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October 2002

29th September: Only just hearing about Sir Exlax and his boast about “knocking Liverpool off their fucking perch”. He’s all charm isn’t he? For the record, we weren’t knocked off anything – we abdicated, before United ever got serious about the championship. Of course, this was all before 1993 so the lobotomised Munster saps will believe anything. He’s also saying United are the best behaved team in the country. And he’s frugal, tee-total, handsome, porcelain-skinned, constipated, still at the peak of his mental powers etc etc.

30th September: I knew it was too good to be true. All those GH pleasantries in the Mail were just a set-up, so that odious slug Jeff Powell could slander us once more. “When Liverpool signed John Barnes………hundreds sent back their season tickets and thousands more went to his first couple of games carrying bananas”. Why doesn’t the club sue this evil little bastard? This is libelling the good name of our supporters, surely? With all the media attention on JB and Peter B’s first games for us how come NOT ONE paper or TV station saw anything amiss? “Thousands”!!?

1st October: Has he missed his medication or something? Now Fergie’s telling the press he wants Liverpool and Arsenal to do well in Europe! “Hello? Arsene? Yeah, Alex here. Look, just want to say good luck for tonight’s match, okay? We’re in London Saturday, so drinks at 8? That’s great. Bon chance, mon ami”………and having knocked us off our perch, he now wants us back on it?

2nd October: You don’t hear our boss talking rubbish (!), although he told a hack that we had 33 goal attempts during the Basle game. Maybe he’s counting defensive clearances, since they’re hit harder (and get closer to goal) than some of our ‘shots’. I didn’t count, but we may have got close to 33 during L 5 SPARTAK 0. Nice to see a team stick with tradition. In the 70’s and 80’s, someone in white would always come to Anfield in October and surrender before a ball had been kicked, so well done Spartak for shunning the CL hype and keeping it real. We played well, though how well you can’t measure because they were pitiful. The ITV commentator compared one run by Murphy to a training exercise with traffic cones. If I were orange triangular and plastic, I’d sue.

3rd October: Those who wonder why we call the Post ‘The Bluenose’ should look at today’s letters page. 9 on Everton, 1 on Liverpool. I assume the perpetrator has been sacked – for including a mention of the Reds. After all, who in their right mind gets worked up about a championship challenge and the European Cup when the blues have beaten Fulham at home?

3rd October, a.m.: Ken Bates puts on his armour and wields his trusty sword of truth, and enters the fray in the battle against player power. Le Saux and co are moaning about some UEFA Cup bonus they’re owed, and Birdseye is standing firm: “I don’t know if they accept it, but they are not going to get their money and that’s that”. Okee dokee.

3rd October, p.m.: Viking FK 4 Chelsea 2, the Norwegian part-timers go through on aggregate. “And that’s that”! Well done, Ken – I make that 3 years in a row you’ve been knocked out by nobodies. Still, the money you saved should come in handy, eh?

3rd October: You’ve got to laugh. All day long, the Internet crew were whining about how our “excellent” victory was diminished by the press and TV. It’s all a plot, they hate Liverpool, Houllier in particular, burble burble gibber etc. So step forward Houllier Protector in chief, Lord Bascombe of Old Hall Street: “Spartak were certainly poor” “they were terrible” “the right back looked like a Zingari League ringer” “they played as if they’d had too many doubles of their national tipple”. Persecute! Burn him! Kill the heretic!

4th October: Did someone pronounce this as Bullshit Week without me knowing? Emile’s got a few goals against the worst team I’ve seen in years, and suddenly he’s “back in form”. “Hopefully, I’ve given the boss a bit of a dilemma” – oh aye, that perpetual Houllier problem: whether to pick Heskey or not. I’ve never noticed any cerebral trauma up to now. While Steven Gerrard is telling all that we’re as good as Arsenal. “You ask anyone at our club if they’re better and we’ll all say no” – a well reasoned argument, young man. The words “gorra problem wid dat? Outside, now!” seem to have been erased. Next week’s ‘Question Time’ vacancy has just been filled.

5th October: Has somebody offered a cash prize or something? Everybody’s at it. John Arne says “we’re playing some beautiful football”, while Ferguson is handing out advise to Rooney: “listen to the manager”. And, er, expect your mobile phone to be ringing constantly in the very near future. Just like Paolo’s. It’s not as if Wayne wouldn’t be interested – one paper says he’s on £80 a week at Everton! Apparently, clubs can get around restrictions on youth team ‘wages’ by paying for extras. With Wayne, it’s pies. Expect a bankruptcy notice shortly.

