Monthly Archives: February 2012

Steven Gerrard Captain Fantastic or Selfish Scouser

AFTER much debate and protestation regarding the England captaincy, the country does not find itself any the wiser, and possibly more confused than ever before, with Stuart Pearce choosing to go with Tottenham’s midfield maestro Scott Parker, a choice that was not universally met with agreement certainly not on Merseyside where with obvious bias most red’s supporters expected Stevie G to be restored as England captain.

This whole process regarding England captains & England Managers has taken away from what should be the real debate regarding the Liverpool skipper, in a way whether Steven Gerrard were once again to be honoured with the England armband is irrelevant , what is more of a relevance is the role he has seemed to have negated over the weeks since he returned from injury, the thrusting, bustling  runs at the heart of the opposing defence, once were like a knife through butter but recently we have seen less and less of this type of contribution to the team.

Kenny Dalglish has tasked Gerrard with a much different type of midfield role in what is a personal sacrifice for the sake of our team, and I believe at loss to his own aggressive attacking nature and game, but this is typical our captain once again like many times before, like a true leader he leads not just from the front, but all over included from the side-lines, which unfortunately he has had to with the injuries he has had to encounter over the last few seasons.

England Captain Celebrates His Goal Against U.S.A

I was surprised after Wembley and the game against Cardiff how much personal stick that the captain came in for, maybe from those quarters where people know no better, and don’t have a true understanding what the demands are on a professional sportsman at the top-level in these days where the belief is that money rules.

The defensive role that Gerrard has taken on, or has been forced to take with the injury to Lucas, is certainly not foreign to Gerrard. If supporters really look at how that role has been taken on they will actually see a master of his art at work, the World’s greatest players find it easy to adapt positions with the ease and grace befitting of such a status. I still think it is quite plain to see that Gerrard has tended to wane slightly toward the end of games, possibly his fitness has still not returned to 100%.

Those doubters need to take a reality check, in the position he is now playing for Liverpool he has most certainly helped the side over the last few weeks, there is no soft centre whilst Gerrard plays this role, the protection of both Skrtel and Agger I think has mainly gone un-noticed, but Steven Gerrard has manfully been responsible along with those two for our great defensive record. Just because he is no longer making those career defining runs from box to box, his work rate is just as impressive, he is slowly becoming a different type of player, the type of player he will need to be and in the role he most certainly will have to adapt to full-time over the next two years, Kenny Dalglish can see this and fans need to share that vision and appreciate Steven Gerrard’s job, still one of the best crosses of a football ask Andy Carroll, still a dead ball specialist with unerring accuracy, and still our club captain.

Which leads me on to an article by our journalist friend Paddy Barclay from The London Evening Standard from Monday, now first of all you have to remember that Paddy Barclay has his own history with our club, using the Heysel deaths to score points whilst argueing with a Liverpool supporter on twitter?

https://christophertobin.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/liverpool-football-fans-patrick-barclay-twitter-gate/

Under the headline “Mystic Steven Gerrard should get rid of crystal ball” Barclay once again looking at our club from an all too familiar angle, in the article he suggests and blames Gerrard for not leading England to a victorious campaign in the last World Cup and that he is in some way a selfish player rather than the selfless captain we have all witnessed over many years.

Patrick Barclay On Sky Sports Sunday Supplement

I am going to now paste the whole article, obviously without the author or papers permission, after all The London Evening Standard is a free newspaper, I am sure they won’t mind. I won’t however paste the link and feed the monster any longer.

Congratulations to Steven Gerrard on adding the Carling Cup to his garland of honours. And thanks to the Liverpool captain for kindly allowing us an insight into the strategy for what, it is hoped, will be a glorious culmination to his career.

Delivered in interviews with the BBC and a Sunday newspaper, it boils down to this: Liverpool, after duly beating Cardiff (Gerrard seemed not to envisage the difficulty of that task), would defeat Stoke at home to book at least one more trip to Wembley while climbing into fourth place in the Premier League (Arsenal must have provided another surprise).

