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March 2003

1st March: “Getting the trophy can be a nuisance. It’s a bit of a nonsense. Pity they can’t give you the trophy in the dressing room”. Seeing as it’s such a chore, let’s try and spare poor Keano all that ‘nonsense’. Have you ever heard such arrogant shite in all your life? No wonder they’re hated. I’d say this was the perfect jinx on their chances, except there’s this: “Dudek a hero? Close match may end with Jerzy’s revenge……I can see the Reds of Liverpool nicking it”. Three words: Mark. Lawrenson. Bollocks.

2nd March: At least Andy Gray tipped United, so we were a bit more chipper on the way down. This was the first time I’ve gone through the centre of Wales rather than down the motorways, and we sailed through. We were on the Stella by half eight. It’s not big and it’s not clever. Great fun, though. Bowie and Roxy on the stereo, we had such a good time getting there that I just wanted to keep going and forget the match. Great singing in the pub, and you started to get a sense that this would be our day. Why do a few twats have to spoil it though? Why has this Shipman thing kept on going? It really is sick, and if you can’t stop for the Mancs do it for the 96. Show a bit of respect. The atmosphere transferred smoothly to the ground (it doesn’t always), and what can you say? The match went our way 100%: the deflection, Steph’s clearance, Dudek’s colossal display and United screwing up late on. L 2 MANCHESTER UNITED 0. They couldn’t get out fast enough. I love to see those empty seats – now who was it who said that? More drink, more music. One of the best days out I’ll ever have.

3rd March: The win was portrayed as the usual soak it up/hit ’em on the break job, but I felt there was more to it. Even sober, you have to say that we did try to keep the ball more. That’s reflected in the 49/51 possession split – we were hardly under siege, were we? Still, you can see the manoeuvring that’s taking place now. The manager says “we came second in the league and reached the CL quarter finals, now we have this trophy. We will keep improving and moving forward” – and how sly and deceptive is that? Even Chris Bascombe joins in: “The troubles of the Premiership can justifiably be shoved to one side. Whatever happens between now and May, this season will be considered a valuable one”. Oh dear. Check the teams for the early rounds, then tell me this trophy was ever a priority. We are not ‘improving’ and ‘moving forward’, nothing like. The rest of the season has to be as good as yesterday to even begin to change that.

4th March: But there are darker manipulative forces at work. We’ve beaten the darlings, so that means one thing only: revenge. Owen rightly says we have to be more creative, but look how it’s being painted. “Quit threat”, “Owen hints at departure” etc etc. I wouldn’t blame him if he did leave, but he hasn’t actually said he would.

5th March: He’s been docile for so long that Demento seems to be making up for lost time. “There is overconfidence at Arsenal and it is a failure in some people” wait for it wait for it “it never happens here” ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Whose captain said, on the eve of a cup final, that he hated going up to collect trophies? It’s not the only gibberish on show – that churlish, spiteful article from the Manchester Evening News is doing the rounds on the Internet. It’s absolutely hilarious. Should any Manc still be clinging to this Mickey Mouse/not bothered stance, listen to Ruuuuuuuuud: “It’s been hard……to lose a final against Liverpool is terrible……I have a miserable feeling about the final in my body”. Never mind, matey. Here, have a lump of sugar.

5th March: Cardiff-mania takes a complete hold, as there’s now talk of offering Gerard a lifetime contract. Joy of joys. Parry may say that a change has never even been considered, and Houllier can deny any contact with Monaco, but no-one’s fooled. Sunday was great, I’m not knocking it, but when there’s bonkers references to the “six” trophies he’s won you know that a major propaganda campaign is taking place. I’m fed up with Liverpool fans being schmoozed for our intelligence and how much we know about football, then being spoken to as if we’re five years old. Explain this contradiction: we’ve beaten United six times out of seven and yet “they are a better team than us”. Doesn’t that remind you of the 80’s and Ron Atkinson?

6th March: Henchoz’s out for 6 weeks. He’ll be missed. He always does look as if he’s on his last legs, but this is the second long absence this season. Wear and tear? Or just a hint of how much emphasis and pressure we put on our defence?

8th March: Big Sam tries his mind games before today, but it’s one thing saying you only have to stop Owen – doing it’s another. L 2 BOLTON 0 was the work of two players, and they both scored. It was also about the man inexplicably left on the bench – Milan Baros. To play one up Contain & Counter football against relegation strugglers at home was disgraceful. Campo, looking like Leo Sayer on steroids, ran the game. And when we had a free kick on the edge of their box and played it all the way back to Dudek it proved too much for some. Booing may be wrong, but it’s about time fans let the manager know just how much they despise his football ‘philosophy’. Yes we won, but how you do it is almost as important. Any belief that this leopard is ever going to change his spots must surely have been diminished by this.

9th March: “Bolton have so many great individuals”………and that’s your excuse? What about our great individuals? Don’t they deserve a chance to get the freedom of the park and express themselves? Sorry to sound like a moaning traditionalist, but I don’t go to Anfield to watch Bolton play. We were just lucky their finishing was woeful. Oops sorry, because when we win it has nothing to do with luck does it? Only when we lose. The usual buzz words: mentally strong, focused, determined, professional, defiant, habit, attitude, work-rate, team strength, spirit, discipline. Does anyone remember skill?

