Latest Issue

Editorial 237

The game down at Wembley was like getting a kick in the breadbasket from a hobnailed bovver boot.  Tottenham happened in front of a worldwide TV audience; it happened in front of the biggest ever crowd to watch a Premier League game inside a stadium; there was no hiding place.  Maybe it wasn’t as bad as the 6-1 loss v Stoke in 2015; or maybe it was because there’s been an increase in the level of expectation since that day.  In the editorial of Issue 236 I said we couldn’t blame the manager for players missing chances but there are times when those behind the scenes, including the managerial and coaching staff, plus whoever makes up the so-called Transfer committee etc; do have to take some of the blame.  After the loss to Stoke we thought something might be done to sort out the defence.  Two and a half years on, we’re still waiting.  I’ve spent time watching the Under 23 side recently and there’s no defenders who look likely to make the next step and if there’s anyone in the Under 18’s they’re a few years away but in all honesty we can’t wait any longer.  The January transfer window will soon be available and it could be a watershed in the current regimes time at Anfield.  Get it wrong again then, like at Wembley, there will be no hiding place.

The social media rubbish towards Dejan Lovren and his family was a disgrace but unfortunately players leave themselves open to these situations by simply being involved and often contributing to all the modern day outlets which are there.  Of course, that’s no excuse.

Thankfully we’ve now seen the back of the detested International breaks until next spring.  What we now face is a glut of fixtures which will test our resources to the limit.  In the main there will be two games a week right through until the end of January including the Festive period when English football goes into overdrive.  Thankfully Sky saw sense – which is an amazement in itself – and decided against the Christmas Eve fixtures but just to show their contempt for supporters we now meet Arsenal on a Friday night when all supporters, not just Liverpool’s will have travel issues.

When we played Manchester United recently a few things disappointed and they get a mention in this issue.  One has to be the atmosphere and I don’t want to offend any Liverpool supporter who’d travelled across continents to get to the game but when locals CAN’T get a ticket and others who’ve been regular match goers for years CAN’T get a ticket it’s annoying when you arrive at Anfield and the first two lads you see are making their first visit, have tickets and wearing the obligatory tourist half ‘n half.  No matter how the club want to view things, this can’t be right can it?

JJP…Wants to travel through time buts treads through treacle

Editorial 236

September wasn’t a good month for our team was it?  It probably doesn’t come remotely close to being the worst month we’ve endured result wise but when it came to frustration it wasn’t far from the upper echelons.

Of course in football today when things don’t go as fans want, it’s usually the manager who gets the blame and Jürgen’s had his turn in the barrel.  Only is that fair?  To me the problems we have are down to the players on the pitch; it’s as simple as that.  We all know about the defensive situation and we all have our views on the goalkeeping rotation lark.  Yet our worry hasn’t been just about conceding goals, it’s also been the failure to score – and I doubt anybody foresaw that as an area of concern.  The words, “We should have been out of sight” have been uttered after almost every game other than Manchester City.  There’s no point in singling out any individual because the problem is a collective one.  Against the Geordies we seemed to lack conviction, the players seemed mentally lethargic but at the end of the day, we didn’t win simply because we failed in front of goal.

Maybe another problem is a lack of leadership on the pitch.  During the reign of Rafa we had inspirational leaders throughout the team.  Starting with Pepe Reina who let everyone know what he demanded.  There was Carra and Hyypiä.  There was Gerrard, even Alonso and Mascherano.  We don’t have that now.  This may read like a pot shot at Henderson but I don’t see him from the same mould and I don’t see anyone else either.  You don’t just need strikers and defenders etc; you need leaders.

I see the pundits and experts have just about written off our chances.  According to them we won’t win nor challenge for the title – I don’t know who told them we would.  The armchair fan is the same and accordingly even a top four spot could prove beyond us.  All after seven games!  Contrary to some opinions I’m neither a pessimist nor cynic.  I see myself as a realist.  I know our financial clout is way behind that of the Mancunian clubs.  Don’t blame The Kaiser or FSG for that.  Ask yourself, could [or would] Guardiola or Mourinho manage now without money at their clubs disposal?

In the previous issue there was fair bit of stuff thrown in the direction of Phillipe Coutinho.  Since his transfer wish wasn’t granted he’s been our best player only the saga isn’t being allowed to fade away.  The rumours/stories or whatever about Barcelona being prepared to give an agent £9m if he could broker a deal tells us more about the game today.  I don’t think the word ‘corrupt’ even comes close.

