Welcome to Issue 269 of Red All Over The Land.
What a difference two years make. Two years ago we were top of the league and we were dreaming. What a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago we were top of the league and we were believing. Move on a year and when 2021 dawned we were top of the league but the dreamers and believers were seeming to be dwindling in numbers. 2020 was the year we touched the Holy Grail but from a safe and social distance so what has changed minds? Injuries, VAR, players not hitting the heights, too many games, not enough subs and that’s without mentioning the reason why we can’t go to Anfield anymore. Scaling the heights of the past three years again was never going to be an easy job, others have tried and failed, it’s nothing new. What’s annoying is how it attracts so many critics. Had last season finished under normal circumstances I believe Jürgen and the club would have built from a position of strength. Under the current circumstances I don’t see how that could happen. Clubs are losing millions week after week and nobody knows when this will change. If, and when, it does, that will be the time to look at where we are, not now.
Having said that, our defensive situation required looking at even before VvD and Joe Gomez dropped out of the reckoning. Joel Matip is a cultured footballer but he spends more time on the sick list than on the pitch. The same applies to maybe Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri. Possibly these are matters which should have been addressed better than they have been.
Fanzine Land has been a hard place to be in recent weeks. Christmas is always a difficult time to be sending anything out by post only throw in Covid and this year it made matters worse and, believe it or not, even Brexit and those tunnel delays didn’t help. I won’t go into the boring details but if your copy of the Fanzine arrived late or still hasn’t arrived, please don’t blame Postman Pat, nor me, it’s the situation we all find ourselves in.
In this Issue there are tributes to Gérard Houllier, le boss who was centre of so much during his tenure at Anfield. There were some great times, some good times and some times which were totally the opposite but he won us Cups and ensured we turned a few corners as well. He’s credited with bringing professionalism and discipline to the club at a time when it was needed. Like others, I believe his illness affected his judgement but, like Rafa and now Jürgen he delivered success when we thought those days were maybe gone. That’s how I hope to remember him.
Gerry Marsden has gone as well. I think YNWA made Gerry the famous celeb he became. He stayed true to his roots and each and every time we hear his song he’ll still be doing his bit for the city and team he loved.
It was hard putting this issue together but hopefully the effort was worth it. We’re still no nearer going to our beloved ground in any great numbers but thanks to every single person out there making putting this issue together possible. It gives me a purpose to keep going in these horrible times.
JJP It was so cold the other day, I had to put my beer in the fridge to warm it up!