Friday, 27 December 2013

The 20 New Year Resolutions For Liverpool Fans

20. Thou shall not criticise Lucas Leiva

19. Or... Joe Allen...

18. Or Jordan Henderson...

17. Or Raheem Sterling...

16. Or any player / youngster who deserves a bit of backing.

15. Thou shall start to sing Brendan Rodgers name.

14. Thou shall not take a picture of 'Stevie G' with your iPhone when he comes over to take a corner.

13. Stand & applaud him instead.

12. Thou shall not take photographs of the Hillsborough Memorial... particularly in some kind of 'selfie' pose. It's a memorial, not a tourist attraction.

11. Thou shall applaud the opposition keeper as he approaches the Kop for the 2nd half (always.)

10. Thou shall not leave on 40 minutes to go and get a piss flat plastic bottle of Carlsberg and regurgitated pork cock in bun for £9.99.

9. Or leave early to 'beat the traffic' for that matter.

8. If you are an out of towner, like I once once... you sit in a queue for fucking hours and pay your dues.

7. Thou shall not ever visit 'The Boot Room' Sports Cafe.

6. Thou shall not care more about the bet idiotic bet you put on. You lad.

5. Thou shall never, ever, ever buy a split scarf for a Premier League game.

4. Thou shall not start moaning again as soon as we lose a game or get a bad result.

3. Thou shall not fail to recognise who our substitutes are when they are warming up. "Ilori? Who's he?"

2. Thou shall never, ever sing 'Who are ya?' You're not singing anymore?' or 'Easy! Easy!'

1. Thou SHALL buy Red All Over The Land next year & support other independent fanzines, websites & merchandise sellers...

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The Anfield Shrine Column - Issue 194 RAOTL - Sterling Support

Originally published in print. Issue 193 of Red All Over The Land Fanzine

Sterling Support

I wanted to write an article in support of Raheem Sterling. To be honest, I’ve found it hard to motivate myself to do so… but I am determined, so here we go…

I should imagine like a lot of Liverpool fans at the moment, I currently see Sterling as a little bit of a frustration. He burst on to the scene as an extremely exciting and talented young player, only to be over-hyped and perhaps over-played before retreating to the doldrums of reserve team and U21 football – which in fairness, is where you’d expect most players of his age to be!

We are a strange bunch at times, us Liverpool fans. We pride ourselves on being different… being a supportive crowd, patient, with the ability to support a player in a red shirt whatever their age, nationality or path in football. Yet sometimes, we seem to let ourselves down and throw all of that out of the window. It seems that every now and then, a player comes along that Liverpool fans just don’t ‘take to.’ Deep down, we just don’t seem to LIKE them. Moses is another one of our current crop currently experiencing that very malaise. Although in Victor’s case, I'm inclined to say it’s justified.

Sterling’s rise to prominence and indeed promise was so fast that now we seem to be blaming him for not living up to his own hype. In reality, the position he finds himself in now, is a completely natural one. Having just turned 19 he is getting some valuable first team action, showing some promise and developing.
However, most of the Anfield crowd currently don’t seem to see it like that. We are expecting him to come out and score wonder goals, terrorise defences and beat 2 or 3 players every time he has the ball. It is no wonder that he is looking a bit hesitant.

But I think that there is something that lies deeper in our current frustration with him… I’m just not sure that we like him. Is it perhaps because after showing such initial promise we heard rumours of him falling into the trap of being an overpaid, over-hyped and not highly intelligent young footballer… getting himself into scrapes with the police and the odd scouse hood rat? It’s not the sort of behaviour we like to see from our young players – we’re much more forgiving of a hard-working and seemingly ‘nice’ lad like Henderson. Is it also perhaps that he’s a Londoner? And there’s just something about that which we can’t take to. Is it also perhaps because he runs a little bit like a camp duck… and deep down we just suspect that he doesn’t fancy it in a 50/50? We assume he’s lightweight and easy to shove off the ball. We’re not convinced he tracks back… we’re not sure how much he REALLY cares.

Who knows, maybe we’re right? You can’t escape he does run strangely... and he hasn’t yet got the bullish strength and centre of gravity of Coutinho. But let’s not forget, Coutinho is a good 2 or 3 years older and with much more experience.

Sterling is showing some promising signs again; let’s not crush the poor lad through our slightly lazy prejudices and wild assumptions. They may well all be right… but as Liverpool fans, it’s not in our nature not to give a player a chance and one thing is for certain, if we don’t get off his back a bit… he certainly won’t turn into the player we all hope he can be. 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Red All Over The Land - Issue 194

Issue 194 of Red All Over The Land will be out for the Cardiff game at Anfield next week (the 21st) - featuring a piece from me on the support of a certain Raheem Sterling. 