The story about Sky contemplating a game on Christmas Eve shouldn’t have surprised anyone.  The outrage from supporters groups is admirable but like last season when festive games were being switched for the benefit of both Sky and BT, with total disregard for supporters [and players], we said, it’s the price clubs pay when they sell their soul.  Remember Liverpool v Manchester City, New Years Eve?  Clubs should find the guts to unite and tell the TV moguls to go and screw themselves.  Only when the TV boys have a lust to satisfy in far flung corners of the world such as South East Asia and the like, it ain’t gonna happen.  TV money has also ‘corrupted football’.  They are the pipers; clubs simply dance to their tune.  Supporters don’t come into it!

JJP….I know God is the answer but what was the question

Editorial 235

Welcome to Issue 235 of Red All Over The Land.

This issue contains plenty of comment regarding the Coutinho saga which isn’t surprising.  The whole situation was disappointing and became something of a Soap Opera at a time when the only thing which should have mattered was football.

There has always been and always probably will be, a transfer system and going back into the very distant past there was the occasional controversial matter which cropped up.  Only in the current world its gone further than being just controversial.

Nobody should have any problem with anyone wishing to better themselves, it happens in every walk of life and football is no different.  Only in the normal world, from which all sport seems far removed, we don’t usually pledge ourselves to a company or cause via a contract and unless there are extenuating circumstances contracts should be binding.  Extenuating circumstances don’t include players holding clubs to some sort of ransom or vice versa.

Surely the worlds governing bodies should be able to come up with some solution to remove not just the controversy but also the acrimony which seems to follow and, in many cases, the childish behaviour of all involved.  I believe agents came into football to help players protect their interests; now they’re nothing more than a curse on the game.  Then again, the governing bodies are as corrupt as anyone so it’s never going to happen.  It’s a part of football which should be filed under ‘Sick Society’.

On the real football front, before the debacle at The Etihad there had probably been more positives than negatives.  I was happily thinking Jürgen might have a few selection posers which is better than having a few posers for selection.  Only then the negatives came flooding back.  I’m paranoid about our defence and goalkeepers and I don’t think I walk alone.

Even so we have to look forward to seeing how this team evolves.  No matter how I feel when a result goes against us – and I can be just about the worst person to be with during a game – I accept The Kaiser is building for the long term; not the short.  Too many demand the instant fix; including the media and pundits.  We’ve tried the instant fix, it doesn’t work.  Anyway, I had to send this to Mister Printer the day after the Manchester City game, so I couldn’t dwell on it too much and I’m glad about that.

We’re entering a strange period for this Fanzine, too many away games.  After the game with Burnley we could have six out of the following seven away from Anfield and as much as I’d love to, we won’t be selling in Moscow or Maribor and with Tottenham playing at Wembley I’m not sure how things will go there.  The idea is to have a new one out for the pleasurable visit of the Satanic lot from Mancunia but we’ll have to see how things go.

Finally on the game at The Etihad what Sadio Manè did wasn’t intentional and I sincerely hope City’s ’keeper is okay and gets back into action soon.

 

JJP…thankful I don’t live in Wayne’s World.

 

Editorial 234

Welcome to issue 234 of RED ALL OVER THE LAND.

This Fanzine will have gone on sale the day we opened at Watford but as I prepared to send it to Mister Printer’ in the wake of a 3-1 win over the team formerly known as Atlético Bilbao and accepting our pre-season form hadn’t been too bad even allowing for the fact it was just friendly football there seemed as much uncertainty around as there was when the final whistle blew against Boring Boro last May.  I don’t think I’m alone in thinking we’d have signed a centre half by now but despite checking forums, websites, official and unofficial sources, we haven’t; although we could – or could not – still be signing Virgil van Dyke; that was a first class cock up wasn’t it?  Have 125 years of the Liverpool Way come to this?  Bodies are spinning in graves!!!  We did sign a full back at a slightly lower price than others who swapped allegiances and no matter how much they cost, we’ll be told to give them time.

There also must be some surprise about the fact we don’t seem to be able to sell either.

However, the damned transfer window still has a few weeks to run so maybe by the time it closes we’ll know a bit more and let’s hope Phillipe Coutinho hasn’t been lured away for anything less than £125m – in fact I hope he’s not been lured away.

