Eyewitness Report: Liverpool 3 - Wigan 0 (Dave Whelan's mouth - Shut!)

Posted by Harinder on November 17, 2012, 11:54:41 PM

Part one – Anne Williams needs our help

I’d volunteered. I was going to give every ounce of my time until kick off to do something. I didn’t want to waste it. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I have no need for a pre-match bevvy. All I ever want is to get in to the match. Hopefully hear the roar of the Kop (we’ll get to our lion like roar later) and see our team demolish those in front of them. It doesn’t always work out that way. Suffice to say all those who lost somebody or lived through the events of that fateful day in April in 1989 had that same feeling inside before getting to Hillsborough and expecting a tremendous Liverpool performance. Instead we all know what transpired and 23 years later those who should have known and could have known most definitely do whether they like it or not.

So getting 100,000 signatures to help Anne Williams should be a walk in the park. It will propel itself (unlike the previous all hands to the pump effort) and will leave our government embarrassed again at failing to do what is right at the right time. No-one walks alone at Liverpool Football Club’s family do they?

Do they?

We know they don’t. We just don’t do very much about it sometimes. That’s why the RAWK based family of fans are there. To get things going and light a few touchpapers. Just spread a word or two and we’ll be there. Only we weren’t…

Why do people volunteer for anything? It’s a mugs game. You say or do something. You want others to listen. You think they will but they don’t and you’re left feeling like the alien and not vice versa. You lose that time for the pre-match bevvy, the crack before the game and the generation of the buzz before you get into Anfield. Given I don’t give two shits about the bevvy, helping today was right up my street

I met John at the Hillsborough Justice Campaign (HJC) just after 10.30 in the morning. I’ve been in before a few times, as you do, either to see what is going on or drop something off or fly a flag (as you do!). Only this time it seemed like the first time all over again. A bit like your first day at high school. You’re the youngest kid on the block and you don’t want the big kids to batter you or have your card marked. So what do you do? You have a cup of coffee upstairs with John Mac after being introduced to Gerry and having Steve pop along too. Only I wish I actually hadn’t now. Upstairs, once you get past the dark stairs, you’ll see walls covered with signed memorabilia and photos of team members and banners/tops from other clubs. From Tampa Fans to Celtic, From Rafa to Kenny… you can’t miss them. Nestled in between all this is pain. You’re not prepared for it. You can’t even think about the possibility of it but when you catch a letter or a poem from someone to their now departed loved one you will look nowhere else. The mirrored mosaic offers a brief respite whilst you appreciate its intricacy for a few minutes but then you’re drawn back to the poem or letter. You could ask what they said and I’d be honest in saying that for all that I enjoy remembering in life the words are easy to forget. Not because they don’t mean anything to me, the total opposite actually. It’s because of just how much they mean and how much I cannot change the pain associated behind them. No quick fix for that. No banners will return a son or daughter and no songs will make that memory pass with any less hurt

So why bother? What is all this about if we cannot change that which has past. One simple word – truth. A lot is made of it. A lot of people think now that the truth is out there, its over. We climbed the Hill and all that. What do we need to do now? Justice bell ringing. Off for another bevvy and onto the game right?

Wrong. We’re at day one of justice. Repeat that to yourselves.  Day one. Now work out how many days Anne has left? Hopefully that is a point made if not laboured. This is why those that did volunteer have done so. They connect with something deeper to hopefully ensure Anne gets what she deserves for Kevin.

Gratefully John walked me over to the Sandon and left me in the hands of Roy Bentham and the Spirit of Shankly. Flyers in hand I nervously placed a few on the tables at Dodds, crossed over into the front of the Sandon and then upstairs to the Village hospitality. Seeing the flyers, I was asked if I worked for the Club. Yes, I thought of saying. The possibly only dressed down turban wearing, beard flowing Sikh that does… and doing it with bright red trainers to boot me-lady! That didn’t get said and she took half my bundle and laid them out on the tables :-)

I then headed back towards the HJC via the shops/small eateries and bars. People walked past oblivious of Anne. “Who?,” “arrr signed it orr-ready laa” and “Taa” were the common items heard. Best moment was when a man ignored it, said something stupid and his missus pulled him up on it. God bless you ma'am.