As for England, they would restore Gerrard to the captaincy this week and for Euro 2012, after which he would decide whether to quit international football in favour of devoting all his energies to his undoubtedly beloved club.

You may be thinking two things. One is that this hugely gifted but loyal club man deserves every bit of success that comes his way. The other is that his England presumptions must have been liberally hedged with phrases such as “if selected” and “depending on the manager’s opinion”. They were not.

And nor was this the Steven Gerrard who, after giving England an early lead in their opening World Cup match against the United States, led them to further victories over Germany and others before giving an inspirational performance in the final against Spain, establishing himself as an all-time great.

This was the Steven Gerrard who, after giving England an early lead over the United States, ran alone to celebrate on the touchline, brushing aside Emile Heskey, whose superbly weighted pass had laid the goal on. The Gerrard who was then distinguishable from the rest of a crumbling team only by the armband he forlornly wore.

If he gets the armband back this week when the selfless Scott Parker is available, Stuart Pearce will have begun his England stewardship with a mistake.

So you can see for yourself exactly what Paddy personally thinks of our Captain Fantastic, using such examples as “brushing aside Emile Heskey” to show his selfishness, how many players barge, kick and throw their teammates from the celebratory path.

This whole article is based on a misquote.

Barclay says: “….his England presumptions must have been liberally hedged with phrases such as ‘if selected’ and ‘depending on the manager’s opinion’. They were not.”

What Gerrard actually said was: “If I get offered it, I’ll take it and I’ll be delighted and I’ll be very proud to take it.

“But it’s not my decision. It’s down to, first of all, who Stuart Pearce wants to lead the team out, then whoever gets the job full-time. But I want to be England captain.”

Once again we find ourselves having to defend against the bias of poor journalism, both factually incorrect and most definitely disingenuous, we await another poor excuse and then a much poorer attempt of an apology Paddy? If not for the supporters you have misled with your article but for Steven Gerrard still Our Captain Fantastic!!

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The Deluded Liverpool Fan & Divided Expectation.

WITH The Carling Cup now locked away within Anfields overloaded trophy cabinet, as we now head toward the beginning of what some are suggesting is the dawning of a new era, a time where we return to halcyon days, when glory and silver lay entrenched in all that Liverpool Football Club were.

Steven Gerrard & Jamie Carragher with The Carling Cup

It is quite amazing how victory and collection of Silverware can suddenly change the perception we have about our teams capabilities, only five short weeks ago some unruly servants to our King were plotting mutiny and overthrow of the monarchy, with calls saying he had invested badly and was incapable of winning anything, those same people who were happy to celebrate and revel in the winning of The Carling Cup.

So what made these peasants come to their conclusion, the answer lies within what is known as EXPECTATION what they believed we were capable of achieving at the inception of this season, and unfortunately as we progressed and failed to actually meet those expectations, some supporters also failed in their own ambitious targets and more importantly they failed to redress those targets.

Most major business will during the year change targets to have a more realistic ambition, one which they can now more likely achieve, a review, that’s where football fans let themselves down, they need to find that reality check otherwise they will only ever face failure, and along with the failure they have created, then comes a blame culture, who is to blame for their sides lack of achievement, and of course the answer is never the Football supporter themselves.

Premier League Trophy

At the beginning of a season Bolton Wanderers and Wigan supporters most probably dream about winning a Cup or possibly finishing in the top ten in The Premier League, fast forward to today and both would happily settle for avoidance of relegation. Manchester United are a prime example look at their current review of the season, where more than likely they will settle for winning The Europa League, a huge fall from grace, but you don’t hear many United fans critical of their Manager and certainly not asking for him to be taken to the tower and having him beheaded.

It will most defiantly be difficult for us now to finish in fourth position in the Premier League enabling us to qualify for a Champion leagues berth, that is a reality although still possible with a good run of games. How the club builds the foundation for its assault on the holy grail which is The Premier League title is the most important thing, and not necessarily finishing fourth, by that I mean we need to win the Title that has to be our mentality, only then when that is possible will we be able to set ourselves realistic targets.

