extensively in Brazil.  If you would like to read about his 11,000 mile journey around Brazil click here.   


*The Intellectual Life Of The British Working Classes – Jonathan Rose Yale University Press