1st November: Oh God. Houllier manager of the
month? I can only remember two: Dec 1999, followed
by defeat to Spurs, FA Cup defeat to Blackburn
and home draw
with Boro’. And March 2002: out of the CL and that dreadful game at Spurs.
There’s countless other examples, the thing is just jinxed. Give it to
Wenger again, so the Unbeatables can go another four without a win. You must
be stupid if David Beckham can’t teach you anything. He said they’d
remain unbeaten last season, and look what happened. Thank God our man never
says anything stupid………
2nd November: We must be doing something right.
Ferguson blesses us with one of those ‘psychology’ dealies: “We
have to look at Liverpool now, not Arsenal”.
That’s Wenger’s team talk done and
dusted, then. L 2 WEST HAM 0 saw off the GH award
jinx, though I doubt if the Hammers would have
threatened us if they had another 5 players out
there. Easily the poorest team I’ve seen
since, oooo, Spartak. It’s going well,
but it’s turned on Owen’s form and
you know there’s bigger challenges ahead.
They couldn’t be less taxing than today.
Nice ovation for Titi – shame it was 20
months too late. He should have got that when
he first came back. I used to like West Ham,
but that witless song about stereos (digs about
crime from East Enders!) has worn it away. Singing
about Di Canio on an away ground. Shame he’s
never there to hear it.
3rd November: “Hallo? Happy Hols? Yes,
I really need somewhere quiet, secluded, no TV,
no phones, no radio. Well, you see, it’s
happened again”…… ……the
greatest thing in football has got another one.
You thought it was bad first time around, this
is going to be far worse.
3rd November: Seven points clear this morning,
but we’re hit by two bits of bad news.
Arsenal won, despite a series of illegal lunges
in the box by Campbell which the referee and
(who’d have thought it?) Wenger didn’t
see. Then we’re tipped to win the title
by………Andy Gray. He’s
been having a pop at United lately – Beckham’s
foul in Slovakia and Keane’s ‘punishment’.
So is the horn-ed one really trying to sidle
over to us? “Liverpool deserve credit for
a fine run of results”. Yeah, I noticed
how much ‘credit’ you gave us after
Chelsea. Do one, you scabrous bluenose shitehawk.
And take that furball Keys with you.
4th November: Sharing a cave with Osama looks
pretty good right now. Prentice is on the happy
pills, and now thinks he’s got a sense
of humour. “To paraphrase Monty Python,
he’s not the Messiah but he’s a very
saucy boy”. What in God’s name is
that supposed to mean? Stick to the unintentional
stuff, Dave – like boasting about taking
5,000 to Blackburn, or how Everton are so vibrant
now they want another 400 tickets for Newcastle.
That’s much funnier.
5th November: It’s the first sighting
of the Incredible Sulk for ages. Anelka wanted
to play in a charity match in France, but Keegan
made him stay for City’s Worthington Cup
fiasco at Wigan. “It’s quite rare
that footballers show they don’t just do
things for themselves”. I think this is
what passes for irony in France.
6th November: The teacher in Gerard comes to
the fore, as he’s ready with more bon mots. “Success
only comes before work in the dictionary”.
Yeah? Interestingly enough, so does “entertainment”, “flair”, “skill”, “passing” and “trite
mottoes plucked from fortune cookies”.
L 3 SOUTHAMPTON 1 saw the second string get a
chance, and it was one of the better games this
season. Smicer, Cheyrou, Diouf, Baros – nice
to see the ball on the deck most of the time.
Great to see Markus back in a meaningful game
(well, sort of) and even Igor at centre back
didn’t look ridiculous. The story of the
night, though, was Kirkland. A superb performance,
but one that may alert the rest of the country.
Here is a top-class keeper kicking his heels
on our bench 90% of the time, and he’s
far too good for that.
6th November: Numbers provide the laughs today.
It turns out that Everton can break another record
tonight. If they win, it’ll be four victories
on the trot – the first time in ELEVEN
years they’ve done it. And we’ve
still got fans moaning about Roy Evans! Brian
Clough emerges from his afternoon nap to declare
that Owen can’t be considered a goal scorer “until
he’s scored a lot for three years”.
Would this be the same Owen who was the league’s
top scorer in 1998 and 1999? Just because they’re
your missing years doesn’t mean they didn’t
7th November: We’re really cynical bastards
nowadays. Last night we sat there, wondering
just how long it’ll be before Kirkland
would announce his unhappiness at playing 2nd
fiddle and before this rumour about Arsenal or
that rumour about United would appear in the
press. And yet the lad is saying all the right
things: “all I can do is work hard and
take my chance”. Who knows? We may have
the one selfless player in the Premiership, who
talks about loyalty and means it.