6th October: At the end of a week that saw verbal diarrhoea levels rise to new heights, expect the experts to swoop in and show us all how it’s done. According to Sky’s Martin Tyler and Andy Gray, L 1 CHELSEA 0 was daylight robbery. Really? Based on what, exactly? Saying that a team deserved to win – doesn’t that sort of depend on them having a few………oh what’s the word………oh yeah, “shots”? Watch the last 20 minutes again, you morons, and tell us who’s actually trying to win the game. Chelsea? Obviously they got their bonuses as they put up a fight today, but they barely troubled Dudek on a mostly tedious afternoon. Cheyrou’s okay against the dregs of Europe, but the Premier League is too fast and too physical for him, while Gerrard’s passing was all over the place. Baros rattled them for a while, but in the end it was Owen’s opportunism that won another 3 points we weren’t expecting. No sign of Riise’s “beautiful football”, but it was Chelsea and it was last minute so I’m smiling – especially as I’ve just seen Ranieri’s hilarious “NO! NO! NO! NO!” reaction to the goal.

7th October: Actually, I think it’s Bullshit Month. Houllier is slightly perturbed by the quality of last week’s entries, since his “Danny reminds me of Platini” quote looked certain to take the coveted Stanley Unwin Memorial “He Said What?!?” award. That must be why he’s come out with this gem about Cheyrou: “Some of the things he does reminds me of Zidane” – like “speaks French” or “shaves head”, you mean? There’s some awful nonsense about ZZ being 30 “and Bruno’s only 24”. Hmm. By the time Zinedine was 26, though, he’d won the league twice with Juve, played in two CL finals and won the World Cup almost single-handed. We’re gonna have a great couple of seasons, then. Or Gerard’s talking crap – I can’t decide which.

7th October: Thanks blues, for almost doing us a favour. The annual Handing Over Of The Points took place at Old Trafford as usual, but they left it a little late this time. They decided to pack the average 3-goal deficit into the final minutes, with a red card thrown in for good measure. “That’s the best Everton side to come here in years”, says Exlax. Spoilt for choice, were we? Can’t help thinking back to 1995 and the Duncan 2-2, when Ferguson was bitter, foaming at the mouth – and completely uncomplimentary. See how nice he can be when you give him what he wants?

8th October: So farewell, Peter Reid. “Have it”: that was your catch-phrase. What’ll Sunderland do now without the qualities, talent and innovation that you brought to the job? Same as they’ve done for the last seven years I suppose – hoof it. Full marks to Graeme Sharp for a stout defence of his former team mate: “once you’ve had a bit of success the expectations get a little higher”. This could be a reference to the seventh place ‘achieved’ two years ago, or it could be irony. You can never tell with Evertonians these days.

9th October: Houllier’s whining about internationals. Just because Ferguson was the most successful manager of the 90’s, you don’t have to copy everything he does. It’s all to do with our game at Leeds in 10 days’ time – which is kicking off at noon. Any chance of you complaining about Sky? Nah, can’t bite the hand that feeds, now can we?

9th October: And you all thought Xavier had been dropped. It was just a coincidence that he’d cost us points before he became ill. Turns out he might be suffering from something similar to Markus, though not as bad thankfully. Would that explain the hair colouring, too?

10th October: Lee Bowyer was kicked out of the England squad because of rude remarks he’d made at lunch – about David Beckham and Ulrika Jonsson, apparently. Only in this country could someone with such a shady past and gutter reputation be thrown out of the football team for his table manners! And he ate dessert with the wrong spoon, too. Let us be racist – but never vulgar.

10th October: Bluenose irony time again. “FERGUSON IN INJURY PUZZLE”, it says on the back of the Echo. The only “injury mystery” about Druncan is if there’s any part of him that works. Along with the backache and the ankle problem, he’s now got a trapped sciatic nerve. Is this the same nerve he’s got when picking up his cheque? I thenk yeow.

10th October: The candidates have been listed for Reidy’s successor, and a scarier bunch of hatchetmen you are never likely to see. Megson, Graham, Royle, McCarthy – what, no Bassett? The list also includes the recently-sacked George Burley (ah, shame) plus David “I’d turn up for the opening of an envelope” O’Leary, but it’s a sorry list of nowhere men. And the winner is………

11th October: Howard Wilkinson ……… no, sorry, think I’ll be needing some exclamation marks here……… ahem, let’s try again……Howard Wilkinson?!!!! That’s better. Yes, the man who makes Reidy look like Dalglish ’88 is back. It only serves to make O’Piggy’s furious snuffling after the job even funnier. Never mind, Dave – there’s always Ipswich.

