1st February: If Rob Shepherd is now painting
himself as Gerard Houllier’s big buddy,
that just makes me even more suspicious – kind
of like when George and McNulty sucked up to
Souness. Gerard tells his new chum “we
are still some way behind United and Arsenal”,
which wasn’t being said last August was
it? “I take no notice of phone-ins, how
can you check who those people support? They
could be Evertonians”………well,
yes. They could be. Is that what you tell yourself?
There are no unhappy Reds, just trouble-making
Blues? I’ve always wondered what it must
be like to live in a bubble………
2nd February: What a rip-off. You pay that amount,
you expect to see a 90-minute match. Not one
that’s finished after ten. WEST HAM 0 L
3 could be seen from the usual “they were
awful” perspective, but we’ve asked
for this approach for years: they’re rubbish,
grab ‘em by the throat and don’t
let go. And when the team delivers, all the praise
in the world is due. Baros was great, and even
Smicer worked hard. Three corners caused all
the damage, so the creativity isn’t exactly
firing on all cylinders, but they were cocky
because of their first home win so they needed
to be slapped down hard. Exactly what was required.
Well done Reds.
3rd February: Gerard is a nice man sometimes.
He shows sympathy to a fellow boss who’s
been struggling, and that’s got to be a
good thing. Interesting choice of words, though: “I
know what it’s like to go through a difficult
time – two months ago we were the same”.
Two months ago? “Were”? You mean
our bad run’s over? Well, that was quick.
Two league wins and the pain’s gone. The
mathematicians amongst you may say that 5 points
from the last 33 is now 12 points from 42, and
that’s still not good – but then
how can we tell if you are reds or blues trying
to stir it up? “Because we can add up?” Oh
yeah. Good point.
4th February: Gerrard gets the expected 3-match
ban, but Houllier won’t let it rest. “We
were hard done by” “David Moyes acknowledged
there was no malice in the tackle” “the
FA tried to make him miss the cup final and play
for England”. The validity of all three
claims has to be called into question, given
the manager’s current state of mind and
the terminal bollocks he’s been spouting
lately. Expect some sort of conspiracy theory
within the next few days.
5th February: Instead of rubbishing rumours
that Hamann will return to Germany, Gerard says “There’s
nothing I can do”. Exactly what he did
to Fowler, so it looks like bye bye Didi Didi
bye. He also makes the bizarre claim that “the
team actually started to pick up after he dropped
out in mid-December”. Team First again,
eh? And it’s bollocks anyway, but when
he turns on you that’s that and common
sense/courtesy goes right out of the window.
5th February: Along with the FA Cup. L 0 CRYSTAL
PALACE 2. It should have been all over by half
time of course, and when Heskey ended a 70-yard
run with a 2-foot back pass you sensed something
was up. How often has Cheyrou been on the winning
side? When he stopped in the middle of the pitch
because he didn’t get a pass, I’d
have happily booted his arse out of this club
there and then. The ground reacted with one long
groan of amazement when Murphy was taken off.
Milan’s strong display at West Ham counted
for nothing, but he could have come on for Bruno,
Emile, the misfiring Owen – anyone but
Danny. They scored the second after they’d
been reduced to ten men, and ……and……sorry,
I genuinely am lost for words. Perhaps the manager
can provide some?
6th February: A blessing in disguise. No honestly,
that’s what he called it. A. Blessing.
In. Disguise. Losing, at home, to a lower league
side, with a man short, by two goals. Do you
actually want to get sacked? And that wasn’t
the worst of it. “The turning point was
when Emile went through on goal. That deflated
the rest of the team – mentally, they just
sank”. 0-0 at home to a team 20 places
below you, 50 minutes gone. Miss a chance, and
your whole team mentally sinks!?! Thanks for
getting rid of the Spice Boys, Gerard – who
knows where we’d be without you?
7th February: I don’t know why the bucketloads
of vomit that follow any defeat shock me any
more, but Rushie takes the prize. “You
need luck to do well in the cup, and Leeds could
go on and win it now – they avoided a trip
to Anfield in the next round”……..the
same trip that so utterly terrified Palace, you
mean? Jesus. McNulty mentions the new deal with
Reebok, Parry’s faith in GH and “the
knee-jerkers”. A knee-jerk, you clueless
twat, takes place in an instant – not over
three months. It follows one moment of pressure – not
after abandoning three competitions with some
of the worst results and worst ‘football’ in
decades. A moment later, and it’s gone – you
don’t have to sit and watch a team drain
away to nothing and bore you to tears while the
manager talks total bullshit day after day after
sodding DAY. There’s only one jerk around
here. Reebok can give us 3 billion for all I
care, but if Gerard Houllier ever touches a penny
it will be an act of fiscal suicide.