8th November: Anything you can do etc. Chris
B follows the bluenoses’ lead about records.
While they’re creaming their kecks over
a lousy 4-win ‘streak’ (albeit aided
by a penalty shoot-out), we could nab the record
for an unbeaten start to a Premiership season.
Yes, I know that makes us sound like Mancs, and
football existed before 1992, but it’ll
be nice to boast about it come 5 o’clock
9th November: Bollocks. 10th November: It’s
okay, I’ve calmed down. A bit. It all started
so well, watching Gary Neville screw up big time
in the Manchester derby. MIDDLESBROUGH 1 L 0
soon wiped the smiles away. It would have been
a bad enough day in the late 90’s. For
a side with genuine title credentials, already
4 points clear at the top, it was cowardly and
unforgivable. To go out against this nondescript
team with one up front ………well,
I was going to say it defied belief, but it is
only too believable. He can’t help himself,
can he? We’ve all got to see him pull the
strings. Does he not know a successful puppetmaster
keeps out of sight? And you shouldn’t see
the strings either. A truly great manager just
picks his best side and tells them “these
should be no problem, go out and play”.
This was mind-numbing, tedious stuff – and
if we actually had won the point we went out
to get from the first whistle, it would still
have been deeply unsatisfactory. Don’t
blame Dudek, he was the one who kept us in it.
10th November: And the papers do not make very
good reading. One statistics column gave us 11
shots. Sorry, did I fall asleep and miss them?
I certainly can’t remember Schwarzwer making
a save. I must have missed loads of the game
because Houllier claims “we were in control
most of the time” and “ we probably
made more chances than them”. If he were
as clever as he thinks he is, and we were as
stupid as he thinks we are, then he might get
away with that. But guess what?………
11th November: Instead of leaving it alone and
concentrating on the next game, we’ve got
to get the Spin. “I don’t think we’re
a cautious side……the statistics say
only United have had more shots on goal this
season”. Whooooweeee. The stats said we
had 11 shots on Saturday, but if he genuinely
believes we weren’t cautious then he’s
just insulting our intelligence. Get a grip,
11th November: Another trip to Europe, another
ambush – this time in a McDonald’s
in Zurich. “Would sir like a Molotov cocktail
with his fries?”. Now there’s a difference
at McDonald’s you won’t enjoy. How
come these cowardly twats keep getting away with
these sneaky attacks without ever once coming
under UEFA scrutiny? Or are English fans in general,
and Liverpool fans in particular, now fair game?
12th November: And their teams are even worse.
Sly bastards, they are. All they need is a draw,
but do they sit back with ten men behind the
ball like we would? They bloody well do not – they
go forward and try to score goals. Sneaky gets.
BASLE 3 L 3 brings our Champions League ‘adventure’ to
a close. In truth, it never really got going.
We go out with one point more than we needed
to reach last season’s quarter finals.
That was spawny, and all our luck ran out tonight.
The fightback was exciting but I’m not
too grateful. Imagine thanking someone for saving
you from drowning if they’d originally
pushed you in! Smicer can hold his head high,
but I’m not sure about any of the rest – especially
our now-permanent ‘left winger’.
The Heskey favouritism is now an embarrassment.
You sense the player himself is really uncomfortable
about it, but in true Emile style he sticks at
13th November: Well, take your pick from the
long list of managerial eccentricities today.
Most will concentrate on the odious scapegoating
of Steven Gerrard, another remarkable example
of “Team First – except if any flak
is coming MY way, in which case I’ll throw
one of you to the wolves”. The uncharitable,
petty “they had three shots and scored
three goals” is also worth another airing
(that’s not the first half I saw). No,
the line that really caught my eye is this: “You
can have the best game plan in the world but
when you concede a goal after 90 seconds it counts
for nothing” ………so there
you have it. A clear confession. If this team
doesn’t score first, it has to thrash around
looking for another game plan! In the last 35
months, the Reds have won ONE league game they
were losing, and this pitiful statistic (not
that you’ll ever hear it from Le Boss)
shows how one dimensional we are. Basle scored
first, and that was the end of the game. Heskey
left wing, Riise left back, one up front – the
best game plan in the world? My arse.
15th November: Big shock – Phil McNulty
thinks Houllier was right to “blast” Gerrard.
