30th November-1st December: A long time ago,
it was getting very difficult for us to win at
Old Trafford. Then Paul Ince opened his big fat
gob and said “they
seem scared of us”. We won the next one 2-1 and totally outplayed them.
People think this stuff is unimportant, but I’d rather Danny wasn’t
telling the papers that United are going to see “the real Gerrard” or “they
are conceding goals and you have to be encouraged by the number of chances we
have been creating”. He should take a leaf out of his manager’s book.
Informed about Ferguson’s latest mind games, he says “Good, that
means they fear us”………erm ………
1st December: Yeah, they looked scared didn’t
they? L 1 MANCHESTER UNITED 2 could be put in
context, as it’s the first time in 6 attempts
that they’ve got anything off us, but that
would be far too simplistic. Coming on the back
of a significant improvement in their form and
a fearful slump in ours, this result has serious
repercussions. Dudek’s going to bear the
brunt, but any goalkeeper is going to feel huge
pressure in our goal. If you let one in, you
are virtually handing the other side victory.
We’ve known this for 3 years now, and nothing
is done to address the problem. We nearly grabbed
something at the end, and their time-wasting
was atrocious (Silvestre slapped Owen but stayed
on – yet another of Fergie’s ‘victims’)
but it would take an awful lot of paper to cover
those cracks. Houllier says conceding the first
goal “in a game like that” is very
important – as if all the other Liverpool
games were any different! The run had to end
sometime, but it’s the manner of the defeat
that’s causing the major concern.
2nd December: To be fair to Chris Bascombe,
he’s not trying to cover up .Things like “United
pass better, get forward quicker and have more
variation” are difficult for any Red to
say, but it’s the truth. He said we need
far more creativity, and he’s spot on.
I differ over the need for a new Gary Mac. His
final month of the Treble season was amazing,
but take a closer look: free kick (Everton),
pen (Barca), pen (Spurs), corner and free kick
(Coventry), free kick (Bradford), free kick (Arsenal),
two free kicks and a pen (Alaves). That to me
is not ‘creativity’, but dead-ball
expertise. Percentage football. We need more
than that at the moment.
3rd December: A certain someone seems to have
noticed that some of our players went to the
World Cup. I’m surprised he can get any
more straws in his hand. Diouf is being told
by friends in Senegal that he’s about to
be shipped out to Marseilles soon, and seems
willing to blame his start on the World Cup as
well. And who played more games than anyone?
Hamann. And who is our player of the year so
4th December: With 3 weeks to go, derby fever
is raging. Amongst blues, of course. We couldn’t
care less. They’re worrying if Rooney,
Unsworth or Yobo will make it because of possible
suspensions. Rhino in particular will be distraught. “Having
been here for so long, that is one game I don’t
want to miss”. You mean Everton play other
teams? When? You never hear them talk about anyone
else, do you?
4th December: L 1 IPSWICH 1. Meaningless, and
two hours of it. Babbel only lasts 45 minutes
(again), and it’s becoming a major worry
now. I’ll be honest, Biscan doesn’t
look too bad at centre half. It’s another
quarter final, away to Villa a week before Christmas – let
joy be unconfined. I’ve rarely seen 26,000
people who’d rather be somewhere else.
Another Anfield first.
5th December: The big story, of course, was
the surprise selection of Jerzy and yes, he did
get a great reception – but what did people
think we were gonna do? Boo him? Of course, Gerard
wants all the accolades. On ITV last night, he
started some fable about getting back on bikes
and ended up talking about car crashes. It’s
becoming just a little disturbing, like watching
someone fall apart in front of your eyes.
6th December: It’s too good to be true.
Spurs really want to buy Heskey for £12m?
Rearrange the words “hands” “their” “off” and “snatch”.
Of course, the manager is having none of it. “I
will never sell him. You can reverse the figure
and I still wouldn’t take it”. You
mean £000,000,12? Christ, I would.
7th December: And to pick him when he was clearly
unfit is another amazing screw-up. One challenge,
and he was limping again. CHARLTON 2 L 0 kept
up the sequence – they score first, we
lose. Kirkland can’t do anything about
that. Sami hasn’t looked right for a while,
and even Henchoz is snapping now. Another ref
might have shown a red. Murphy was our best player,
but before the second he was level with Konchesky
on the edge of their box. When the lad scored,
Danny was still some 30 yards behind. Fitness?
