THE EDITORS VIEW Welcome to Issue 251 of Red All Over The Land. It would be fair to say in January we didn’t hit the heights we’d hit in December and it would appear everybody had a reason why. Only in reality what we did in December was something exceptional and to have maintained such a level would have taken some doing. The problem for the current Liverpool squad - and I include the manager in this - is it has set standards the vast majority didn’t expect, including the genuine fanbase. As things stand at the moment we’re in a three way fight at the head of the table and instead of enjoying the fact the Premier Division has finally got a real live title race to savour all you read about is pressure. Why should Liverpool be under pressure? Back in August during a balmy summer the title race was a foregone conclusion before it started, another one-horse race. Liverpool [and Tottenham Hotspur] should be commended for making the season what it currently is, not condemned for occasionally seeming to falter, like we did against Leicester and West Ham when we could only draw. The one thing which came apparent during January was our squad is nowhere near as strong as maybe we’d been led to believe. The Cup game against Wolves showed that but there can be no doubting injuries have taken their toll. That’s not the fault of the management team, it’s a simple fact of footballing life. I do think we were somewhat hasty in allowing Clyne to depart on loan but having said that, we’re not privy to what goes on behind the scenes. Back in 1996 on FA Cup Final day some Evertonians were supposedly wearing T-Shirts claiming to be a ‘Manc For A Day’. It might have brought a bit of scorn from the Red population of Merseyside and beyond but it came and went and that was that. Yet what’s been going on in recent times, and this season in particular, is the almost hatred of Liverpool for having the nerve to challenge at the top. I’m no fan of SSN which I view as nothing more than Tabloid Telly and their recent poll asking supposed fans of teams if they’d want their team to lose so as to stop their main rivals winning a league was something less than infantile and would have been had it been on the last day of the season. To do it in February was nothing more than taking the game into the gutter. However, SSN wouldn’t recognise shame if it sat next to Jim White in the studio. A former Manchester United manager often accused the BBC of being Liverpool fans, one thing you could never accuse Sky of being is that. It doesn’t seem all that long ago when we were begging in the High Court to set us free from the chains of Hicks and Gillett. Administration and so much more looked us in the face. In January 2011 we begged again, this time that the Boston Boys freed us from the morbidity of Roy Hodgson’s tenure of management. That was pressure. The recent financial results will probably be a one-off and there were many contributing factors. The main one actually being, the ownership of the club and the management of the team. I seem to recall the aforementioned TV channel in 2010 saying our supporters should worry more about the team instead of the owners. Well look at us now!!! JJP Somebody asked me why I like to live in the past, I said have you seen the present?
THE ROVIN’ REPORTER BRINGS YOU
The View From His Shed ... January 19th. Four points clear at the top but out the FA Cup but as me old Ma used to say, you can’t have it both ways. Manchester City are breathing down our necks and the media circus – along with the new age Citeh fan – talk about us being under pressure. The fact we’re not supposed to be at the head of the table doesn’t matter, as an old adage goes, you can convince some of the people some of the time but you can’t convince all of the people all of the time, so we’re top and they’re not. If we stay there fantastic, if we don’t, we weren’t supposed to be there anyway. If any of that makes sense, Giz a call?
Turn Back Time: I was a little bit wary about the game against Palace. The our list of crocks was beginning to mount and poor old Jürgen must have been worrying a little bit as well? He tries not to show it but we’re beginning to surely run short of options but whatever he thinks he still puts on a brave face. The mood of some supporters still seemed a bit deflated with the loss at the Emptihad still being felt. No doubt it did leave us a wee bit groggy but hey, four points clear. As is the norm these days we got fed with a spoonful of useless facts such as, Roy Hodgson has never lost a game at Anfield apart from those he lost when manager of Liverpool. In fact, we hadn’t scored a goal against teams managed by him at Anfield. Then, as if to lift our spirits, it gets mentioned we’ve not lost at home in The Premier for 31-games, before getting reminded who the last side to win at the Holy Ground was. For this game I was sat just behind the Palace dugout, a few yards away from Roy Hodgson himself. Being that close made me feel as if I liked him even less than I actually do; he looked so squirmy. I have a problem in so much as I can’t forget nor forgive when someone has done me, or my football team, harm. Hodgson took me to the point where I wanted to throw it all away before the Boston Boys put us out of our misery and sacked the sad old goat. I looked him as Anfield sang YNWA and he stood there, hands in his pockets, staring blankly into thin air. When he sat in the chair now occupied by Jürgen he told us we should get used to losing and we did. We’re not used to it now though but bloody hell, this game took its toll on this old heart of mine. Palace took
advantage of our mix and match line-up and we took advantage of their goalkeeper whose name sounded like an Italian beer. Every time Mo falls down now they call it a dive but some of us can remember Mama Sakho playing for us, so anyone going down when they’re close to the big French fella might have grounds for citing foul play? Zaha, of course didn’t do anything quite so dastardly did he? Fair play to Palace, they made it hard and our defending at times made me feel like we’d turned back time and whenever Palace went near our goal it was hands over the eyes time. We deserved to win though and like many a game under Jürgen there was a moment which will be etched in the memory for a little bit longer. It was when we scored our fourth and I had a perfect view of the Owls grumpy old face. He turned away and in a fit of temper kicked something into the dugout. I couldn’t help but feel had it been Mourinho or Wenger, maybe, Sky would have showed it and kept on showing it, but Hodgson ain’t big news anymore. His eyesight must be perfect as he apparently had a clear view of a handball nobody else saw, not even Palace players. We didn’t play well, but despite the ramblings of some, we didn’t play too badly either. We can only win our games, and we won this one so what was the problem?
Everybody’s Talking: I’ve worked out a way to away with many things. Even so we should have avoid all the talk about titles, about Manchester City and more importantly, about us. I switch off. I fully understand Sky and the rest of the media have a job to do even though they seem pretty good at doing it in totally OTT fashion – with Sky being the forerunner when it comes to OTT. Social Media takes you to the extremes and everybody’s out there talking about something or someone. News broke saying Newcastle had done the unthinkable and beaten Manchester City. Pep seemed to be distraught; Rafa delighted. As we set off on a real winter’s day to Anfield the one thing nobody seemed to be talking about was we still had to play a game against Leicester and by the time we’d docked at Anfield it was a night of slush. Something else everybody had been talking about was who’d be fit enough to play? VvD had been poorly, a few others as well; we’d got an injury list which might have crippled most sides. TAA hadn’t recovered, Gomez was getting worse by the hour and of course Milner would be spending the night in the naughty corner. Suddenly the superduper squad everybody had been talking about looked a bit thin on the ground. To make matters worse, it was now sleeting it down - if that’s the right word. When we scored inside three minutes having already nearly scored there was a buzz around the place that made you forget the cold. We nearly made it two within another minute or so and the name of Rafa Benitez was being acclaimed in song. You could have been forgiven for thinking; it doesn’t get much better than this. Unfortunately, it didn’t. By the end of the game everybody had stopped talking because they were a bag of nerves. Somebody said the draw felt like a loss. I thought it felt like a win. We’d been reduced to nothing more than average and we got
had a penalty and a Leicester player could have been sent off, so of course it was also blame the ref time [Oh, and the snow]. The rock solid defence everybody was talking about a month ago looked something less than rock solid. Some Muppets from Mancunia had been talking about us talking about going seven points clear but Jürgen said nobody had been talking. The strange thing was; we’d gone five points clear instead of four and maybe everybody should have been talking about that?
Then Like My Dreams: I’m starting to dread it when Jürgen comes on telly nowadays. A bit like when Kate Adie used to be on the BBC giving updates from the war fronts. List of casualties roll off Jürgen’s tongue, no TAA, no Hendo, no Gini, no Lovren, Joe Gomez now a longer term casualty than the long term casualty we thought he was. You do start questioning the wisdom of letting Clyne pop down to the south coast to rehabilitate himself with football don’t you? To make matters worse, Manchester City had won the day before and Tottenham two days before that with Martin Atkinson seeming to be Manchester City’s Howard Webb. It made Monday feel like a day of woe with no escape from the misery. Was it really six days ago when Rafa did us the biggest of favours? MNF is more often than not, painful but this night had all the omens of being our Doomsday. I’ve started to wonder if December had taken more out of us than anybody thought and don’t mention that “Get some sun on our backs” jaunt to Dubai whilst all the others were burning themselves out on domestic duty. Ever been away to sunnier climes and then return to a good old fashioned winter freeze-up? VvD and a few others were having a
Red All Over The Land Hanging Around Street Corners Trying Make A Living Since 1996
touch of sickness and instead of saying prayers of thanksgiving for the wonderful squad for all seasons we’re praying our plight doesn’t get any worse. The game at West Ham typified our current place. We lurched from average to bloody awful in various stages of the game. We had the bonus of an offside goal going our way and therefore maybe cancelling out any favours Citeh had been granted the day before. We’ve started to give away cheap and meaningless free kicks when trying to eradicate some goofy error. Only we couldn’t defend them and how West Ham only made us pay the once was something we should be
grateful for. Jürgen seemed to want to take issue with Kevin Friend which would normally be understandable but come on Jürgen. The problems we’re currently encountering are manmade; don’t point to injuries because injuries were not responsible for what we served up in London. If you can’t pass a ball five yards it’s not because of the plague of injuries. The title hope is still there but a bit of arse kicking should be required or just like our dreams the title hope will fade and die. Still three points clear though.
Beauty And The Beast: I spent the time between advantage and a few shots from outside the sixour MNF slot and a Saturday at Three doing my very best to stay away from SSN never ending drama they call the Title Race. I was just happy to get through to Saturday morning before setting off for another lap of the so-called Race. Jürgen had given the now almost daily bulletin on the sickness front but seemed a bit evasive when asked if a player would be fit. “Maybe, maybe not” is not the most helpful answer when you’re inquiring about somebody’s state of health. Or maybe he’s just playing his own version of Mind Games? Due to unforeseen circumstances I didn’t get to my seat on Row 81 of the Upper Main Stand until halfway through YNWA but I have to say, it sounded loud and proud. I used to be part of the Kop and we often had organisers of Kop things so congratulations to those from the various 21st century advocates of atmosphere; It went well. On the other hand when you’re up in the Gods you see the other side of the modern day crowd. Like a Bournemouth player got an injury after about ten minutes which was the cue for dozens – and I’m not exaggerating – to go for their first comfort break. Just after Manè opened the scoring, it happened again - this time in even bigger numbers. Five minutes before halftime and it looked like a walkout! Those who missed the Fabinho and Mo show two minutes into the second half numbered many hundreds. Sorry but I don’t get it, never have done and never will. What the result will prove will determined by future events but if there’s a criticism it would be we could have put a dent in Manchester City’s goal difference
yard box wouldn’t go amiss. However, the Gini Wijnaldum goal was almost worth the ticket money, pity so many of the comfort breakers missed it. Pure class and a moment of magic. When Jürgen strides on to the turf at the end of a game and does the pump fisting thing, it shows true passion but I’m surprised they haven’t had a debate on SSN asking if he’s over reacting to a win against Bournemouth. I also agreed with a tweet I read saying had certain other players scored the goal Gini scored they’d have had a six part TV show showing it again and again. You probably know who I mean. In some way this was a bit like Beauty and the Beast. Some football which can only be described as exhilarating and some finishing that wasn’t. It has now been decided the only thing to rid us of the injury plague is more warm weather and this time southern Spain. Anybody remember the time when if you ate paella you’d spend the next two days in the Karzi? Which is apparently where Gini spent most of Friday?
September 10th and we’re down to second on goal difference after Chelsea decided to lay down their arms and surrender to Manchester City. There should have been a match rigging investigation! Don’t fret though; we’ve got a game in hand although it is away at OT so expect another mountain of SSN drivel. On the other hand we’ve got a couple of tasty looking games against Bayern Munich to hopefully savour. If the trip to Spain doesn’t reduce the numbers on sick parade, maybe we should consider a trip to Lourdes?
I’ll start with a goalkeeper I never saw play but has gone down in history as perhaps our greatest ever, Elisha Scott. He had a remarkable career at Anfield spanning 22-years (Four of which were interrupted during the 1st World War). As well as representing his country (Northern Ireland) 31 times he also made 430 appearances for LFC and was our keeper when we won the league title twice in the early 1920s in consecutive seasons. I have a more recent interest in this great man as my Anfield stone is located near his bench at our stadium.
if either of them didn’t have each other for competition surely the other would have won almost 200 caps.
Clemence moved to Spurs and was replaced by the erratic but great Bruce Grobbelaar. After a shaky start he achieved fantastic success at Liverpool winning the European Cup (penalty-shoot out hero in 1984 with his famous antics on the goal line) and a host of domestic honours. He was superb with the fans, always acknowledging us behind his goal. We would sing “Brucie, Brucie what’s the score” and he’d put up the number of fingers to confirm the number of goals we’d scored. He did this with a smile on his face as he loved the engagement with us fans. After the Hillsborough disaster he was amazing (as were the other players) both with the families and with the survivors. I remember him reading at the Sunday night service in Liverpool cathedral the day after the disaster.