11th October: 58% of residents are in favour of LFC moving to Stanley Park – what the council Chief Exec calls “an overwhelming majority”. What Gil Scott Heron would call “a mandate, my ass”. The fate of hundreds of thousands of Liverpool fans, who have not had a vote, was in the hands of 4,000 house-holders in Anfield. That’s democracy for you. 19,000 houses received the voting documentation, which simply proves that everyone knew this was a done deal and all references to “decisive votes” and “we have listened to the people” is a complete and utter sham.

12th October: In last night’s Echo, Phil McNulty was nasty about Berti Vogts simply because David Weir refuses to play for his country. Strange how Scotland finally manage a win the moment Everton’s ‘finest’ decides to jack it in. These Germans – what do they know about international football, right?

12th October: Poor old Alex. Despite thinking he’s got the prettiest wife at home, he’s accused of indecent assault while out in South Africa, ‘talent spotting’. It all happened in the early hours of the morning when he got a lift home from a nightclub. Of course there are furious denials and he’ll probably get off (which is more than he did last night), but it’s fair to say that the old soak can deny everything with a straight red face because he won’t remember a thing anyway. Martin Edwards is no doubt sniggering away to himself. Unwise; it’s a month since his last ‘revelation’. Another one must be due soon.

12th October: Another England game, another racist outrage. On the day UEFA decided there was nothing bigoted about Valencia’s fans (we only imagined it), Ashley Cole and Emile take terrible stick in Slovakia. On the football side, it’s the same old story: Owen gets the winner, Gerrard is anonymous, Beckham is lucky to stay on the pitch and John Motson makes a fool of himself. “I don’t know why we’re not playing it in Prague”, he moans. Maybe because that’s the capital of the Czech Republic, you dick. All of these new-fangled name changes phase Motty a bit. That, or he’s been a bit hyper since we beat the Prussians 5-1.

13th October: It’s a year to the day that the boss almost died. I know I’ve had a few digs at him, but that was a genuinely frightening week. He’s still with us, and for that we should all be grateful. Even me!

13th October: Heskey bashing shows no sign of easing up. One hack said Alan Smith had more influence than him last night – a late sub who didn’t even touch the ball. The abuse he takes off the crowd is bad – what makes the abuse in the papers any better? Because they don’t mention the colour of his skin? And Andy Gray criticised Beckham, so I’d say your prayers if I were you. The world’s about to end.

14th October: Blue for a year, bitter for a lifetime. Whenever Evertonians bring teams to Anfield, they’ve always got too much to say for themselves (eg Megson, Royle, Gloating Jones). Rotherham’s Ronnie Moore was no different in Jan 2001. So how satisfying it is to learn that he was the victim of a hoax call, claiming to be the Ipswich chairman. He’s gone public with his wish to manage them, only to be told no such offer has been made. Bet they loved that in Rotherham!

15th October: Cantona now claims he wasn’t punished enough for the kung fu kick. He kept that quiet at the time, didn’t he? He praises English ‘fair play’. “Dalglish managed Blackburn, Liverpool hate United – but Liverpool won the game”, he says of 1995. Flash forward to 1996. “Robson managed Boro, Boro hated Newcastle, Robson and Anderson used to play for Man United, so did Gary Walsh. United strolled past Boro 3-0”. One rule for us………oh, speaking of which, Roy Keane actually stood up at a disciplinary meeting and argued he didn’t stain the game’s reputation. He got a 5-game ban – to be served while he’s injured. If the Krays had worn red white & black, they’d have got community service.

16th October: France beat Slovenia 5-0 at the weekend, so Owen says “let’s make a statement, too”. England 2 Macedonia 2 – Seaman screws up, Gerrard is injured, Beckham is lauded for very little, the football is woefully pedestrian and Alan Smith is sent off. So Michael’s ‘statement’ is (a) so what else is new? (b) I knew I should have said I was Welsh (c) HEEEEEELP! Take your pick.

17th October: Witty, knowledgeable, notoriously anti-racist Jeff Powell calls Sven “Johnny Foreigner”. I’ve only just remembered his nasty little crack about Swedes when Eriksson first got the job, and the nerve of him telling lies about us and 1987 is really doing my head in now. Us lefties used to have that moral dilemma about the Daily Reichstag – you only know if your views are strong if they can withstand the opposition’s ire, so you read the Mail just to ‘get the smell of the enemy in your nostrils’. That stench just makes me retch nowadays. I can’t even begin to be bothered arguing with such an imbecile any more.