In the meantime we do have a team clearly capable of winning a major trophy, and with a lot of hard work and some luck we may even be capable of winning two this season, we are not however good enough right now to win the title, we are not the best team in the league, and we do not have the best quad in the league. So let’s give our club the time to build so in two or three years we do have a squad capable of winning the title, and once again have the best team in that league.

The important thing that fans and supporters can do right now is be realistic in the immediate ambition you have for the club, let’s have a dose of realism, in the euphoric aftermath of our Wembley triumph, lets enjoy our victory but not forget what supporting this great club entails, the taste of that victory has reminded us all where we stand in the history of British football, if we are to return to our former heights then time is the most important ingredient

As Bill Shankly said about our club and about our fans;

“Above all, I would like to be remembered as a man who was selfless, who strove and worried so that others could share the glory,and who built up a family of people who could hold their heads up high and say”

                                                              “We’re Liverpool” 

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When is a Cup not a Trophy Liverpool FC?

When Cardiff City Football Club or more precisely the fans and supporters of the club start making their way down Wembley Way, I’m sure they won’t for a moment stop to think about the importance or relevance of the trophy they will be fighting for, but can the same be said of Liverpool Football Club ?

The most recent occasion that Liverpool competed in a major cup final was in 2006 when they faced West Ham United in The F.A. Cup final of that year, which in a touch of irony was played in Cardiff at The Millennium Stadium; with Liverpool going on to win the trophy on penalties after a 3-3 draw in regulation play.

The Carling Cup

With many teams, and particularly Managers treating both cup competitions League Cup & F.A. Cup with complete contempt both in selection of teams or just the actual commitment offered toward these trophies over the last few years, they have actually devalued what winning either Cup actually means, it is quite amazing what has happened when you consider that at the start of any season even the best of clubs, the top four, or top six can actually only win three trophies possibly four for the lucky few who compete in Europe.

Then we consider those clubs who will most certainly be spending the season in mid-table obscurity or more often a relegation battle, you know the Everton & Wigan’s of the World, so why do even these also-rans, the runts of the pack also treat such a competition as The League Cup in such a disparaging way, especially when in reality it is most probably the only realistic chance these clubs have at winning some silverware.

The blame cannot only be aimed at clubs, but more likely the culprits are once again Fleet Street and other media forms, demeaning the tournament and actually perpetuating what some senior Managers & clubs have put forward as a belief amongst Football, and then this syndrome is passed on to us football fans, so now even we have been in some way brain washed into thinking we are actually supporting something that has no real relevance within football, and that is the complete shame of where multi-million pound sponsorships and more particularly The Champions League has impacted on our own Cup competitions.

Over the last few weeks, since Liverpool made it through to Wembley, the talk has not been about the fantastic effort in actually making it through to a MAJOR final, but instead lets again try to devalue the trophy by suggesting that it is nothing because we would easily take it down the local pawn brokers and swap for fourth position in The Premier League, can people not see what is going on here, the media and fans getting sucked along with the lack of understanding in being psychologically mind bended by these people.

Liverpool Winning The Milk Cup

All that is happened is that football fans have been groomed in such a way that they didn’t even see it happening, didn’t realise the moment they stopped caring about Silver, about Winning, about achieving success. It has become important to finish within a top four position, and more important to stay in The Premiership than actually winning a trophy. There was a time when we would grace Wembley almost every year, and indeed during the eighties The League Cup was regularly being taken in and out of our trophy cabinet at Anfield, with the club winning the trophy for four consecutive years 1981-1984.

There was a time when if we had entered four different competitions, then we would try our very best to win all those competitions, if when I was a boy somebody had said “Well we are going to play the youth team in The F.A. Cup” I would have been incredulous to that idea. Would we have accepted that in the 1970s or 1980s? Is it any wonder we have had to wait so long to once again be within touching distance of our old friend The League Cup?

