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Editorial

By Steven Kelly
From Issue 57, Summer 2002

Must we? Oh well, if we must. I’ll plaster a smile onto my face and plough through this shit one more time………WELCOME! To a brand new season of TTW&R. I haven’t managed to get everything I was sent into this issue, but I’m hoping to ‘hit the ground running’ for the next one, so all contributions would be appreciated - and could you get them in to me by yesterday? Cheers. Everything will be used (eventually). I apologise to those who wrote in with their various Redknapp tributes – they’ve been held back for 58, making my ‘tribute’ in the diary seem even nastier than usual! The diary is full to bursting with more waffle than ever. I only managed to get to June 7th. I’ll catch up next issue, I promise. There may be more you want to say on the World Cup, on 2001/02 and on B**y*r, but if it’s not here in time for issue 58 we’ll have to draw a line under those subjects and get on with this exciting, action-packed new season. I can hardly wait………

One topic that hasn’t been touched on is the leaving of Anfield. So feel free. I can honestly say that nobody has written to me about this. Maybe fans feel that it’s all been said before, and the club simply isn’t interested. I appreciate the effort put in by Alan, Will and Tim at Anfield4Ever, but by their own admission they’ve been beaten by a lack of popular/ist outcry. I’ve no reason to doubt their word that they were consulted by Rick Parry, and that all other avenues have been exhausted. It’s Parry I don’t believe. I’ve been a victim of this ‘openness’, and heard the most misleading word in the dictionary – “consultation”. That’s a polite way of saying “we’ve heard you, we’re just not listening”. I was ‘consulted’ by the club myself – about calling off the infamous boycott of Hillsborough in 1999. I said my piece, and there I was in the match programme agreeing with their request to call it off! “After consultation with supporters groups, the bereaved, fanzines……” – lucky I had an issue out that had called for a boycott, but I was used to make the club seem concerned with fans’ views. Fact is, they’re not. They never are.

It’s as if Liverpool fans are now beaten – that the club’s ignorance and greed has now ground (!) everyone into submission. I’m sure they’re very proud of that fact. Maybe we’re waiting for the residents around the park to make their stand? It was incredibly sly to make the announcement a week after the season was over. It was an indirect ‘confession’ that they know there’s something wrong in what they’re doing, and the 55,000 capacity is another admission that they know football isn’t going to be as popular in the future. People are already starting to pick and choose, and while Liverpool’s huge, international fan base gives them an edge over most clubs they are playing a very dangerous game. By undercutting the importance of absolutely everything, that bond and fierce commitment supporters have for their team is being eroded. Without that, what is the point? For a few more years of exploiting the ‘hospitality brigade’ and short-term gain, Liverpool are making football an occasional pastime and not a lifetime’s devotion.

Who knows? Maybe they’re doing everyone a massive favour – maybe it really is time to get a life? I’m not seeing nearly as many matches as I used to; even during the dreadful finish to 93/94, where every away game ended in defeat, it was unthinkable not to drag my weary, pissed-off bones to Highbury, Upton Park or a half-built Ewood. Now, I can shrug my shoulders and watch it on TV most likely. UEFA finally got the message about the ‘Champions League’, but even then the Big Greedy Bastards (our club front and centre, naturally) are complaining about it. How do you spell “the good of the game”? £…£…£…£…£…£…£…£.

ynicism and bitterness can sometimes blind you, make you forget what you’re going through all this crap for. The team did well last season, and many (myself included) have remarked upon the ‘natural’ progression of recent league places. Of course, the English championship is not decided by mathematics, but the squad is even better now and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t do well again. Our recent struggles to gain top spot have simply left us in awe of those Liverpool teams who made a habit of it. In a way, they made us blasé about the whole thing. Twelve years later, we are under no such illusions. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to be English champions, but we’re starting this season with as much confidence as I can remember since the 80’s. That could be a bad thing of course, and there are changes that need to be made if “so close” is to turn into “yes!”.

We’ve said all along that if these players have the shackles taken away they can beat anybody. We’ll be watching the early games closely for signs of this, but the poor (and petrified) performance against Real Madrid does not auger well. It’s also noticeable that (a) Cheyrou became a big favourite during the Lazio game (b) he hasn’t been seen since! Fitness doubts – or Houllier’s perpetual aversion to any player achieving heroic status? That will have to change too. We need heroes.

If you’ve already glanced through the diary, you’ll know I’m still a misery. If anything, I’m getting worse. I’m not old enough to be acting like Victor Meldrew’s grumpier brother, but if I could just see a Liverpool side play more with the verve and flair that we saw tiny glimpses of last season, you may well see a happier, clappier TTW&R from now on. And then you should take the family down to the air raid shelter – the end of the world really would be upon us!