By Steve Kelly
From Issue 59, Winter 2002
You may find quite
a few spelling errors in this issue. It was
a bit of a rush job, as I wanted to bring it
out before Christmas. I lost a week or so because
I had to leave my lovely flat in Crosby. What
with feeling a bit down about that and the
(ahem) ‘fluctuating’ fortunes of
the Reds it became a bit difficult to concentrate
on the job in hand. It was all I could do to
get everything printed up and stuck together.
Honest! Anyway, it’s done, so see what
What is it about this editorial? As soon
as I even mention the word ‘optimism’,
the Reds’ form goes out of the 60th storey
window. I don’t even think we’ve
fallen all the way yet, and rather than bounce
back up again we’re more likely to see
a huge splat on the pavement. There were other
tell-tale signs that made a slump inevitable.
It was November, for one. The Manager of the
Month award is a major jinx too (well done,
Moyesie). Owen’s goals dried up, Henchoz’s
absence began to be felt. When Jerzy started
making mistakes too, defeats were inevitable.
They’ve also been hit hard by the Champions
League exit. No matter what kind of spin Gerard
puts on things, that was the one he’d
set his heart on. I’m not sure about
this “momentum” he says we lost
after ‘the incident’ at Middlesbrough.
He thinks that if he doesn’t mention
Dudek by name, fans won’t believe he’s
trying to find another scapegoat a la Stevie
G. And no matter how many times you say it,
boss, we did NOT control that match. Their
goal was inevitable. Let it go, because you’re
beginning to sound like an idiot.
That’s all academic. The key moment
since issue 58 was the Basle result and the
fairly fevered outburst about Gerrard. To be
fair, the manager has been backtracking furiously
ever since – even claiming he never said
it at one, ludicrous, point – but it
was simply an extension of something that has
made Liverpool fans uneasy in the past. I mentioned
in one of the 99/00 issues that GH was a bit
of a buck-passer, but it’s going beyond
a joke now.
It’s quite possible that a split has
occurred in the dressing room. He has the nerve
to speak about the ‘cancer’ of
blaming others, while studiously avoiding any
criticism about obvious mistakes he’s
making and going public about Gerrard. We were
far too negative at the Riverside, and Dudek
did his best to keep us in the game. He should
not even be carrying the can for that result,
never mind the whole month of mediocrity that
Everywhere you look, there are complaints – and
not just from permawhingers like yours truly.
The Dudek/Kirkland episode could have been
handled a bit better, Riise has been denied
a chance to continue his good form from last
season by constantly being played at left back.
Baros was a player in form, but he’s
always dropped and always substituted – now
he’s missing sitters as well. I’m
amazed Heskey has any self-esteem left to get
out of bed in the morning. Fitness, touch,
confidence – it’s all shot to pieces.
THE LAD IS NOT A LEFT WINGER!!!! How many more
And this is what is causing the idle speculation
about Gerard’s job, which should not
be happening. The results don’t help,
that’s an understatement, but arguments
about style, team selection, favouritism etc
are the same ones we were having over 3 years
ago. They haven’t just popped up in the
last month or so – and I’ll happily
sell you any number of back issues that provide
Let me just say this. It’s not even
close to being the time to make a decision
about replacing Houllier, but any discussion
about his future, and our club’s future,
is perfectly valid. We reached the same point
with Evans, don’t forget. He knew he
had to change and get some steel into his side.
He failed. By 97/98, they weren’t even
doing what they’d done so well in the
previous 3 seasons, and the club made a belated
decision to replace him. Gerard also has to
change, he said so himself during the summer.
He wanted more “self expression” from
his team, but not only are we not getting it,
the defensive solidity and awesome spirit he
gave us are also in danger of evaporating.
The Treble, his near-death experience and
the gradual improvement in league position
have built up a huge amount of goodwill for
Gerard. I particularly understand the younger
generation’s feverish devotion to him.
They were bored to tears with tales of Wembley,
Rome, Paris, doubles, trebles. Suddenly, this
great man gave them THEIR own memories, THEIR
own experiences, THEIR own trophies and championship
challenges. Their faith in him is blind at
He has created this foundation, and even
a pessimist like me believes he has more than
earned the chance to build further upon it.
I will qualify that, though, by saying that
he seems to have come back from his illness
hell bent on destroying the aura he has carefully
and deliberately built up around himself. It’s
got nothing to do with media manipulation – he
IS talking complete and utter shite, and if
he is in danger of ‘losing’ the
dressing room his days could be numbered.
We need a couple of wins, and the longer
we stay within sight of Arsenal and United
this testing period will probably be forgotten.
Should we slip further back, the inevitable
questions will be asked. And they might just
have the inevitable answers.