Attitude? I’m not sure, but we look awful.
Play like we did from the 45th-60th minutes,
and we will waste these teams. But it has to
be from the start, not from the moment we are
losing. It’s insanity. What a shit month
8th December: Aren’t rats supposed to
leave sinking ships? Or is it a bandwagon that
Sander Westerveld is climbing on? Getting my
clichés mixed up. Any sympathy he may
have had for his treatment is quickly evaporating. “I
made a mistake at Bolton and that was my last
game” – he’d been flawless
until then, clearly. Lord knows Houllier didn’t
handle Dudek perfectly, but the decision to give
Jerzy the jersey (boom tish) in the first place
will never be criticised by us. Competition Time
(prize is a crate of Dutch wine): who allowed
Dennis Wise to balk him at a corner? Who flapped
at corner after corner (almost costing us the
UEFA Cup in the process)? Who stood and watched
trickling shots go into the net instead of, y’know,
diving to save them? Answers on a postcard to “It
Wasn’t Bloody Houllier Was It?” Competition,
PO Box 23 etc.
9th December: As if the man himself isn’t
digging his own hole furiously enough. “What
I don’t want to see is finger-pointing
or blaming in the dressing room because that’s
a cancer”. Apart from his tacky choice
of simile, it might sound better if he hadn’t
just publicly flayed Steven Gerrard. And what’s
this: “You look back to the Middlesbrough
game that we controlled” (ha!) “then
there was the incident which meant we lost and
sometimes momentum can be derailed”. He
thinks if he calls it ‘the incident’ that’s
not actually blaming Dudek for the whole month’s
decline! Did you work for the railways in a previous
life? “We played on the wrong kind of grass” ………
9th December: And the Echo’s Chris B ain’t
a happy bunny. “This is no longer a blip,
it’s a slump”. There is still room
for a supportive “it was Liverpool’s
misfortune they conceded while Heskey was hobbling
to the dressing room”. No it wasn’t,
it was a managerial error to pick a clearly-unfit
player in the first place. “Few Liverpool
fans believe this is a side capable of winning
the league”. That penny’s taking
longer to drop than Aled Jones’ balls.
10th December: Blimey. He’s a lovely bloke
and everything, but Chris can change a tune faster
than The Ramones. “Reds So-Called Crisis” is
tonight’s headline, with some superfine
statistical jiggery pokery to back it up. “If
Hyypia holding the Premiership trophy is the
only barometer of success, many fans are in for
further frustration”. That’s after
the first week in December, folks. Care to tell
us what happened to the last manager who got
four years into the job and had to give up the
title race before Christmas?
10th December: According to GH, “it will
do no harm for Emile to play on the left and
learn some other skills”. That’s
some Job Creation Scheme, isn’t it? Thirty
grand a week, come in a few hours a day, fall
over on Saturday, go home. And we’ll pay
your previous employer ten million to take you
on. It’s gone beyond insulting our intelligence,
the boss is telling lies now. “It is a
fact that he always produces something for us
in that position”. I’ll leave it
to you, dear reader, to speculate on what Heskey
really produces on the left wing. Does it involve
a bull, 20 Indian takeaways and a ton of baked
beans? Hey, what a coincidence – the same
as Gerard Houllier’s press conferences.
11th December: But at least we’re still
making pots of money – the real reason
we exist nowadays. The club’s organising
a trip to China for next pre-season, presumably
because Serbia and Zimbabwe don’t have
any plush hotels. Perhaps we can persuade their
students to take up LFC credit cards – either
for paying off loans, or to stick them in the
caterpillar tracks of oncoming tanks?
12th December: Do you know what the team needs?
You’ll never guess. “What we need
is a very scrappy, ugly 1-0 win”. Yes,
because they’ve been a little bit thin
on the ground these last couple of seasons, haven’t
12th December: Be careful what you wish for.
L 1 VITESSE 0 (2-0) was scrappy and ugly. If
they hadn’t missed that sitter early on,
it could have turned very ugly. Judging by the
crowd, I’m not sure Reds are going to take
kindly to this Wooden Spoon tournament. £20
a ticket, for a non-event against nobodies live
on the BBC a week before Christmas? Football
is a business now, don’t you know? Then
why are we so bad at it?