The first keeper I saw playing at Anfield was Tommy Lawrence, fondly known in the 60s as “the flying pig”. He was nearing the end of his career however the few matches I saw him play I could see why he was so successful earlier in the decade as Liverpool progressed from Division 2 (winning the title/promotion to Division 1) and then being an important part of Shankly’s great mid 60s team winning the league title twice and the FA Cup once Brucie was replaced by David James, a good as well as having great European runs in both the goalkeeper who in my mind never achieved European Cup and Cup Winners Cup. greatness at Anfield. He was part of the “Spice Tommy’s successor was for me the greatest Boys” mid 90s image at the club and, whilst he was goalkeeper I ever saw at Anfield, the wonderful part of the League Cup winning team in 1995, that Ray Clemence. He was not just a goalkeeper; he was his only trophy with us. He moved on and was also a fantastic defender, often the last line as played for a number of other clubs. I saw him on a we pushed high. He was quick off his line and often few occasions but was never convinced like I had intercepted through balls with swiftness both of been with our three previous goalkeepers. mind and body, clearing the danger into row Z or Brad Friedel came and went and then we signed controlling the ball and playing a nice pass out of Sander Westerveld who was with us for two defence to set up another attack. He was a seasons including the memorable treble season of forerunner of today’s modern keepers by being 2000/1. However, after making a bad mistake early able to play with the ball at his feet. He also had a the following season, he was promptly replaced by terrific left foot and often his kicks would either go Houllier who signed keepers Jerzy Dudek and straight to a team mate or cause havoc for Chris Kirkland. I liked Westerveld, he had a safe opponents by reaching their penalty area. pair of hands and read the game well. Not only did Our chant for Ray was “Clemence for England”! I he win three major trophies in season 2000/1 he can’t see that type of chant being used these days also won the Charity Shield and UEFA Super Cup when international matches basically get in the as well as helping us to 3rd position in the Premier way interrupting our season. His competitor for league and into the qualification round for the the number 1 shirt at England was Peter Shilton, a Champions league campaign of 2001/2. great keeper who is the record cap holder for his country. However Clemence won over 60 caps and
Dudek was our main keeper over the final few years of Houllierâ€™s reign (as well as the first year under Rafa). Kirkland played a few matches but was never that inspiring. Whilst Dudek was amazing in Istanbul overall I never felt he was that great a keeper, prone to mistakes and never filled me with confidence. However he quite rightly will go down as a legend at LFC due to Istanbul and that save near the end that ensured we went into the penalty shoot-out where he really excelled with his Grobbelaar imitations! Rafa moved Dudek on after Istanbul having signed Scott Carson in 2004 (made a few appearances for us) and then our next great keeper arrived. Pepe Reina was a key part in the great team Rafa built. Pepe won the FA Cup in his first season and the league cup towards the end of his Anfield career. His excellent goalkeeping in 2008/9 helped us as we challenged for the league title but ended up 2nd
four points behind ManU. He set a fantastic record of 11 consecutive clean sheets in all competitions between October and December 2005. He was a fantastic keeper not only for us but also Spain during their dominance of European and world international football where he was their 2nd choice keeper but a key member of their squad. He struggled a bit towards the end of his LFC career and, after one season under Brendan Rodgers, he was replaced by Simon Mignolet.
Bangor Lad TO BE CONTINUED
Narrated by writer and broadcaster John Keith, it told the story of how this boy from Hetton le Hole in County Durham went on to win three European Cups. Keith told the story brilliantly, aided by video clips, radio commentaries, photos and four former players who joined him on the stage. The players were well selected and covered the Second Division day’s right through to the heights of Europe - Ian Callaghan, Jimmy Case, Phil Neal and Alan Kennedy. It was fair to say that the audience ranged from middle aged to almost senile. It wasn’t a show that seemed to interest the Premier League generation. The warm up act, a singer called Ian Ross who said he was appearing at the Floral Pavilion for about something like the 220th time, sang some songs that were around before Paisley was even born. I have to admit I didn’t quite get that element of the show and I swear the biggest cheer he got was when he announced after his stint that he was now retiring from performing.
The Bob Paisley 100th Anniversary Show, celebrating 100 years since the birth of English football’s greatest manager, was presented at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton on 31st January.
Some of the anecdotes were brilliant. If you’re an avid reader of LFC autobiographies, many of them you will have heard before, but it was still great listening to them from the mouths of the players themselves. It was also good to hear of a much more simpler era, such as Phil Neal turning up at Anfield thinking he was playing in the mini derby only to be told to walk across Stanley Park to Goodison for his debut. Jimmy Case recounted how he didn’t want to go full time at Liverpool until he had finished his electrician apprenticeship. Nowadays, a 17 year old signing full time would be set up for life. Even though I’ve heard the story many times, I don’t think I could ever tire of listening to Alan Kennedy describe how after an
Steve Hales From Red All Over The Land Meets The Legends
awful performance in the first half of his debut, The family stories were a nice touch too. Clips Bob went up to him in the dressing room and said recounted how Bob and his wife Jessie met, and ‘they shot the wrong bloody Kennedy’. how she didn’t go to Rome in 1977 as she had kids to teach. She would never have dreamed of asking It was interesting too to get the vibes of dressing Bob to accompany her to a work occasion, so he room personalities. It seemed to come across that knew not to ask the same of her even if it was a Bruce Grobbelaar wasn’t welcomed with open European Cup Final. arms after the stability of Clemence. Phil Neal seemed a dominant character, and would tend to If there’s a criticism, it was that the show went on get up and walk around the stage when it was his too long. It started at 7.40pm, there was a 20turn to speak, while the others just sat and talked. minute break but it was still going at 11.10pm Listening to the old radio commentaries, mainly by when we had to leave to get the last train back to Elton Welsby, was one of my favourite parts of the Liverpool. I dread to think what time it did finish, show. For St Etienne he went from conceding the as it was only up to winning the league in 1981-82 Reds were out to overwhelmed with joy in about at that point. All in all though it was a good ten seconds. evening and if it is to be represented I’m sure John Keith will find ways to streamline it.
Alberto Moreno Out In The Summer?
Defeat to Moreno’s former side Sevilla was hard to take but attention was immediately focused on the Spaniard. The equaliser from Sevilla came from a move started by a wayward header from Moreno who was then tied up in knots by Mariano who put it on a plate for Gameiro to score. The 3rd goal that put the stamp on the result again had fingers being pointed at Moreno as he was slow to get back to defend before missing what was a possible chance to clear the ball before Koke scored, although there were suspicions of offside.
The start of the 2016-2017 season saw Alberto Moreno starting the season opener at the Emirates where he conceded a penalty for a foul on Theo Walcott although Simon Mignolet saved some of his blushes by saving the spot kick but just moments later Walcott was celebrating after profiting from poor positioning again by Moreno. For the next league game at Turf Moor, the team sheet had Moreno on the bench, something he Seeing the name Alberto Moreno on the team sheet would become accustomed to, starting just eleven nowadays brings about the same response. A groan more leagues games, with vice captain James and an almost cynical anticipation of defeat or at Milner filling in quite comfortably. least that’s what social media will have you believe. The fact we are blessed with Andy Robertson in As that season concluded with Liverpool qualifying that position may just highlight deficiencies that for the Champions League, there were whispers may have been there with previous left backs but that Moreno’s introduction just minutes from the harder to evidence with the alternative options at end of that 3-0 win over Middlesbrough was his the time. Alberto Moreno was brought in to the farewell to the club. It was to be was a defining side in 2014 from Sevilla in the summer following summer once again in his career. As relegated Hull Liverpool’s dramatic title challenge where they City allowed their promising defender Andrew eventually succumbed to Manchester City. He Robertson head to Anfield for £8m, Moreno’s became the second Spaniard to join the club in a position now had another natural challenger in week following Javi Manquillo’s arrival and he addition to Milner. would be intending to push Jose Enrique towards a more permanent fixture on the bench. He showed early promise with his marauding runs down the left and a wonderful solo goal at White Hart Lane earning comparisons to John Arne Riise with the goal drawing some similarities to one the Norwegian scored at Goodison Park early on in his Liverpool career. With 91 appearances in his first two campaigns which had also seen the change in manager from Brendan Rodgers to Jurgen Klopp, on paper it seemed bizarre to think that he would soon be losing his place to a midfielder for the majority of the next season, but events on the 18th May 2016 would change his Liverpool career and all the defensive frailties that came with somebody who posed such an attacking threat were to be seen. Before that happened, Moreno thought he had scored in a league cup thrashing of Southampton at St Mary’s in December 2015 only to see Divock Origi’s slight touch taking the goal to the Belgian.
Jurgen Klopp however gave Moreno a chance to earn that spot permanently, opting to start him ahead of his new signing and predominantly keeping that as the case until an injury nightmare for Moreno that would almost certainly prove to be the final nail in his time in a Liverpool shirt. In the final Championâ€™s League group stage match against Spartak Moscow, Moreno suffered an ankle injury in the first half and in the subsequent press conference, it was confirmed he would be missing from action for around six weeks and following that, he found it hard to displace Andy Robertson. In the current season, he has made five appearances, four starts including Cup defeats to Chelsea and Wolves as well as Premier League
victories over Cardiff and Burnley. He came off the bench in Liverpoolâ€™s 4-0 win over Red Star Belgrade at Anfield. Whether he will make a first team appearance again is to be seen but with a raft of comments in media outlets attributed to the defender over his future and his perception of his treatment by Klopp, it seems evidently clear that his future will be at another club, possibly back in his native Spain.
Matthew Purchase firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter - @kopitesaint91
Red All Over The Land www.redallovertheland.com No Rumours Just Facts
One Season Wonder’s Chapter 1 Now for the purpose of discussion and debate, the term ‘wonder’ can engender both positive - I wonder what would have happened if he stayed at the club - and negative - I wonder why we bothered to sign him in the first place - connotations and associations. So to balance the story I’ll table an example of each, beginning with David who was signed from Coventry City for £675,000 on January 30th, 1991 by Kenny after they had struck up a friendship while playing for Scotland. Kenny had previously tried to sign him from Chelsea, only to find their board, and specifically chairman Ken Bates, firmly against selling him to any rival team.
“The result was better than the performance, but the performance doesn't matter when you get the result…” – Kenny’s post-match conference comment after the 144th Merseyside Derby, February 9th 1991. “That’s me, I am history.” - David Speedie’s comment to Bruce Grobbelaar after the first team were informed Liverpool had appointed Graeme as manager. Finally, an article inspired by David Speedie. Yes, that David Speedie, the former Chelsea and Coventry City player whose association with the Reds lasted just six months. David’s name came to mind when discussing players who’d played a single season with Liverpool, and how that association had made them a One Season Wonder.
Despite his 5ft 7in stature, at Chelsea David would develop a reputation for being tenacious, feisty and tireless, where the former coal miner is said to have ‘brought the grit and resilience of the pit to the playing field’. Signed from Darlington for £80,000, across four seasons he would form a highly productive partnership with Kerry Dixon, and become a diehard favourite at Stamford Bridge, before falling foul of the clubs new management team during the latter part of Season 1986/87. After 205 appearances and 65 goals he moved to Coventry City for £750,000 in July 1987, where his contribution and goals were also appreciated and valued by the Sky Blues faithful. Although one report suggests they viewed him as ‘a frequent, rather than prolific, goal scorer’. David made 139 appearances, and scored 36 goals, for City before he agreed to sign for the Reds. Kenny considered him the ideal player to support Rushie, Ronny, Peter and John, and despite his age (30) any concerns that diehards held about his decision would soon be alleviated when he scored on debut against Manchester United (Old Trafford, February 3rd.) Scoring in the 39th minute, that goal is also remembered for the ball winning cross that John Barnes delivered. Positioned outside the box, Digger chased and won the ball before promptly bamboozling three
players, all standing in close proximity, with a twisting and dribbling run. A burst of pace then left a fourth player in his wake before he crossed on the line to find David, who duly thumped the ball home to secure a crucial away point for the club.
do?” With the relationship beyond repair, and Graeme holding desires to strengthen his side with new players, David was sold to Blackburn Rovers in August 1991 for £400,000. Now I suspect most diehards would consider David’s contribution and association to be more positive than negative as a One Season Wonder, so I’ll contrast his story with one from a player who usually ranks extremely high on any list I’ve seen published. Now despite everything we’ve experienced and read about the player, I still retain an open mind about whether it was entirely his fault when he became a One Season Wonder after being signed by Messrs Houllier and Evans for £1.8 million pounds in June 1998.
