The Joe Allen chapter of Liverpool has ended, this I can accept, but I still felt genuinely disappointed when I read an interview with him in the Telegraph this week where he describes how his transition from a Red to a Potter finally happened…
“I actually had a text message off a friend congratulating me about making the move when I didn’t even know it was happening at the time. Not knowing whether the club intend to sell you or keep you, especially when you’re trying to ask the question, is disappointing.
“If I’m honest, to find out they accepted an offer through the press isn’t the best way of going about business, I don’t think. The communication wasn’t great but as soon as Liverpool accepted an offer I knew what their intentions were for me. It was a bit strange but that’s how things happen sometimes. There was no real goodbye, but I’m not the most sentimental person anyway. It’s irrelevant now because sitting here I’ve got the move I wanted.
“Being a regular wasn’t going to happen and that’s fair enough. If you look at the quality Liverpool have got in midfield, and maybe the age of the players, I think I’d have been waiting for injuries and suspensions. Realistically, if you’ve been there four years you expect more than that.
“I’m not going to be happy unless I’m on the pitch on a regular basis. I’m 26 now and the next four or five years are going to be my best. I’m really excited about this move because the ambition is there to get better. In the three seasons Mark Hughes has had you’ve seen the progress Stoke have made, the players he’s brought in and the style he has imposed. We’ve finished ninth three seasons running and the aim now is to look at those places above.
“As a Welshman I’d always dreamed of reaching a major tournament and wondered if it would ever happen but reaching the semi-finals is unforgettable. We were riding the crest of a wave, getting better and better, but Portugal was just one step too far. It maybe caught up with us.
“I’m a family guy who likes to fly under the radar. That’s why I don’t like talking about chickens! I’ve never really been comfortable in the spotlight. I’ve still got a family home in Swansea and get back when I can. People who know me probably get to see the real me.
“I’ve been asked about Twitter before and people say I should make more of an effort to get on there. At a club like Liverpool which has global support, people do want more access into you and your life, but I’m a bit more old school.
“(When asked about the Being: Liverpool documentary) That was one of the things that scarred me! I remember walking through the door and there was a camera crew there. That’s an example of where I’m out of my comfort zone and I’m not a big fan of that side of things.
“I’m a footballer and my job is out there on the pitch. I’ve always been a team player and seen my role as helping the team function better. I think I’ve got attributes that can help Stoke.”
Some of the more fanatical Red fans seem to think Allen is expressing sour grapes in this interview but I don’t believe that at all. In fact, Allen’s summing up of the reasons for why he no longer had a place at Liverpool is refreshingly objective and lacking in resentment. The only time he expresses disappointment is when he refers to not knowing whether he was staying or going and the way in which he was informed about his move.
As this will probably be the last blog I write about Allen I’ll put it on the record that I think both Rodgers and Klopp treated him poorly at times – Rodgers for asking him to play in a way that invited so much criticism, and Klopp for not giving him the dignified departure from the club he deserved. Some players can be accused of not putting in the effort, not being a team player, or not representing the club adequately off the field. Allen did none of these things. He was basically a gentleman in a sport with too few.