Of those we acquired Salah has looked good but the best bit of business could be the signing of Dom Solanke.  I’m getting old but the thought of him and Ben Woodburn running wild in Liverpool shirts in a few years time might keep me going for a little bit longer.

The cost of players nowadays has gone absolutely daft and although I’d have expected us to have recruited a centre half and a class full back there has to be a realistic price we should pay.  It’s often been said every player has his price and that’s true.  That price is a sensible one.  It’s time FIFA and UEFA got off their oversized backsides and started making sure sanity comes back to the game…some hope, especially when the insane run the game.

Anyway you will be pleased to know RED ALL OVER THE LAND hasn’t increased in price.  The cost of printing has, the cost of posting it to subscribers has, but just like when we thought Harry Kewell was good value in 2003 so we put the price up, now we don’t think anyone’s worth the money so we’re keeping the price down.  And that sounds daft as well.

So we start our latest Euro campaign in Germany which, no doubt, will please The Kaiser, he seems happier in Germany.  Firmino will be looking forward to going back as well and no disrespect to Hoffenheim but it’s better than having to go to Turkey…in Euro terms it’s just down the road.  Nicer beer as well!

In this issue we’ve back tracked to the end of last season, had someone at the post season game in Sydney and tapped into bleary eye-witness accounts from the German leg of world tour.  We’ve also had nights in the company of Terry Mac and Jimmy Case.  We had someone sat in front of a screen trying to understand why the club now question your loyalty by telling you can’t have a ticket for this game or that game because…  Probably because someone in China wants one or Thomas Cook feel like overcharging some poor misguided soul who thinks they’re getting a bargain.

JJP…still living in a dark world & looking for light

 

Editorial 233
Sorry there’s no ‘Guest Editorial’ this time but space was a bit tight so you’ve got to put up with me.
Well here we are, the final issue of the season and all things being favourable we’ll be back with Red All Over The Land in August. The price of the Fanzine won’t change but rising costs of postage has had a small impact on overseas subscription prices but I’ve done my best to keep them to a minimum. Subscriptions, as I’ve said before, are the lifeblood of a Fanzine and that gets taken into consideration.
As the season draws to an end where we will finish is keeping us in suspense. However, we will be playing in one of the two European competitions next season and regardless of which one it is, we need to get players in and move a few out. I don’t go in for speculating because the manager knows what he wants and the club should simply back him.
I’m doing this Editorial on Easter Monday following the win at The Hawthorns which, of course, followed the win at Stoke. The nerves got tested – again – but we got through both games with a maximum return. The ‘derby’ was fun, the Bournemouth game wasn’t but that sums up how 2017 has been doesn’t it?
In this Issue, as you will see, there’s mention of events forty years ago when Liverpool went to Rome and won the European Cup for the first time. It was great putting the articles together using old Fanzines and talking to a few who lived through it all. Of course, since then the European Cup has been lifted five times and although the balance of power in the game has shifted several times and in several ways there was a pure innocence about everything in 1977, although we probably didn’t know it at the time.
The history of Liverpool Football Club is well documented but it can sometimes be a burden. Jürgen Klopp hasn’t got to live up to those glorious times because those changes in the balances of power altered everything. Although some seem to think we have a divine right to be challenging at the top the simple fact is, we haven’t. What we should want Jürgen to do is, create his own pages in the history books so future generations of supporters can look back at those times with as much pleasure as those who can remember Rome. Unfortunately the innocence has also gone, football is now cut throat and often unpleasant. Too many supporters of clubs now not only expect success, they demand it. Unfortunately even success can now be deemed failure which is why a top four finish is seen as better than winning domestic Cups.
Thanks to everyone who has bought, sold or contributed in any way to Red All Over The Land, whatever the football’s been like you’ve all made bringing a Fanzine out worth the effort.

Editorial 232

Liverpool lost a real legend when Ronnie Moran passed away recently.  This issue of Red All Over Land pays tribute to a man who served the club like no other has ever done so and it’s unlikely anybody will ever do so again.  However, summing up his part in Liverpool’s history and doing him justice isn’t easy.

I first saw Ronnie Moran playing for Liverpool in the very early 60’s.  He was a full back and looked like what I thought a full back should look like.  That is, older than the forwards because most full backs always seemed to be losing their hair.  Full backs didn’t need to have nifty skills back then, just a few sly ones.  Ronnie was typical of the footballer of his era.  If he wasn’t in the first team, he was in the reserves and no complaints.  We all know about his Anfield career so I won’t repeat it but like so many I have a special memory I can treasure.