8th February: “Had we scored two or three
in the first half against Palace it would have
been a totally different result”………that’s
the manager of your club who said that. Reassuring,
8th February: GH was ill today. With gastro-enteritis………at
least it was pouring out of the right end for
once. L 1 MIDDLESBROUGH 1 was the same old story.
First goal conceded, you knew they wouldn’t
win. The fear spreads through Anfield like a
virus, and while the team had chances there’s
a panic that sets in because they know how desperate
it all is. Sunderland hadn’t scored for
8 hours but got 2 against us. Boro’ hadn’t
scored in an away game since September, but they
managed it today. Just ‘bad luck’ I
suppose. Not a bad game. Not a bad display. Not
even nearly good enough.
9th February: The Sorcerer may be ill but the
Apprentice has learned well: “We dominated,
we passed our way through them, the level of
our football was tremendous, we will sail through
the seasson if we play like this”. Room
for one more, nurse?
10th February: And something else is creeping
in. The FA has denied the Gerrard/England ‘plot’,
Moyes is too busy laughing to reply about Naysmith – and
now Thommo’s said Boro staff “apologised” for
the way they played. Steve McClaren firmly denies
it, and the sad thing is I believe an ex-Manc
and not the ex-Liverpool captain. Why the hell
should Boro apologise? They only did what we
did at the Riverside? Oh, except lose.
10th February: The new book about bungs is serialised
in the ‘Mail’, and it starts with
a sensational revelation. Harry Redknapp was
a bit dodgy – NO?!? Really? I’d never
have guessed that, would you? We make an appearance
during the Song/Camara deal, the latter’s
transfer being arguably one of the weirdest moves
11th February: Have we been secretly taken over
by the Gambino Family or something? First Gerrard’s
had death threats, now Riise’s mum is getting
them in Norway. And there was that restaurant
incident in 2000. Things are getting seriously
weird. Wouldn’t it be great if football
was run by the mafia, though? We could stick
Van Nistelrooy’s head in Fergie’s
bed one night.
12th February: He was Roy’s biggest arselicker
towards the end, do you remember “if you
come top 6 and qualify for Europe you’ve
had a good season”? Smithy is showing the
same signs again. “Everyone has problems
in the football world, but if you look at Leeds,
Bolton, West Ham or Sunderland the Reds are in
a far better position”. So that’s
our level of comparison now, eh? Remember Ric
George’s pitiful defence of Souness? “Be
glad you’re not supporting Barnet”?
Gerard may as well start typing out his CV.
13th February: It’s nice to see people
kiss and make up. Back in October, he was the
jug-eared Judas – a dive against the Reds
and a goal for England later, and Prentice’s
England report mentions the “former Goodison
star” and the “ex-Evertonian”.
He even finds time to mention “Liverpool’s
CL tormentor Scott Chipperfield” (who hell
he?). Form is temporary, class is non-existent.
14th February: Superb back page on today’s
Express. Thunderbirds characters with football
managers’ heads superimposed and the headline
is ‘International Rescue’. Class.
Needless to say, Demento is Brains! Can’t
work out who Gerard is supposed to be – he
may be Virgil? Slow, ponderous, workmanlike and
(after that gastro-enteritis) a deep shade of
14th February: Naivety of the Year award already
claimed. Giggs misses a Welsh friendly, and Mark
Hughes says “I’ll be surprised if
he’s fit for Saturday”………
14th February: Huge scare headlines on the back
of the Echo. Oh my God, whatever terrible calamity
has befallen us? Well, it appears Smicer might
miss the Worthington Cup final………mmmm.
Slow day, was it?
15th February: Well, of course Ryan played – and
thank God he did. I haven’t laughed so
much since we tied the dog’s lead to my
nan’s ankle and threw a stick. The fact
that our main rivals (no, seriously) were involved
in one of the dirtiest, nastiest cheat-fests
in years (and United lost) made it all the funnier.
Of course we have to get dragged into it by repeat
showings of Rosenthal’s sitter from 1992,
but it was worth it.
16th February: Demento Lives! He’s been
gone for a while, and I haven’t half missed
him. “They bullied the ref, surrounding
him the way they do” and here it comes: “United
players do not do that”…… Yes!
Yes! Thank you Jesus, thank you. We moan about
Houllier, but let’s be fair. He’s
an amateur in the bullshit department.
16th February: A story in the ‘People’ (you
can skip to the next bit if you like) says we’ll
be axing 10 players in the summer. Hamann is
the most surprising name mentioned, or not given
the manager’s remarks about Steve and Danny.
