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WELL RED INDEPENDENT LFC SUPPORTERS’ MAGAZINE No.7 APR/MAY 2011
CONTENTS 4 Red round up 6 Paul Tomkins 8 Luis Suarez 10 Andy Carroll 12 Dominic Matteo 16 Hillsborough 28 Ian Callaghan 36 Season tickets 38 Lucas 44 405...the Devil’s number 46 Dalglish 48 Songs to sing 54 Torres revisited 58 Screen Sport Super Cup 60 Mags of the Day 62 Life in Liverpool matches
WELL RED magazine is by the fans, for the fans and is completely independent from Liverpool Football Club.
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Boots are made for winning and that’s just what they’ll do
FOOTBALL boots say a lot. Once they were black and white, now they’re every colour under the sun. But just because they are different, it doesn’t make them better. Just because they are new, it doesn’t make them any more likely to bring success.
Kenny Dalglish’s boots are just like the man himself: understated, old school and class. Both Kenny and the boots can do just as good a job as some of their fancier-looking rivals.
Liverpool desperately needed to get back to basics. To restore the traditions that made the club great. In just a couple of months, Dalglish has done that. Where once there was a grimace and a tear on the face of the club, now there’s a cheery smile and a knowing look. We can’t quite say Liverpool are back – but they’re on the right road.
The demise of the destructive duo, Hicks and Gillett, seems like ancient history. The reign of Roy Hodgson already feels like a bad dream.
Some of the worst football ever seen at Anfield has been wiped from the memory. Liverpool were 12th when Dalglish took over and had been as low as 19th during Hodgson’s reign. Now we’re sixth and the form team in the league.
Talk of anyone else coming in at the end of the season has ceased and the vast majority of fans will happy to see the King on the Anfield throne come August. The owners, too, are impressed. And that’s got nothing to do with romance, shortsightedness, or anything else that was thrown at fans when the calls began for Dalglish to save our season as Hodgson dragged the club into a quicksand of mediocrity. Since Kenny cut his cruise short to captain Liverpool away from choppy waters, he’s hardly put a foot wrong.
Ok, the Reds are out of Europe. But as they hardly turned in a convincing performance throughout our involvement in the Europa League, is that any great surprise?
Even the hyper-critical fans have struggled to find fault, with the worst directed at Dalglish being the odd gripe about team selection or formation, both of which ignore Liverpool’s long-term Achilles heel – the strength of the squad. Most knew Liverpool’s strongest team was capable of more than it was achieving under Hodgson. Most also accepted that if you scratched below the surface the squad was thin – a legacy of the previous regime.
Such has been the turnaround under Dalglish that the statistics people throw around have started to become easier to stomach.
No longer is it the “worst start ever”, “poorest run since the 1950s”, “lowest attendance since tellys were invented” (made the last one up).
Now it’s talk of Liverpool being the form team. Of Liverpool taking more points than anyone else since Dalglish was appointed. Of Liverpool being two points off top spot if the league had started on New Year’s Day (all true as I write).
Dalglish has the team performing exactly how it should be. Not quite title contenders, but in and around the top teams and capable of upsetting the best.
It appears to have impressed John W Henry and by the time you read this a deal for Dalglish to take the job on a permanent basis may well have been reached.
Henry posted a virtual thumbs up on his Facebook back in February: “Over the last seven matches, I believe, only one goal (and that may have been offside) has been conceded. Terrific effort on defense (sic) with increasing aggressiveness.”
It’s hard to imagine that any other manager could have matched Dalglish’s impact. He was like a coiled spring.
He’d clearly been waiting for his chance and plans were at the ready from day one. Any other man would have had the bedding in period, the pressure from the media, a time when fans needed to be convinced.
Dalglish cut straight through all that and got to work.
He even handled the Torres crisis – because it was a crisis – with ease and emerged the other side of it with credit. Who looks like they’ve got the best side of that deal now?
And it’s not all been some nicey, nicey love-in either.
Kenny might be smiling more than he ever did in his first spell in charge, but there’s been plenty of shaking of the head, too. And when the hands need to be held up, or a finger needs to be pointed, he’s done it.
