Thursday, 30 December 2010

Speaking Volumes - Roy Hodgson

My LFC supporting friend felt the need to write down his thoughts and feelings after last nights game - this is his email....

This is a quote from the BBC Website. It speaks volumes about Roy Hodgson.

"A lot of our players were below their form and the level we want them to play at. It was a performance way below what we are capable of and what we wanted to give. I'd like to give Wolves credit but Ithink we were a bit unlucky to lose the game. Probably 0-0 would have been a fair result but it was nowhere near our expectations or hopes. It's one of those days thatsaddens you as a coach and as a player. Tonight the fans go home angry and disappointed because they've seen their team play badly."

Firstly, you will never see these words being spoken by Ancelotti, Wenger, Ferguson etc. as they would not allow their teams to have been beaten by Wolves.

But that aside, any honest Liverpool fan who watched the game cannot believe that a 0-0 draw was deserved or fair, nor should it have even be contemplated.

We played Wolves, not Barcelona.

Yet, it is perhaps, the second part of the statement, underlined, which provides much more about the state ofmind of Mr Hodgson. For me, it’s the use of the phrase "their team" which is most notable. Its as if he is divorcing himself from the team and the performance. May I suggest that a re-phrasing along the lines of "…fans go home angry and disappointed because we've played badly" would be better received?

Now this use of language suggesting separation between him and the team maybe a sign that he doesn't feel the Liverpool team is "his", when for all the booing and disgruntlement and criticism being aimed at the team by the fans for the parlous state of affairs, there is ultimately only one man who can alter things - and that man is Mr Hodgson.

It would not be histrionics to suggest that Liverpool FC on the pitch are in crisis and historically when we have been in crisis mode in the past, and - with one major exception - the fans it appears have always backed and believed in the manager to do his job and to lead them through.

When lower league, Watford beat us in FA Cup in 1970, it signalled the end of the "60s team", and a major rebuilding provided by the guiding hand of Mr Shankly. The fans believed, the fans trusted, and following a defeat one year later in the FA Cup Final, first Division Championships and European honours flowed; and the fans received their reward.

In the darkest days of the club's history, immediately after Hillsborough, Mr Dalglish provided exceptional leadership by undertaking the mammoth task ofoffering real succour to the fans and families, bychanging the way of thinking of the club and ultimately the sport. Liverpool FC moved from a being strictly commercial institution, designed only to win trophies, to an "enlarged family"and in doing so brought the needs (not the wants) of the fans into sharp focus.

Mr Dalglish's leadership brought near normality to an abnormal circumstance and pulled in the support of other clubs. The fans believed in Mr Dalglish and he altered the perception of the club and - for want of a better phrase - the fans received their reward.

Ironically, and far less important than what he achieved during the aftermath of Hillsborough, upon his resignation, it is arguable that Mr Dalglish left a much weaker Liverpool squad than the one he inherited - they had in the main reached a "tipping point" in age. This was the crisis that Mr Souness inherited, compounded by new regulations in Europe (demanding more home grown players in squads) and a need to update the workings of the club, which had remained unchanged for a generation or more. Unlike his predecessors he did not command the respect or belief of the fans that he could lead the club through the crisis, borne out ultimately by the strange decision in aligning himself with a certain "red top" newspaper in the aftermath of his illness. In the end, spelt bold in his resignation letter, Mr Souness acknowledged he tried to change things too quickly and too deeply, which saw his team, boasting good young players like Fowler, McManaman and Redknapp playing next to Julian Dicks, Neil Ruddock and Itsvan Kozma. The fans did not believe, and were proved right.

And now that same non belief is inherent when fans consider whether Mr Hodgson can lead us through the present crisis.

You can argue it’s "not his team", but lest we forget Mr Benitez won the European Cup with the majority of his predecessor's team with a couple of additions. Mr Hodgson is playing with his predecessor's team with a couple of additions, but unlike Garcia and Alonso (Mr Benitez's additions) Mr Hodgson's additions have not inspired confidence (leaving aside Maurieles who was lined up long before Mr Hodgson arrived).