If we are good enough or lucky enough to secure The Carling Cup this weekend, don’t let anyone try to tell you it is not a trophy worth winning, that it has little value in the scale of things, tell them that Liverpool Football Club has a rich history of WINNING trophies and Cups and we are about to re-balance the norm and go back to a tried and tested Feng Shui within the halls of Anfield.

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Liverpool FC sign Messi, Xavi and Iniesta.

The World’s most famous club Liverpool F.C have today confirmed they have secured the signatures of three of the world’s very best footballers, the capture of Lionel Messi,  Xavier Hernández Creus and Andres Iniesta came about due to the crippling debt which Barcelona find themselves surrounded by, with Liverpool paying just £20 million to secure all three players. The trio had been linked to moves to Europe’s top teams but once they were made aware of the interest of Kenny Dalglish all other options became redundant.

Just imagine the little Argentine genius strutting his stuff, dancing through defences like a modern-day Nureyev on the best grass in football our glorious turf that is Anfield, jinking passed Ferdinand, megs on Evra and then dinks the ball over the hapless David DeGea, then turning to the Kop hands aloft in praise to our mecca.

This is what can happen when we use the internet correctly, where rumour and poetic licence enable us to say what we want, to relay to the masses hearsay, some may say lies I prefer to think of them as un-truths, providing we are not harming reputations or libelling people, sullying names by suggesting they may be joining sinking ships like Chelsea or Arsenal would certainly be despicable, the fun that can now be enjoyed with social network should I believe be embraced when discussing potential suitors, does it hurt anyone?

Many people dislike some aspects of social media, certainly when used to bully, defame and generally cause distress, but when we use this medium correctly and without hatred involved, it becomes a great tool of communicating thought, dreams and one’s own opinion, surely something that should be encouraged.

So who would we like to see come to Liverpool Football Club in the summer, in what positions you think we need some extra strength, where should our King be looking to recruit, of course providing that Barcelona refuse to sell!!

Christian Eriksen 19-year-old Ajax play-maker one of the hottest properties in Europe, an excellent player with huge potential, I think an area we have lacked guile this season, with Steven Gerrard dropping further back, we are in desperate need to find someone to fill that role.

Christian Eriksen

Edinson Cavani 25-year-old Napoli striker, the Uruguay international is an out & out finisher in the style that we have most certainly missed this season, cot may be an issue with the suggestion being that he will cost around £40 million, which in itself sounds like a huge fee, but we paid a similar amount for Andy Carroll.

Edinson Cavani

Scott Sinclair 24-year-old Swansea winger who seems to have grown up this season, turning in some great performances whilst also chipping in with 5 goals, so that would be 5 more than our current under-performer in that position.

Scott Sinclair

So there are my three that according to the internet will be arriving in the close season, along with Mr Messi and his other two amigos.

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Why Liverpool Fans Will Fight “The Sun on Sunday”

TWENTY TWO YEARS and a few months later we find ourselves still in a fight in defence of reputations ruined, and the deaths of innocent people sullied, but unabated that fight goes on, call a newspaper by whatever name you like Mr Murdoch, but where intrinsically that paper has a core called The Sun, the battle will become more intense & stronger than ever, we will not hide or shy away from what is our heritage and our duty to continue to honour those innocent people, yes those INNOCENT people who your newspaper and Kelvin MacKenzie felt it your responsibility to lie and construct myth about, all in the interest of selling newspapers.

The Hillsborough Disaster Liars.

I feel it an appropriate moment in time to re-visit the subject matter, on a weekend where Murdoch has chosen to launch his Sun on Sunday tabloid, the same weekend where we will also find many Liverpool supporters congregating in the capital to watch their team at Wembley.

