14 April 2009

As seen on CWC Forum:

On 14/04/09, at 00:06 REAL LIVERPOOL FAN wrote:



In reply, at 02:21 knives, innit? wrote:

heh. only liverpool and their media friends could turn shipping 7 goals in 2 games into some sort of moral victory

Also in reply, at 00:23 herne wrote:

Liverpool were playing for 9-6, their plan backfired

In further reply, at 02:46 Acef Irstin wrote:

They didn’t concede enough goals.

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Number 41

This was the day an unknown 17-year-old kid, brought on as a hunch, took the game, the season and his entire life by the scruff of the neck and decided: this is mine.

(Rob Smyth)

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United v Liverpool

I not sure what the result of Saturday’s game is but, either way, Rafa will still be in denial.

That is all.

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Stats and Kits

Stats are good. They’re not everything, but they are good things.

Football Club History Database has an exhaustive collection of stats. Here’s the page that compiles all of United’s performances League, FA Cup, League Cup and European competitions. There is also the Association of Football Statisticians offers a paid service for the mad statistician in you. Oh, and they have a blog, too.

For a more visual representation of United’s history, see here (courtesy of Historical Football Kits).

While we are on the subjects of football sites, you absolutely must visit The Journal of Football History – an intelligent person’s guide to the game.

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Alan Hansen (part 2)

After the fun of the previous post, I decided to trawl the BBC archives to find more gems from our favourite ex-lfe Scouse, Alan Hansen.

There, in black and white and web-compliant html, I found several remarks which cheered me no end.

In the 27th October column, just days prior to lfc’s first defeat away to Spurs, Hansen claimed that although “there is a long way to go yet, […], but the signs are good”. He continued:

They have really impressed me at times, none more so than on Sunday when they defeated Chelsea, and I think they have got a real chance of winning the championship.

Then, again, on the 24th of November, after the 0-0 stalemate at Anfield between his beloved club and Fulham, Hansen had this to say:

I do believe Liverpool are genuine title contenders this season.[…] They do not look like a side that will fall apart under pressure and their best XI can compete with anyone.

I’d love to read his thoughts now.

Finally, in answer to the question “Why don’t ex-lfc players get a proper job”, I found this column in which Hansen recalls the moment when he “was 6/4 favourite to succeed Kenny Dalglish when he resigned as Liverpool manager in 1991. I was never going to take the job and there were very good reasons why”. Nonetheless,

It didn’t stop me going into the dressing room and telling the players that I would be taking over after Kenny’s departure – and that things were going to change. I told them certain pubs were totally out of bounds, there would be extra training every afternoon and we would be back every Sunday studying video tapes of matches. I effectively presented my “former” team-mates with the three things I would have hated being told by my manager. The faces in front of me were an absolute picture until they were put out of their misery and realised I was not in fact taking over (italics added)

While I laughed at Hansen’s “wit”, his hilarious “joke” at his team-mates’ expense, I wonder if the decision was Hansen’s to make, though.

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Newcastle vs United

I’m not too sure that tonight’s match will be as straight-forward as some have suggested. Despite the fact (*snigger*) that Sir Alex Ferguson will be able to call on a fresh set of legs in midfield and up front, I see United making a game of this – in the sense of letting Newcastle get in amongst them and struggling for a result.

Here’s my prediction in terms of the line-up, in a loose 4-4-2 formation:

Rooney          Berbatov

Ronaldo         Fletcher               Carrick          Park

Fabio        Ferdinand              Vidic        O’Shea

Van der Sar

It’s a shame Scholes probably won’t be playing tonight – though chances are he will manage the FA Cup game this weekend – as he has a fabulous scoring record against the Bar-Codes.

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Alan Hansen

Speaking of idiots, here is another of our ex-lfc Scouse fiends, bestowing footballing wisdom from high above:

[United’s] success domestically and in Europe has had nothing to do with Sir Alex adapting his tactics depending on the opposition. It has everything to do with the people he can bring in – with United it is seamless (italics added for emphasis).

Hansen is the latest in a long, long, ever so long line of British football watchers who watch football and see players. This is “The Cult of the Player”, the blinkered mentality that claims the way to win is to field the best eleven players. Hansen shares this limitation with the bulk of the English press, which explains the noise that emanates from the papers in the run-up to major international football tournaments.

I’m not sure whether football in the 70s was ever that simplistic, but it certainly wasn’t in the 50s and 60s, nor is it now in the 21st century. Formations, tactics, style, fitness, mentality: these (and much more) go into the making of a successful football club and team

Oh, and do you notice the subtext in Hansen’s commentary? Let’s unpick it and spell it out, clearly and forcefully; this is what Hansen wants to convey:

Football is about money. United’s success has all to do with the fact that they have more money than Liverpool. It’s all unfair. Whine, whine, whine, fucking whine, whine.