You can argue that "he's not had enough time", but I struggle to think of another profession where you are given time to prove yourself. And yes, I know that football is a pantomime and not of the real world, but try to imagine using that argument with a pilot who has difficulty with direction and control of aeroplanes or a doctor who keeps misdiagnosing ailments or a drummer who's booed off stage night after night for not being able to keep time. "Listen just give him more time, it'll all come good…."

You could argue that his experience will prove invaluable in this time of crisis, but his record and "experience" appear to speak for itself. He took the then Champions of England to the brink of relegation, he managed championship teams in countries where the league is not as strong as the Premiership (Norway and Denmark), he managed Milan for a couple of years reaching a UEFA Cup final, a fate he replicated in over achieving one season with a mid table Fulham and he managed a couple of national sides. And it is perhaps this final statement above all others which for me is the main question that needs to be asked of Liverpool FC when offering Mr Hodgson the manager's position. What was the criteria they used in appointing him?

In the club's Annual Report of 2004, it clearly states that in releasing Mr Houllier from his contract and seeking a replacement a set criteria was formulated and followed. The new manager must have won a major European league; he must have one of the major European trophies; he must have a proven record of developing talent; he must be young enough to be a long term appointment, etc, etc. Mr Benitez ticked all the boxes, was approached, his availability following his resignation at Valencia helped, and he was appointed. So I wonder, what criteria did the (then) Board at Liverpool FC use in seeking to appoint Mr Hodgson? He wasn't available - his contract at Fulham was bought out - his record as above shows non achievement, he has no proven track record of developing young talent, he's never won a major European league, nor cup, and ultimately this is his folly.

I always believed Mr Hodgson was a "holding position" appointment, similar in some small way to Mr Fagan when replacing Mr Paisley. In Mr Fagan's case it was keep winning trophies and keep everyone "on board". For Mr Hodgson, it is keep the team in contention for Europe (5th, 6th, maybe a Champions League push) coupled with a run in the domestic cups and Europe, and to offer a steady hand on the tiller, until a long term replacement is found by the new owners, who were not in place at the time of his appointment. However, it is sad to say that some 18 games into the Premier League season, and less than six months after his appointment, it is quickly realisable that we have a "drummer who can't keep the beat".

I believe Mr Hodgson to be a genuine man. I believe him to have sound football knowledge and theory, but it is painfully obvious that he is not the right man to manage, develop and lead a major European footballing team like Liverpool.

His attention to team matters in both bringing in players and altering the poor state of affairs on the pitch, are acting as the coffin in which his managerial reign in being lowered. His language in divorcing himself from the performance against Wolves, providing that separation, is the coffin lid being nailed down.

And the three words of Blackpool, Northampton and Wolves are the tombstones which ultimately should mark the end Mr Hodgson's disastrous tenure as manager of Liverpool FC.

For the sake of the club, Mr Hodgson now needs to leave with all due haste, less we slip through the trap door (which is waiting) and become a mediocre mid table team...or worse.

Monday, 20 December 2010

A letter from 20 April 1989


Today I found the copy of a letter that I had hand written on 20 April 1989. I sent the letter to MPs, including Eric Heffer, MP for Walton; Sean Hughes, MP for Knowsley South, who forwarded it to George Howarth MP for Knowsley North.

I have typed it word for word so the grammar and structure may not be the best but as you can imagine it was an emotional time. I also gave evidence to the police and the letter was forwarded to Lord Justice Taylor’s investigation.

With the continuing poor and untrue reporting of the Hillsborough Disaster e.g. the Boston Globe. I thought I would share it on here as it was written at the time with fresh memories of that awful day.

“I feel it is important for as many people as possible who were at Hillsborough to write their version of events down and send them to yourself or other MPs. It is the only way our voices will be heard. My version is below.