When this slobbering, toadying kiss-arse ever
criticises the boss, I’ll sit up and take
note. “Boss’s words could work as
wake-up call for Stevie G”. Yes, but they
could also further undermine a young lad going
through personal turmoil, loss of form and with
injury concerns still not completely erased from
his mind. But McNulty’s biggest pile of
unmitigated shite is “he knows this manager
has form for declining to indulge unfulfilled
talent too long”. Isn’t that right,
16th November: Butt out, you. The manager has
opened up a huge can of worms with this Gerrard
nonsense, and the biggest worm of all is Nic
Anelka. It’s perfectly acceptable to point
out that Houllier also “has form” for
singling out individual players (Ginola, Hamann
at Bayer, Diouf at Valencia), but that’s
still no reason for Anelka to dredge up some
ancient incident from a French U-20’s match. “I
still appreciate all that he did for me at Liverpool”.
Funny way of showing it, Nicky lad.
17th November: Be afraid, be very afraid. This
morning’s hot transfer ‘scoop’ is
that Ferguson could be considering a bid for
Alan Smith. It’s obvious the little wretch
already thinks he’s above the law. Imagine
what will happen when he signs for Man U and
he actually is. Luckily, the story’s on
the back of the Mirror so that almost certainly
means it’s rubbish.
17th November: I wish I had a quid for every
time someone said “he’s kicking Stevie
up the arse, to get him back to his best”.
Odd how he won’t give him a chance to make
him eat his words today, then. He should have
been surplus to requirements, anyway. L 0 SUNDERLAND
0 was one of the most one-sided games in years,
but I’m not buying into this whinge about
bad luck. Their keeper made a few great saves,
true, but any team that has 20-odd shots (and
I stayed awake for all of them!) really ought
to be getting one into the net – only ten
were on target. Wilkinson showed all the flair
we’ve come to expect from his teams, but
you’d bring everyone back if Phil Babb
was in your defence. He walked out of Anfield
with a clean sheet. First time for everything,
18th November: I should keep away from the Internet.
All this crap about how boring Sunderland were
ignores the fact that they did everything we
did at Middlesbrough (except lose). They are
a relegation side, facing a team that could’ve
gone top. They have an excuse – can you
think of any reason why we went to the Riverside
with a similarly negative approach? But no, all
you get from the cyber-nerds is that “In
Ged We Trust” fuckwittery.
19th November: Spin is all around me, it’s
everywhere I go. Well, I can paraphrase Wet Wet
Wet if Prentice can quote Deacon feckin’ Blue. “Fergie
Sings The Blues” headlines a piece about
Exlax prattling on about Everton being the best
team they’ve faced. Aye, and the team that
BEAT them 3-0 is one of the worst. Go figure.
Now the blues are high in the table, they’re
starting to slowly draw back from King’s
Dock. We all know they had a better chance of
building a ground in Teletubbieland, but while
they had nothing to crow about they clutched
the idea like a straw. Moyes, Rooney, a few wins – and
guess what? “The £160m dream is put
on hold”. No shit. But if it’s propaganda
you want, try GH. “STAND FIRM” he
says. “When you go through difficult periods
that’s when you need everyone to stick
together”. Well, it makes a change from “you
do not destroy today what you worshipped yesterday” I
suppose. Steven Gerrard was unavailable for comment.
It’s what’s known as silence speaking
20th November: Get ready for scapegoat 2, if
a headline like “Rise and fall of John
Arne” is anything to go by. Not that the
Express’ Paul Joyce is paving the way or
anything. In fact, Paul archly writes “Riise
has impressed for Norway in a left midfield role
and could be forced to dislodge Emile Heskey
from that position”. JAR in midfield? Hmmm,
nice idea. Why didn’t we think of that?
20th November: More spin. “HOU JOY AT
SUPER DIAO”. Yeah, he’s been okay,
but let’s not exaggerate. Or is it all
to do with the position he plays in. “I
like the way you can see how much he loves the
game and likes playing” – unlike
some, GET IT?
20th November: Footballers aren’t bright,
are they? Silvestre is about to sign for us,
but Fergie says he’ll play him in central
defence so he goes there. United play him… ……at
left back. Three years later, he may leave because,
er, he’s never played in central defence.
And if the Mail expects us to believe that “fierce
rivals Liverpool could enter the race to sign
him”, then they obviously think we’re
as thick as………well, Mikael
22nd November: Ajax’s Rafael van der Vaart
is a player that’s been linked with us
a few times. “He operates just behind the
front two”. Not here, he won’t. Ask
El Hadji. Ask Jari. One paper claims we’ll
be pipped to his transfer by Barcelona, so I
hope Mr Litmanen will be putting a word in for
us. “Don’t go to Barcelona – the
coach is a by-the-book automaton who only picks
his favourites, he’s afraid of flair and
he’ll leave you on the bench to rot” …………
22nd November: “Steve knows I didn’t
criticise him publicly”…………sorry,
I am genuinely lost for words here. If anything,
I’m worried about the man’s sanity.