Six days later David would score twice in four minutes during the 144th Merseyside derby (Anfield, February 9th), where the first, a header, flew so high and fast over Neville Southall that it left him completely surprised and mesmerised. While the second was fired hard and fast past a diving and beaten keeper, and dead centre between the two defenders standing either side of him on the goal line. BBC TV footage later revealed the Reds first goal, scored by Jan Molby, had also Considered a supporting forward to Robbie, Karlglanced off David’s leg which, had he claimed the Heinz and Michael in the lead up to Season credit, would have delivered a unique hat-trick for 1998/99, South African born Sean Dundee held the derby debutant. family associations with four nations (Ireland, Unfortunately for David, his association with Scotland, South Africa and Germany); held no Kenny would last just 24 days, while the association with his more famous Crocodile appointment of Graeme as his successor would Dundee counterpart; and had shown early promise eventually end his spell at the club. Before and potential while playing for Bundesliga side departing, David would end Season 1990/91 with Karlsruhe SC where he scored 16 goals in his 14 appearances and 6 goals to his name, including debut season (1995/96.) a final appearance against Tottenham Hotspur He followed that haul with 17 goals the following (Anfield, May 11th) where his energetic marking season (1996/97) as Karlsruhe SC confounded their subdued Paul Gascoigne, and his goal scoring critics, and delighted their diehards, by finishing prowess delivered a joyous celebration before the sixth in the Bundesliga. Thereafter the clubs form Kop. and fortunes would dramatically change as they Despite his contribution, the ill feeling between entered the final league game of Season 1997/98 David and Graeme would again resurface. He later positioned in the bottom three. Sitting on equal described it as something that ‘enflame(d)the fire points with the side directly above them, to avoid that burnt inside,’ with the catalyst being a verbal the drop Karlsruhe SC would need to win their confrontation between the pair during pre-season final match, and see rivals Borussia training. “We were in a bar, it was a gruelling two Mönchengladbach either lose or draw their one. weeks under the new regime, just endless training They failed to win and were relegated on goal sessions…and he (Graeme) stopped us going out for difference after just eleven seasons in the a drink. But myself, Gary Gillespie and Ray Bundesliga. Houghton went out anyway, we had a few beers and Despite this, Sean’s contribution and performance then came back, and they were all down in the hotel would see Glasgow Rangers, Borussia nightclub! Souness was at the bar, and I said to him Mönchengladbach and Auxerre all table offers to ‘You know something, you are a c***.’ He didn’t say sign him before Liverpool made their interest much back. He never gained (my) respect as known. Sean said the decision to sign was a manager of Liverpool. He was brilliant as a player, I childhood dream come true, having supported the could not say enough about him as a player. But as a Reds while growing up in South Africa. Now it’s manager, no.” 1 unclear as to which manager - Gerard or Roy David later offered another perspective on the actually favoured his talents at the time, but upon matter. “My old mate Souey took over and we never arrival his season would become fraught with really got on. His opinion of me was not the same as challenges. First through fitness, or the lack Kenny’s and the likes of Molby and myself ended up thereof, followed by injury and finally an issue training with the kids at times. I had the choice of with his attitude which did little to impress either being left to rot in the reserves or moving on. I was manager, or encourage Gerard to persist with his not in control of my own destiny, but what can you services after he became manager in November.
With five first team appearances to his credit, all as substitute, Sean’s career would end just 12 months later when the club announced they’d struck a £2 million pound deal to sell him to Auxerre. Beforehand, Sean - alongside Paul Ince - had been omitted from the clubs pre-season tour, all while rumours were circulating that Gerard wanted to off load Sean as soon as humanly possible. Despite the deal being announced, Sean would confound both club and critics alike by declining to sign, only to reverse his decision and join VfB Stuttgart for £1 million pounds two weeks later. "I feel very harshly treated. It seems that from day one Houllier has never liked me…” he said when the deal was announced. "I agree that was my worst stay ever at a football club. I arrived at a time when new trainer Gerard Houllier arrived. He had his own team that he wanted and his own ideas. It was clear from the start that I had no chance whatsoever. It's a period in my life I would like to forget…" he also said. 3 Roy later commented on Sean’s time at the club, saying "The one that gets mentioned every time a subject like this comes up is Sean Dundee. At the time he was doing well in Germany and we thought he might come over and do well for Liverpool. When you buy a player though, the player has got to play
When The News Broke Downunder Liverpool Had Signed Sean Dundee
his part too. He's got to come over, prepare himself in the right way and perform on the pitch. Unfortunately Sean didn't do that, but the less said about that deal the better." Despite his initial promise and potential, a gradual loss of form, combined with an increase in the number of injuries he entertained, would see Sean retire from the game without surpassing the success he’d achieved with Karlsruhe SC. While even today he remains optimistic about his time at Liverpool. “It’s easy to blame different people, but I wasn’t fit enough when I went there” he said. “That was my first mistake, I had to catch up a little bit. When I did get fit I got injured and that was it. When Roy left my time there was over. Gerard didn’t want me. He didn’t want a lot of other players either. You have to accept that. I knew I had to leave.” 2 “I don’t really laugh about it (my time there). A lot of people think it was a joke, but I still support them…They have the best supporters, what else can I say?”
Marc Brekau, A Red Downunder.
References. David Speedie quotes taken from an interview with Alan Pattullo, The Scotsman, May 5th, 2012. Sean Dundee quotes taken from an interview with Rich Laverty, Planet Football, April 26th 2018. Sean Dundee quote taken from an interview with Nomfundo Mcetywa, The Cape Argus Gazette, July 22nd, 2008. All other quotes taken from various match reports published in the Daily Post, The Independent and The Daily Mirror 1991-1999.
Conspiracy or Complacency Conspiracy theories were filling my head. Until we were given the outrageous goal against West Ham and I had to reassess the events of the last month or so. As I write, with some slices of luck that had deserted us in recent years, an outstanding defensive record until the Palace game and the failure of Citeh to steamroller all opposition as they did last year (with one notable exception), we stand top of the league with 13 matches to go. Rafa did us a great favour in beating Citeh, but then couldn’t repeat the trick against Spurs. Shame
the game; the ultimate irony being that Maguire scored the goal that robbed us of two points. We should still have taken all three points of course. VvD, for not noticing Maguire or for playing offside when Matip wasn’t; and Robertson for a stupid and unnecessary foul have shouldered the blame. But when we are playing the ball across the back under no pressure, 15-seconds into added time, why oh why does Keita decide he should take the ball towards the opposition half, and then lose it, leaving his team exposed. Dumb or what? I hope we don’t look back in May and see that as the I had convinced myself that there is a conspiracy moment the title was lost. Crazy! Stupid even. against us. Whilst our enemies claim that Mo has been conning referees into giving penalties (on the And having put in a MOTM performance against replays the ref has been right every time), the refs us in a superb Leicester defensive display, the same have hardly acted in our favour when dishing out defence welcomes the Mancs and gifts Rashford a red cards. Let’s start with the game at the goal because said Harry Maguire and the equally Emptihad. There was no doubt in my mind seeing impressive Chilwell, get them out of position in a it live from behind our goal that Kompany should way they would never have done the previous have seen red. It was that obvious that the tackle Saturday. Was Maguire just making sure that he was reckless irrespective of whether he took Mo will be playing Champions League football next down or not. That it wasn’t, was probably down to year following his transfer to OT in the summer? Mo jumping out of the way. No goals at that point, and the Mancs need a left back so watch this space. Citeh down to ten men for 60 minutes. There is And then to cap it all, Citeh thump Arsenal with precedent from a couple of years back when Moss the help of the Hand of God belonging to…you’ve unjustly sent off Mane and we were stuffed 5-1. So guessed it…an Argentinean! 1-5 it would have been. We wuz robbed. Next, a So it was with piles of chips on my shoulders that I very competent Wolves team go there with their made my way to east London convinced we would tails up on the back of knocking us out of the cup. be robbed of the title by a dogged WHU Within 20-minutes they are reduced to ten men for performance unrepeated against our close rivals an identical challenge to Kompany’s. Look at the and a few penalties given against us. Oops! Kevin photos. What’s the difference? Citeh won 3-0. If has never been very Friendly towards us, but his both the red cards had gone the other way, linesman was for that goal, well taken as it was by Liverpool would have been 10 points clear of Citeh Mane. We got the expected good performance in mid-January. And that’s before their loss to from WHU, and in fact they could have thumped Newcastle. us with the rub of the green. Despite a better And then we move on to our game against second half, Keita still struggles with the Leicester. Why was Harry Maguire not sent off in unrelenting pace and physicality of this league. the first half? The ridiculous argument made by And he was at fault again for switching off for the Rio the pimp that the ball was somehow going goal. away from goal was pulled apart mercilessly by Messrs Savage and Owen in the studio. With Mane’s pace, no one would have caught him. So we should have been facing 10 men for more than half
So if my conspiracies theory is on weaker ground than it was how do I explain what is going on? Well, we haven’t gone from great to poor. Some of our performances, notably the three away European games have been dire. And we have had our poor performances in the league and the cups. So we haven’t fallen off a cliff, rather we have been erratic in reality when all the publicity from people who don’t watch us every week has been about how consistent and reliable we had become. Nonetheless, injuries and the lack of a settled team are part of it. Trent and Joe Gomez are massive losses given their early season promise. You can put some of it down to bad luck, but why did we wait two months to decide that Gomez needed surgery? Perhaps as a result, we have become too predictable again and teams know how to neutralise the front three by sitting deep. When we move the ball fast and take shots as soon as we see a gap, a half chance, a Lampardesque deflection,
the opposition set up matters less. But we all too often slow the play down after we break, play the ball across the midfield in a sort of V shape on the edge of the opposition box, and end up passing the ball back to Alisson or running into a wall of defenders; and with our full backs playing as wingers it is all too easy for the opposition to attack our exposed defence. You don’t score goals when you don’t shoot, and you score more when the ball is in the box than when it is outside! Common sense. Is it fixable? Of course it is. But the players and the boss need to agree that it’s a problem in the first place. And get the rhythm, the tempo, the spirit, back in the team.
Nineteen In Nineteen
Calculating Added Time Wasn’t An Easy Task
Doing It Our Way Bogies at 10-O-Clock The word bogie (or bogey) has several meanings. RAF slang for an enemy aircraft One over par in golf scoring A train’s undercarriage Something to scare children with i.e. bogie-man Something pulled out of your nose when younger, or possibly much, much, older! We also had a cat Bogart ‘Bogey’ Stonehenge McTavish (1985-1993)
Jurgen blamed the snow. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t wash. In fact, blaming an act of God for a dismal performance makes you sound more like Neil Warnock than a Liverpool manager. And to rub salt into the wound, Rafa had done us a favour the night before. We just didn’t look like champions. Perhaps the logic of taking the squad to Dubai, before returning to the coldest day of the year was lost on me. But some of the players didn’t look like they were at the races.
In football terms, a bogie-team is one that can, on occasion, and despite previous form, put the willies up us. Leicester City, and more recently, Palace, have been considered bogie-teams to Liverpool.
Hopefully this will prove to be just a blip. After all, we have another bogie team soon, Everton. Only this time, were their bogey men. Common as muck
The Palace jinx was perhaps put to bed with the recent nail-biting 4-3 at Anfield, but it still managed to cause a James Milner sending off, and a hoop-twitching last ten minutes. Maybe the Palace curse is a bit overstated. Since 2005, they have won 6, drawn 1 and lost 8 to the Red Men. But it’s the draw, in May 2014, which haunts and hurts. Forget Stevie G`s slip against Chelsea, I have, it was the loss of a 3-0 lead at Selhurst Park that, in my opinion, lost us the League that season.
I recently had the “pleasure” of sitting adjacent to a “fan” who left to go for a pee at 41 minutes, only to return at 60 minutes. He had missed two goals in the time he was away, but seemed more than happy to confide that he had been to the bar for a wee beer or two. Couldn’t he have done that just by staying in a pub?
And then there`s Leicester City. Since the 1960s when Shank`s Red Machine could beat anything put in front of it, the Foxes regularly popped up to spoil the party. The team that looks a shadow of its Premier League winning side of just a few years ago, still manages the odd surprise. This season they have beaten City and Chelsea, so on paper a draw at home might be considered a good result, although we had beaten them at their place earlier in the season. But the manner of the draw was atrocious. We spent most of the match playing what I have now begun to call, “Chuckle Brothers football”, where the ball goes from me to you, to you to me, without actually getting anywhere. We had 72% possession and three shots on target, at home. Those stats won’t win us any trophies.
Anyway, he wasn’t the worse I have seen. Regular readers will know my feelings on half ‘n half scarves, but keeping hundreds of people waiting while you pose with your rag while blocking the stairways and exits is just arrogant. I don’t mind anyone taking a photo with the pitch as a backdrop, but please, don’t take the Michael. I will never forget the posh child having his birthday party on the Kop, (in the old adult/child seating). His mum produced a birthday cake the size of Knowsley out of a basket that looked like it could hold several Wonderloafs worth of cucumber butties, (sans crust, naturally). They sang Happy Birthday as those around them sang Scouser Tommy. I’d like to think there`s a therapist out there, making good money out of that poor sods nightmares.