Teflon John had already made inroads before I got back to base camp and you could just feel the word spreading. Numbers though petition wise seemed a bit slower. Rocketed to 75k and then seemed to be trickling. Reinforcements I thought were needed. I stocked back up and with a brain wave off towards the Hillsborough memorial I marched. People were walking past the players entrance with flyers in hand towards me. Obvious really – another volunteer was covering things and that’s where I met Albie. It sounds strange but there he was right next to the memorial and majestic. No other adjective works here

Car parks. I know a few. Used the Stanley Park one last season with family and this year I use the one as you approach Anfield on the same side as the Arkles and before that money thing on the corner near the lights. Impressed with myself and the associated snare off I went. Beaten by Cato (again, I might add and not for the first time today). There she was. She’d already had that idea and when she mentioned car parks before outside the HJC I thought she meant the players one. I tip my turban at her. She went up to complete strangers not just giving a flyer and hoping they’d take it but instead stopping them and asking/explaining about the petition. That takes guts. Real guts. I can only assume she’s a mum herself and understands what it is like to have a bond with a son/daughter. There was another lady too doing the same but I didn’t catch her name. I only wish they met Ian Rush and did the same. He stopped for photos but raced past me and flyer in hand. My heart sank. I mean really sank. My hero brushed me aside for a photo with someone else. I can’t make an excuse for him. I want to. Lord knows I want to. I know they have to be somewhere but sometimes you really despair. He’s still my hero though.

More walking for me. I realised at this point we’d been out there for a couple of hours and the masses hadn’t truly descended on Anfield. HJC and a restocking beckoned and on the way I bump into Kezza aka Mrsphilthefish aka our twitter supremo. Need a petition RT going somewhere? She’s the lady. Only she’s more than that. Another mum on the case. And fearless too. Armed with blu tack, she not only nailed the passengers getting out of taxis and falling into the boozers around the ground but she got the petition stuck in taxis too. Who’d say no to such a persuasive lady? Fortune favours the brave? let’s just say she rules the roost! Oh and there goes Teflon John again out there flyers in hand and on to the masses  ;D

Stocked again and with time fast approaching 2pm I thought coaches. Another burst of energy over to the other side of Stanley Park and I stop, not for the first time, to take count of how we’re doing. Nearing 78k. I read then PaulR’s comment that we should now count down not up. I then say to the coach drivers and coppers that we are 20k away. Just 20k away from the target. “Giii us it ‘eeer laddee” was the first coach driver who took a load and placed on the seats. “How much is theeese?” was the fella with minibus from Northampton. Yin and Yang, Harinder... Yin and Yang

As all of the flyers had now gone I headed back towards the HJC. Cato only had 6 left and was still busily explaining to the unsuspecting fan what Anne needed.

And then there were none. HJC had cleared out of all the flyers. The club shop had run out as all the bags earlier that I saw with flyers in them were being replaced with fans with tops/hoodies with programmes but no flyers. First few pages… Brendan’s gonna get ya Sucka! If that doesn’t work just wait til you hit page 14 or so. You won’t get away that easily! Oh… Anfield has a new hero. He’s not new really. A bit old I’d say but he’s a hero. George Sephton. Doing the petition justice week in week out and his announcements today were pure class. Peter McDowall too. Anne was described as part of Liverpool FC’s family and one of our mothers. She is you know. That may well be what underpins everything here.

Lounges. Cash been splashed here that’s for sure. They’ve had a spruce up on the entrance (they upgraded the attending ladies when we played Arsenal last season) and the usual stalwart entrance steward Billy was elsewhere. My heart sank a little. I’m used to seeing him each time I opt to sit in CE5 so he’s there in the players car park greeting me on my way towards the lifts. Instead  I get the head of the Lounge stewards and my scheme of getting the Lounge legends to explicitly mention the petitions fleets away. Today it was Jimmy Case and Phil Neal. I hand Jimmy a flyer and explain the situation. Now expecting everyone to be at the same page wasn’t a delusional idea today. Only it seemed Jimmy wasn’t at the races. “arll mention it post the match kid”. Bit late then Jimmy? You’re assuming everyone comes back in for coffees and cake and half a sarnie. So, having faced a little defeat I turned to speak to those around me. Some knew of the petition, many didn’t. They had an assumption that the Attorney General had said no way will anything happen early. Needless to say they don’t think like that now and they now also know who the kid who said “Mum” was just before he passed away.