He’s been cornered in a way, but he said
this stuff and he’s got to live with the
consequences now. The longer he keeps talking
for Gerrard, the longer everyone thinks something
is wrong. Denying it happened is foolish.
23rd November: “Sven says what he says
and I say what I say, but I never comment on
what he says so I would like him not to comment
on what I say”. He’s turning into
23rd November: Jerzy, that’s another fine
mess you’ve gotten me into. FULHAM 3 L
2, and yet again the “game plan” is
thrown out of the window after a few minutes.
Liverpool’s inability to win games from
a losing position is notorious, but when Fulham
give you 85 minutes to make a comeback and you
can’t, it’s time to look at your
game plan and give it a tweak here and there.
Left to me, I’d shove the game plan where
the sun doesn’t shine. Stevie G got dragged
out at 0-2, so no pressure there then. Fabulous
goal from Didi, which he doesn’t do nearly
enough for a man of his talent. Milan Baros must
be completely bewildered by now. His scoring
record is great, but he’s always snubbed.
It’s the kind of thing that got Roy Evans
24th November: Martin Edwards? With a prozzie?
Do me a favour. Who writes this farfetched rubbish?
There are some cracking lines, though. “I
had sex with Martin – and he was very noisy” “I
went to the toilet and Martin followed me. He
immediately asked me for my phone number” – and
a quick blimp under the cubicle, eh? Sorry! Sorry!
That was completely uncalled for.
24th November: What’s the French for “gag
order”? Someone needs to have a word. I
expect rubbish like “We’re trying
to make the Premiership exciting” from
Ferguson, not a Reds boss. “We always learn
more in adversity than in victories, and any
setback must be taken as a gift if you want to
progress”. Guess what? Out of the Champions
League and four-point lead to one-point deficit,
all within a fortnight - Christmas has come early.
25th November: Strange goings on in the ‘Echo’.
Chris Bascombe writes about players “in
hiding, even on the pitch, and thus far escaping
censure for their mediocrity”. So far,
so anonymous. Then he turns on Riise. “Whatever
the Norwegian is for ‘pull your finger
out’, he could do with a translation”.
What’s he up to? Yes, left side of midfield “has
been a problem” – and exactly how
many times has John Arne been played there this
season? I can’t figure out whether this
is a misguided attempt to express annoyance at
how Stevie G was singled out, or smoothing the
way for the manager to find yet another victim.
Not that he needs help with that. Asked if Jerzy
is still his number one, he says “it’s
hard to say”. A year’s brilliance
followed by a few minor rickets. As Dave Usher
rightly says “how many has GH made this
season?” – more than Jerzy, that’s
26th-27th November: Basle 1 Man U 3, followed
by Valencia 1 Ajax 1 on Wednesday. I think that’s
27th November: One letter in the Echo amply
demonstrates what it is that annoys me about
Gerard and some (not all) Liverpool fans. The
level of sycophancy is nauseating. “Houllier
is the greatest thing to happen to Liverpool
since Shanks arrived in 1959” – complete
and utter shit, but you’d be amazed how
many people agree. Bill is not even our greatest
manager. That accolade belongs to Bob Paisley,
the perennial Forgotten Man of football. This
is an incredibly hyped-up tag for a man who hasn’t
even won the championship yet. Let’s wait
till May, and maybe then I will be able to stomach
talk that compares him to Dalglish or even Fagan.
Until then, pass me a sickbag.
28th November: “Magnificent obsession
is Euro threat for Houllier”. More stirring
from the Mail, which conveniently forgets that
Ferguson spoke about his tactics for Sunday’s
clash three days ago but THAT isn’t obsessed,
oh no. They haven’t even got a quote from
anyone to back any of this u-………oh,
hang on, just read further down. “I can’t
help wondering if they have their minds on Manchester
United. I hope not” – I’ll
give you three guesses.
28th November: Dudek kept his place in the end,
though it wouldn’t have hurt to make that
known straight after Fulham. The lad’s
earned it. VITESSE ARNHEM O L 1 saw little threat
to the Reds until we took the foot off the pedal.
It should have been four or five, so maybe there
was one eye on the second leg attendance (I’m
still suspicious about Palace in 2001). The game
was over for 5 minutes and I’d forgotten
29th November: McNulty to the rescue! “Houllier’s
critics way off mark”. You do surprise
me. “No manager is exempt from criticism
and Houllier is no different”………wait
for it, wait for it… ……“but” Bingo!
You knew it was coming didn’t you? “My
constant support for Houllier has angered some”.
There’s a world of difference between support
and sycophancy. Gerard’s heart op took
eleven hours, and six of those were taken up
extracting McNulty from his arse.