The announcement that Paul Ince had signed veteran Robbie Fowler for Blackburn indicated the conclusion of the first part in the wily manager's faultless plan: to sign the entire Liverpool team of 2001.
The entire team, including players such as Michael Owen, Jamie Redknapp, Emile Heskey and Gary McAllister, was the side which won the FA Cup and League Cup, and famously won the UEFA Cup with a golden own goal with the score at 4-4. This clearly impressed Ince and stayed in his memory, as he has since made bids for Sami Hyypia, Vladimir Smicer, ex-Blackburn defender Stephan Henchoz, and made an audacious bid for Jamie Carragher.
"We may have to wait a bit before we move for Gerrard," he confirmed.
The decision, in the same month as football authority Alex Ferguson labelled Chelsea "too old" to compete for the league, clearly shows Ince's faith in experience over fitness (or in McAllister's case, a 34 inch waist), but has come as good news for many Blackburn fans TAF spoke to.
"We're not used to having a team of winners," whined one fan. "At least this way we can claim we have a team which won the UEFA Cup, even if they may have been wearing red shirts at the time."
Some of the harder transfer targets will be retired players such as Redknapp, who have become so attached to their cushy punditry jobs they may object to running round on the pitch again. Markus Babbel, the German right back in the side who played for Blackburn for a season in 2003 and who recovered from Guillain-Barré syndrome while playing, is now assistant coach as Stuttgart, and Gary McAllister recently became the manager of Leeds, but Ince is said to be confident he can convince them to join up with the boys for one last campaign.
"I love the film Wild Hogs," commented Mr Ince.
Most players from the team are still playing, but only Gerrard, Heskey, Owen, Hyypia, Danny Murphy, Carragher and Dietmar Hamann are still competing in the Premier League, causing concern about the others' ability to perform at this level once more.
"Yeah, Patrick Berger is a bit unfit at the moment," said Ince. "But he was never very quick anyway. The touch never leaves you. Sander Westerveld isn't as sprightly as he once was- he was probably in his fifties at the time -but with diligent stretching I'm sure he'll be able to limber up again. I think our biggest problem is Nick Barmby. He's at Hull for god's sake! It'll be like trying to re-learn the game."
The only flaw seems to be the disappearance of the random young Frenchmen, signed in the time-honored Liverpool tradition. Players such as Pegguy Arphexad dropped off the radar after failing to graduate from the Liverpool bench, and have since sunk back into the misty depths of foreign or lower-league football. This didn't seem to worry Ince however.
"I will just use Wikipedia to track them down. With the age of some of the other lads they may even have a chance of getting in the team!"
"I'm more worried about Igor Bišćan. He's screening out my calls at the moment."