I am not in any way anti-police but I feel I am justified in criticising some officers on duty both inside and outside the stadium.
I arrived at the Leppings Lane turnstile area at about 2:30 and the crushing was pretty bad then. The mounted officers however were at the front of queue shouting at fans to stop pushing. Myself and other fans asked them to go further back to ease the crowd and make a barrier with their horses but we were ignored.

Once inside almost everyonemade for the tunnel which leads to the middle section of terrace. In my opinion this is because it is the only clear means of getting to the terrace. (The same happened last year)

The crush on the middle section of terrace was so bad even ten minutes before kick off that a number of us were shouting to the policeman on the perimeter fence to open the gate; He did hear us but refused.
Everybody who was in that section were being pushed in all directions. I was lucky – I went sideways and was able to climb over the railings into the section to the right. Everybody at this stage were helping other fans into this section, over the railings.

I seen none of the game, it didn’t matter we knew something was badly wrong.

I cannot comment on the opening of the gate as I used a turnstile and was inside the ground when I heard it had been opened.
I feel I must point out that possibly a bigger factor than the perimeter fencing was the segregation railings with NO gates to my knowledge, which stopped the sideways flow of fans.
It makes me extremely angry and sad that the police, who have sophisticated crowd surveillance equipment did NOT learn any lessons from last years semi.

Even watching the Match of the Day video from last season you can clearly see space on the outer terraces while the middle terrace, as this year, was clearly over capacity.
What is the use of having all this equipment if it is not used to its full potential?
Please make my views known to those who matter.”

The truth is out there. One day 96 souls will have justice. YNWA

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Dear Mr Hicks

Thanks to Mike Jefferies and everyone else involved in the making of this video.

They showed they care about OUR CLUB. Now it is our turn....

Can you please:

  • Make sure that this is watched as widely as possible.
  • Send the link to anyone you know.
  • Post it everywhere you can.

Liverpool Football Club is OUR club
Let's make certain we take it back to where it belongs.



Sunday, 3 October 2010

If I never saw the sunshine, I wouldn’t mind the rain…

The trouble is, not only did I see the sunshine, I saw a long hot summer lasting from the mid 60s until 6 February 2007. Then the weather changed, as slowly but surely two new owners gathered in the clouds above L4; it’s been raining ever since.

The rain is now so heavy that come 11 October 2010 Liverpool Football Club as we know it could sink into the mire as the banks decide our fate.

Today Liverpool face Blackpool sitting in the bottom three after our worst start to a season in my memory.  A win is of course vital and could see us move up to 10th in “this oddest of Premier League seasons” – something straight of the Sky Sports book of bullshit quotes.

If we win today it won’t alter the fact that this is poor, this is wrong and this is totally unacceptable!

I happen to think that the manager has been tactically inept, the players, some of them at least looking less than hungry or caring – but by far the biggest problem is the current ‘ownership.’

That’s why it is not 3pm that is most important time today but 1:30pm outside the supporters club, when the fans, myself included, will come together to show that we aim to get our sunshine back. If you can make it please be there even if you’re not going to the game. (More info on Spirit of Shankly)

Also don’t forget if you can get down to Hope Street this morning do so. Mike Jefferies and Dan Hubbard are continuing their film aimed at showing the world what Hicks & Gillett are doing to OUR club so support them if you can.

The title of this piece is a Beth Orton song – she wrote another called Blood Red River…two lines in that song say a lot:
Why must people always want what they can’t have?
Why must people always take but forget to ask?
Hicks & Gillett you forgot to ask and we will show you that you can’t have. You are not welcome anywhere!

Our fight is against them, the owners of our club – although I don’t understand how they get that title – let’s take back what is ours!

Liverpool Football Club is in the wrong hands!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Toffees or a Marriage Made in Heaven?

29 Years ago today my hero and the best football manager the world has ever known left us. Earlier this year I wrote a guest blog for depicting how I came to support the Mighty Reds.