14th December: Rooney was made Young Sports
Personality of the Year for 3 league goals. He
scores again today, to put Everton above us.
Sir Bill is no doubt calling the Vatican as we
speak. But it’s not all bad news. Biscan
may hand in a transfer request because of “a
lack of first team opportunities”. Keep
the original, Igor, so you can photocopy it at
your next club(s). Save you writing it out all
again and again.
15th December: Or send them all a video of today’s
game. Then you can keep cashing your cheques
here ’cos no-one else will be interested.
SUNDERLAND 2 L 1. It’s not a misprint,
you didn’t swallow hallucinogenic drugs – we
really did lose to the country’s worst
side. They’d gone eight and a half hours
without a goal. Europe’s most defensive
side turns up, and they get one after half an
hour. Then we started to look as if scoring a
goal might be important. Just like last week,
in fact. Then, when we finally get one, we make
a change that takes our most creative player
(Murphy) out of harm’s way. Then we want
to know how we lost. Durrrrrrr.
16th December: The manager is at a loss. Well,
four losses in a row to be exact. Not counting
Vitesse or Ipswich, and who does? “I wouldn’t
be doing my job if I didn’t talk to the
players individually”. Cover-up job, more
like. I will go and ask the players what’s
wrong with them, geddit? And who asks what’s
wrong with you? He can’t believe the result,
despite our team not having any attacking intention
for 35 minutes. “Every slice of luck is
going against us”. Ah, the song of the
truly desperate. Just tell ’em we’re
pioneering the winter break.
17th December: In a brave attempt to clutch
as many straws as possible, Chris Bascombe trawls
through the record books to find similar poor
runs in our history. He finds plenty, but two
make you sit up and take note: in 1965 and 1983.
Small point: if you are two of the greatest servants
in Liverpool’s history, you are entitled
to a bad run. If you are the reigning champions,
and in the FA Cup final, you are entitled to
a bad run. If you have already won the championship
by April, you are entitled to a bad run. None
of that applies here. Hope that’s a help.
18th December: Apart from any of the Four Horsemen
of the Apocalypse, there’s no-one I’d
like in my corner less than Rob Shepherd, but
that’s what Houllier’s got. “Only
the stupid would write off Liverpool’s
title bid”. Short of getting A+’s
right across the board, nothing measures your
intelligence more accurately than the distance
between your views and Shepherd’s. “Don’t
forget, it took Ferguson seven years to win his
first championship”. The song of the truly,
terribly desperate. Have we ever been allowed
to forget it? And, er, name another example………
18th December: Are you feeling alright, boss? “The
wolves come out when the flesh is ready to be
eaten”…… …and if there’s
no flesh going, they make do with sardines, perhaps?
19th December: ASTON VILLA 3 L 4………
18th December: Sorry, my little joke. ASTON
VILLA 3 L 4. The final whistle beat Thursday
morning by a matter of minutes, thanks to Uncle
Doug Ellis and his incredibly efficient ticket
system. Good job there wasn’t extra time,
they’d have charged rent for the seat.
Good performance, and an exciting match when
it finally started. Super Dan really has been
one of the few shining lights in a dismal season,
and Gerrard finally looked back to form. Of course,
we had to try and throw it all away late on,
but all’s well that (finally) ends.
19th December: Two things not to be forgotten.
The journalist who wrote “the buffoons
who’ve dared to question the manager”,
and Doug Ellis for trying to palm the blame for
last night onto the supporters. To claim 4,000
Liverpool supporters were amongst the ‘culprits’ when
only 300 applied through the utterly incompetent
Ticketmaster is the lowest. “17,000 turned
up at 7.40” – urinating on brave
cops too, no doubt. New stadiums, same old scapegoats.
20th December: I’d almost forgotten the
derby. There seems to have been less wind-ups
than in previous seasons………oh,
hang about, here’s one. “Moyes to
follow United road to Anfield success”.
So sit there, do nothing for an hour, hope Kirkland
screws up big time. The most astute young coach
in the game, so we’re told.
21st December: Liverpool are hoping EC laws
will give them even more TV revenue if clubs
are allowed to forge individual contracts. “No-one
at Anfield was available for comment”.
Hard to speak with your mouth full of drool.