I said, “pretend you know about Kenny and Rushy”, She just laughed and said, "Oh you're so funny." I said "Yeah? Well I can't see anyone else smiling in here. Are you sure you want to live like Kopite people? You want to see whatever Kopite people see? You want to drink with Kopite people? You want to drink with Kopite people? Like me? But she didn't understand, She just smiled and held my hand. Take things in and shut your gob, Don’t ask, “Do you have a job”. Don’t call it “the pool” call it “Town” Don’t tell anyone to humorously “Calm down”. But still you'll never get it right, 'Cause when you're laid in bed at night, Watching Lineker and reading the Sun, Unaware that we want justice done. You'll never live like Kopite people; You'll never do whatever Kopite people do, You'll never smile like Kopite people, You've never heard of Shanks or Bob, Don’t know why Bob is a “Sir” or that Fowler is a God, Anyway, during the bus ride home after the Or why Michael Owen is a knob. Newcastle game, Jarvis Cocker came on the Spotify playlist. How very apt I thought. Sing along with the Kopite people, Sing along and it might just get you through. She came from Essex she always wanted to be cool, Laugh along with the Kopite people, She once supported Arsenal, the Mancs, now Laugh along even though they're laughing at you, Liverpool, And the stupid things that you do. She had a selfie-stick, Because you think that singing “who-are-ya” is I just thought, “prick” cool. She told me that she got her tickets from Thomas Forget about Soccer AM, Cook, Learn the songs and join in, I said "In that case you`ve paid too much" Be prepared to sing your heart out. She said "Fine." 'Because everybody hates a tourist, And then in thirty seconds time she said: Especially one who thinks it's all such a laugh, I want to live like Kopite people, Yeah and the chip stain's grease, I want to do whatever Kopite people do, Will ruin your half n half. I want to drink with Kopite people, You will never understand I want to drink with Kopite people, How it feels to go to work or school Like you. And ridicule the Blues Well what else could I do And when we’ve just been beat. I said "I'll see what I can do." You get behind the team I took her to the club museum, You’re not there to be entertained by gimmickry, I don't know why, You are part of Bill Shankly`s trinity. But I had to start it somewhere, So it started there.
More Cake Mumsie
You know about `85 and `89 From songs sung by cretins who weren’t born at the time Remember what we have won, and what we`ve lost A pride that can`t be bought at any cost Our education is in our heads Our history makes us Reds You'll never live like Kopite people You'll never do what Kopite people do You'll never smile like Kopite people You'll never watch your team slide out of view You`ll always support and never boo Because, that’s just what we do I want to live with Kopite people like you. Punxsutwney Phil
In the film, Groundhog Day, a weatherman, played by Bill Murray, finds himself reliving the same day over and over again. It’s the exact same feeling I get when I see how we defend free kicks. Against Palace, Leicester and West Ham it was like watching defending from two years ago. Why, when we have had a great defensive record this season, has it all gone south when free kicks are involved? And why, when we know we’re pretty poor at defending them, do we still keep giving away simple fouls in vulnerable areas? Still, at the time of writing, we are top of the league. We`re LFC, we don’t do things the easy way. We do things the Liverpool Way.
I Donâ€™t Like Mondayâ€™s ANOTHER LOST WEEKEND There was time when I rued the loss of a Saturday game when Sky switched our match to Sunday. I thought I'd never get used to it, but I suppose I have done. It meant just twenty-four hours before I could get to the game but now we have Monday night football and as Bob Geldof once sang, "I Don't Like Mondays". MNF as the Sky marketing team like to brand it; while the slightly less favourable refer to it as, 'The Carra & Gary' show. Sadly, despite my loyalty to Carra, 'The Saint & Greavsie' they are not.
you packed up going" said some eagle eyed former associate. You can't be arsed to explain to them the games been moved to the graveyard slot of Monday Night for the benefit of TV.
MNF means a lost weekend, what was once the habit of a lifetime is no more, taken away from me and thousands of others by television. Saturday [and then Sunday] saw us going through a ritual performed all over the land. Get up; get in the car, on the bus or train, meet the crew and it was off to the game we'd go. Our entire weekend was built around it - it seemed sacrosanct.
Then comes Saturday afternoon and no disrespect to Jeff Stelling and his 'Goon Showesque' pundit panel, they'll never replace the real thing. I want to spend my Saturday watching somebody scoring for Liverpool and not be told about somebody scoring for Stenhousemuir in the Scottish lower divisions. I'm sure Stenhousemuir fans, if there are any watching, would be pleased but when you're chasing a league title in the English Premier League, sorry it's hard to get too enthusiastic. If one of our rivals are in action - or even Everton finding out every five minutes or so how they're progressing doesn't help, that's the job George Sephton should be doing or the PA shouter at wherever we're playing.
So here we go again, another weekend without football. What can we do to replace it? Going shopping with the wife can lose you street cred. It's happened to me you know. "Never thought I'd see you shopping on a Saturday, have
And no matter how they try, a Sky or BT presenter reading out the results at 5pm will never replace the lilting lyrical tones of dear old James Alexander Gordon. He could make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when he read them
out. Sky & BT just adopt a matter of fact tone and long before they've reached the results from the Welsh League your interest has waned, well mine has. It's just about the time of day when you start to envy those followers of Accrington Stanley or Grimsby Town who have at least have had a game to watch. No point in looking to see who's on Sky's game of the day or the even now somewhat pointless MOTD because one thing for sure, Liverpool won't feature.
So Monday arrives, you've read the Sunday papers but they didn't mean anything; you've scanned the morning papers and they mean even less. I'll go to my usual port of call and my Blackpool supporting mate will be able to tell me all about how his team performed but when he says, "Oh your lot are playing tonight aren't they" it feels like a boot in the proverbials. A weekend without Liverpool playing is like a 'Lost Weekend'. Saturday and Sunday were rendered by the TV moguls as nothing more than irrelevant and Monday morning the same. Travelling down to the soulless London Stadium for a Monday nighter and then having to travel back and not getting into a warm bed until early Tuesday morning doesn't exactly have an attractive appeal, in fact it's even less attractive now than Dame Karen Brady is.
Sunday might have been Sky's get out clause because I've sort of got used to watching us play now on a Sunday regardless of risking the wrath of God come judgement day. "What, you went to watch Liverpool instead of going to church? Hellfire for you mate"! "Honest God, we did more praying watching Liverpool than we ever did in church, and remember, St John was once very popular with our flock" you respond, hoping he'll I never thought I'd say it, but I'd rather have the turn a blind eye. evils of Sunday football because that's a little Only we're not even playing Sunday so trying to compensation for the loss of Saturday. Monday fill the vacant space on Sunday becomes even can never be that and I don't give a flying whatsit harder than on a Saturday. Okay, maybe I will for the thoughts of Carra &Gary. keep an ear out for news on Manchester City but how can I bring myself to watch them and then have the Sky crew telling me how many points they are behind us....I bloody know and yes I do know how many points we'll be in front if we win, lose or draw at West Ham, I have a calculator on my phone should my brain start to fail me. Then if you go down the pub at night and everyone's talking about the weekend football you sit there trying seek solace from a pint of lager feeling like that spare part at a wedding.
Not The Boomtown Rat
Steve Tongueâ€™s Excellent Books About Power Battles In Boardrooms
Support, Passion & History Versus Money, Plastic Flags & Greed “Perception is a funny thing in football. In the last ten Premier League games Man City have dropped 12 points, Liverpool have dropped 7. At the time of writing City have lost to 3 of the teams outside the top 6(Leicester City, Crystal Palace & Newcastle United), Liverpool have drawn against 2 of them (Leicester & West Ham United)”.
banter. A club built on years of hard work by the legendary Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and other managerial legends as Kenny Dalglish, Rafael Benitez, Gerard Houllier, etc, combined with boardroom maestros second to none such as TV Williams, Sir John Smith and the one & only - the outstanding legendary Chief Executive Peter Robinson.
Yet Liverpool are perceived by the London & Manchester Press cartel as the team that is bottling Contrast that with Manchester City, until fairly it & losing their nerve? recently City were almost unknown outside of the UK, a club that has achieved success mainly on the In fact, nothing could be further from the truth, it back of their Arab oil rich billionaire benefactors, is City who cracked first, and hence the reason yet despite their artificially achieved success, their they are playing catch up to this outstanding fan base is mainly just in Manchester. Even today, Liverpool team who have still lost just one league City with a world class manager and a world class match all season. It is worth remembering that this time last year, Liverpool FC trailed Manchester City by 18 points & Manchester United by 7 points respectively, now we are 3 points ahead of Man City & 14 ahead of United, anyone having the audacity to criticise Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp at the moment need to take a total reality check. What is beyond belief however is the amount of football fans nationwide, apart from the biased Manchester Press, who appears to prefer to want to see Manchester City win the Premier League instead of Liverpool Football Club? The reason I say this is not because I am wearing my red tinted glasses but take a look at the history & facts of the two clubs. Liverpool Football Club, known throughout the world mainly through winning an amazing FIVE European cups as well as being the most successful team in the history of English football with 18 league titles, 7 FA Cups & 8 League Cups & 3 UEFA Cups. With a worldwide fan base known worldwide through the famous Spion Kop with their songs &
Match Day The Etihad
squad, bought with hundreds of millions from their billionaire owners, struggle to fill their own stadium even for the top matches in the Premier League & UEFA Champions League, with masses of empty seats evident throughout their Etihad stadium. Manchester City have to hand out plastic flags before their UEFA Champions League matches to try to create some sort of atmosphere, contrast that with Liverpool and their fanatical raucous support, where every match is sold out and a waiting list for season tickets that have an average waiting time of 25 years plus. The mythical European nights at Anfield are famous throughout the world at one of the true cathedrals of world football Anfield, while at the Etihad even on UEFA Champions League nights there are empty seats scattered throughout the stadium. Manchester City, epitomise to me everything that is wrong with modern day football where money & millions of it, rule the roost & the highest wage bill wins the league. What a refreshing change it would be for passion, support & fanaticism, combined with an outstanding team were to succeed ahead of money and a club artificially buying success.
Whatever happens this season, whether Liverpool win the league or not, the football under the affable German genius JĂźrgen Klopp is an absolute pleasure to behold and hopefully he will be here at Anfield for many, many years to come.
words, she said days later she couldn’t get it out of her head, and over twenty years later we’re still together [say ah if you want]. So, sometimes football songs have an impact of your private life and another for me was Fields Of Anfield Road and this was a song we didn’t really own as it was, and still is, a Celtic song. Maybe we did a trade off, let them continue singing YNWA and we’ll make up our own words to Fields of Athenry. After all, all’s fair in football, love and war. With an ex-female associate I’d go in an Irish bar and the only song on the Juke Box you would have thought was Fields. The whole pub, real Irish people by the way, would almost lift the roof. The song had the potential to be more popular than Guinness. When we adopted the song there was almost sectarian outrage as some seemed to believe the song was Republican anti British song? This Fanzine was even asked if we thought it was a suitable song and I think I responded by saying who gives a flying whatsit? It’s a football song, or would be. I understand a much missed legendary Red, gave the song his seal of approval and now I don’t think anyone gives a toss about the songs roots. As for the lady in this memory, whether she now waits outside the Shankly Gates I have no idea. Continuing with a look back at what happened during the first 250 issues of Red All Over The Land and there has to be a mention of songs. Over the past few years there’s been a whole raft of goodies for the Choir of Anfield to wax lyrical about. However...
In the early days of this esteemed publication Michael Owen was a little bit revered. I’m proud to have been one of those Kopites who encouraged our followers to sing, Michael Owen scores the goals, hallelujah – pity he fouled the nest in later years. Good song though.
Going back to around 1996 and a player called Patrik Berger. Not too many players have a song sung in their honour on their debut but Paddy did. Okay, it was only a few words but Patrik Berger La, La, La, Lah reverberated around the now extinct ironworks that was once Filbert Street Football Ground [missed a few la, la lahs out]. I remember being in a car with my old mate Johnny Mackin as we went into an underpass in Leicester after the game and dozens of ours had their heads out of car windows giving it every La, La, Lah they had. Only a better Paddy song was to be sung. 1998, Valencia airport and following a trademark crackerjack from Paddy to help us through on away goals and the aforementioned Johnny Mackin comes out with: He’s got long hair and he’s strong as an Ox, he scores great goals from outside the box, his name is Berger and by the time we got home everybody on the plane knew the words. The tune was Lola by The Kinks and it had an impact on my life. I emailed someone I knew the
The triple Cup winning season gave the opportunity for the Travelling Kop to come up with a new range of, erm, classics. One which started in 2000 but didn’t last too long was the Kop’s take on Who Let The Dogs Out which was very quickly adapted and changed into Who Let The Reds Out – Hou, Houllier!!!. On reflection maybe it was bloody awful, but at the time I suppose it fitted in. Like with many Anfield Anthems, there is an abiding memory and as with many abiding memories it came after a night on the drink. There was a guy in our crew known simply as Big Mark. Mark wasn’t all that tall but tipped the scales at around the 20-stone level. We’d had a night out in Prague on the eve of a trip to Slovan Liberec for a UEFA Cup game. It was the night of Roy Keane’s much acclaimed Prawn Sandwich speech which we’d watched in a bar close to the River Danube. Mark was sitting, or rather slumped, in a chair and for a few moments as we digested the Prawn Sandwich there was
quiet in the air. Suddenly, as if aroused by a moment of musical inspiration Mark stirred, sat as upright as he could and his voice hit the air with a somewhat blood curdling sound, “Who Let The Reds Out” and the whole bar, packed full of Reds, responded, “Hou, Houllier!!!”. After which Mark slumped back into the chair and carried on drinking his pint which had cost the best part of 50p and everyone else went back to doing what they’d been doing.