Bill Shankly was a big influence on me being as fervant a supporter as I am - I therefore dedicate that blog to him, Mr Shankly.

"Liverpool was made for me and I was made for Liverpool."
Very much so Mr Shankly, You'll Never Walk Alone.

Read the the blog here: Toffees or a Marriage Made in Heaven?

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Optimism - misplaced or displaced?

So Rafa went. I didn’t want him to go but it was either him or new owners so it was a no brainer. Good bye Rafa and good luck.

So Roy came in. I didn’t want him but it was either him or new owners so it was a no brainer. Hello Roy and good luck.

I hope you’re getting my drift.

On the 17 July as a normally optimistic person I tuned in to watch Roy’s new Liverpool, albeit with an under strength squad, take on Al-Hilal. Of course the rain in Austria delayed Roy’s first game in charge.

Since then we’ve managed to scrape past Trabzonspor to gain a place in the Europa League; were unlucky not to take 3pts from Arsenal after a terrible first half performance; got slaughtered at Man City; beat WBA and scraped an “attractive 0 – 0” at Birmingham. Oh, and of course, we made a ‘profit’ in the window.

My optimistic self tells me that the new additions to the squad need time to gel and settle in and the old hands need to get used to what Roy wants of them.

Therefore on Thursday, with more or less a full squad to choose from, we can expect to see Roy’s strongest 11 starting against Steaua Bucharest ahead of Sunday’s game against the Manc’s ‘Howard Webb 12’? No?

Somehow I think half a dozen of that strongest 11 (who knows what that is?) will be getting to know each other in the stands.

There it goes again, the optimism, displaced and right out of the window.

Why am I feeling this way? And I can see by reading other tweets that I’m not alone feeling this way.

The reason for me is simple and showed in the City and Birmingham games in particular. Roy got it wrong. Fair enough, early on in a new job he’s finding his feet, but when it was clear early in both games why did he not change it? To compound that with his “Attractive 0 – 0” statement, well I’m sorry it is not good enough Roy.

I tweeted in angst on Sunday during the game that:

“It looks like Roy is bringing LFC down to his level rather than rising to the challenge of managing a top team”

I see no reason to change that opinion. Roy’s level by the way, in my opinion, is distinctly mid table and I fear that’s where we’re heading.

Pick a strong team on Thursday Roy. Help me replace my optimism in my team. I know it’s not your fault and as our manager you have my support and YNWA.

As for renewing my optimism in the club, well that’s a no brainer. That is until we can say goodbye and good riddance to Hicks & Gillett and say hello to new owners. Now there's optimism for you!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The Liverpool Way

Liverpool Football Club, in the past did things "The Liverpool Way". Something that grew in the Shankly era and was admired far and wide. Then, like now, the press were fed on crumbs but those crumbs were factual and not the leaked drivel we seem to find now.

As Liverpool got on with it with a quiet dignity, we as fans would eagerly jump to the back page of the Echo to see if we HAD signed anyone - not who we might be signing or any of the other dross that is pumped out so frequently and inaccurately now.

Back then we trusted that club was being run professionally by the chairman, board and secretary and the playing side including, transfer targets, was the decision of the manager and his staff. Together they worked as a team - bringing the best for our club.

Sadly "The Liverpool Way" has been lost, it's broken. Where once there was dignity, loyalty and respect we now suffer ridicule. Roy Hodgson comes across as a diplomat so may help deflect some unwanted press attention away. That though, won’t fix the problem.

New owners and backroom staff might be the long term cure but old ‘owners’ and their staff and their use or misuse of the press are the current symptoms that need dealing with.

The prescription for me, until new owners are in place, is for LFC to call a press conference, honestly spell out what each of their roles actually are, and announce that all future press briefings will be announced, transparently, via the official website. A bitter taste for those in situ I would guess but something that I believe would bring some sort of stability to the illness inflicted on our club.