12th March: Carragher wants Larrson to play on Thursday as “I don’t want us to win and hear people say it’s because he wasn’t there”. Does any of that actually matter? Let’s win first, then say nowt and the rest can do what they like. Why has everyone at Anfield suddenly decided to talk crap? The words “leading by example” occur to me for some strange reason.

12th March: But once again, we still can’t match The Master. This morning’s headline screams “Splash Out Or We’ll Regret It”. A manager says his squad is “a bit thin, we need three new players”. Here’s a clue: it’s the same bloke who spent £80m on four players. Good job we’re not a plc, isn’t it? I’d hate to think of our manager having his hands tied like Ferguson’s………

13th March: Happy now, Jamie? He got his wish for Larrson to play, and it took him two whole minutes to get a goal. The team certainly recovered well though, and CELTIC 1 L 1 was the least we deserved for our efforts. We kept the ball well and certainly kept the crowd quiet (no mean feat). Even so, there weren’t any gilt-edged opportunities to get a second leg and, like Blackburn before us, you get a little worried that we don’t make our domination count. I’d have well settled for a score draw beforehand. Heskey isn’t a patch on Owen, but at least to hit a chance on his left side with his left foot – not keep taking extra touches to get it on his right. Traore did okay after a shaky start, and all told it’s a good night’s work.

14th March: But of course there’s only one talking point. El Hadji behaved like a prick, and the club have been swift in its punishment and condemnation. No doubt there’s going to be a huge uproar and sensationalism about the incident, but the club is keeping it in perspective and doing the right thing.

15th-16th March: Jesus, I wasn’t kidding! World War 3 is about to begin, and everyone’s going bonkers about a bit of spit. This will all be dealt with elsewhere in the fanzine, but the usual suspects (and some unusual ones) stuck their noses in and indulged in the expected platitudes. A lot of it was utterly disgraceful, and some will never be forgiven for it.

15th March: Light relief from Kenwright at least. Still coming out with his tired movie clichés about Moyes: it revolves around Clint Eastwood this time. Doesn’t Clint usually ride into a place full of deadbeats, perverts, cut-throats and back-stabbers? Doesn’t he usually leave the place in a terrible, terrible mess? Doesn’t he usually piss off when some other town offers him a few dollars more? Stick to musicals, you fat blabbermouthed old ham.

16th March: Well, the second half was waiting for. Hand on heart: when Dudek screwed up, didn’t you all think “that’s that, then”? Credit to the Reds for coming back, but if TOTTENHAM 2 L 3 proved anything it was how poor Spurs are. Well done El Hadji for ignoring the crowd and that grubby little mollusc Taricco, as blatant an act of gamesmanship as you’ll ever see. I’m happy about the win, but let’s have some perspective. It’s taken us 20 months to achieve our second comeback win in the league since the new Millennium began. Owen and Gerrard are fabulous at the moment, and that’s why results have improved. I keep thinking back to the “blip” and how poor they both were then. It’s not a coincidence.

17th March: Goddle can deny any involvement if he wants, we’ll never be able to prove it anyway, but Taricco is a horrible piece of work and it was obvious what he was trying to do yesterday. It’s a man’s game, everyone knows it goes on etc. Doesn’t make it right though. Christian, my arse.

18th March: “To me, El Hadji – and all my players – are like my children”. Aaaaah, innit sweet? Give him a bib, then. In all fairness, Houllier has handled the situation superbly. He knew it was wrong, but fought back when it looked like a witch-hunt, and that’s exactly how I felt about it all. Good work, fella.

20th March: I didn’t like what he said about O’Neill though. “He must have a good agent”. That’s a bit snotty, isn’t it? O’Neill has repeatedly rubbished any link between him and Liverpool, calling it “embarrassing” at one stage. He’ll be linked with jobs for one good reason: he’s a bloody good manager, and most clubs would be made up to have him. He’ll be touted as the next Liverpool manager because we may need one soon, and remarks like yours only speed up the process.

20th March: And performances like that will send the rumour mill into overdrive. That was shocking. L 0 CELTIC 2 (1-3) produces another record – the only Liverpool manager to be knocked out of 3 European competitions in 12 months. That CV just gets thicker and thicker. Our first leg reluctance to grab the game by the throat certainly paid off tonight – for Celtic, that is. The boss speaks of his ‘children’, but he’s a smothering parent and nowhere has his influence been more malign than with Heskey. Hartson’s got a third of the talent but ten times the bottle. It was just one embarrassing aspect of a humiliating evening. I suppose this is a blessing in disguise, too?

21st March: “It was only a slip in terms of the result, not the performance. That was still there”. Ladies and germs, we have a winner. We’ve found someone who sat through Liverpool 0 Celtic 2, and thought our ‘performance’ was still there. I’ll give you ten seconds to think of the name of the deranged, obviously-chemically-altered imbecile who th-………actually, you don’t need 10 seconds do you? “We missed Diouf. When you dominate the opposition, he’s someone who can beat people and create something”. When………you………dominate……the……opposition ………that’s it. No, really. I’m buying a rifle. I can’t take this any more.