Pick up a copy for only £2!

To subscribe or contribute to RAOTL contact

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Just a couple of reasons I love FC St. Pauli...

I may be a Liverpool fan through and through, but I have an unashamed love for a Bundesliga 2 team... FC St. Pauli. This post is from our sister blog Lazy Genius...

There are many reasons I love FC St. Pauli of Hamburg... the area itself being one of them, that's before you even consider the club. But on opening their most recent newsletter to my Inbox, within seconds I had read a couple of stories that made me love them even more, the sort of stories you won't find in the e-bulletins of most big corporate football clubs these days...

Today around 1,000 people responded to an invitation from FC St. Pauli for the needy to come to the open ballroom of the south stand to be fed, enjoy drinks and receive warm clothing.
Fc St. Pauli Christmas Table
Read more at Lazy Genius

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Anfield Shrine Column - Issue 193 of RAOTL

Originally published in print. Issue 193 of Red All Over The Land Fanzine

A last minute deadline day effort again this issue… after missing the last one, I was determined to pen a few words. The Ed’s new policy of shorter runs of more frequent issues is a good one in my book, but it certainly pushes an over worked, lazy bastard like myself.

Anyway… to the job in hand. It feels like a long time since I was at Anfield, having missed Fulham for a little trip to Belfast and the good old international break cropping up again as well. After a massively thrilling derby we’re still sitting pretty in 2nd place. I don’t think anyone predicted that as Christmas approaches did they?

Obviously I think we all know there is no point getting carried away by any means. But you can’t really fault us so far, and I think Rodgers is doing an absolutely sterling job. However, Christmas is going to be massive for us, and the 2nd half of the season is looking a lot tougher than the first.

I’m aware that my columns seem to be consistently negative considering generally I'm not one of those relentlessly negative, moaning bastards, but here are a few reasons it might not be the season to be jolly…

The biggest tests are still ahead… having already secured all my home tickets for the rest of the season, and with a quick look at the fixtures it doesn’t take a genius to see that we have a tough time ahead of it. Still to play City, Spurs and Chelsea  home and away, with Old Trafford still to go to and Arsenal to come to Anfield we have a lot of big tests ahead. I’m positive… to a point, but we really need to show we can are deserving of that 2nd point and get some big results.

We still look a bit shaky defensively… and I’m not sure anyone quite knows what our best back 4/5/3 is… including Rodgers! We have lots of options, but the combinations and partnerships aren’t quite working yet.

We’ll have to fight to keep Suarez in January… I think it’s a fight we’ll win, but no doubt the usual bollocks will emerge again and we’ll be forced to knock back a few offers. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have some top clubs sniffing around more of our talent as well – like a Ben Sherman shirted 40 year old round your bird in MOJO (one for the locals.)

The top clubs will spend in January… as much as we are revelling in their struggles, there is no way Utd will allow a repeat of the summer, they will spend big in January I’m sure (hopefully on more average Everton players!) But they won’t be the only ones, expect Chelsea and City to do the same. Who knows with Arsenal!

We never do well at Christmas… this might not be true, and it might just be my perception (I’m shit with stats and I can barely remember last weekend, let alone last year) but it seems to me that we haven’t had a very happy festive period over the last few years.

However, with all of the above in mind… I am going to be positive. We couldn’t have done much more so far, we’re 2nd in what is a very open league this year and we’ve only really had one or two seriously poor performances. Our squad is looking in better shape than it has for a while, and who knows hopefully we’ll strengthen in January as well.

Bring it on…

Monday, 21 October 2013

The Anfield Shrine Column - Issue 191 of RAOTL

Originally published in print. Issue 191 of Red All Over The Land Fanzine

Liverpool V Palace – Not a match report at all…

After what seemed like a lengthy absence from Anfield (my last game being Man Utd this season, sitting out Southampton) I returned, with my old man up, for one of his trips of the season to enjoy Crystal Palace’s visit to Anfield. It is a fixture that held quite a lot of nostalgia for me and my old man as in 1998 Crystal Palace was the first Premier League game my Dad took me to at Anfield. I’m afraid to say mine isn’t a story of scouser to scouser, but deep down Bristol Rovers fan taking his slightly strange but very strong minded Liverpool supporting son to Anfield, all the way from Wiltshire. I won’t enter into the out of towner debate, and I feel no need to justify my support to anyone… I’ve lived in Liverpool ten years now, and my Dad is a full convert. Although even I will admit to a soft spot for Rovers as I mature. But anyway… I digress, it was indeed this fixture, well over ten years ago that I got my first taste of a premier league game at Anfield (having been to a pre-season friendly a few months before.) Like most of us, I will never forget the game… despite having forgotten most of the slightly dull duels against Premier League strugglers since. The great Lombardo was player manager at Palace, and a rather rotund Thomas Brolin also featured for the ‘Eagles.’ We won 2 -1 with a little David Thompson coming off the bench to score the winner. I’ll always remember the long drive home… crawling out of a guest house car park on the Anfield Road, a site that now houses the ‘food zone’ or ‘kids zone’ or some other absolute bastion of modernity and corporate bastardry. 606 on 5 Live droned on as we slowly made our way out of Liverpool, and flicking through a matchday fanzine while someone who’s opinion is of no consequence whatsoever* spouts rubbish to Alan Green  always reminds me of that wondrous evening.