Even if we don’t like what we hear, at least would stop all this obsessive and worrying speculation and it may even make the club a better proposition to prospective new owners.

A new season is upon us and we need to get on with ensuring we get the best possible results for the club, our club, with what we have not what we hope to have.

Liverpool in the past played it simply both on and off the field leading the way to our great successes. Doing things simply isn’t always the easy option but it is the Liverpool Way.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head...

It’s approximately 5 hours to Liverpool v Chelsea, a fixture every LFC fan should be relishing but…everything other than a game of football is on the minds of Red’s fans everywhere.

Reports abound about Rafa’s imminent departure for Juventus. I don’t want that to happen but who could blame him?

Having got within a whisker of the coveted title last season, maybe the addition of a little quality and some decent and experienced players would have seen us reach the heights every fan wants to achieve.

As it was a quality player left in Alonso, along with a decent experienced player in Arbeloa. These were replaced by, in my opinion, a quality (but injured) player Aquilani and a decent experienced player in Kyrgiakos. The addition of Glen Johnson improved the quality of the squad but that was more or less it. No much needed strengthening in the depth of the squad.

Forlan was a player I was talking about last year as someone who would be a great asset to our squad. He was playing really well, had experience of the Premiership (as we know to our cost) and is now a much better player. He would, well should, have been affordable. We of course didn't get him or anyone else of that ilk.

Sadly football now is controlled by money more than it ever was and when Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid rode into L4 it Liverpool turned RED in a way that none of us imagined.

For three years Rafa has had to wheel and deal in the transfer market – selling the very players who add strength to a squad to fund the purchase of players needed in certain positions. It just is not sustainable. That’s why there are mid-table teams and teams at the top. Those at the top don’t wheel and deal, they make their purchases to strengthen the squad, replace the mistakes that have been made with better players and so keep on strengthening.

I’m not going to go into the finer detail of Rafa’s transfers or the policy foisted upon him. Others such as Paul Tomkins have done that in great detail and he also covers it in a recent post

The owners, Butch and Sundance, have robbed our bank, told lies to escape the law (fit and proper owners?) and hopefully are about to ride off into the sunset if a quote from the film runs true…

“Butch and me have been talking it all over. Wherever the hell Bolivia is, that's where we're off to…”

For me the only thing that can keep Rafa at Anfield now is a swift conclusion to the sale of the club and cast iron guarantees that the effort he undoubtedly puts in is rewarded with the backing he deserves to move our great club on.

I hope that Rafa considers his efforts over the time he’s been here and decides to finish the job he’s started. It would be nice if he could declare once and for all he’s staying, maybe by running to Kop, putting his shirt over his head to reveal a t-shirt with the message:

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls... meet... the future!”

But how can he with the current turmoil at the club??

Oh well, just over four hours to kick off now and I am slowly beginning to think of the game. Let's big up the support, put on a great performance and show Rafa what he'd be missing.

Even though…those raindrops are fallin' on my head and they keep fallin', there's one thing I know, the blues they send to meet me won't defeat me and it won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me.


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Hillsborough - Still hurting after all these years

One sunny April morning I awoke, the birds were singing and I had thoughts of a trip to Sheffield to watch my all conquering team, Liverpool Football Club in the semi final of the FA Cup.

That was 21 years ago, 15 April 1989, but it seems like it was yesterday.

Picking up the coach by The Rocket we headed for Sheffield; the mood was buoyant, we were the best and we knew it, the day was set.

Our coach was heading for a pub on the outskirts of Sheffield where food was laid on for us by the manager, whose brother was a fellow passenger. We were there for about an hour and filled with chips, a few butties, and stories of past glory days, we headed to Hillsborough.

On the main road near to the ground the traffic was mayhem and the police were trying to redirect our coach to the Forest end, despite the protestations of the driver. We got off the coach at the top of Leppings Lane to make our way to the ground before he went to find suitable parking.