When Rafa arrived, our anthems started to adopt a Spanish flavour but I think we stopped short of doing a full-length Paso doble although it probably would have been fun. The one that came, and remained, was the Mexican tinged Ring Of Fire. I first heard it at Craven Cottage, Fulham on an afternoon of raw emotion when we came back from two-down, playing with ten men to win 4-2 and we witnessed an Igor Biscan super strike. In fairness playing with ten men probably favoured us because the player who was red carded was Josemi and I’m sure all Redmen of the time and
life of Josemi will know what I mean. However, my fave moment in the times of Der, Der, Der [to shorten it a bit] came when in Nice for the game against Monaco. My love and I were in a peaceful expensive bar on the suburban streets of the French resort when we heard the plaintive call of the lonely Kopite seeking out his mate. Der, Der, Der [you know what I mean] and from another part of the resort came the answer, Der, Der, Der – it was like a calling, let’s get together kind of message. We drank our expensive appetisers and followed the sound which was growing louder as we wended our way and ended up at a little bar where there was a great twirling of scarves, as if a welcoming sign. The ‘Ring Of Fire’ would be forever synonymous with what finally occurred in 2005 and seeing countless thousands of scarves circling the heads of 40,000 Liverpool supporters at Anfield v Chelsea will stay until our final day. It has to be said that during 250 issues and 23years of Red All Over The Land the songs in honour of certain players have become legend themselves. There’s no doubting the ones accorded to Steven Gerrard were befitting to an all time great, just as a Team Of Carragher’s was worthy of the man. The feats of Luis Suárez will never be forgotten and the songs for him duly merited. Fernando Torres blotted his copy book by signing for a sworn enemy but didn’t we enjoy
bouncing in his honour when he was maybe the Numero Uno striker on the planet earth? I love hearing the Kopites sing their new playlist and it’s hard to suggest a number one. The VvD one is up there with any Anfield Anthem and of course we were not to know that when our young bucks on the Kop started singing Allez, Allez, they were actually teaching the world to sing. - - well certainly those of the light blue minority in Mancunia. The songs of Manè scoring at Christmas and other Evertonian melodies, which seem to grow derby by derby, have a nice somewhat unique mixture of humour and sarcasm. Only there’s one little song I genuinely love and not just because it brings back even more memories of not just the 2005 Chelsea night at Anfield, or the Chelsea FA Cup semi at OT but for a rather funny moment at Wrexham, in a pre-season friendly. Little Luis Garcia was warming up along the touchline when the travelling, still celebrating masses broke into a chorus of Luis Garcia, He Drinks Sangria bringing a baffled look to our hero’s face. JAR, also remembered in song, had to tap him on the shoulder and told him to listen. I think he got the message. He knows what we mean now doesn’t he?
DONT BE THOMAS CROOKED The Lutine Bell - 263 Breck Road There are places around Anfield the hospitality and over priced Thomas Crook tours probably won’t mention. Our City tour guide Steve Horton, however, goes where Thomas and Company fear to tread. The real pubs being one example. Having to go into these pubs isn’t an easy task but someone has to do it otherwise you’d be Thomas Crooked. Here’s his latest recommendation The Lutine Bell is a no nonsense unpretentious pub about ten minutes walk from the stadium. It is a popular place amongst locals so doesn’t rely just on the match day crowd. The chances are that if you go in, there’ll be someone just as likely to want to talk about Joe Anderson and Redrow as there is whether van Dijk should be Liverpool FC’s captain. In addition to the LFC artwork (5 European Cups, and a great painting of Paisley), there is some Everton stuff too tucked away in a corner, to ensure it ticks over the rest of the time. You will always get a warm welcome here from staff and customers alike, and there is a wider range of alcoholic drinks than most other places in the area.
Why Politics Belongs In Football
In issue 249 of this esteemed publication, The Gentleman Casual reminded us all that contrary to the mantra “Politics doesn’t belong in football”, the two are inseparable as long as football clubs continue to live in the communities that gave birth to them.
Mansfield and Stoke In January, self confessed Scouse separatist and Beer Hooligan (his description, not mine), the journalist Tony Evans, published an article titled “League of Lads” for Tortoise Media after he had visited Mansfield and Stoke. It is readily available online and a really good read describing the alienation of the population of those post industrial towns which have been destroyed by a combination of the decline of their traditional industries and the removal of any crutch that was there before the imposition of government austerity. All they have is their football club. In following LFC, we have played in both towns in the last decade, several times in Stoke, and they are grim places. Mind you, so are other places we visit, like Burnley, Middlesbrough, Burton-onTrent (sorry Trent), Wrexham, Barnsley and nearer to home St Helens or Wigan. They all voted leave in the referendum and don’t care what happens to the economy and jobs, because they think there is nothing to lose. Evans describes the Mansfield fans as follows: “The majority of supporters were men whose youth had long gone. Many of them wore Adidas Samba training shoes, Lacoste leisurewear and Stone Island jackets, displaying the casual style developed in the late 1970s and 80s. People who dress this way are not necessarily hooligans, but the look projects a message. ‘Machismo is part of the local currency,’ says one local fan. ‘Mansfield has always had a ‘firm’. They’re all a bit older now, but they have young lads coming through. Being a lad, and being macho, gives you a bit of an identity, as well as representing your town.’ These are the foot soldiers of Brexit.”
The description could apply to supporters of any of the clubs mentioned above and too many more besides, even a section of our own. Sadly they blame the wrong people for their plight, blame which lies at the feet of successive British governments, and is absolutely nothing to do with the EU. And though they may think they have nothing to lose, just watch what happens to public services when the amount the government raise’s from taxes collapses due to lower incomes, fewer jobs and fewer profitable companies. Project Fear is very near.
A Statesman and Future Prime Minister In the midst of all this, der Boss has come out and pinned his colours to the mast. In April last year, he told Channel 4 News that Brexit was "not the solution" and he reiterated these lines in an interview in late January with Dan Roan of BBC Sport: “What do you want? A not perfect situation alone or a not perfect situation as a strong partner in a very strong unit. That's only common sense. That's only common sense because history taught us that if you are alone you are weaker than the unit. I'm 51 years old so I have never experienced a war. We are really blessed in our generation, but the past showed us that as long as strong partners are together, Europe is a much safer place. The past showed us that as long as all the strong parts are together Europe is a much safer place and that's what we all have. Yes, we have problems but let's solve them. We live in wonderful circumstances; yes, we have problems, but we sort them. I don't like that it is starting to split again. If France and Italy start as well, there it's always the right wing that wants to go out and they will benefit from it. Who wants that? Just calm down and stick together and stop listening to people with no knowledge, from the right side because that's never the solution.
Spokesmen For A Generation I still hope that somebody will use common sense at conscious of its roots however and its links with the the end and doesn't use the situation to try local community in which our stadium lies and the and improve only their own position.” broader Liverpool and Merseyside diaspora. There is common cause with Mansfield and Stoke in anti Klopp has won praise for his sensible and government feeling. The think tank Centre for reasonable words, something which has rarely Cities recently published research that showed the been seen in Westminster in the recent past. I biggest loser from austerity has been Barnsley with doubt that he is launching his political career and a 40% reduction in spending; the second biggest is thinking of standing for Prime Minister, but he’d Liverpool at 32%. The national average is 14.5%. get my vote. What about you? But post industrial towns like Barnsley grasp at the wild promises of the right; Liverpool Liverpool and the EU historically has been of the left since before Shanks Whilst the club will distance itself from taking was a boy. sides, I don’t have to. Our club is not a Mansfield or a Stoke in the sense that it draws its support As The Gentleman Casual pointed out, this club’s from around the world, and arguably needs to supporters with roots in the city have always been generate the income to compete at the top end of politically aware and left leaning, and not afraid to European football where we belong. It is still show it. They know that if it hadn’t been for EU
investment, our city would be just a bigger version of Stoke or Mansfield, targeted for ruin by Thatcher as it was. So one of the things I don’t quite get is why local fans leave it to Jurgen to fly the EU flag. I went on the rally in Liverpool during the Labour Party Conference to persuade comrade Corbyn and co to come out and declare for a People’s Vote. The day before there had been 53000 at Anfield. On the day itself, there were probably 10000 shopping themselves stupid in Liverpool One. The rally at the Pier Head attracted 5000, more than half of whom were out of towners. What does that tell you? Among the speeches was an impassioned one by big blue Mayor Joe Anderson, who made exactly the same point about our survival being thanks to the EU. Where were the fans? Blues and Reds? I thought at least he could have brought a few with him. Instead he brought Peter Reid. Is football actually becoming apolitical even in Liverpool? It is not all one way of course. Corbyn depends on the Unite trade union for support, and even though the membership is pro EU, for some strange reason the leader Len McCluskey. So a son of Liverpool and sometime fan of our club is actually what stands between Labour declaring for a people’s vote or not. Interesting. Anyone sit beside him when he shows up who can have a word in his ear? On the other hand, Jamie Carragher is pretty vocal on the former Remain campaign trail, paying
for transport to demos and rallies and no doubt much else behind the scenes. Between him and Jurgen we might have the future dream election ticket, which could lead us to better things once May and Corbyn have spent their last days together in the Tower of London.
Save Our Kids’ Futures By the time you read this article, there will be around a month to go before Armageddon. We all know the choices. So called no deal which will enable us to share in perpetuity what living in Mansfield and Stoke is all about since our Freedom of Movement will have been sacrificed; May’s precious deal which makes us a rule taker and gives away more of the control that the Leave campaign wanted back (not to mention £39bn); or the Jurgen and Carra choice of staying in the EU but ensuring future UK governments distribute the wealth fairly, including to Mansfield and Stoke. Don’t be a victim of the outcome and have to tell your kids and grandkids that you stood on the sidelines as the disaster unfolded. It’s not too late to stop the madness. Come on Jurgen, la!!!! Get on the campaign trail at your next press conference.
Wolves And The Willy Wonka Golden Ticket
This is stark contrast to Liverpool’s last title challenge of 2013/14 where the request for £6,000 for a ticket for the Newcastle game where again, bulk sale issues which saw a free for all over loyal members, led to a lot of discontent amongst the fanbase and ensured that all final home games required some form of previous loyalty to attend. On this day (28th January 2014), Everton were thrashed 4-0 at Anfield in a game where Daniel Sturridge could have completed a famous Merseyside Derby hat-trick only to scoop a penalty into the Kop. After that match Liverpool sat in fourth position, six points behind leaders Arsenal and then followed that up with a draw against West Bromwich Albion so at this point it didn’t look likely that Liverpool could end the wait, but a run of form catapulted Liverpool into title contenders and after the stunning 3-2 victory over Manchester City, ticket agencies then started to cash in requesting up to £10k for a pair of tickets which, quite frankly, is bonkers. But with the demand set to rise week-on-week, it is likely that the prices tickets could reach this year will be truly eyewatering.
Whilst not wanting to get too far ahead of ourselves, it’s hard to not have one eye on 12th May 2019. The final fixture of the Premier League season, now just over 3 months away. There is still a lot of football to be played between now and then but there’s significant hope and optimism amongst all reds supporters that this may finally be the year Liverpool lift the league title. For those supporters who are missing out, it really is a case of a hunt for the proverbial golden ticket. Unfortunately though, that prospect has suddenly Scam artists will prey on people’s desire to go to a turned the potentially historic occasions potentially historic day and entice them with preparations and anticipation into a contest for tickets that don’t actually exist, whereas others will who has a bigger wallet. With tout sites already literally bleed people dry to test their resolve and commanding almost £6,000 for a ticket, you can how much they truly want to be in attendance at guarantee that figure will rise as we get closer to Anfield on that day. To get a genuine spare ticket the season’s climax with Liverpool remaining in at face value is literally going to be a golden ticket. pole position. There will still be a few that will come up, but they There is a common theme floating around with a will be far between. number of regular match going supporters already asking friends around them to let them know of any spare tickets, genuine and face value due to a lack of success in November’s bulk sales and an email@example.com increasing demand that shows no sign of abating Twitter - @kopitesaint91 with struggles in late members sales as well as an expected decrease in returns from Season Ticket Holders and sponsors.