17th October: I see the Welsh are doing alright. That was a nice little win on Wednesday against Italy – well done. Like the patronising English tone? And they all know who to thank, don’t they? Yes, Old Trafford. The headline reads “How Hughes Built Taffchester United”. There isn’t a quote to say anything about the Mancs, apart from Giggs (who showed up for Italy!) saying the “winning habit” is the same. So Manchester United invented winning now?

18th October: Another tenuous Liverpool reference from Dave Prentice. Arsenal need a point from tomorrow’s descent into the foul pit to break some record or other (who cares, in all honesty), which gives Lobotomo a chance to remind us that Everton stopped us going 30 games unbeaten in 1988. Some people thought ‘One Degree of Clive Thomas’ was a game this fanzine made up, but it exists, and Prentice is the undisputed champion. Now he’s branching out: coming soon, One Degree of Heysel, One Degree of Danny & Bjorn, and (it would seem) One Degree of Wayne Clarke.

19th October, 2 p.m.: Some stirring before today’s game. Houllier denies he’ll be stepping into Wilkinson’s clogs, now that the FA no longer has a (don’t laugh) “technical director”. Gerard believes it’s an important job, to find the next generation of young England stars. If you’re looking for the next Alan Smith, try the nearest borstal. LEEDS 0 L 1 passed off without too much incident, certainly not in their area (apart from Salif’s goal). Lots of possession, little end product. Lots of Bowyer baiting, little self-awareness – how many of you were ready to greet the slug with open arms last July? After the success at City, GH has dug up Plan A, brushed off the cobwebs and put it back into action. Six points, mission accomplished – but is this it now until the end of the season? Whoopee doo.

19th October, 5 pm: “Hello, is that Happy Hols? Yes, I’d like a month in Nepal, please… ……well, not so much a hotel room as a cave, really……… hmm, fully booked eh? How about Afghanistan?………I’d have to share with the Taliban? Okay, fine……” Well, the moment has finally arrived. The Blob Wonder has scored for the blues. The good news of staying top is outweighed by the earache we’re about to get from the bitters.

19th October, 6.30 p.m.: Just call me Mystic Meg. The Pink Echo features, er, Dave Prentice, er, referring to Everton breaking unbeaten records, and, er, how Wayne Clarke did it to Liverpool in 1988. He’s got more bees in his bonnet than Michael Caine swallowed in ‘The Swarm’. Expect to be bored senseless about this for the next 25 years, too.

20th October: You’ve got to laugh. Yesterday, Fergie was moaning about United being “victimised” by the authorities, and yet for the second year running Barthez got away with some disgraceful pre-pen gamesmanship. His captain got a 5 game ban for admitting he tried to put a fellow pro out of the game, while Fowler got 6 for snorting a goal line in front of fans who’d called him a smackhead for two years. Some ‘victims’. Wenger’s just as bad, hailing the chubster as “best English talent I have seen since I have been here”. Oh come on, Arsene, you must have seen another youngster who’s better. I’ll give you a clue: he raced through your defence in Cardiff 17 months ago. I know these dug-outs are bad, but even you must have seen that.

21st October: “Back in 1988, Liverpool’s bid to beat Leeds’ record also came to grief” – do I really need to tell you who? Absolutely pathetic. Prentice almost trips over himself to tell Echo readers that Liverpool’s game in Russia has been pushed off the front pages by Rooney, even over there. What he failed to tell you is that they’re planning to kidnap him, chop him into bits and feed the whole of Moscow for a month. One tabloid in this country had seven pages on him – not articles, they just needed 7 pages to get a full photo of him on th-………I’m not being very dignified about this, am I? Fair play, they’ve got something special for once in their sad, miserable, empty lives and they’re going to milk it for all it’s worth. I remember how excited I was by Owen, so I’ll let it all wash over me. For now.

22nd October: Gerard is planning a “surprise” for any racists at tonight’s game. He’s not saying what, but rumour has it that the word ‘OFF’ is tattooed on his right buttock. In the end, there wasn’t enough of a crowd to make any noise, racist or otherwise. SPARTAK 1 L 3 was a doddle in the end, thanks to The Next Wayne Rooney. You wonder where we’d be without him sometimes. Salif got stuck in, and give Carra the benefit of the doubt. Bobble there may have been, but that was an excellent cross for the equaliser. Bad news for Vignal, a subbed sub. The only ones I can recall are Gayle and Carter. They didn’t last long after that.

23rd October: Houllier is in comparison-mode. Is there anyone who does not remind him of Platini? Owen was great but come on, even he’s got a long way to go before matching one of the game’s Giants. What’s next? Biscan the new Pele? Bernie as good as Rivelino?