I am not going to go through our history or reasoning behind the Don’t-Buy-The-Sun campaign; instead I have attached two links, for those few who still do not have such an understanding, due to either age or plain ignorance.

http://www.contrast.org/hillsborough/  The Hillsborough Justice Campaign.

http://dontbuythesun.co.uk/site/             The Don’t Buy The Sun website.

It is however still surprising that many supporters are still unaware of the depth of feeling from Liverpool supporters regarding the newspaper, in the modern age and certainly the interim years since Hillsborough admittedly it has become, and is continuing to be incredibly difficult to avoid putting money in the pockets of Murdoch and his News Corporation empire, the inception of The Premier League and Murdoch’s ownership of Sky and particularly Sky Sports this has made donating to his business near on impossible to avoid, certainly for sports fans.

News International are also responsible for The Times & Sunday Times newspapers.

Rupert Murdoch who decided to, in political terms jump into bed with Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, amongst other disparaging claims laid at his door has been bribery and corruption by his business in the U.K. which is investigated by the FBI in the United States.

Sometimes we will all be made to feel hypocritical in regards of a total black-out of this unscrupulous man and his ever-increasing empire.

It reminds me of a girl who I went to school with, she was a vegan and vegetarian and had lots of other of these type of what we liked to call eating disorders, whilst we would attempt to distort her social conscience, mainly because we were trying to support our own meat-eating antics, we would respond that she was a modern-day fake because she wore leather shoes to school!!

Hillsborough Justice Campaign

The point is, and should not be lost that providing you are doing your bit, your singular bit in some cases, and some outsiders looking to divide us may think it insignificant, but is it that difficult to show support for our cause by refusing to purchase a newspaper, lots of Liverpool fans may now live outside the City myself included, but you still have responsibility to continue to educate other Football fans regarding our reasons and show them that it is not just the same old rhetoric or a somewhat outdated cause and campaign, none Liverpool people or fans of other clubs find it difficult to understand, but I say would you be happy if your child or a relative had died so tragically at a football match, and still twenty years later you could read an article on-line linking their deaths to lies and soiling their very memory and the memories of their families & friends.

Would you also be accepting of an apology years after the lies had fuelled many a conspiracy theory, and as such people actually believed such lies and continue today to peddle those lies still, mainly in hope to discredit our club or as a point scoring exercise for our closest competitors.

There are many fine Liverpool supporters and Footballing people, fans of great clubs with great insight and love for the game we also love, who for their sins are having to make a living writing for News Corporation, as unfortunate as this may be, I like to look at a bigger picture, the saying “Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer” comes to mind, provided they are making an effort to support our cause on both the Justice campaign and toward our beloved club in a positive way, then I understand that they may have to indirectly work for Mr Murdoch, however what I cannot accept is any true Liverpool fan, especially those whom like myself were present at Hillsborough taking up a position at The Sun or The Sun on Sunday. This I am afraid is unacceptable, it is no different to crossing a picket line, the lowest act of a working man or woman.

So whilst you may find it impossible to protest against his huge organisation, and from time to time we may all unwillingly have to stomach some meat, while we pertain to be vegetarians, you can quite easily counter your conscience by never buying the newspaper responsible for “The Lies” and any other offspring of said paper, and encourage others to do the same.

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When Liverpool Heroes Turn Bad They Walk Alone.

When Liverpool heroes turn bad, they will walk alone!!

DERISION and laughter once again fill the room as our one time hero Fernando with similar force of a schoolboy on the playing field, strikes the ball toward goal, only to see it trickle away for an inevitable throw in, heads shake, eyes close and prayer is offered to the man in the sky!! Oh God.

So why is it that some of our former heroes can depart The Anfield Road with a fond farewell, with happy smiling faces and songs filling their heroes ears with ringing endorsements from the Kop, and the notion they will forever be welcome back to the worshipping hoards, without a minutes notice. When recognition of their work and efforts for that beautiful red shirt with the bird on the badge will be forever remembered, when we will never be able to truly thank you for all you gave us, gave our dreams a reason to exist, having given our memories a place to rest.