Oh Part 2… the match. There was one. We won. The end!

Last season’s match up was one to forget. Not much really happened in it that was noteworthy bar a little debut for Raheem Sterling. We lost 2-1 and deserved nothing. Elderly fans cried as our fanbase booed a Kenny Dalglish team… something no-one ever thought they would see with their own eyes. I watched this match, as I did the one today in the centre of the ground, deeply frowning and cursing the considered faithful and wondering how we came to this? A bunch of booing, bashful and somewhat lethargic fan base

How I hoped we would change

Along came the changes. King departs and the search for another manager begins. Only we have a vocal voice of the North who just loves to wax lyrical providing sage like advice to all that will listen. The supremo of the largest, most dynamic club (I mean mouth!) of the North West. Famed for their footballing prowess as well as Rugby. Owner of a club so progressive that it’s got the addition of “Athletic” at the end of it.

Yes. Dave Whelan. Baby. You know? The fella who said “When we have been there playing them, there is no heart in the club at present. It's a little bit disturbing when you think that a football club as big as Liverpool is functioning without a heart”. I had a bit of time for Wigan up to this point. I once saw Heskey and Valencia play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. They were losing 1-0 and taking leave of my senses I shouted out “ Heskey – put in the back of the net. For old times sake”. And he did. And I went wild. And I was asked to leave the Bridge’s corporate seat. I didn’t mind. It was time to leave anyway! I didn’t like the recruitment agency that took me there anyway. Their saving grace was the agent was a Red!

Would today been any different?  In a word. No.

They make us change sides. Simply fuck off Wigan. I mean really do one. I want to put you on a bonfire when any captain makes us attack the kop end in the first half. I mean come on. That’s just not cricket! That doesn’t excuse us as fans though. On the Fields of Anfield Road was lost as a murmur in the Kop as was Poor Scouser Tommy and today gone but not forgotten You’ll Never Walk Alone. If you’re hearing more Gerry Marsden than Jimmy and Martin in block 305 and the rest of the stands we got issues people.

On with the match. Again not in the chronological “and then this happened” way.

• First 5. Enrique great coming forward. Is he left back or left wing. Who cares? He’s boss. He’s Jose and he’s been at them milkshakes. Protein ones at that!
• Anfield atmosphere dead though. Hardly any crowd noise or songs. Anny Road massive start the Suarez song.
• Who’s that slouching in where the players sit? Not in dugout but up where directors sit. I hope he’s not sleeping!!!!
• Next real action at thirty mins with a great cross in met by our number 30 Suso with a not so great header. Funny stuff with Agger and their defence. Danny kept moving. They didn’t like it
• Suso Subbed afterwards by Henderson. Gerrard goes advanced. Few good chances in last 5 mins of first half. Reina skills. That is now Pepe “I got mad skills bro” Reina. ;D

Second half. Just how hard is it to get to your seats on time peeps?  >:(

• Sterling. Suarez. Goal. Anfield shocked. Delayed reaction on bringing the noise. We’re winning na-n-nah n-nah nah nah nah, Ring of Fire aaaaannd I am on my own
• Henderson good play. Really good play. Tidy, clean passing and really moving. Paisley once said players need to have 4 choices around them when on the ball and he’s a choice alright. Closed down well. Advanced well and no longer do we have 2 in the midfield that are half the size of Arouna Kone
• Franco Di Santo sounds like holiday resort. He really does. Where did you go over summer? Oh I had deck chair and towel at Franco Di Santo
• Enrique. Suarez. Goal number 2. Thank you. 59th min. Noise More like it.
• 60. Skrtel. Pole. Wigan player. The pole got booked for diving  ;D
• Goal attempts like sex. Oh oh come on. Lady Luck sterling and goal for Enrique. NUMBER 3! Following up on rebound. Finally we are following up on spills. Like an alley cat outside the Cravendale factory.
• Here comes the 4th. Hendo in on the act. Well nearly. But he's there. FOLLOWING IN! It’s still 3-0!

And on we go to the next match. We started on a lull and finished with roar. Thank god. Lets hope we know purr like a machine in the next fixture!

Oh. 17 and bit thousand to go and time of writing. http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/40925

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