Editorial – Issue 51, Spring 2001
By Steve Kelly
From Issue 51, Spring 2001
You may notice even more errors than usual in this issue. Some of the writing is very good, but one or two articles came in late and there was a bit of frantic editing to get some things in and take some stuff out. For one reason or another, the final week was very hectic and I apologise if you find this has affected the fanzine’s quality in some way. There are also one or two jokes at the expense of Everton’s hilarious cup exit that may blow up in our faces on April 8th, but if we lose to Wycombe frankly what Evertonians think will be the least of our worries. Numerous people wrote in or e-mailed on the deadline day, and my apologies to David Nash, Kevin M, Steve Horton and especially to ‘The Realist’. Your stuff will be in the summer issue.
This issue went to print two days after Man U, four days before the Nou Camp and a week before Villa Park. For some reason, I just haven’t been able to time it well this season. The last issue went to print just before Rome, which was one of our best results in the last 5 years – certainly our best European result since 1984. Auxerre was a great comeback of course, but we had shot ourselves in the foot over there and shouldn’t really have needed any miracles. Once again, though, our fans were used as target practise by the gutless scum of Rome. I have always tried to steer clear of anything racist or stereotyped as you may know by now, and I wasn’t very happy to see another fanzine refer to the Italians as “the greasy bastards”, but in the immediate aftermath of the attacks I felt my own political correctness go hurtling out of the window. I’m not too proud of it, but anger is often expressed in less than liberal terms and for once I’ll turn a blind eye to anyone who did the same. It irked me quite a lot to hear chants of “same old eyeties” at Anfield, however – strictly Manc behaviour, that, and though the volume made it a Kop night to remember the sentiments expressed certainly weren’t anything to be proud of.
And then a couple of weeks later it was Cardiff. I’ve written plenty on the subject in #51 so I’ll let you get on with reading it. By this time we were standing outside Anfield with a fanzine that was only a few weeks old but had missed at least two major highlights of the whole season! A fanzine can’t have been more badly timed, but then I suspect most Liverpool fanzines can claim the same thing. Such has been the dizzy rush of events that an issue is no sooner ‘on the streets’ than it’s dated – even the prolific ones! Whatever happens in our next two cup ties, it’s been a season to remember for mostly the right reasons. Whether the so-called priority – a top three finish – will be achieved is another matter altogether. Two of the articles dropped from this issue were (a) a fairly churlish critique of Gerard saying that the league was the only thing that mattered and that cup success was worthless (pardon the pun) and (b) my reply, which basically said that we were on the verge of a unique cup achievement and that we should go for that instead. It’s not as if the Champions League or G14 or G22 or Ghowmanygreedyfuckersitisnowadays won’t be waiting for us in another 12 months’ time. Some of the clubs mentioned in these super league talks didn’t even compete in Europe this year, never mind get to a semi final. Both articles should be revised and reprinted in issue 52 this August, and hopefully I’ll be the one that’s gloating!
You see, there’s been something quaint and old-fashioned about our season. The cups are almost our last link to the past. Even the fixture congestion’s great. The game of football itself consists of long periods of tedium heightened by brief explosions of excitement. To me , it symbolises the beauty of the game that we will be playing Barcelona on a Thursday and then Wycombe Wanderers on a Sunday. From the sublime to the rather less sublime but no less important. G22, super leagues, champions leagues? Well, they want to tell you that they can take what’s special (and Liverpool in the Olympic Stadium in Rome and the Nou Camp certainly comes under that heading), multiply it by 8 or 12 or even 20 – and end up with 8/12/20 helpings of ‘special’. Bollocks. What was great about Inter 65, Celtic 66, Gladbach 73, Barca 76 and so on wasn’t the excess of such occasions but the rarity. Take that away, and you will make the Great merely drab and commonplace. The glorious power of football at its summit is being diluted in order to make a few greedy gets extremely rich. What the hell do they care what’s left of the game in 10 or 20 years’ time?
It’s not as if we have our league position in our own hands any more anyway. Games in hand are all very well, but when they come as thick and fast as they will do in the next few weeks not even our squad will be able to cope. Talking about outdated fanzines brings us to Man U. I can now say this without it sounding like a cop-out after defeat, but it’s been ages since I was so blas© about a United game. Their lead in the Premiership slightly diluted the pleasure in beating them. That’s not to say I didn’t go off my head today, mind! Of course I did, but I was there when we last did the league double over them – way back in 1979 – and that was a Liverpool team that still holds the points and defensive records. The double this year does not indicate any sort of hegemony over our detested rivals (who knocked us out of the cup that year, anyway) that we had back then – it simply illustrates one aggravating fact about this team at the moment. We do not hold any fears against the great sides – it’s our tendency to chuck away vital league points against sub-standard opposition that has made the Champions League spot so difficult to attain. Whether it’s Rotation or Arrogance, we are just not “up” for these games. That will be Houllier’s next task. Facts have to be faced by cynics like myself, though – he has got an awful lot closer to our ultimate goal than we had a right to expect way back in November 1998.
Enjoy the fanzine, despite its flaws. I’m going to try and do 6 next season, but I need your help. I always do of course, but next season very much so (© Ron Atkinson). Please write or e mail about anything you think may be of interest – and I do mean anything. I’m not planning a take-over of articles about music, films, TV, books, even fashion (though you’ll have to write those!). Just a few here and a few there to let everyone know what a cultured lot we are at LFC. Readers lists, top tens, reviews – whatever you like.
And please make mine a treble, you lovely Red bastards!