I was the only one in my party with a ticket for Leppings Lane, the others had secured stand tickets, so leaving them to go their way I went to put a few bets on before making the short walk to the ground.

Upon entering the outer enclosure, before the turnstiles, it soon became obvious that things weren’t right. There were no queues to the turnstiles it was just a mass of people, a mass that was being added to by the second as waves of supporters added the throng.

There was no order, women and children were crying because of the crush, blokes were shouting and remember that this is outside the ground.

A mounted policeman was trying to get people into queues but he was a waste of space in all honesty – they needed to stop people moving into the confined space and not shout at those in there already suffering the crush.

Eventually I arrived at a turnstile and for as long as I could I put my hands on the walls either side of the turnstile to allow kids and women under and into the turnstile so they were not pushed onto the wall. Finally, when I could hold no more, I went through the turnstile.

It was such a relief to be inside the ground, there was space and you could breathe. How things would change.

I had been to the semi final the previous year and had had an uncomfortable time on the Leppings Lane terrace – I was veteran on the Kop but this had been different. For this reason I had planned to go to the terrace to the left or right of the goal rather than stand behind it but having gone through the bedlam before the turnstile my plan was forgotten.

Like the previous year I headed down the tunnel, it was right in front of you, it drew you in. I took up my place to the right of tunnel and it wasn’t long before I sensed something was not right. Approaching kick off time memories of the previous year came back as the space became tighter and tighter. I decided then to get out – my plan was still there in the back of my mind I guess.

I squeezed my way as far to the right as I could and climbed over the railings into the corner pen, just as Peter Beardsley's shot hit the bar. I wouldn’t like to think of the consequences had he scored at that time.

This pen was right under the police control room, why couldn’t they see what was happening?

Manoeuvring through I, and many others, had been shouting to the police on the perimeter that the gates at the front needed to be opened. But to no avail. Some fans were trying to climb over onto the pitch but they just bellowed at them to get back in… I wonder how they can live with themselves.

Once I was in the sanctuary of the emptier pen I began helping people over the railings to safety until I felt I was being more of a hindrance as the numbers grew.

I comforted a couple of young lads whose dad was elsewhere in the ground and waited while the horror unfolded. I remember my mouth was so dry, like I had never experienced before or since. I shared Wrigley’s Doublemint with the lads – the things you remember…

My feelings of guilt and the vivid memories will never go away, and never a day passes when I don’t think of it, of those people, it flashes into my head and then it’s gone.

How could a beautiful sunny April day end so tragically?

I somehow managed to find my coach and listening to the radio as we made our way back home the numbers of dead and injured were rising. The coach was silent.

Arriving back at The Rocket we were embraced by some Everton fans returning from their semi final - strangers just pleased that some fellow Scouser's had returned from a football match.

On a sunny day, 15 April 1989, we lost ninety six friends. They set out to watch their invincible team just like me, but never to return. One day they will get justice because we will never forget.

Justice for the 96 - YNWA

Monday, 29 March 2010

From Cheltenham Woes to the Anfield Legends Lounge

I never went to the Cheltenham Festival this year but I did 'enjoy' a bet or two and opened new accounts to benefit from the freebies on offer. I had just about run out of accounts to open when I remembered that Liverpool FCs 'partner' bookmaker was 188bet. I proceeded to open an account only to find that they didn't offer bets on horseracing! Unperturbed I placed a bet on Aston Villa and lost the lot! If I start backing Spurs and Man City I can guarantee us 4th place – I have no luck see…  Or do I? Part of the deal in opening the 188bet account was a chance of winning LFC tickets, something I had totally forgotten about until a phone call on Thursday morning made my day.

“You know the competition you entered on 188bet?” the caller said; “Erm, yes” I lied. “Well you have won tickets for Sundays Liverpool match.” “Bloody Hell!” I exclaimed just before the train entered the tunnels at Lime Street and we got cut off!!