HAT SCARF OR A BADGE 371 WALTON BRECK ROAD, ANFIELD LIVERPOOL L4 0SY
I celebrated Burns Night in the company of an Edinburgh expat at a Scots pub on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It's a place where the 'r's are rolled and 'whisky' is spelled correctly, without the "e". When it first opened, the watering hole was called 'Jock Tamson's Bairns' but that may have been a bit too oblique for potential
American patrons, so it is now simply 'Caledonia Bar'. Am just hoping that a year hence its name won't have been further dumbed-down and rechristened as The Scottish Pub. My friend and I raised a wee dram to toast the memory of Hugh McIlvanney, who had died the previous day. In 1981, shortly after our Glenbuck legend had himself passed away, the incomparable Scottish sportswriter mused that, "Opponents of Liverpool Football Club would be rash to assume that they have done with Bill Shankly. Once Bill's ashes have been scattered on the pitch at Anfield any visiting forward who is setting himself to score an important goal is liable to find suddenly that he has something in his eye." Spot on. "We're a' Jock Tamson's Bairns" is a wonderfully salt-of-the-earth Scottish saying. Its humble sentiments would find a receptive ear in Andy Robertson, a true man of the people. For Liverpool's first match after the annual haggis and neeps dinner, Robbo appropriately enough graced the cover of This is Anfield. And, alas, he promptly conceded a needless free kick that lead to Harry Maguire's Leicester equalizer. Call it the cover curse, which is a
well-documentedaffliction in American journalism. (One example of many: in 1979, on the verge of the biggest bull market in Wall Street's history, Business Week infamously declared "The Death of Equities" on its front page). For the Foxes game we had simultaneous snowstorms, with a polar vortex gripping the Big Apple while a wintry dusting of the white stuff struck Anfield. The match was not broadcast on cable television here, instead only available on streaming services, so I was reduced to following the minute-by -minute text commentary. On The Telegraph's website, the marvelously named Pippa Field described Mane's early goal thus: "Sane strides towards the box,
exchanges passes with Firmino and carries on his run before placing the ball past Schmeichel." Who knew we had stealthily signed Manchester City's German winger during the transfer window? Later in the game, The Guardian said Schmeichel merely "parried" a 74th minute effort from Firmino. The BBC, meanwhile, could hardly contain itself at the identical incident, waxing lyrical about what a "GREAT SAVE!" it was, with the keeper doing "brilliantly well to palm away". Were they at the same match? With Liverpool not playing until the Monday at West Ham, the first weekend of February was dominated by oval ball action. The Red Lion bar in the heart of Greenwich Village, Bob Dylan's old stomping grounds, hosted the season's opening salvos of Six Nations rugby. A $20 cover charge at the door brought back uncomfortable memories of the early aughts, when Setanta Sports used to impose a similar fee to see English Premier League games. Come Sunday, the Super Bowl sucked up all of the oxygen. Thank goodness that one was on free TV, for the game was an antidote to insomnia. Its 3-0 half time scoreline represented an all-time low for the event, and fewer combined points than the four goals Liverpool alone had scored in each of our last four fixtures against the Hammers. For New Yorkers, for whom New England is the mortal sporing enemy, seeing the Patriots Tom Brady win add yet another winner's ring to his endless collection only added
to the angst. (When the New York Giants played the Pats in the 2012 Super Bowl, a Gotham pub called that had been known as Brady's from time immemorial was renamed strictly for the game). The s ho wpiece grid iro n o cca s io n is renowned for its television commercials, which this year were infinitely more interesting than any on-field action itself. This year the ads had a heavy dose of 1990's nostalgia, with the Backstreet Boys making an appearance in one while Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges reprised their Sex and the City and Big Lebowski roles in another. In the '90s, comedian Dennis Miller famously said that "OJ Simpson's defense is shakier than Katharine Hepburn's head in a helicopter". That line suddenly describes our own defense at the moment, decimated as it is by injuries and unrecognizable from the impregnable unit of the autumn. Once again Mane, who adorns World Soccer magazine's front page for February, scored early. (So much for that cover curse). And once again it finished 1-1 against mid tier opposition.
More Doggy Tails From Cleo The Most Famous Dog On Merseyside Cleo; What did you make of that Crystal Palace show. Our defence looked like it couldn’t find a tree in a Forest when it wanted to cock its leg up. Of course Roy Hodgson was there looking pretty much like someone who had got home only to find his best friend and eaten his dinner and all he got left was a bone to chew on and complain about Liverpool being lucky. Have anyone of you canine friends ever looked as miserable as Roy?
First of all the Crystal was certainly not from the Palace so let's be Crystal Clear on the fact! Nothing will STOP US. No Eye would say that Roy miserable Hodgson is way more ugly than any of my K9 friends not just in appearance but in comment too, as that guy calling us lucky after the game is all wrong. As we are LIVERPOOL Skilful REDS 1st and foremost. Behave Roy boy or I may Speaking after our labored 1-0 win away to put me STAFFY Lock jaw on you. Brighton, Jurgen Klopp opted for an uptown Of course against Leicester it snowed and was a Manhattan metaphor in declaring that, "We horrible night so I hope you were covered up with a heated blanket and hugging a hot water bottle. My are not the Harlem Globetrotters". There tiny hands were frozen that’s for sure. We dropped is no doubt that we've hit an air pocket points after Citeh had been beaten so a golden chop following the free-flowing football from sized opportunity gone begging. Do you like the late last year, but there's no cause for snow Cleo or does it hamper your regal life style. alarm just yet. Liverpool are quite capable Talking of regal styles I noticed Harry Boy giving you an admiring glance whilst he was in the world’s of turning this around in a New York finest city. Hope Meg, as we can call her, wasn’t minute. getting jealous. Did they get a copy of Red All Over The Land as I do believe the lad is a footie freak?
Justin Sharon Our US Mail
The Leicester was no real Match for an on form Liverpool squad however the buoys of LFC never really turned up that night. Yes naturally the Snowy stuff can occasionally hamper ones Regal Lifestyle yet to be FUR I do like the white stuff as it’s quite fluffy to roll around in so I perform my Happy STAFFY ROLLOVERS when it lands.
I, along with my Daddio ANTO, did Welcome HRH Harry and Meg to our neck of the woods as we did our meet and royal greet thing recently. The Duke and Duchess were very friendly to my Canine Doggy Styles as, of course, I brought smiles. Big Harry buoy shook my Regal right PAW as he heard my many fans shout “Harry she was also at your Wedding in Windsor Castle we all seen her on TV as well”. Once Harry realised that I was the World famous Celebrity pooch who had turned up he proceeded to give my lil Staffy nose a gentle rub [see pix] and had a huge smile on his face. He is very down to earth and clearly loves his Dogs. Speaking of love, as Meg had spotted her Big Haitch fella falling head over heels in love first hand, she did get a bit jealous as Eye myself have Brown Eyes like her and she got a bit Catty and was not quite as friendly as the Harry man. Lol Of course we passed on a chosen RED ALL OVER THE LAND FanZine to the Harry fella, the one we chose had my full Social media handles all over it and one we had been keeping to one side for a #Special occasion and this was a Very special occasion indeed as our day went just perfect thankfully. So now Red All Over The Land has royal approval. Harry’s Granddad was so pleased to hear the news he crashed his car. West Ham wasn’t good, don’t like London on Monday nights, in fact don’t like Mondays. One or two old dogs around the sound of Bow Bells who can be very dangerous or maybe it’s Karen Brady I don’t like. Only a draw to nibble on. Too many injuries so Cleo, we’re relying on you and your special powers to cure all ills and give us a team fit for purpose and we all know what that purpose is? Wow REDS Please Stop making Work for yourselves and your Good fanZ by shredding our nerves. As to be Truthful your way better than that for sure. Didn’t get a sniff of Dame Brady, in fact I thought she’d been fired. We’ll have to wait and see if the point is valuable, Eye for One think One is better than None. We had the wind against Bournemouth so how did you cope with that? Purfectly of course. Nobody likes having the wind, it can leave a trail of destruction and doesn’t help the DADDIO on his bike, nor me when it’s in the wrong direction. My magic powers saw us through and Mo and Bobby like me an ANT were in tandem again. Nothing can blow them away.
All-Is-On Shaq And Keita To Be Fab Almost six months on from the shutting of the summer transfer window and just a little after the end of one of the most uneventful January windows in years, I thought I’d take a look at our four summer acquisitions and evaluate how they have bedded in and began their life in a Liverpool shirt. I also wanted to have a big, sensible chat about Naby Keita, which I think is something we all need. Alisson, Shaqiri, Fabinho and Keita have all had different yet interesting starts to their LFC career and so let’s take a deeper look individually at each of our ‘Fab Four’ summer signings in chronological order beginning with Fabinho, who we saw first in a Liverpool shirt.
Fabinho This was a transfer that caught everyone by surprise. Announced less than 48 hours after the devastation of Kiev, this was the pick me up everyone needed. It seriously helped soothe the sores of the CL final and already had everyone looking ahead to the shiny prospect of the new season ahead. Many Liverpool supporters had not yet returned home from the Ukraine by the time the deal was announced. Our interest in the Brazilian was only reported in the afternoon of the following Monday and by nine o clock that evening we already had official confirmation of the deal via the LFC twitter account with videos of him standing in front of that now famous red wall somewhere in Melwood. I believe this is testament to the fact that Liverpool have learned their lesson from the disastrous Van Dijk saga in the summer of 2018. Much like the eventual signing of Van Dijk last winter, the Fabinho deal was kept very quiet and took everyone, even the informed, trusted local journo’s, by surprise. We can now see that the club conducts its business in a much more astute manner which can only be a positive going forward. On the pitch, Fab had a bit of a rocky start, not featuring until mid-September which was surprising considering he had a full pre-season behind him. He was somewhat unconvincing in a
few of his inaugural appearances, most notably away at the Emirates where he looked a liability but he did often show flashes of his quality and give us a glimpse into what we could come to expect from him. Now, however, Fabinho is a fixture in Jurgen’s starting XI and there are very little, if any, worries about the Brazilian as a result of a string of impressive performances at the base of Liverpool’s midfield. He can comfortably play as the deepest lying midfielder or in a holding two which I believe to be his most favoured role. I highly doubt there would be any qualms from our fan base if he was to start in important games be it in the PL run-in or in Europe which shows how far he’s come in just a few short months.
Naby Keita Oh, Naby... we expected so much. We’d been preparing for his arrival for a year and were so excited when he waltzed through the doors of Melwood on the first day of pre-season. Through watching ever-reliable YouTube compilations and listening to avid Bundesliga watchers we had high hopes for what the Guinean could achieve at Anfield. He started the season quite well, playing in a midfield three alongside Wijnaldum and Milner in the opening games. He put in decent performances against both West Ham and Palace, his turn on Townsend being the highlight of his Liverpool career to date, before having a rather quiet game at home to Brighton. He was left on the bench for the trip to Leicester but then started away at Spurs after the international break. Keita was impressive against Tottenham, gliding through their midfield on a day where the reds were rampant but failed to score the number of goals their performance merited. Naby missed a few decent chances that day and I do wonder if maybe had he got a goal early in his Liverpool tenure would it have given him that extra confidence boost he needed to kick on? Injuries in the late Autumn further hindered his progression and an unwillingness from Klopp to give him much game time during the Christmas period meant we didn’t see much of him before the new year. He did, however, put in a man of the match performance against Burnley in December and was incredibly unlucky not to score - he could’ve had a hat-trick!
He was also shoe-horned out onto the left wing on various occasions which I think did him no favours. Playing him in a position he is not accustomed to when he is still finding his feet at the club and still adapting to the physicality and demands of Premier League football did not seem particularly clever but possibly highlights the lack of depth we have in that position. When he has played in his proper position and with a full strength side around him is when we’ve seen the best of Naby Keita, in those games at the start of the season, against Burnley and in recent games against the likes of Leicester and West Ham. Naby’s recent performances have been cause for optimism, in my opinion. Despite poor results against West Ham and The Foxes, Naby was the brightest spark in an otherwise dim Liverpool side. He’s shown inventiveness and creativity, driving from midfield as he loves to do. He was one of the only players who looked like a real threat and who could produce something out of nothing. I believe much of the Naby-bashing has been far too unfair, impatient and reactionary. There is no doubt that Naby Keita is a footballer with immense talent and potential. While he has not had the blistering start to his Liverpool career many of us expected, writing Keita off this early is an enormous mistake and will only make you look back at yourself with embarrassment in the years to come as I’m sure we will soon see the Naby Keita we were promised. He’s too good not to be good for us.
Shaqiri looked like he could be this player maybe two months ago but a frankly disappointing start to the new year performance wise from him have reawakened a few questions about his capability of being one of our main attackers. Jurgen’s insistence on playing this 4-2-3-1 system means that Shaqiri is our most suited player to play in that fourth attacking role, again possibly highlighting our need for reinforcements in that area. If we are to keep with this formation then The Shaq better up his game soon if he wants to be a critical part of this Liverpool team as we enter the final furlong of this campaign, especially with the impending reintegration of Sir Alex OxladeChamberlain back into the side.