22nd March: I’m not sure a bullet would stop him anyway. We can still finish third apparently – even though we’re 9 points behind Newcastle and we’ve got to go to Man U, Everton and Chelsea. Of course, there could be an outbreak of rabies at St James Park (with Craig Bellamy there, you never know) but let’s try and do the best we can without making stupid statements before now and May, mmmmm?

23rd March: Well done. I make that ten hours and forty three minutes without making a complete prat of yourself (well, a man’s gotta sleep). “I’m not saying England played Michael against his will, but I think we’ve paid the price”. And when did this heinous, devastating international take place? Last June, against Brazil. Yes, Liverpool (and only Liverpool, naturally) are suffering from World Cup Fatigue. Again. Now I’m no doctor, but until the World Health Organisation registers WCF as a real illness, I’ll be viewing these remarks as the demented ramblings of a desperate man out of his depth.

23rd March: To be fair, there was some good football during L 3 LEEDS UNITED 1. To be slightly less fair, it also showed that lessons aren’t being learned. At 2-0, we stopped doing what got us into such a commanding position and, sure enough, Leeds got back into it. Full marks to Murphy for scoring the second, despite the usual Leeds whining. It says a lot about a team when they (a) cripple one of your players (b) don’t put the ball out (c) when they lose possession, expect you to put the ball out and then get miffed if you don’t! We may not have a team that plays the Liverpool Way, but it’s nice to know some clubs respect their traditions.

25th March: Like the blues, for example. “I spoke to Phil Don. His explanation was that the ref told his linesmen to watch out for more aerial challenges - to me, that is victimisation”. Yes, David. Only in The Land With No Marbles can “keep an eye on Ferguson” be a Conspiracy. “Why should they do that with Duncan and not the others?”………“Duncan is six foot five and plays six foot five”. And we think our manager is mad. Playing six foot five? Does that mean he plays (a) dirty (b) shite (c) hardly ever (d) all three? And is Moyes crazier than a bag of ferrets? Draw your own conclusions.

26th March: Ah, the penny’s dropped. “If we don’t make the Champions League, it is going to have an impact. There is no point in pretending otherwise. The CL is our aim and is where we need to be”. Not that Rick’s faith in Gerard is weakening at all, and you would be a liar and a communist to suggest otherwise. The man himself has no doubts: “I have every faith in these players when they have to deliver”. Except after World Cups, games during November December January and February, home ties against lower league teams with ten men, away games against the worst Premiership side in living memory, Swiss no-marks, the second best side in Scotland (have I left anyone out?)…………

27th March: Any remaining doubts about Diouf’s intelligence are settled. “If he had done that in the street, I’d have laid him out”. Ah, nothing like a bit of contrition is there? After the loyalty and steadfast support Gerard (admirably) showed him, a head down/gob shut policy might have been appropriate. And I thought the people who raised the subject of Anelka were simply being mischievous. Turns out they had a point after all.

27th March: With 9 days to go, there’s only one thing on Roy Keane’s mind. No, not mayhem (good guess) but our visit to OT. “I thought I could make it for Fulham but I let it settle. I want to make sure I’m 100% for the Liverpool match”. Hmmm, that would be our cup final then?

29th March: Liechenstein 0 England 2 – it makes yer prard an’ no mistake. Knives out for Emile again, and of course he was hobbling round like a big ponce once more, but that was a perfect cross for Michael’s opener. At the risk of repeating myself, just WHEN was the last time Paul Scholes (a) did anything in an international (b) received a thimbleful of the stick Heskey gets? Simon Schama might know.

29th March: A quick trip to Gerard’s office might be in order for The Serial Talker. EHD’s perfectly innocent remark that we have fallen behind Arsenal is ‘remarkably’ transformed by the Express into “We’re years off Gunners”. The boss should tell him that you can’t say anything to the papers because they’ll twist it and make you look stupid, but he’d be a bit cheeky teaching him a lesson he hasn’t learned himself. Perhaps he doesn’t want anyone to look at Diouf’s words too closely? “Two years ago, they were on the same level where Liverpool are now”. Actually, we were one point behind them with three cups in the bag – I’d say we were ahead. That we’ve fallen so far behind should spark some kind of debate, but it probably won’t.

30th March: The Rivaldo ‘link’ is old news, and probably bollocks anyway, but it’s an implied criticism so Gerard just can’t help himself. “The key is to bring in young, talented players and get them to understand the philosophy of Liverpool”. And then (as if that wasn’t barefaced enough) “that’s why I want to keep the heart of this club British”. Deep breath, here goes: Ferri Song Kippe Nielsen Hamann Smicer Camara Westerveld Henchoz Hyypia Arphexad Meijer Diomede Babbel Ziege Biscan Riise Dudek Sjolund Baros Xavier Vignal Traore Litmanen Anelka Diouf Diao Cheyrou Diarra Le Tallec Sinama-Pongolle. So you can see why Rivaldo wouldn’t fit in here …………