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.
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.
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.
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.