Essentially, it’s been a no-bullshit approach. Manna from heaven after Hicks, Gillett and Hodgson.
So after the West Ham defeat, Kenny said: “We will sit down and the players can go through the game and make sure we learn from the mistakes that were made.”
And after the Braga bore, Dalglish said: “‘It was a very poor firsthalf performance and we have no complaints about their penalty.”
It’s hard now not to scratch the itch of what could have been.
If only the boardroom had had the foresight to see what Dalglish could bring to the job. And what Hodgson so patently couldn’t.
But we move on, and with the match now an enjoyable and politicsfree atmosphere, it’s an interesting and amusing side hobby to watch those who got it so wrong about Dalglish try to back their way out of the spot they put themselves in.
Stand up Mr Dave Kidd, The
People’s chief sports writer. He staunchly supported Hodgson, and still does. He told us on Twitter: “Outstanding at Fulham, very promising at West Brom, not so good when he had a lynch mob after him, funnily enough.”
He also rained in the low blows before Dalglish took charge, when he took the reins but, funnily enough, not so much after he was in control when results made his arguments redundant.
So he wrote: “The way Hodgson has been patronised and dismissed by the Merseyside public and media, in such a short space of time – and against the backdrop of such inherited chaos – is lunacy of the highest order.”
Then it was: “Should John Henry capitulate to the fans’ wishes and call Kenny Dalglish in from the golf course, Merseyside would host the
‘Liberation of Paris’ scenes which greeted Alan Shearer’s arrival as Newcastle boss two years ago. And we all know how that ended up.”
Then, aside a cartoon of Dalglish failing to control a Liverbird and falling of a cliff into waters containing Leeds, Newcastle, Forest and West Ham crests, he wrote: “They seem to have nailed one great lie at Anfield these past seven days – the one which said Roy Hodgson was the problem. The next piece of perceived wisdom to deal with is the one which says Liverpool are too good to go down.”
He went on: “To anybody outside the rose-tinted Liverpool bubble, the call for Dalglish looked like a desperate move from naive, crowdpleasing new owners, like It’s A Knockout contestants playing the Messiah card as Stuart Hall roars with laughter.”
And he concluded: “So after the ritual blood-letting, a dose of humility is needed, a recognition of present circumstances rather than too much romancing about a glorious past. Otherwise the reality check will only arrive when Liverpool roll up for league matches at Barnsley and Bournemouth.”
Two months later, Kidd described Dalglish as a “footballing demi-god” before slating Wayne Rooney and Alex Ferguson following the former’s elbow against Wigan and the latter’s ridiculous defence of it.
He concluded: “Ferguson, not Dalglish, will go down in history as English football’s most prolific trophywinning manager. Rooney may well end up regarded as one of England’s greatest footballers. Yet neither man enjoys the same adulation from the Stretford End which Dalglish receives from the Kop. And neither do they deserve it.”
Backpedalling scribes aside, it was also heartening to see Ferguson send his seal of approval down the M62.
Remember his sickening old pals’ act with Hodgson? The reason for that was simple – he posed no threat. Kenny does, and that’s why Ferguson bit hard and deep on Dalglish’s quotes about respecting referees (which didn’t directly reference Manchester United) and wrote about them in THE PROGRAMME!
Ferguson said: “People have short memories. Kenny Dalglish looked to be lecturing me in the papers about the need to respect referees, perhaps forgetting that not so long ago his players were tweeting critically all over the place about Howard Webb.”
He means Ryan Babel of course. The Ryan Babel Kenny sold. Cracking up? Rant? Ah yes, no-one’s got the balls to write that in the national media, have they?
Kenny’s got them worried. And they should be. Because Liverpool is a club again. Dalglish will get things wrong along the way. He might sign the wrong player, pick the wrong team or select the wrong tactics. All managers do, they are human.
But what can be guaranteed is that no-one will work harder to make Liverpool successful again. And noone better understands the ethos of the club.
Hopefully the curses of modern football are kept at bay, ironically by pulling on the boots from the past. A manager needs time, patience and understanding to build a team. If anyone is going to be afforded those things at Liverpool, it is Kenny Dalglish.