Hey, great idea everyone, let’s watch United
and Arsenal sail away over the horizon. Small
point, but who apart from Liverpool fans would
pay to watch this dreck? If anything was guaranteed
to assist Arsenal’s chase for second biggest
team in England, it’s this.
22nd December: “Wayne’s World, Wayne’s
World, Derby Time, Overkill, Woo woo woo woo
woo woo woo” and, er, so on. The latest
story says Everton are struggling to keep him
on the straight and narrow. “The 17 year
old striker is succumbing to the temptations
of a normal adolescence” – stop sniggering
at the back! That’s not as funny as Moyes’ idiotic
suggestion that “when I first came to Everton
I didn’t even think about Liverpool”.
Riiiiiiiight. Soon made up for it though, didn’t
you? A blue who never thought about Liverpool?
There must be one. Somewhere.
22nd December: There really is a conspiracy
against Everton, I know that now. Once again,
they win a derby and only 1 one point for it.
L 0 EVERTON 0 may seem to you, me and the sane
world like a draw, but to the denizens of the
Pit that’s more than enough to claim three
points. What’s more important is how we
played, or rather how we didn’t. How Traore
and Diao stayed on for 50 minutes is less baffling
than how they got out there in the first place.
Surely an ability to pass a ball in a team-mate’s
general direction is a prerequisite? Heskey and
Smicer came on in their place – like watching
your house burn down and calling 999 for an oil
tanker. And why try to wind Rooney up, when he
was clearly lapping it up?
23rd December: A few words on derby relations.
The dwindling respect one side has for the other
might be resuscitated by a priority check. A
bit of paint on a statue is not “a disgusting
and disgraceful act” – calling another
team’s manager a paedophile, on the other
hand, quite clearly is. When the latter receives
the lion’s share of the shock horror headlines
in the local press, Reds may feel inclined to
join in with the perennial “what’s
gone wrong with the derby?” crocodile tear-fest.
24th December: It’s taken 6 weeks for
Steven Gerrard to respond to the manager’s
attack on him after Basle, so forgive me for
not taking it at face value. Could be that Stevie
needs all the friends he can get after the “horror
tackle” on Naysmith. This is now getting
all the headlines, and while it was ugly we’re
not taking Everton’s whinging all that
seriously, surely? Especially Kevin ‘credit
to his Profession’ Campbell. Is this the
first “horror tackle” where the victim
got up and carried on unharmed? And while some
ex-pro’s might have a moral superiority
that gives them a right to criticise, Johnny
Giles isn’t one of them. Was Naysmith’s
career ruined? No, unlike one of your victim’s.
The Daily Mail hack who suggested Stevie use
Roy Keane as a fitting example of how to behave
takes the prize, though. Sunday was certainly
a good start!
24th December: Financial news. We’re in
good shape, but second place and reaching the
Champions League last eight was largely responsible
for it. Despite this, they ‘only’ gave
the manager £20m for Diouf, Cheyrou and
Diao. Next summer should be a laugh. If this
poor run carries on much longer, we’ll
be shopping at a lower level and Rysman League
gates will be rising by two a week (one if GH
can get McNulty out of his arse).
26th December: Hardly a shock, but still irritating.
L 1 BLACKBURN 1 keeps the unbeaten run going………sorry,
been listening to all the Anfield Spin. If we’d
gone for them in the first half, when they showed
us too much respect and couldn’t get going,
maybe this game would have been all over before
Cole started missing chances. Typically, with
the kind of run we’re in, he put away the
difficult one. There was an inevitability about
it. Sit back and ask someone to hit you, they’ll
hit you. It’s not rocket science.
27th December: It’s still too hard for
the manager to work out, though. “Maybe
the boys thought they could hold onto the result”……and
wherever would they get such an idea? From the
manager who took off Smicer and brought on Biscan
to counter a threat from Duff that Carra already
had under control? From the manager who has been
drumming that into them season after season?
Oh tish pish, you cynical knaves! Verily, ‘tis
minnions like you that dost not appreciate the
genius we hath in our midth (shall we stop talking
in this medieval way? – Alan Partridge). “I
thought this was going to be the scruffy 1-0
win I was looking for”. Two things: one,
that he’s actually looking for that is
bad enough, but didn’t we get one of those
against Arnhem? Fat lot of good it did us.