So to the present day… we were unusually situated in the Main Stand… having resided for years in the Anfield Road, before becoming fed up of the hordes of incomprehensibly pissed Irish daytrippers that frequented it (no offence to our brilliant genuine Irish support by the way) and moving into the Kop. God know’s why, but the only availability for us for Palace was the main stand, so the main stand it was. In a strange way I quite enjoyed being in there again… it gives you that old football ground feel that is so hard to find these days. A feeling that leads me fairly nicely onto the whole point of this column….

I’m afraid I’m going to bemoan the atmosphere and yes, modern football in general. The site of a young lad getting carried out in the aftermath of Palace fans letting off smoke bombs was certainly distressing, and it makes it very difficult to advocate the use of ‘pyro’ at football stadiums, but you can certainly advocate noise, passion, originality and atmosphere. All of which, these days, Anfield does not possess. It isn’t so much modern football that is the problem… I’m sure we all secretly have Sky Sports News on more than most channels. Alright players get paid extortionate, ridiculous amounts of money… but there is very little we can do about that. The actually game itself hasn’t changed, a brilliant tackle is a brilliant tackle, a great goal, is a great goal. But your average matchoger… well they have changed dramatically.

I’m aware that it’s easy to moan about the atmosphere at Anfield these days, but I can’t help it… I pretty much despise most of the Anfield attendance now. If I’m honest, it looked a lot more fun in the Palace end! We all know that the match day atmosphere at the biggest grounds in the country have been on the decline for years, whatever we say… Old Trafford, Arsenal… ourselves, it’s all a similar pattern. Inflated prices and grounds full of ‘tourists’ and people who wouldn’t know ‘terrace culture’ if someone wrote it as a motif in the chocolate of their cappuccino.

I don’t expect a booming atmosphere every game… but at least have some self-respect and knowledge of what supporting a football club is all about. Not just any club indeed, Liverpool Football Club. We don’t sing… ‘who are ya’ and ‘going down, going down.’ We don’t take photos of Steven Gerrard taking a corner from 100 yards away on our iPhones. We don’t tell people to ‘sit down’ just because they have the cheek to get mildly excited or irate about something. We do take pride in what we wear to the match… and we don’t feel the need to drape ourselves in horrific and overpriced club merchandise.

I know people say, rather than moan about the atmosphere, try creating some? I hate that argument as much as anything else… my answer to that is: what is the point? For me, safe in the knowledge that I’m surrounded by vacuous identikits of modern life I’d rather sit quietly and enjoy the game than make some pathetic attempt at generating an atmosphere that I know no one else around me will appreciate of understand. For me it is more embarrassing and cringe worthy to see someone persevere through ‘Poor Scouser Tommy’ because they’ve learnt the lyrics off by heart on an internet forum.

Every now and again, very, very rarely, Anfield comes alive like we all know it can. But it is so rare these days. I appreciate the Kop seems to be more densely populated with banners and flags than it has been for a long time… but it strikes me as paying lip service to an atmosphere when after the whistle has gone, any sign of an atmosphere is packed away with the canvas and flag poles.

You’re having a scarf aren’t ya?!

Maybe I’m just in a bad mood… perhaps I’ll be proven wrong as the season progresses, but I doubt it. I was hugely heartened, if I can put it like that, by the piece by Semolina Pilchard in the last issue. They beat me to it by absolutely lambasting the modern obsession with ‘split scarves.’ The mind absolutely boggles. Now I didn’t used to mind split scarves during our European exploits, it struck me as a genuinely good ‘memento’ of some wonderful games and against obscure and fascinating opposition. I cherish my split scarves from games against the likes of Barcelona, CSKA Sofia, Juventus, Young Boys et al. However, why oh why anyone would want a split scarf of Liverpool Football Club Vs Wigan or Reading or Norwich or any other English team is beyond me. What is even worse than that are split scarves against Utd. We are Liverpool… we despise that lot more than anything else, how an earth anyone could cope with having THAT badge and THAT name draped across them at Anfield or anywhere else for that matter is beyond me. I think I may have posted a statement during the Utd game this season on some social media network or another, along the lines of… “any so called Liverpool ‘supporter’ who is currently at Andield sporting a Utd ‘split scarf’ should be strung up by it.” I stand by that.