I’ve always wondered why ex-liverpool players tend to eschew work – in football management, for example – and instead end up getting hand-outs from the BBC and other media organisations. The list is long and disgraceful: Hansen, Lawrenson, Redknapp, McAllister, McMahon, Beglin, Robinson, Jason fucking MacAteer, Phil Thomson … vermin, one and all.

Maybe there is some truth to what Keane said on this.

I was asked by ITV to do the Celtic-United game but never again unless I fall on hard times. I think I’ve done it once for Sky but I’d rather go to the dentist.

Keane calls it the way he sees it. It’s a “profession” of last resort. Like prostitution.

This is Keane’s last word on the matter:

I wouldn’t listen to these people in the pub, and yet they’re on television constantly, ex-players, ex-referees getting interviewed giving out their opinions. I wouldn’t trust these people to walk my dog. I tell people any time they watch a game to switch the commentators off, don’t listen to experts, gather your own opinion

We get the media we deserve. The choice is your’s and mine.

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Carling Cup

United lined up as follows last night:

Foster; O’Shea, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Ronaldo, Gibson, Scholes, Nani; Welbeck, Tevez.
Subs: Kuszczak, Anderson, Giggs, Park, Vidic, Possebon, Eckersley.

When I saw the line-up before kick-off, I felt a certain sympathy for Ji-Sung Park. Having been omitted from the match squad for the Moscow showdown, I half expected him to be given a run out on the Wembley turf; in part as thanks for the great shift put into the United effort over the past three seasons as well as, you know, recognition as the first South Korean, etc.

In hindsight, Sir Alex did Park an enormous favour by neither naming him in the starting line up or bringing him on late in the game. It is as if to say, there are more important games for you, Ji, and there’s no use subjecting you to this.

The highlight for me was the utter ineptness of our Portugese friend: Nani was atrocious, exhibiting neither team-work or even a basic, rudimentary awareness of what was going on around him. A team player he is not, yet he displayed scant evidence of individual briliance to show himself as a star player capable of turning games – in United’s favour, I mean.

The back four looked unusually flustered – with Evra performing well below his high standards – in large part because they were left exposed, without the protection from a United midfield that was out-passed by their Spurs counterparts. Kudos to Modric, Jenas, Zakora and Lennon for excellent work. Gibson did well in parts, with some excellent vision, even if his execution let him down. Scholes , interestingly, was not his dominant self, as if instructed to let the younger Gibson take charge with the ball.

Up front, Tevez and Wellbeck was starved of service and the latter was withdrawn soon after half-time. There will be another day for him. The same cannot be said for our Nani.

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Mark Gonzalez

I’m sure many of us have happily forgotten Mark Gonzalez. Who is he? you ask. Well, a certain Premiership club paid £4.5 million for the privilege of signing him in 2005. When, after signing him, the club were denied in their application for a work permit, the manager of this famous club said:

Only if you know nothing about football could you say he [Gonzalez] is not good enough to play in the Premiership.

Gonzalez was loaned out, and the same club re-applied for a work permit the following year. It’s obvious in hindsight that the Committee that gradually came to know more than nothing about football.

Gonzalez played for Liverpool for one season, at the end of which Rafa “Fat Spanish Waiter” Benítez decided that Gonzalez was indeed not quite good enough.

(Thanks to The Guardian)

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This Carling, Coca-Cola, Worthington League Cup game this Sunday

Right, here’s my attempt at reading Sir Alex Ferguson’s mind. This is the team that will line up against Spurs:

Tevez Wellbeck

Nani      Scholes Anderson     Gibson

O’Shea Vidic (or Ferdinand) Evans Raphael Neville


Subs: Kuszczak, Rooney, Fabio, Giggs, Fletcher, Possebon, Park

Good luck, Boys.


With Raphael da Silva ruled out for a month, Neville is likely to play at right-back. Given O’Shea’s performance on Tuesday, he might get a nod ahead of Vidic or Ferdinand, with Evra at left-back. Having said all of that, Ferguson might slot Welbeck on the right of midfield, shiift Gibson alongside Scholes and play Rooney, who is short of games, up front with Tevez.

The Daily Telegraph has United playing like this:

Manchester United (Probable, 4-4-2): Foster, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Ronaldo, Gibson, Scholes, Giggs, Rooney, Wellbeck

I’m not convinced that Sir Alex Ferguson will play both Ferdinand and Vidic, even if Evans is ruled out while Tevez is sure to start.

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