Whilst on the other side of our psyche are those who have turned themselves away from our dreams, no longer dream makers, un-prepared to see it through to its conclusion. When all we needed were fellow fighters in our call to arms, where we had accommodated space within the trenches for our heroes, they go AWOL never to fight again for this great warrior that is Liverpool Football Club.

Kevin Keegan is probably where it all started, although Keegan rightly gets a fantastic welcome from the Kop and most Liverpool supporters, there are still a few, myself included who remember Keegan breaking their hearts, and in my mind running away to Germany, why Kevin? We had the greatest side in European football at that time having just won the European Cup, I never hated Special K I just disliked him for a while, the while he continued playing. The main purpose of my dislike was built upon the fact I now had my new hero Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish, oh and could he play. Kevin Keegan may have departed for greater goals, but he had been forgotten the moment his replacement put on that number 7 shirt.

In the 1980s we were once again to lose others who had feet of clay, and like Gods had strolled around the greenest grass on planet football, our grass, our Anfield. But they would be treated differently by us, maybe they had filled our hearts and minds with enough to keep us satisfied, therefore we did not feel they were ending our relationship, more that we loved them so we would set them free.

Souness being helped to the pitch F.A. Cup Final 1992

Graeme Souness would at the end of 1984 leave to pastures new, namely Italy which at the time would be the best league in the world, or what is more relevant the country that paid the best wages, Souness had given us 6 years commitment to our cause and for that we would wish him well when he would sign for Samdoria in Italy , unfortunately he would ruin this later on by firstly managing the club through an unsuccessful period, which in itself is bad enough, but he would go on to commit the ultimate betrayal, a betrayal that was and still is unforgivable to all true reds, he sold his story to The Sun newspaper which would be printed on the 3rd anniversary of The Hillsborough Disaster, giving all of us the impression that all Graeme really cared about was the Murdoch shilling, and not our football club, but most importantly its supporters and the victims of Hillsborough. Graeme Souness only took 20 years to apologise for this poor error of judgement.

Soon after this we would lose the greatest striker this club has ever seen, Ian Rush would also be offered the chance to fill his boots with the Italian Lira, at this time if Vecchia Signora (The Old Lady) which was Juventus Football Club came calling you very rarely said no, because Rush was much-loved by all, they would only wish him well. Although Ian Rush would return to the club a year later after a somewhat unsuccessful stint, fans felt his pain in Italy, they would hurt when he failed to impress the Italians the way he had them, and I feel for that reason Ian Rush was gladly received back by his loving family, he always gets a great reception, a true sign of how Liverpool can treat its heroes.

In 1999 Spain had overtaken the Italian league as the place most footballers went when either chasing Lottery style wages, or in pursuit of the very best football could offer.

Steve McManaman would be the next Liverpool hero to test his status with his worshippers, unfortunately he would find it impossible to pass that test, McManaman would let his contract run out allowing him to leave on a free, with the club getting nothing for a player they had educated in football ways and formed him into the player he was, while McManaman would receive a signing on fee estimated to be in the Millions, when in 1999 he would sign for Real Madrid. Many Liverpool fans have never forgiven McManaman, not for his leaving of Liverpool for one of the world’s greatest clubs, but more the way he sat it out for two years, and effectively turned the club over.

Two years after Steve McManaman was to leave for pastures new and of course currency, the Lord himself would break many hearts and minds. Robbie “God” Fowler who more than most had hero-worship status was to leave the club Robbie would sign for Leeds United in 2001, with Fowler being in and out of the side being unable to command a regular position a move had been on the cards for around a year or so, Fowler had signed a contract extension instead of doing what was termed a McManaman so Liverpool actually got £12 million in a transfer deal.

Robbie Fowler is re-signed by Rafa Benitez

Whenever Robbie Fowler returned in opposition to Liverpool he would always get an excellent reception, he was once again signed by Rafa Benitez in the 2006-2007 season, God had returned and didn’t the fans love it.