I was standing at Liverpool Airport along with less than 50 other Reds waiting to fly to Vladikavkaz in southern Russia.  Due to Home Office warnings and the fact that Vladikavkaz was close to a war zone not too many fans were travelling and our flight and tickets were all arranged through the club; hence we all assembled in the Departure Lounge together.  I was looking out the window at the plane which had been chartered to fly us to Russia and Ronnie was stood next to me – coaching staff and players were still allowed to mingle with the support back in 1995.  The plane looked like it was out of a museum and of the Aero-Flop class and whether it was really air worthy was a source of debate.  I looked at him and he looked at me and he said, “Are we going on that fecking crate?”  Or words to that effect.

Mister Liverpool has gone, not many of the Boot Room left now but what a man!

The topsy turvy world our team lives in has surely dominated our football thoughts.  Hopeless in one game, ugly in another, capable of taking Arsenal apart and picking up a deserved point at The Etihad.  It’s like one of those old scary movies – you don’t know what’s around the next corner; we don’t know whether to sleep with the light on or off and nobody has any idea how it will end.

This issue came out after the final International break of the season when we faced Everton.  We’ll have waited nervously whilst players jetted back from all parts of the planet, hoping they returned home from National Service fit and well – apart from Daniel Sturridge who’s goes from one sick bay to another and I’m not even sure why he’s been on leave of absence this time around.  It was a virus, then it was something else – or is he just being phased out quietly?

We, of course, have the Hillsborough anniversary.  In this issue we include a chapter taken from Kevin Sampson’s book, ‘Hillsborough Voices’.  There will be no memorial Service at the ground this season but I’m sure we’ll all take time out to reflect on April 15th.

Welcome then to the penultimate issue of this seasons Red All Over The Land and I hope to see some of you around the fields where real football fans used to be.

 

Editorial 231
The great Bob Dylan once sang, “The times they are a-changing” and the political mood at the time certainly was changing at an alarming rate. In football today however, the rate of mood change is more than alarming.
Going out two Cups in the space of a few days hurt and annoyed. After the Southampton and Wolves losses we were on a downer but there was a pick me up after a decent show against Chelsea; only the mood crossed back to the dark side with the Hull debacle. The exhilarating football we’d witnessed early season apparently forgotten. Sometimes our memories are very short term.
We had a week to stew in the juices of our own misery before taking on Tottenham at Anfield. We beat them with something to spare and the mood changed back to nearer optimistic. It’s hard keeping up with it all.
We went from seemingly playing a game every other day to not playing at all so everyone in our squad got a long rest plus a few days in La Manga to warm chilled bones. Apart from Daniel Sturridge who came home sick, no change there then?
Unfortunately this issue had to go to Mister Printer before the Leicester game and if there’s anywhere in football where there’s been a mood swing of unprecedented proportions it’s Leicester. From chumps to champs to chumps all in the space of less than two years. Whilst our boys were on the sun loungers Leicester were losing at Millwall in the FA Cup before jetting off to Seville for a Champions League game, which they lost but did better than expected. When they got back Claudio Ranieri, coach of the century last spring discovered the sands of time had run out and as we all know he was out of a job.
This issue went on sale against Arsenal and the mood surrounding Arsene Wenger changes almost hourly! We could have either added to Leicester and Arsene’s woes or handed out lifelines. The way we’ve been playing, who knows?
If the mood around our club is to retain a positive sign, Jürgen’s players need to prove something. Any excuses about an overcrowded fixture list have been washed away. We play less football between now and the end of the season than any of the top six. The whole team needs to show the first half of the season wasn’t just pie in the sky. If they don’t then maybe they’ll need to know come May, the times once again could be a-changing.
Ian Ayre has gone, bye-bye – he gets a mention elsewhere and in a few years Melwood and a million memories will also pass. The times are changing everywhere it would seem. Only not in this Fanzine, we’re still as miserable as everybody says we are and don’t see the point in changing – but maybe we will! Depends on our team.
Welcome to another issue of Red All Over The Land. If it’s raining I’ll be under a tree in the Plaza – sorry Fan Park – somewhere around where garden sheds used to be.