27th December: It’s official: two-footed
tackles are okay after all. It just depends which
player does it. Liverpool player? Baaaaaaad.
Everton player? Goooooood. And if it’s
Wayne Rooney, brilliaaaaaant! Leeds’ James
Milner is now the youngest goal scorer in the
Premiership, but hopefully Wayne will be consoled
by this Youngest Player to Get A Red Card accolade.
28th December: Despite persistent denials, the
O’Neill For Anfield rumours continue to
surface. And you can’t say the man isn’t
interested. He’s done his homework. Knowing
that he has to be fluent in several languages
(one of which is Bullshit), he comes up with
the astonishing assertion that a goal John Hartson
scored was just like the ones Denis Law and Jimmy
Greaves used to get. Did they ever take someone’s
head off in training, I wonder?
29th December: Well, he’s rattled them
that’s for sure. Phil Thompson hears the
Hartson-Law comparison and thinks “I can
do better than that”, and sure enough he
plays a blinder. “As far as I’m concerned
he is right up there with the likes of Shankly
and Paisley”. Quiz time: who is Phil talking
about? Is it (a) Alex Ferguson (b) Arsene Wenger
(c) Gerard Houllier? Answers on a postcard to “Try
Winning The Championship First, You Dipshit” Competition,
PO Box 23 etc.
29th December: It’s not all bad news.
If there’s one area where we have improved,
it’s in the “producing mind-numbing
tedium on a Sunday afternoon at Highbury” department.
The first half of ARSENAL 1 L 1 was everything
that a football team ought not to stand for,
worse than last season even, and if we weren’t
hated before we will be now. What makes it worse
still is that we played some good football in
the second half and made them look distinctly
ordinary. I suppose some idiot is going to say
that we couldn’t have had one without the
other (two idiots in particular seem likely candidates),
but if Arsenal had been as “lucky” as
Boro, Fulham, United, Charlton or Sunderland
we’d have been chasing the game again.
Simple lessons don’t sink in. We were unlucky
with the Jeffers dive, but lucky with Silva’s
awful finish at the end. Luck balances out. In
the end, you get what you deserve. Think of that
20 minutes in the second half where we kept the
ball, created chances and deservedly went in
front – and think of a reason why it can’t
be like that all the time.
29th December: A L B, E RT – Albert Stubbins
was the man for me. And for all of us. If you’re
in the same team as Liddell, and fans speak your
name with the same awe, that proves what a true
great you were. Rest in peace.
30th December: There’s nothing intrinsically
wrong with what Houllier’s saying about
Francis Jeffers. He’s spot on, in fact.
It’s all just a bit excessive, don’t
you think? It’s not as if he’d stopped
a goal-bound shot with his hand after ten minutes,
but didn’t give a pen away and didn’t
get sent off, is it? It comes back to what I
say about these things evening themselves out.
How come we’re the only team that is totally
destabilised by such incidents?
31st December: Not that I’m declaring
an end to the hunting season on that cheating
jug-eared twat or his complete fraud of a manager. “I
think he was caught on his left leg and had no
choice but to go down”. He sees things
that no-one else does (not even Jelly Belly Winter
saw that) but doesn’t see the blatantly
obvious ‘indiscretions’ of his blue-eyed
boys. Did you get laser eye surgery from Luke
Skywalker or something?
31st December: But there’s being annoyed
and there’s milking it for all it’s
worth. “Thommo Calls For Video Evidence”.
Is this going to be retroactive, then? Are we
giving the 2001 FA Cup back for the Henchoz incident – and
what about Andy Johnson in the Worthington Cup?
Ever thought it was a bit weird that no-one’s
ever called for TV evidence when they’ve
benefited from a referee’s incompetence?
Or, like me, do you just find it unbelievably
pathetic? Grow up the lot of you.
31st December: Great stuff in the Echo. Everton
v City tomorrow will be seen by “up to
360 million fans” in the Far East. Intriguing
words, “up to”. I could earn “up
to” 360 million quid this year. Everton
appoint Mei Zhang as their ‘International’ Liaison
Officer. That’ll be China and Wales, then. “The
Chinese think it’s the most professional
league and has the highest quality”. Well,
Everton v City will soon put that right. “Wayne
Rooney is famous in China now”. They say
you can see The Great Wall from space ……………what?