Posted by john_mac on February 14, 2004, 05:55:44 PM
Up bright and early last Saturday morning and an 8am haircut on Scotland Road was followed quickly by a visit to work, oh what a sad bastard I am, working on a Saturday morning. Anyhow an hour so later & totally pissed off I was soon looking for something to do to while away a day that was to be devoid of alcoholic stimulants.
It didn’t take too long to make up my mind - watching a bunch of horrible inbred tossers playing the spice boys in the FA Cup match on Sky was never going to be an option, so it was in the car and up to Kirkby to watch the under-17s play a bunch of the young, horrible, inbred tossers.
On the main academy pitch the under 19s were playing Blackburn where they fell to a last minute defeat by the odd goal in three. I never saw more than a few minutes of the game so can’t really comment on it, mind you it doesn’t stop most of the those who’ll be on the phone to five live after every match.
Anyhow, as I arrived at the academy I was met by perhaps the most heartwarming site of the day, the King standing watching and encouraging a bunch of youngsters making their way in the game. Perhaps understandably given the clubs involved, Kenny spent most of his morning watching the Liverpool U19s taking on Blackburn. It is amazing how often the great man can be seen at the academy and is heart-warming in a game filled by total idiots that a multi-millionaire can be such a genuine person and still enthralled by the draw and passion of the game.
Anyhow to the U17 game, it was excellent entertainment, both teams far stronger going forward than backward, Liverpool certainly the most creative in the opening half hour before United snatched the lead. I couldn’t help but be amused at the difference in the two teams. The Liverpool line up appeared to be almost exclusively of scouse and Irish backgrounds, the language they used in both joy and anger epitomised their passion for the game and each-other, they oozed comradery and worked so hard for each other. By contrast, the United kids were all far advanced in terms of physical presence, they spoke in all manner of accents and each would look more at home in Herberts than they would enjoying a jar with a group of mates.
It should be remembered that these are under-17s and they should be enjoying the game but United have taken their money making machine to an incredible extreme. Mind you, no doubt each of the parents of these potential superstar school kids will have themselves a nice new house for their trouble and each of the kids themselves a spanking new car to look forward to on their seventeenth birthday ... anyway as half time approached Liverpool pulled a deserved equaliser back.
If anyone has ever been up to the academy they would know that, unlike the under-19s, the under-17s generally have a shortish half-time and stay on the pitch, which is a considerable distance from the changing rooms. How hilarious then to the over-hyped bunch of prima-donnas in white shirts traipse off the pitch to the changing rooms thinking that they were some sort of special superstars. The whole club really is the epitomy of everything that is wrong with modern day football, and anybody who would like to see Liverpool behave in anyway like them truly is beyond my comprehension.
Anyhow once the superstars had managed to dust themselves down and make their way back to the pitch they soon found themselves in the lead again. Again the Liverpool youngsters dug deep and battled themselves back to level very quickly. The reds now began to take what had developed into an excellent game by the scruff of the neck, forcing the superstars into more and more defensive situations. To battle back twice from behind against a team that was obviously physically advanced showed great character; to then take the lead after an excellently worked move which swiftly moved the ball from their own half to the United net via about a dozen passes showed considerable guile to add to this character.
In an inevitable twist an incredibly overweight linesman gave United a free-kick on the edge of the box for a dive that left the Liverpool defenders glancing towards the grassy knoll for the rifled sniper. Another genuinely pleasing aspect in the difference in attitude of the teams was the way that the Liverpool lads rolled their sleeves up and got stuck in - so much in contrast to the way the young would-be superstars rolled theatrically around whinging to the referee. Not that the Liverpool lads lacked ability, they certainly did not, they allied it to strength and determination rather than whinging and moaning. An influence from above perhaps? Anyhow a header from the dubious free-kick saw the superstars gifted an undeserved equaliser as the game drew to its conclusion.
I have purposely not mentioned any of the Liverpool players by name but there were some excellent performances. The reason for this is two-fold, firstly that I don’t know too many of the names but mainly because it wont be too long anyhow before some idiot of a Red is calling for these kids to be prematurely promoted to first team status - let's leave that to the superstars and let our kids learn and enjoy their football while they can.© john_mac 2004
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