Editorial 230
In the few weeks since the last issue came out on FA Cup Third Round day a lot seems to have happened; but not much to our advantage.
The Joel Matip case wasn’t just odd it was annoying. He’d retired from International football, the story should have ended there. In any other walk of life he’d be suing someone but football left the real world a long, long time ago. I don’t trust FIFA; I don’t trust African football and just for the record, I don’t trust English football either.
In December I put together Issue 228 of RED ALL OVER THE LAND in a state of shock following the Bournemouth debacle. I had to send this one to the printer in the wake of the sad and sorry shambles shown by our team against Swansea. To the football world at large it might have been viewed as a shock but to anybody who is an Anfield regular these days, one who doesn’t watch the game through red tinted glasses it wouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. Shipping soft goals, for the want of better words, is an art we’ve perfected. Try explaining to someone; Swansea didn’t create a chance, our goalkeeper didn’t have a save to make; we lost 3-2. They’d look at you as if you’d gone daft. Unfortunately its happened so many times and not just this season. Publicly Jürgen may not say too much but there is no doubt inside he’s probably seething. However, only he and those who handle the playing side can sort it out. Plus, after all the statements about the availability of Matip, he comes on for the final seconds of added time when he was stuck up front. If anybody tells me he wasn’t picked because he wasn’t match fit I’ll go and bang my head on the nearest wall – or maybe theirs.
We’re in the final days of the transfer window but unless something out of the ordinary happens, we’re basically not overwhelmed by it. I think the Boston Boy’s got their fingers burnt in 2010 with the Andy Carroll and Fernando Torres episodes and learnt their lessons then. Clubs do buy players but half the time they buy players unwanted by the selling club. Although I wouldn’t mind us investing in a young player or two; there’s little or no point in adding to an already inflated wage bill just for the sake of it – even with the issues we have with defending. I think the only thing the transfer window does is keep Sky and Tripe White occupied with a few extra basins of bile; I sometimes think that’s what it was started for.
This issue goes on sale as we play Wolves in the FA Cup at Anfield; team selection will be interesting. Recent Premier League results may change the dynamics and thinking. Going to print before the League Cup semi was decided wasn’t ideal but it’s the way things go. I dare say where we stand in the table by the time issue 231 lands on the streets will be an indication as to where we’re going for the rest of the season. I’d like to think it’s Wembley once, maybe twice and a top four finish is still within our reach.
Hopefully you’ll know now where I stand; it’s around the fields out of ear shot of the Fan Park stage.

Happy New Year to one and all and welcome to Issue 229 of Red All Over The Land. I’ve started with a new idea which is guest writers on the opening pages and you will have by now, hopefully read Kevin Sampson’s New Year message. My intention is to try and change a few things as we move towards the spring and maybe even brighten up the whole Fanzine; although amongst the things I received for Christmas was a vinyl copy of Leonard Cohen’s final LP, so morbidity is still with me. The way I’m looking at 2017 is, if vinyl can make a comeback, so can the printed word and that’s good news for Fanzines such as this one.
On the football front I spend time wondering what this team of ours can achieve and what should we realistically expect – or hope for? Firstly though, what have we achieved? Well we’re going to games at Anfield believing we might win whereas last season I’m not sure that was the case. Jürgen Klopp seems to have changed the player’s philosophy and they go out now with far more belief than they’ve had for some time. We’ve seen them win games with quality football or by grinding out a result. Everton [away] and Manchester City at home being examples of winning in a slightly more ugly fashion than we’ve become used to. In those two games the reinstated Simon Mignolet never had a serious shot to save which probably says a bit more about the maligned defence. There is still a vulnerability there but at least The Kaiser seems to be working on it. I’ve never been Simon Mignolet’s biggest fan but he’s far more secure than Karius. I think had Mignolet been in goal then we may not have fallen apart against Bournemouth and we might have done better against West Ham; but that’s water under the bridge. Vulnerability reared its ugly head at Sunderland as well where our sluggish showing was matched only by a totally inept referee. I’ve a feeling Jürgen might be getting a letter from the FA about his comments.
So what can we hope for? I’d view a top four finish as success and if we can win a Cup, then that would make it a real successful season. With a few additions to the squad in the summer we could be a genuine force next season.
I think we’ve got the best manager in the Premier League; he knows success only comes via hard work. I’m not suggesting managers like, Guardiola, Conte and Mourinho don’t work as hard but they only manage where there’s money. Jürgen Klopp has never had that luxury – not in the same volumes. He’s building for that eventual new dawn and whilst we saw so many things emerging in 2016 I honestly believe a lot more will emerge during 2017.
Enjoy the Fanzine and weather permitting I’ll be selling somewhere around what used to be a street.