At the time of going to press we are in second place – just on goals scored – doesn’t really matter at this moment in time, but it might come May. It did in ’89 and Arsenal benefited then as well. But let’s be honest – after heading in at the break three goals to the good we should have been hitting an already beaten Palace side for at least 4 or 5 thus hitting top spot going into the international break in our own right. Not that I expect us to be in this position coming into the last month of the season, I don’t, but the signs are there for a realistic challenge for a Champions League spot at the very least. Maybe the introduction of Alberto a bit earlier or springing Ibe from the bench would have livened proceedings up a notch, as all in all the second half was a non-event. Second half showings is a cause for concern for reds at the moment – hard to put the finger on this one, we are sitting back and it must be a concern for Brendan and the coaching staff as well as we can’t afford that luxury with the tough games we have coming up.
Speaking of Arsenal, May 89 and International football breaks. I remember Aldo, Staunton, Whelan and Houghton and co (O’Leary and Quinn) had to travel to Dublin the day after that game to play Malta in a crucial World Cup qualifying game the following afternoon (Sunday). No time for dwelling on what happened on that dramatic Friday night for the lads as Italia 90 beckoned just a year later. Wonder did they share a cab to Speke the next morning with Dave O’Leary and Niall Quinn. Nowadays we have a full week of well nothing really. Mindless speculation to fill the back pages, the January transfer window is right upon us you know – Suarez for Real, Suarez to be offered new contract, take your pick, please don’t take it seriously. But good news, ‘Arry is plugging his book. Thought he said he wrote like a two year old and can’t spell – what a great book this will be. Get the crayons out; it must be a colouring book. Am I allowed to say colouring? Too late, the Editor missed it. A ban for me for issue 192 is on the cards, and a tee shirt!
But the league break has come at a good time for Glen Johnston and Philippe Coutinho in their recovery from injuries. Both players have been missed and Joe Allen is also nearing a return to bolster our midfield options. Rodgers did Joe no favours at all labelling him the Welsh Xavi did he? It’s a big season for Joe Allen and let’s hope he’s not hampered by any further injuries as we need all hands on deck for the trips to Arsenal and the theatre of beams across the park in a few weeks time.
At the time of going to press, I don’t know the outcome of the game at St. James’s Park or whatever the hell it’s called these days. Hopefully we came away with the points and are sitting pretty ahead of today’s game V WBA. Let’s not forget the boys from the Black Country took 6 points of us last season and Steve Clarke has done a great job in making WBA an established Premier League side. I met one of their all time greats a few weeks back in Cyrille Regis. He was at the launch of the new DVD “Thank God for Football” by Peter Lupson at the National Football Museum up the M62. Peter traced the roots of some of the football leagues founding members back to their formation, all from a church background. Everton being no exception and we all know what happened them and the split with the blues is also dealt with in good detail. All in all an excellent DVD and indeed book for those looking for an early (dare I say it) stocking filler.
I was sad to see one of the LFC independent publications Well Red going by the wayside recently. A big shame as it was always a very good read packed with insightful and historical features. But it must be difficult to compete against the up to the minute blogs, forums and podcasts that are around at the moment. But it was good whilst it lasted, thanks Gareth.
Two Irish based podcasts, The IrishKop and The Day Trippers recently touched on the issues of travel agents in the Irish market. Both highlighted the inflated prices being charged by these companies and the lack of knowledge of match goers in obtaining tickets for games themselves. €400 for one adult for the Arsenal game next February, and that’s a boat trip ! Meanwhile Liverpool Thomas Cook has sold out of their packages for the same game, with prices starting at £259. Education is key to putting the travel agents out of the picture. However, we are now in the era where a trip to Anfield is an event, not a match. As was mentioned on the podcasts, the club don’t want people heading in 10 mins before KO and not purchasing anything. Thomas Cook advertises a trip to Anfield as hearing an Army of Liverpool FC fans bursting out “You’ll never walk alone” as a spectacle any fan can appreciate…as well as experiencing undoubtedly one of the best atmospheres in football. How depressing, the ‘Who Are Yas’ is getting louder, Scouser Tommy is getting faster, YNWA is interrupted and the santa suits are just around the corner. Hi Ho.. Top of the league
Which brings me nicely to this particular publication – as advertised on recent covers, it’s not a programme. But it’s a number of articles, observations by reds from different walks of life. What more do you want for just £2/€3. Tell your friends or subscribe on http://redallovertheland.com
Well who would have thought it – a great start to the season and everyone is upbeat – even on internet and twitter-land. Except we are now serious contenders for 2nd/3rd place, one step at a time folks. But maybe just maybe…see, even I am at it now.
The atmosphere around the ground has certainly been upbeat so far (well I know we have only played three games) – the Stoke game (well certainly the finish) took me back to the European nights, and that was from the Anny Road end. Nearly took me back to the Arsenal CL classic, and it wasn’t even under lights. Libpool Libpool top of the league, Libpool…TOP OF THE LEAGUE! For a few hours.
The Mancs at home was special with it being Shanklys 100th birthday weekend as well. The mosaic was magnificent and the Shankly singing on the Kop would have been music for those old enough to remember the great man. A fitting tribute. Great start and we held on without being troubled too much, very much a cup tie element to the game and a nice few celebratory pints afterwards before the journey home.
With me there is always a BUT…something to irritate, something that wasn’t right and it has been around for a few years now, but for this game they were just far too noticeable for my and I’m sure countless other reds liking. No not the jester hats this time, but the half and half scarfs. They were everywhere, lads and lassies walking proudly around with both crests showing singing “Oh Man …chester is full of shite” What on earth processes these people to buy this crap! I’m sure it happens at OT as well, we’ll see in a few weeks time. Think about it, a LFC and Man U scarf. What’s next – JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald half and half’s, Hitler and the Pope, Luis and Evra, or god forbid, Jones and Humperdinck.
One more gripe, major gripe – we were in 306 and as the game was reaching the crucial final moments the language was of course colourful to say the least – what would you expect. Anyway my friend beside says something like “Ah for fu*k sake get rid of it” Chap beside her nudges her “ Mind the language please” I think she was that shocked she said nothing, in hindsight she should have told him to F-OFF in the strongest possible terms and said as much afterwards. What’s it all coming to eh – football without fans is nothing that’s for sure but football can do without some of these event junkies. He left before the end as well.
Last month we informed all that Ned Doig’s grave will be fitted with a headstone but that Tom Watson the man who led Liverpool to their first league title had none as yet. Karen Gill, the grand-daughter of Bill Shankly has promised to take this issue up with Ian Ayre at the next supporters club committee meeting. So fingers crossed for that. More news soon- and this time it will be better I’m sure.
More from yesteryear and another Liverpool manager W.E. Barclay, who like Watson is buried in an unmarked grave at Anfield. William Barclay was born in Kilmainham Auxillery South Derby Union Workhouse, Dublin on 14th June 1857. He would have the distinction of managing both Everton and Liverpool – becoming the blues first ever manager in 1888 and then leaving the club with John Houlding to remain at Anfield to take charge of the new Liverpool Football Club with John McKenna. Now Johnny Stokkeland has been in touch and along with George Rowlands they have informed RAOTL that they are ordering a headstone this week for a man who helped shape the Liverpool we know today.