This leads on to the modern-day deserters those who no longer have a place in supporters hearts, those who only really thought about themselves whilst kissing badges and spouting rhetoric about this amazing club, whilst fans thought they were their only love, they had in fact had eyes for another, supporters can accept them having their heads turned by a prettier younger model, but what they can’t accept is an affair with a neighbour, with that most hated of neighbours.

Michael James Owen started his senior Liverpool career in 1996 and was an instant success and more importantly a huge hero for both young and old Liverpool supporters, in 2004 Owen would leave Liverpool for pastures new and for £8 million would sign for Real Madrid, the thing about Liverpool supporters they are not so blind as to not see when an opportunity comes a players way, then sometimes the magnitude of the offer makes it appear irresistible, at this point although not happy, they accepted it and wished the young Michael well.

Owen was to only have one season in Madrid and would return to spend four injury hit seasons at Newcastle United, when his contract expired in 2009 he would be linked with a host of clubs, he certainly was not without many suitors, but what he was to do next puts him in the category of most fallen of all previous heroes.

On the 3rd July 2009 Michael Owen would cut all his former ties with Liverpool Football Club and erase himself from its history when he would sign a 2 year contract with its greatest rival, its most hated neighbour Manchester United, cheating of the highest order.

Michael Owen showing off his new scarf!!

Football fans can forgive some things, they can forgive former heroes for moments of regrettable decision-making provided they don’t go through with those moments, look at Steven Gerrard having courted and been courted by Jose when at Chelsea, so if the question were put to you about Fernando coming back with his tail between his former heroic legs, how would you receive him? Has he done something which was unforgivable, is his hero status un-retrievable surely it is not the fact you leave, but the way you close the door behind you.

Many other former players return to Liverpool with welcomes befitting of the hero returning, some get a greater welcome than most, but all reminded that they will not walk alone, and then there are the few whose treachery cannot be forgiven, deceit never erased from the memory, for those they will forever WALK ALONE.

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Liverpool FC & It’s Ugly Cousin Manchester United FC

Liverpool FC & It’s Ugly Cousin Manchester United FC

OPPOSITES ATTRACT or so they say, possibly then one of the main reasons why there is so much hate and disrespect between these great institutions & football teams. If we look past the fact that they are huge enemies and such close rivals, with a rarely used open mind, or open eyes, the real truth may be hidden elsewhere, but not so decrypted that it can’t be found.

Cousins!!!

Due to the close proximity of both Cities & both teams footballing success’s the ferocity of each support against its local rival began in the 1960’s. I believe the rivalry started to gain momentum on 21st May 1977 when both clubs were to cross swords in an epic F.A Cup Final which United would go on to win 2-1, with Liverpool having already secured the League Championship and famously four days later would also bring home the first of their European Cup success’s emulating a similar success that Manchester United had achieved in 1968. From this moment and subsequently for the next 12 years Liverpool Football Club was to dominate its rival and the whole of Europe, and possibly in a manner that has not been replicated so formidably since.

Manchester United would however wrestle away the stranglehold that Liverpool had gained; when in 1993 they would once again collect the coveted League Championship, their first success since 1967, they would add a further 11 titles over the interim years, while all the time its cousins would continue to have a less inspired time with no League Championships.

OTHELLO SYNDROME which is a kind of morbid jealousy is a condition that both clubs could be diagnosed with during their respective periods of limited success, certainly whilst one cousin was getting the upper hand and filling its trophy cabinet with silver. Although both clubs are the most successful in British Football history, they have very rarely shared those moments of triumph, where a period of dominance has occurred for one protagonist, ultimately the other has suffered through a draught, whilst Liverpool suffer a recession United would invariably be in expansion or boom, and the opposite most definitely happening during Liverpool’s boom time of the late 1970’s and throughout the 1980’s

So why are they so closely related, if they were to patronise Jeremy Kyle with a drop of their blood most certainly the DNA test would come back positive, and they would find a long-lost relative, with some the horrible confirmation that they had in fact been Sleeping With The Enemy.