Anyway… you’ve probably had enough of my vitriol. You wouldn’t think we were 2nd in the league would you? There’s no pleasing some people. Pass me a plastic bottle of flat Carlsberg and I’ll try and crack a smile.

Oh and if anyone fancies sorting me out with away tickets… Tweet @AnfieldShrine

*Paranoid Android – Ok Computer - Radiohead

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Anfield Shrine Column - Issue 190 of RAOTL

Originally published in print. Issue 190 of Red All Over The Land Fanzine

Firstly I’d like to introduce what is HOPEFULLY going to be a regular column in RAOTL. Some of you may or may not remember ‘The Anfield Shrine’ a little fan site I ran during the emerging years of t’internet and LFC forums, probably well over 10 years ago now, how time flies! I was known as ‘Curly’ back then… but very few would know me by that name now.

Anyway, to cut a long story short I’m looking to reignite The Anfield Shrine as a new LFC blog, offering opinion, news and guest columnists. I’m just getting it stared again, but I’m keen for anyone who is interested in helping to get in touch… any contributors / designers / supporters are most welcome! I’m also very keen to continue to support this wonderful fanzine that I’ve enjoyed over the years, so I intend this column to be a regular and print only affair!

We’ve just opened a Twitter account, so please follow us @anfieldshrine – we’re not really tweeting much yet, but follow us and we will!

So anyway… onto some musings…

In Simple Praise of Brendan Rodgers

It is late on Red All Over The Land’s very own deadline day and I am determined to pen a piece after a final plea for contributions from the big man JJP. I was struggling to think about what to write about. Strange I know considering I’m sat here watching ‘Ingerlund’ safe in the knowledge that Liverpool FC are currently sitting pretty at the top of the Barclays Premier League © (for all you SKY fans) and with I think we would all agree a pretty successful transfer window behind us AND all without the enigma that is Luis Suarez. So I thought, considering my initial reticence and to be honest, just general ambivalence towards Rodgers as a Liverpool manager I thought it was about time I reflected and expressed my change in opinion.

It was not so much Rodgers ability as a manager that I doubted; it was more just something about him as a man that I found a little ‘cringe worthy’ for want of a better word. I don’t think that God awful ‘being Liverpool’ helped him in my eyes, but to be fair to the man that wasn’t his fault. I will fully admit to be a fully-fledged RAFA obsessive, I still am, I love the man and I wanted him back in a flash… but I’m starting to get over that. I think I’ve found closure!

And who can argue with Rodgers progress so far? Several things stand out for me…

The purchase of Sturridge – what an absolutely inspired move!

Coutinho – see above, what an absolute find… he is simply a magician and I just hope we can keep hold of him. I’m more worried about losing him than I am about Suarez now!

How he handled Suarez - the way both Rodgers and Henry handled the Suarez situation over the summer impressed me. We set our stall out that we’re not a selling club and didn’t let Suarez and his big mouth dictate things. We have ambitions worthy of keeping a player like Suarez, and so we should!

This transfer window – I think we have probably had one of the most successful windows out of any club. We haven’t lost anyone that we didn’t want rid of anyway. We have strengthened in defence which was essential, and with what looks like some real quality. Toure has looked another inspired buy and the other new lads all look to have a lot of potential.

We’re top of the league – ok no one is getting carried away, but we can’t fault that can we? And what is more, we’ve done it without Suarez and with a slight change in style. We haven’t been as obsessed about ‘knocking it about’ but have passed it well, kept possession but in a more meaningful fashion. The display against Utd was fantastic, I thought Lucas was outstanding and everyone played their part.
So I apologise Rodgers, I’m sorry for my initial coldness towards you… carry on like this and who knows where you will end up in my affections!

Finally… support RAOTL

Finally, just a little humble rallying cry to you all… to make sure you support this wonderful publication. If you’re reading this, it means you’ve bought a copy. If you’re never bought it before, I hope you’re enjoying it and if you buy it regularly: don’t stop! Buy a 2nd copy and give it to a mate… and if you fancy putting pen to paper get in touch about contributing!

I love this fanzine and I’m so glad to be involved in it again, it was the first independent voice I came across as a young Liverpool fan and it gave me the chance to express my opinion and develop as a writer… albeit an amateur one! We all know our gripes with modern football, but fanzines like this are the absolute cornerstone of what being a football supporter is all about. Forget your replica kits, hospitality, 3rd kits, training kits and LFC branded egg cups, just buy yourself a copy of RAOTL, put your Adidas trabs up and enjoy.