24th October, a.m.: Nope, it’s Diao and Patrick Vieira. I don’t get this comparisons lark, it puts pressure on the individual and insults the greats. They’ll be pairing off Rooney with Dalglish or Ronaldo next………

24th October, p.m.:………Ah, sorry. I mean Roonaldo, don’t I? Very clever. That must have taken ages. The weight of expectation on this kid’s shoulders is almost as heavy as the weight on his knees. With the world at your feet, that just gives you more to trip over. Ask Stan Collymore. Apart from Kenny and Fowler, I’d never seen such a gifted player – and look how he’s ended up. Hawking round a video of him and Ulrika having sex. “Stan has always kept the tape as his ‘get out of jail’ card” – bet John Leslie wishes he’d thought of that.

25th October: How to make money in journalism. Your morning paper prints a story about King’s Dock being written off – then your evening paper prints a denial. Sit back and watch all the poor saps rush out to buy two papers in one day to be just as well informed as when they’d got out of bed. Another interesting story: Arsenal announce their new stadium is going to cost 100m more than they estimated. Easy mistake to make. I always had trouble in school knowing where to put the decimal point, but I’m sure Rick and co have got our move sorted out (I did get an A+ in Mendaciousness).

26th October: Arrogant headline of the year: “First Aston Villa, then it’s the big one for Fergie”. Having got the tedious business of a Premier league match out of the way, Exlax will jet off to Chicago to see his horse (the greatest horse in the world?). They drew 1-1. And with Unbeatable Arsenal losing their third game in a week, L 2 TOTTENHAM 1 turns out to be an excellent result. It didn’t seem so at the time. Once again, too few efforts at goal but the ones on target were made to count. Danny’s was a beaut, and if Thierry (or the blue whale) had done that ITV would be devoting a whole hour to it. Owen was the difference again. We’re not a one-man team, but the results before he got going and the results after that make telling reading. Redknapp got an outstanding reception. Wearing the opposition shirt certainly helps!

27th October: Yeah, right. “Liverpool Move For Stam”, eh? Well, who would you rather have? An overrated ex-Manc with a drugs ban and far too much to say for himself – or Stephane Henchoz?

27th October: Make your minds up. The blues at West Ham sing “stick your Michael Owen up your arse” and “we don’t care what the red shite say”. That’s in those moments when you aren’t singing about us, writing about us (in your match reports) or blaming us for your decline or an inability to find a new ground, you mean?

28th October: Barmby accused of racism? That didn’t take long, did it? Looks like a stitch-up, to be fair. If last week was anything to go by, Nicky just has a ‘thing’ about lanky Scouse coaches with large protuberances in the middle of their faces.

29th October: It’s not me, is it? They have gone loopy on the blue half of the ‘Echo’, haven’t they? As if ‘The Wayne Rooney Story” wasn’t bad enough (“Once upon a time a player scored a goal………the end”) Moyes says he wants a “Scouse heart” for his team. My, that does sound familiar doesn’t it? On tonight’s back page, he’s just about to say something nice about LFC’s local lads when the article says “turn to page 43”! Stick anything nice about us in the small print inside, eh?

29th October: United have already qualified in the CL, so they won’t cry about losing 3-0 to Maccabi Haifa. Let’s draw the line at any “weakened team” shit, though. They put 10 internationals out there, and came totally unstuck. Meanwhile, Valencia are getting a bit naughty before our game. Carew’s boasting about how he WILL score and Owen’s a diver, while we’re doing the usual battle cries. We won’t be as bad as we were over there, apparently.

30th October: Well, not by much. L 0 VALENCIA 1 was disheartening. Emile didn’t play badly but his presence induces a hit & hope style that was jaw-dropping at times (and not in a good way). Their passing in contrast gave us a lesson – but not one that we’re gonna learn, frankly. Houllier has done so much for us, and despite being outplayed for most of the night, we still only lost 1-0 thanks to a fluke. Nobody batters us any more, but there’s a lot more to football than holding your head high, especially at this level. We just didn’t look like we belonged, and that’s what hurt. I think the Kop knew it too, because they were as muted as any big European night I’ve witnessed.

31st October: Christmas comes earlier each year, doesn’t it? Especially for the bluenose in the Echo letters page boasting about what they’re going to do to us in the derby (still 2 months away). If I ever become that obsessed, shoot me. Maybe he should be concentrating on today’s news: Everton announce a profit of £1.6m, admitting much of the money came from the sale of Ball and Jeffers. The line of the year came from Carter. “It is critical to continue this trend to keep the club on a solid financial footing”……… selling £16m’s worth of talent to make a £1.6m profit?!? I think Carol Vorderman’s job is safe for the time being.