So let’s take a look at the family tree, it always amazes me when I talk to younger fans and some not so young of both clubs about the great history of the teams & institutions they pertain to support with a religious fever, that they possess little understanding of how the bricks & mortar of the clubs were put together.

Sir Matt Busby was Manchester United’s legendary Scottish Manager winning their first European Cup and building the foundations and making United into not just a British institute but a World institute, but what a lot of fans forget about Matt Busby is the fact he played for Liverpool from 1936 for three seasons making 125 appearances for the other Reds. Sir Matt may have been the greatest Manager Liverpool never had, having been offered the job of Assistant Manager to George Kay, an offer he turned down!

Bill Shankly is credited with building “The bastion of invincibility “that was to be the foundation of both Liverpool Football Club and the father of its fans, a man of the people Liverpool people.

Both Shankly and Sir Matt were socialists and as such they had a huge respect in Footballing terms, Shankly only ever had Football friends, they respected each other, and never would they have been disrespectful of either personnel or their respective clubs.

The Scottish connection is also in both clubs DNA for United we have Busby, Docherty and Alex Ferguson whilst further up the East Lancs road we find Shankly, and Dalglish, and that is not to mention the various Scottish heroes who would also play for both clubs.

Both clubs have suffered depression and dark days, moments when the support has been tested, moments when disaster has struck, moments of true sadness when death has been thrust toward its gates a forlornness, Manchester United with the Munich Air disaster and Liverpool with the Hillsborough Stadium disaster, where both supporters and club were tested to its very core and at times its limits.

Moments with American Owners

 

Recently both United & Liverpool have played the game of Cowboys and Indians, when the need to surround the wagons of American owners, blocking them in to the ends of showing them the exit gate, they have both had huge increase in ticket prices thrust upon them in the name of commercialism and profit protection, the fans actual opinion has been diluted by big business, the big corporate con has been used on both clubs, success may hide a thousand wrong doings, but the true football supporter will only travel so far down a dark road paved with gold, before he sees he is actually being blinded by its glare. United more than Liverpool at this moment have been blinded more, where at Liverpool time will tell, the recent interferences of American owners and shirt sponsors is not a good sign, not that the owners should not lead, but how they do this and how it is fed to be consumed.

The recent history of both is actually quite symmetrical in terms of what each has to offer for one-upmanship, Liverpool will forever go on about one night in Istanbul when the World was rocked, 3 nil down to A.C. Milan at half-time in The European Champions League Final, the rest being HISTORY a comeback to then win the Trophy on penalties, a true historical moment. Manchester United however had already encountered their own Istanbul May 26th 1999 The Camp Nou in Barcelona, United were to play Bayern Munich in The Champions League Final, and they would trail the Germans from the 6th minute until the 90th when amazingly they would score two goals in 4 minutes to snatch the Trophy.

The realisation that no longer are they just Football clubs, that we are just Football supporters, Fans, battle hardened warriors in the pursuit of fighting our clubs, no we are now A BRAND and a brand which may just have missing ingredient, passion, individuality and lately those two brands have lacked integrity and honesty.

We have to ask ourselves how would our forefathers have acted recently, it is said the game has changed it has moved on, with technology and money beyond its wildest nightmares infesting the game, what would Sir Matt Busby have to say and how would he convey it, and what of Bill Shankly possibly a few quotes but without hate filled rhetoric perhaps.

Recently both clubs had the opportunity to lord it over its new hate figures, swap Cantona with Rooney, swap Fowler with Suarez, it will continue and why not, is there really anything wrong with as Kenny Dalglish says “Good banter” I can’t suggest they will never have respect even begrudgingly, but what they do need to recognise is traits in each other, we may not have the same mothers & father’s but ultimately we may be Cousins.

 

A Family Snap

 

Both need to offer their hand and have it shaken vigorously, and think next time about the songs you sing toward your sworn enemy, how would your cousin feel, how do you feel.

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