When the proposed move for Shaqiri began to gain momentum I don’t think there was a massive amount of excitement from our fan base regarding the possibility of the Swiss attacker becoming a Liverpool player. He was seen as a good addition to the squad to provide attacking depth but there were concerns about his attitude and work rate which have since been undeniably quashed. A mercurial talent, we weren’t one hundred percent sure what we were getting with Shaqiri and questions were raised about whether signing a player who failed to massively impress for a relegated Stoke side could produce the level of performances required by a club with title Overall Xherdan Shaqiri has probably made more ambitions. of an impact than most of us suspected he would at My own opinion on the transfer at the time was the start of the campaign, with six goals and a fair that it was a decent signing, as long as it wasn’t few impressive performances to date. In fact the instead of a Fekir or someone of that calibre, brace he scored against United is probably worth which it now transpires it, was, because of how the 13.5 million we paid for him anyway. Who much Xherdan impressed the manager upon his would have thought last year that Xherdan Shaqiri arrival. I still feel as though we should have signed would get Jose Mourinho sacked in December by another wide attacking player in the summer. The scoring two late goals for Liverpool? Football, eh. thought of one of our front three getting a serious injury heading into the run-in causes me to wake up in a cold sweat some nights. This fear would be greatly helped if we had another world class attacker who could come and fill in with ease should something happen to Mane, Firmino or Salah.
strong possibility that we would not be in the knockout stages of the champions league, looking Sometimes I can’t believe we have Alisson as our back at that heroic last minute save to deny goalkeeper. I don’t think it’s fully sunk in, even six Arkadiusz Milik on the final match day. months after signing him, how lucky we are to I firmly believe there is a strong chance that we are have a goalkeeper of such quality playing for us. watching the best ever goalkeeper to play for He has, along with Van Dijk, utterly transformed Liverpool right now. His composure, confidence our defence. It shows how far we have come as a and all round goalkeeping and footballing ability club in the last few years that we are capable of make him a keeper of the highest of highest levels. signing an elite level goalkeeper for an, at the time, We are lucky to have such a man in goal and long world-record fee for a player in that position may his and our era of brilliance continue. despite interest in him from both Real Madrid and Chelsea.
I don’t think it can be underestimated the difference in quality between him and the goalkeepers we’ve had over the eight years or so and possibly beyond. If we had have gone into this season with Karius and Mignolet still battling it out for our number 1 jersey with whoever’s crisp-packet hands were sturdier that week starting in goal at the weekend, I highly doubt we’d have the same number of points we do now. Alisson has produced some incredible saves to earn us points in games and his all round aura substantially boosts the confidence of those playing in front of him as well as of those of us in the stands. He’s made two errors so far in his time at LFC and neither went on to cost us and if we had anyone else in goal this season there is a
One Season Wonder’s Chapter 2 “Jimmy Carter was Dalglish’s most baffling signing; so ineffectual was he that the former US President of the same name, at the age of 66, might have done as good a job.” – Paul Tomkins, The Tomkins Times 2010. "To all who have tweeted me good health wishes ...thank you...however I am an ex Pro footballer and not the former President of the USA." – Jimmy Carter’s Twitter response after he was mistaken for the former US president. In January 1991 Kenny was freely signing players Ad infinitum in support of the clubs title and cup aspirations, with the regally named winger James William Charles Carter among them. An £800,000 signing from Millwall FC, his brief tenure at the club would become challenged by poor form, issues with fitness and a division in managerial opinion. Jimmy’s career began in Hackney, London where
his early football aspirations were encouraged by his father (then a sole parent) who would “…pull the sheets off the bed at 6am during winter and tell me to run twice around the park. On the way back, if someone had four pints of milk outside I was to grab one so we had something for our cornflakes!” 1 His encouragement would eventually pay dividends after Jimmy was spotted playing local football by Crystal Palace, who offered him professional terms in 1983. He failed to impress in the reserves, and Palace cancelled his contract just two seasons to leave him unemployed and struggling to support his new family. Forced to claim unemployment benefits, and work several jobs to make ends meet, he attempted to revive his career by personally writing to the remaining 91 FA clubs in search of a trial. When no club showed interest, he contacted the PFA who promptly put him in contact with local scout Paddy Sowden. Paddy considered Jimmy to hold potential, and secured him a trial with QPR. He was offered a two year deal, but later found himself on the verge of leaving the club when he failed to impress club management. Then Millwall manager John Docherty threw him a lifeline after he’d impressed him by ‘running rings’ around a much bigger opponent in Neil Razor Ruddock, who was often left in his wake whenever the two came into contact, during a reserves match.
The Other Jimmy Carter
Signed for £15,000 in March 1987, Jimmy joined a Millwall side that featured several rising stars, including Terry Sheringham (whom Jimmy had played alongside as a 13 year old in a local Sunday league), Tony Cascarino and Kevin O'Callaghan. Together they would claim the Second Division title in Season 1987/88, before returning back there after two brief seasons in the First Division. During this time Jimmy had proved himself to be a decent player, making 134 appearances (plus a further 15 as substitute) and scoring 13 goals. Despite this, the loss of First Division revenue would force Millwall to sell several key players, including Jimmy, to make ends meet.
Arsenal had enquired about his services, but it’s believed Millwall manager Bruce Rioch fancied the higher price (£800,000) being offered by the Reds. “I never once asked to leave Millwall...” Jimmy said. “Bruce Rioch came to me one morning before training and asked me to step into his office. He said we’ve accepted a bid from Liverpool Football Club, (and) Kenny Dalglish wants to see you up in Liverpool this evening. At the time I had no intention of leaving, I was very happy at Millwall. However when you know the club have accepted a bid, then you have a decision to make.” 1 Making his debut against Aston Villa just two days later (0-0, Villa Park, January 12th 1991), Jimmy’s style of play and limited fitness (when compared to his new team mates) would soon put him at odds with management. “We turned up at Anfield on the Friday to catch our coach to Luton. Ronnie Moran came into the dressing-room and said the Boss had decided to walk away. There was total silence. We were in shock. Nobody had an inkling (that he would leave.) For me the consequences turned out severe. Graeme Souness came in and made it clear I wasn't part of his plans. It left a prolonged darkness over my career” he said. 2 “I’d like to think (had Kenny stayed at the club) that my style of play definitely suited Liverpool, and I’d worked so hard to get to that point where you’re signing for literally one of the biggest clubs in world football. Then three weeks later the manager who signs you is no longer there, so you’re looking over your shoulder thinking who comes into the club, are they going to fancy you.”
Across the season Jimmy made just 8 appearances (scoring no goals), including an uneventful performance against Chelsea (4-2, Stamford Bridge, May 4th 1991) where he appeared as substitute for the injured Gary Gillespie, only to become substituted by Ronny Rosenthal just 33 minutes later. “I was embarrassed, humiliated and (even) locked myself in the hotel room” he said of the decision. “I wouldn't come down for dinner until Peter Beardsley was concerned enough to call my room and convince me I shouldn't hide away.” 2 “Graeme…made it very, very clear from day one that it wasn’t going to be for me. He said he was going to bring in Mark Walters from (Glasgow) Rangers, so you’re not going to figure (in my plans), and you won’t play. If a club comes in and they bid the right money we are going to let you go…if Kenny was there, I just think I would have been fine…but you can’t look back on it, (these) things happen in football and you just have to get on with it.” 3 Which he duly did by signing for Arsenal, the team he supported as a child, for £500,000 in October 1991. Jimmy often rates among the best of the worse as a One Season Wonder, yet there’s another player who features strongly in the category. A star player for both club and country, his tenure at the club lasted just 189 days, making Robbie Keane more of a half season wonder than any full season one.
a football dinner function. News soon reached the media, and upon hearing the rumours Chairman Daniel Levy would launch an angry tirade against the Reds that, at one point, included the threat of legal action. "I don't regard it as a transfer deal – that is something which happens between two clubs when they both agree to trade – this is very much an enforced sale.” he said. “I was incredibly disappointed when I first heard not only that Liverpool had been working behind the scenes to bring Robbie to Anfield, but that Robbie himself wanted to go and he submitted a transfer request to this effect.” 6 The news confounded the football world and confused club diehards who felt Rafa would attempt to sign Aston Villa’s Gareth Barry after the clubs initial offer, some 12 months prior, had been declined (the Reds had offered £15 million pounds plus Steve Finnan, but Villa wanted £18 million plus Finnan, although they would later sell Gareth to Manchester City for a markdown fee of £12 million.) Concurrently, and despite Rafa’s desires, the board had decided to find another forward to compliment Fernando Torres, and once news broke that Robbie was keen (no pun intended!) to sign Interestingly, Robbie was offered an apprentice- they immediately made Spur’s a £19.3 million ship by Roy Evans while playing for Crumlin pound offer to secure his services (July 2008.) United. Then aged 15, he declined the offer in faDespite his reputation, it would take 11 matches vour of one from Wolverhampton Wanderers who, for Robbie to score his debut goals against West he felt, would offer him a faster pathway into the Bromwich Albion (3-0, Anfield, November 8th) first team. After Wolves he enjoyed brief spells during a time when his form and contribution apwith Coventry City, Inter Milan and Leeds United peared hampered by Rafa’s desire to play him first before joining Tottenham Hotspurs where he was as a lone forward, and then on the left wing. known as ‘a scorer of great goals rather than a great goal scorer… (with) the ability to be in the right Robbie attributed his slump in form to the deciplace to knock in simple, goal-poacher’s type of sions being made at the time, and soon issues begoals as well’. tween the manager and player would emerge. Between Seasons 2002/03 and 2007/08 Robbie would help Spurs win the League (Carling) Cup, and create a club record by scoring double figures in 6 consecutive seasons. Such was his contribution and popularity that he claimed 3 Player of the Year awards - a club record that remains to this day - and became the 13th player to score 100 goals in the Premier League. While at international level he’d become a regular for the Republic of Ireland, and would end his career as the country’s most capped player (146), and highest goal scorer (68.)
Matters came to a head when Rafa dropped Robbie from the side to face Everton in the FA Cup (4th round, 0-0, Anfield, January 25th.) “I'd never been left out of the squad before, not since I was 17.” he said. “Being left out the squad was severely disappointing. As a player I love being involved and playing games and to have that taken away was difficult. I believe that I should have been in the squad, I believe in my ability and that I should have played a lot more games. The fact is I didn't. The manager had his own opinions on the way he wanted to play football; it's as simple as that." 5
Despite his immense popularity and on-field success, after 195 appearances (plus 70 as substitute) and 111 goals he became embroiled in a controversial transfer saga that began when an ‘unofficial approach’ was made by Liverpool officials during
With their relationship at an all-time low, after 189 days, 28 appearances and 7 goals the club would again confound the football world by selling Robbie back to Tottenham for the mark down price of £12 million pounds in February 2009. Although
largely coy when interviewed, Rafa did appear critical of Robbie when the deal was announced. He cited the transfer fee and financial loss - estimated between £4-8 million pounds - as being ‘good business’ given Robbie’s decline in form, and the fact the forward was ‘not able to cut the mustard at such a big club.’ Clearly a One Season Wonder, Robbie later said “When you have that adrenaline, with that Saturday feeling and you can’t wait to play. So to be sitting on the bench is the biggest kick in the backside. I was sick to the stomach, and I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to leave after six or seven months. I wanted to stay there, scoring loads of goals and winning stuff, but if you’re not playing and you know there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, there’s no point in hanging around. That’s not me.” 4
Marc Brekau, A Red Downunder.
References. Jimmy Carter comments taken from an interview with Richard Cawley, London News On Line, June 18th, 2018 Jimmy Carter comments taken from an interview with Joe Bernstein, The Daily Mail, October 5th 2018. Jimmy Carter comments taken from an interview with Chris Lapper, The V2 Academy, August 31st, 2015. Robbie Keane comments taken from an interview with Graham Hunter, www.patreon.com/grahamhunter, September 30th, 2017. Robbie Keane comments taken from an interview with Glenn Moore, The Independent, February 7th 2009. Daniel Levy comments from an article by Graham Chase, The Telegraph, July 29th 2008.
WHEN WORDS FALL LIKE BLACK CONFETTI THE SEMIMYTHICAL 'FRIENDLY' DERBY'? Sunday March 25th 1984 Picture the scene: Two sets of supporters, Red and Blue, inextricably linked by a powerful sense of civic pride, a shared cultural heritage, and a unifying sense of brotherhood so passionate, it borders on the spiritual, standing together, side by side, (despite the supposed segregation), on the rain-soaked terraces of a packed stadium. It's the League Cup Final, between Liverpool and Everton. The first ever all-Merseyside Cup final at Wembley. A longed-for occasion, and the fans of both clubs, more than do it justice. As the teams emerge to a deafening roar, one chant overrides all. The entire ground echoes with a single, sung-from-the-heart melody; 'Merseyside, Merseyside Merseyside!!!'
of the ‘Friendly Derby.’ I only have to recall the memory of me and our kid, standing rather naively, in the Lower Bullens (amidst what we later learned where the hardcore of 'The Bullens Road Hater's'), at the start of a 2:2 draw in back in 1979. It was our first live experience of the seething cauldron that is the Goodison Derby, and we'd elected to stand near to where the Liverpool fans were packed into the Lower Park End. We weren’t totally soft, though we weren't wearing any colours, being more than aware that blithely sauntering into the ground wearing a red and white scarf, give-away LFC badge or, God help us, a rosette, was just asking for trouble.