Frantically, when daylight reappeared I rang the number back. It was confirmed, me and four friends would be going to the Sunderland match, with full hospitality courtesy of 188bet.
I started going to watch Liverpool in around 1965 when my Dad would walk me and my brother to the ground from ‘Noggsie’ and take us into the ‘Anny Road’ end for free at ‘3/4 time’. This meant that we’d see the last 15 minutes of games and watch legends like Roger Hunt, Ron Yeats and Tommy Smith doing their stuff. My first full match in the boys pen was on the 12 April 1968 and we lost 2 – 1 against Sheffield United, Sir Roger Hunt hitting the net for the Reds. Many happy years stood on the Kop followed until, fed up with games being switched to Monday nights for TV, and being skint, I foolishly didn’t renew my season ticket. I now go to games when I am able to get hold of tickets for me and my LFC mad daughter Sofie.
So not knowing exactly what to expect we set off.

First stop the Hillsborough Justice Centre to pick up some Spirit of Shankly leaflets to hand out in the ground followed swiftly by a couple of pints in The King Harry.
Me, Sofie and Mal then went to meet our host from 188bet, Kevan a Geordie Newcastle fan who would get on well with my son in law Mal (who is of similar ilk!), my brother Garry and pal Mick.

A slight hiccup before entering The Legends Lounge – we hadn’t been informed of the dress code no jeans etc but I guess staring at my Shanks tee shirt, the biggest legend of them all, they saw sense and let us in.

Champagne, wine and canapés preceded a tour of the stadium and museum – the first time Geordie Mal had seen a trophy never mind a museum full – and then back to the Legends Lounge to meet Tommy Smith and tuck in to the beautiful food & more wine:
Hoi Sin & Teriyaki flavoured duck, soup, roast meats, Salmon and treacle tart, Lemon Crème Fraiche and crystallised lemon peel. And very nice too!

I put on more bets (oh dear!), bought Sofie a Torres dress, I’m not sure he’d suit it, and then it was time for the game. Our seats were in the Main Stand, level with the Anfield Road end 18 yard box, and 3 minutes in our latest legend struck. After a brilliant run from the left wing Fernando Torres scored with a fantastic curling a shot into the top corner. The game flowed, it was like watching a Liverpool team from a different season and when a nice strike from Glen Johnson hit the net the game was all but over.

At half-time we fought our way back to the Legends Lounge to top up on wine and confidently hand in our table quiz before we were back out for the second half.
More of the same from the Reds as Steve ‘beach ball head’ Bruce's tactics were no answer to Liverpool’s fluid passing game. When Torres made it 3 – 0 we waited for more but it wasn’t to be. A great performance by the lads to make our brilliant day even better.

After the game we saluted the SOS protest on the Kop and went back to the Legends Lounge for more wine, oh and I had a coffee! Tommy Smith kindly signed a picture and Brian Hall the programme – both will be going to the Hillsborough Justice Campaign to hopefully raise some money for them.

Drinking our wine we were given the answers and a quiz sheet to mark – I spotted we had got 2 wrong straight away, we had got 4 of the 5 overseas players to have scored 20 Premier League goals and wrongly guessed that the former Liverpool goalkeeper awarded the PFA Merit award was Ray Clemence when in fact it was Steve Ogrizovic.

But as Tommy Smith asked did anyone have 16 correct? No response, then 15 correct? No response I knew it was ours! Jubilant celebrations followed – and more wine!
Oh yes, and the prize – it was another bottle of wine each signed by the Legend that is Tommy Smith – The Anfield Iron!!

Leaving my beloved cathedral it was back to the King Harry a few more ciders before the budget price hike and a taxi home. I won’t go into the taxi crashing incident outside the Supporters Club – that can be done another day.

So my Cheltenham Festival woes became, for me, the stuff of legends and a day of my dreams! Oh yes and my bets for the day: Liverpool 3 - 1, 4 - 1 and 5 -2! One day, one day...