Editorial – Issue 46, Spring 2000
By Steve Kelly
From Issue 46, Spring 2000
Thanks as ever to all of my contributors, but it might have taken longer to list the people and subjects I’ve omitted! Apologies to Ed Graham, Soul of Scallies, the Fatman, The Scarlet Fountain Pen, J T and others for excluding their stuff. Apologies to everyone else for (a) no in-depth stuff on Robinson (although, as with Moran, it’s difficult to write about people who are behind the scenes) (b) still no book reviews (they’ll be the last ones I ever get sent!) (c) nothing about United’s extraordinary Brazilian debacle (there’s too much about them as it is) (d) no Hillsborough update again, although it’s been difficult as things have gone quiet before the private prosecutions. There is an article about the club’s obnoxious attitude to the HJC, however. I’m writing this just as it’s been confirmed that FIFA are trying to ‘unite’ the world’s football calendar. I can’t help feeling there is a secret plot to destroy the game from within – that a hero like Platini should lend his once-proud name to these extraordinary moves is heartbreaking. Still, I’ll save all that (and more) for issue 47.
The timing of Peter Robinson’s retirement/resignation was curious indeed. While you can only acknowledge his efforts and the work he must have put in for this club over an amazing 35 years, I’ve never really warmed to the man. It seems strange to me that he is being called Mr Anfield and has even been credited with our glory in certain quarters, but the success of his work for astute chairmen like Williams and Smith does not exactly correlate with his work for a duffer like Moores and wasters like Souness and Evans. Perhaps he wasn’t so all-knowing or all-powerful after all? He seems to have avoided any real flak for the trophy-challenged 90’s, even to the point where he claims to have opposed the ‘joint manager’ venture. His repeated requests for more seating areas were a major irritant throughout the 80’s, and whenever you can hear a pin drop at the ‘new’ Anfield I always think of those statements and the lack of a fight to keep the old Kop. Football has moved into an era where even the supporters are now talking about how much money the club can make, and can look at their hugely overpriced tickets without even registering a shrug. If it were me, that is not a legacy I could look back on with any real pride. Did he “move with the times” – or did he help shape them? To be fair he was, by all accounts, instrumental in getting Houllier here and though it’s still early days we may have cause to thank PRB profusely for that. That would certainly be a nicer way to bow out.
I can only read the words “shit-stirring Manc bastards” into the Daily Mirror’s claims that Houllier will follow his friend Peter out of the door. I know that is the last thing the latter would want, and I believe Gerard is too far into the job in hand for him to abandon it now. We should read that (and the continuing Fowler ‘speculation’) as a sign that United are casting worried glances at Anfield once more. We have been in the wilderness for far too long, and our recent performance there certainly registered on the Sphincter Scale if Exlax’s ludicrous remarks are anything to go by. When are we ever going to get any luck there? The cover makes a joke out of it, but they get away with murder all the time and it is everywhere they go now – even in Europe, since Bordeaux was bloody typical. We can point out all the advantages they enjoy, sure, and issue 46 is full of such theories – but I’m not going to get too wound up by it all until we’re clearly the second best team in the country. That hasn’t happened yet, but we’re closer than we’ve been in years. Rather than frothing at the mouth about a Champions League place because of the money involved (the cost of everything in football is spiralling upwards anyway), I’m more inclined to get excited because it means we’re in the top three, and a lot closer to the championship as a result.
Derby and Newcastle saw welcome reversals of our usual form. Up until then, we had the same points against the top ten as we’d won against the bottom ten – that’s not the way you win the league. In fact, we’re top of the Top 5 table if you know what I mean. Sixteen points at least from the Mancs, Leeds, Arsenal and Chelsea shows that we can do the business when self-motivation isn’t a factor. Poor performances so far this year against Spurs, Blackburn, Watford (even though we won), Boro and Sunderland (who are bottom ten material) displayed a lack of creativity when we have to make the running and when we are the ‘scalp’. Joe Royle suffered a similar fate at Everton, and I’m not entirely convinced by Houllier’s efforts in such games. I’m not too thrilled about Heskey in any case, and the eventual fee was absolutely frightening, but once he’s here you wouldn’t expect him to be bunged onto the right wing in his second match so that Erik Meijer could play up front! Still, there’s no denying the team as a whole really puts in the effort nowadays. The cover leaves no room for doubt about who the star performers are this season, and sometimes I think my own overall scepticism on our future chances springs solely from a reluctance to put the mockers on the whole thing! I am smiling a lot more nowadays, though. No, honestly…
Thanks for buying this issue. I’ve been looking even more slothful recently, because of the prolific ‘Red All Over The Land’ and ‘The Liverpool Way’. Both are proving you can produce a lot of fanzines and keep up a good standard, so I’ll definitely do at least one more issue next season. The Liverpool Fanzine Quarterly that comes out five times a season….hmmm, I quite like the anarchic sound of that. I’ll have set dates and deadlines for each issue, fixtures permitting (just spotted the flaw in that plan!), and I’ll go to print with however many pages I’ve got ready. It’ll never be less than 44, I swear. Please keep writing in, I’ll let you know about 2000/2001 deadlines in issue 47 – and there will hopefully be an e-mail address too. Pen, paper, stamps and envelopes seem to be going out of fashion. Shame, really, but even tatty old fanzines like mine have to move with the times, I suppose.
Let’s hope the Reds continue to do us proud, and I’ll see you all after the summer.