It's more than a mere affirmation of locale. More than a football song, even. It's unique. And it's a proclamation of defiance that shakes the very foundations of the famous old ground. Merseyside has encamped en mass to the Capital like some vast, invading army. And its 'soldiers' don't require any encouragement to let the rest of the country, (and especially those you can halfimagine, cowering in their offices along the corridors of power), know it. I'm proud to say that I was there on that wondrous afternoon, adding my voice to that almighty chorus of Scouse Solidarity. My fist raised high towards the teeming heavens, soaking wet, but with my spirits soaring; 'Merseyside, Merseyside, Merseyside!!!” I honestly believe it was a shining example of the alchemical power of football. Its ability to collapse the borders of cold, grey reality. And God knows; the inhabitants of our fair City were in dire need of some form of escapism in the midst of that foul, Thatcher-haunted decade. I'll never forget it. Never.
And proof of the foolhardiness of announcing you were a Red in the midst of hundreds of boneheaded Everton scalls, was provided in spades by the sight of a middle-aged man in a Liverpool shirt, getting head-butted, (and I can still hear the horrible crunching sound his nose made when it broke - like someone treading on an egg shell, along with the sight of the fountains of blood that gushed from his nasal cavities like a scarlet waterfall), whilst the busies on the other side or the fence could do nothing other than shout ‘Eh, lads, leave him alone!!!’
All of which makes the rising levels of bitterness and yeah, even outright hatred, that has since crept into this most iconic of fixtures, like an insidious strain of vileness, even harder to stomach, let alone attempt to understand. Not that I want to come across like some teary-eyed arl arse, blubbing into his seventh pint of Golden about how things were so much better in the days
My brother and I had exchanged frightened glances, and had quickly made our way through the crowds towards the half way line, and found, to our relief, that the fans there were a lot more mixed, and if the atmosphere was not exactly cordial, the animosity was at least limited to verbal banter. The fact remains though, despite the sporadic physical kick off's during and after Derby games, it's true to say that the levels of bitterness in the 1970s, 80s, and the first half of the 90s, were nothing like as vitriolic as they are today. Not even amidst the often drunken aftermath of the truly dramatic league matches between the two Merseyside giants, such as when Andy King scored the winner in 1978 (ending The Blue's seven years without a Derby win), or when we got beat two nil
Brucie 1984 at home in 1986 (a defeat that had seemingly ended our hopes of winning the Title, never mind The Double), or of course, and perhaps most surprisingly, after our famous 5:0 win over the Blues, in November, 1982. I know I'll be accused of looking at the past through a great big pair of rosetinted glasses, but I certainly don't recall there being anything like today's often loathsome levels of bordering-on-the-psychotic abuse hurled in response to a defeat. I'm not saying it was ever all, 'let's all shake hands, old chap,' slap each other heartily on the back and head on off to the nearest alehouse to celebrate the myriad joys of 'Scousebrotherhood,' win, lose or draw. But I do think it's worth dredging from the well of memories, recollections of a period time, really not so long ago, that are best illustrated by a sequence of images, to go along with those already recounted from 1984: A stream of consciousness, if you will....' A midnight train to London. The compartments jam-packed with Liverpudlians and Evertonians, some of whom were using the luggage racks as impromptu beds, swigging from cans and bottles and plastic flagons of 'Higson's Bitter,' or some obscure, immensely powerful, real ale.
My being chaired round an alehouse in Stanmore, with tears streaming down my face, back in 1986, after I'd had the incredible good fortune of acquiring a ticket for the final for a measly tenner from an FA linesman (it was six quid face value, and had 'Lincoln FC' stamped on the back), by supporters of both Liverpool and Everton. Standing on The Dock Road, on a beautiful, cloudless Sunday afternoon, the day after the Final, for the team's joint home-coming, engaging in friendly banter with the bluenoses on the opposite side of the street, without resorting to the now, sadly standard, 'Murderers' chants, despite it only being a year after Heysel, and after we'd secured a League and FA Cup Double at their expense. (And to be honest, I could have well understood if they had come out with some 'less than savoury chants, when you consider how gutted they must have been at having had the two main domestic trophies cruelly snatched away from them by their greatest rivals. Incidentally, this would seem to knock a massive big asteroid sized hole in the theory that the root cause for the souring of relations between our two clubs is due entirely to Heysel and the subsequent five year ban from European competition. This failure to make even the vaguest of references to the disaster, when the pain of the ban must have been at its most acute, would seem to suggest that this is another
case of if the material doesn't fit the hypothesis, just chop off the awkward bits around the side and hope nobody notices).
But that was then....and this, as they say, is now...
In recent times, the inter-city rivalry has sunk to ever-deeper depths of unjustifiable wretchedness. And that wonderful 'stream' of consciousness' has mutated into a sea of rancid, waking dreams. At the risk of sounding hopelessly biased, it seems to me that the blame for the increasing levels of, (and The heartfelt banners of gratitude, of solidarity in here comes that word again), 'bitterness,' can the face of grievous loss, draped from the upper largely be laid at the door of The Blues. tier of The Park End, during the first game after Here's some evidence to consider; my brother and Hillsborough. I nearly getting lynched by a gang of neck veinFinding myself in the Everton end in the '89 Cup pulsing Evertonians on the Street End, (some of Final, and being treated with so much respect and whom were old enough to be my granddad) for good-natured banter, I almost felt guilty for having the temerity to shout for our team. (Well, celebrating Liverpool's dramatic win. Almost. A okay, we did choose to sing, of all songs, ‘Poor bit. Well, okay, not at all. But you know what I Scouser Tommy,’ which elicited such delightful mean. invitations as ‘Fuck off down the Liverpool end, The impeccable minute’s silence for Our Fallen, in with yer Orange Lodge songs!' as well as acting as an idyllic village pub, just outside Watford, where the catalyst for a nightmarish scene akin to any we'd stopped on the way home, organised painting by Hieronymus Bosch). Two young, spitunbeknownst to me by one of the Evertonians flecked-mouthed girls singing songs gleefully who'd travelled with us in the van we'd hired to celebrating Gerard Houllier's heart attack. A gang of hate-filled boneheads screaming 'murdering take us to Wembley and back. Red-shite' at the tops of their voices at the end of a The genuine hug and shared tears of the middle- silver wedding anniversary do, when I was Dj-ing, aged, grizzled, hard-as-nails-looking, ('I was at and the happy couple had requested YNWA as Villa Park, on that terrible day, la!'), Evertonian in their last song. And passing through Clayton 'The Albert', after one of our annual Memorial Square the other day, glancing briefly at one of the Services... stalls located near to the entrance to the shopping centre, and seeing there amongst the usual cheap and tacky screen-printed T-shirts hanging from the shelves was a collection of blue cotton shirts that proclaimed that the potential buyer was ‘Bitter, Twisted & Proud! Then, three years later, the sight of hundreds of blue and white flags and scarves tied to the Shankly Gates or placed reverently upon the pitch amongst the sea of tributes at Anfield, in the sorrowful midst of our darkest hour.
Merseyside United Different Now Though
Catching sight of these shining examples of comedic genius and deep, philosophical eloquence, I found myself wondering what was worse: Imagining the blerts who'd designed them very likely snortin' ale out of their noses as they laughed fit to bust whilst sat in their local watering hole, doling out the cash profits. Or considering the warped mentality of any Blue who felt compelled to actually purchase such a T-shirt with the sole aim of “winding' up the Red Shite, who are obsessed with calling us er, “bitter and twisted!” I’m sure, from reading the comments on various EFC forums and websites, that the intention is to achieve just that. To walk into their local, strut around town, or bounce onto the five a side-footy pitch, with their mates, wearing identical matching shirts, sniggering at the bug-eyed reaction of Red's, besides themselves with spit-flecked rage as they yelled something along the lines of ‘Just look at the state of those bitterfuckinbastardbluennoseshitbags! Or some derivative thereof. And many would doubtless say; that’s all fine and dandy. It's only a bit of banter, lad. It's not like yous don't try and wind us up. Yous are no angels! And they'd be right. But I can’t help wondering whether the irony of expressing ‘pride,’ (positively dripping with satire or otherwise), in the unpalatable fact that they have been reduced to this state of nearpathological hatred by the actions of their rivals from across the park, (despite the fact that they frequently claim they don’t care what the Red Shite say, never mind, do!), is truly lost on those who fork out for these hugely fashionable, simplymust-have garments. Social media too has a played a huge part in the propagation of bitterness, of course. Some of the posts, tweets and videos that now do the rounds in the build-up to Derby Week, and its messy aftermath, reveal just how far some sad excuses for human beings can sink into pits of blind, unadulterated hatred. I wish I could just dismiss these faceless keyboard warriors as being nothing but the equivalent of the sad man on the corner of Church Street, shouting at oblivious passers-by. But to think fellow Scousers would resort to death-mocking, in any form, fills me with despair. I honestly thought that following our success in our long, hard struggle for Vindication, Truth, and hopefully, one day Accountability and Justice, (ably assisted it must be said, by many good Evertonians), the 'Always The Victim' slurs would cease. How naïve was I? We live in an age of
mean-spirited Internet Trolls and mass caricatures of Squealer; the spin doctor in Orwell's Animal Farm, spouting evil propaganda to the easily-led, slogan-chanting sheep. And that propaganda quickly seeps from the screens of our phones and Ipads. Into the footy stadiums. Fortunately, social media can be utilised for the forces of good, too. After the last Anfield Derby, (you'll remember the one. Origi. 96th minute. Hilarity and sheer joy unconfined), I put up a post on Facebook about how sickening it was to be subjected to that 'Always The Victim' shout. In response, a Blue responded indignantly; 'I didn't hear it, mate, and I was watching it live on telly, with me surround sound system on full whack!' I was prepared for this predictable bout of selective deafness. A couple of my match-going friends had already shared mobile phone footage with me of a section of Everton fans singing this delightful little ditty, an hour or so earlier, and the incriminating words rang out loud and clear. I sent the clip to the ahem, hard-of-hearing individual (maybe he needs to ease up on the super woofer usage), but whilst he readily conceded that 'a sizeable minority' had indulged in that horrible chant, he claimed, in all seriousness; 'But it's not a Hillsborough song' An argument we all know, including those who sing it, stands up to scrutiny about as well as a scrawled message written on a soggy paper towel blown by the howling winds of a full-blown hurricane. I don't know. How did it come to this? Is there cause for hope? I'd love to think so. I remember thinking the first tiny, but perceptible fissures in the rank smelling Walls of Bitterness were inflicted by a perfectly observed minute’s silence at the start of that hugely emotional FA Cup Semi Final: the 23rd anniversary of Hillsborough, and an opportunity to pause to remember the tragic loss of the Liverpool and Everton defender, Gary Ablett. That moment of respectful silence spoke louder than a billion words, and served to inspire in me a faith that maybe, only maybe, like, the levels of bitterness and virtual hatred may one day start to receding, like foul-smelling floodwaters burned away by the rich benediction of August sunlight. And although it's undeniably true that people often accuse me of being too soft-heartedly optimistic, and to have mastered self-delusion into a fine art, still and all, I dare to hope.
A Cat; A Cat; A Cat A Cat A Cat...At Goodison
...And Even He Didn’t Stay Till The End In the next issue of Red All Over The Land we’ll catch up with the Foodbanks and Homebaked. However, we’ll still be sending copies to both organisations, so if you’re in the famed Pie shop or near the Foodbanks, get yourself a copy. You will be supporting them.
Just as this issue was being finished to go to Mister Printer the sad news came out that the greatest ever English goalkeeper Gordon Banks had passed away. Gordon Banks was adored by the Anfield crowd in his later years and might be considered the finest goalkeeper we never had. There will be a tribute to the great man in the next issue.
At Last And Finally Sometimes football fans defy belief. The tragic circumstances surrounding the death of the Cardiff City player Emiliano Sala touched the footballing fraternity yet we then get two totally stupid Southampton fans mocking his death by doing the aeroplane sign when their club was at home to Cardiff City. The mentality of these morons beggars belief. As does the Muslim slurs aimed at Mo Salah down at West Ham. These idiots can’t have a collective brain cell as in the modern world they’re going to be spotted by someone thanks to the vast amount of technology now available, be it CCTV or the guy sitting next to them filming their actions. Don’t just ban these nondescripts from grounds, stick ’em in jail for a few weeks, then make them sweep the streets. The penny That’s All Folks might then drop. See You In 252 Those responsible for bringing you this issue of Red All Over The Land Include; The Rovin’ Reporter; Bangor Lad; Steve Horton; Matthew Purchase; Marc Brekau, A Red Downunder; Nineteen In Nineteen; Semolina Pilchard; Simon Jessop; Not The Boomtown rat; Graham Agg; RAOTL Archives; Thomas Crooked; Jormie CarraKlopp; Justin Sharon, Our US Mail; Danny Meade; Lee Walker; Cleo Superchill; Additional Pix; Pak Toons; Football Monthly; Foul; Anglecake; Websites; Twitters; Facebooks; Sales Team...Steve, Martin, Andy, JJP, Emma, TIA, HOMEBAKED; HSOAB; Cleo Foodbanks.
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Issue 25 of the long standing Liverpool Fanzine