Where the money’s coming from to replace
these ten players the article wasn’t too
informative. It certainly won’t be from
their transfer fees. They could always use the
Biscan money for next year’s Christmas
17th February: Lost, have we? No-one’s
talking about how they were outplayed by an Arsenal
without Henry or Bergkamp, but this sordid pathetic
boot episode. X marks the spot on Beckham’s
head, hair deliberately swept back for all cameramen
to see. The big tart. Why did this photo take
up virtually all of the Echo’s front page?
Who in Liverpool gives a flying boot about it?
Prepare yourselves for a whole week of this bilge.
19th February: Surreal headline of the week
comes in (what else) the Echo. “Rooney
Running Risk Of Burn-out” – he’s
played about 23 minutes in 4 months, what kind
of nonsense is this? I’d worry about the
fry ups, not the burn-out.
20th February: Gerard is whittling down the
number of ‘real’ fans before our
game in France. “Fans who understand can
say OK, it’s a bad spell. Those who don’t
go to games can’t complain. If you just
look at results, sometimes you’ll be disappointed”.
Why doesn’t he just paint a giant bulls-eye
on his back? It would take pages to counter this
nauseous nonsense, but the implication that the
football’s been good while the results
haven’t really does sound like a man drowning
in his own sweat. He’s not good under pressure,
20th February: Didn’t go, can’t
complain. AUXERRE 0 L 1 was efficient enough,
they could have hurt us badly if they’d
had the finish. One class move told in the end.
21st February: “I just wish we could have
played more football” – might have
been difficult to have played, but we’ve
managed it on a few occasions. Even in victory,
there’s a knee-jerk search for excuses: “there
was the cold, the pitch, we paid a bit too much
respect”. R in the month, phone-ins, World
Cup, we’re a young team, FA out to get
us (continued p 94, 95, 96, 97)…………
22nd February: Henchoz faced Auxerre with a
knee problem and misses tomorrow’s vital
league game. So where exactly do the priorities
lie? The manager makes a rallying cry, and insists
that we can’t afford to lose another game
if we want to reach the Champions League.
23rd February: I went to this one, can I complain
now? BIRMINGHAM CITY 2 L 1. And here is the sentence
I never thought I’d type. Robbie Savage
stood head and shoulders above everyone else
on the pitch. That’s right, a pitch with
11 Liverpool players on it. If that hasn’t
sent a shudder through your entire body, then
why not? Have you ever heard 3,000 hearts sink
at once? At the mere sight of Cheyrou’s
ballet shoes tiptoeing onto the pitch, the whole
away end automatically deflated. This pitiful
excuse for a ‘footballer’ must surely
have played his last game for Liverpool by now?
What a jinx. We were totally outfought and the
substitution led directly to their second goal,
the act of a man totally at sea and floundering
in a job he cannot master. I lost faith in him
weeks ago – quite a few waverers joined
24th February: Danny said we deserved nothing,
Houllier said we had chances and should have
had two penalties. People are laughing at you,
boss. Recalling Cheyrou for a battle like that
was bad enough, but bringing Carra off showed
you really don’t have a clue what you’re
doing any more. Please, do yourself a favour.
Do us all a favour.
25th February: Strange that all this Monaco
business should arise now. Newspaper mischief?
Or the way out for both club and manager? Of
course it’s all being furiously denied,
but most things are at first: the ground move,
for example. It’s the way they float out
an idea and see what the reaction is. The headline
this morning read “Houllier: I’m
27th February: Auxerre’s bragging didn’t
help them the first time, so why Cisse should
do it again is a mystery. After L 2 AUXERRE 0
(3-0), I’m not sure what the strutting
ponce has got to boast about. To think they were
talking about 30 million for him. What, lire?
His substitution antics were entertaining, though.
More efficiency from the Reds, and with two goals
in two games Owen could be hitting form at the
right time. Smicer came on like a man possessed.
Cup final in 3 days ………what?
Never said a word!
28th February: The Mirror can’t help stirring
it, totally exaggerating Cisse’s ‘contribution’ and
slagging off Diouf. I think El Hadji’s
doing well on the right, he was certainly missed
at St Andrews, but I don’t expect the Mirror
to behave otherwise. Cup final with united in
two days’ time……what? Never
said a word!
28th February: ‘Blues’ Dock Dream
Begins To Fade’. This is major news. Years
of banging on about it, front page exclusives
and 6-page features. So where do you think the
Echo put this latest revelation? Small item on
page 4. Absolutely pathetic.