State of the (Scouse) Nation: The Internal Spyin' Kop part 2

Posted by RAWK Editor on November 9, 2005, 04:33:15 PM

continuing the RAWK-flavoured look at the state of LFC ...

What players would you
A) Like to see brought in and like to see leave in January?

WOOLTONIAN: I don’t think we’re in a position to let players go, and I don’t watch any other sides to name an individual to come in. But I agree with Rafa, we need a quality centre half and a supplier on the right. The only player in England who meets that criteria who I have seen is Ledley King. I think he has a big future in the game.

MichaelA: I'm no good with transfer speculation, that's why I always lock those threads. We need to replace Sami in the next season or so. We need a right winger, or Harry Kewell to fulfill the expectations that we all had a couple of seasons ago. Naming names is a pointless exercise.

Those who need to leave? Josemi for the reasons outlined earlier. I don't think many will go in January, but a few squad players will go in the summer. The biggest question mark hangs over the head of Monsieur Djibril Cisse. I don't believe that Rafa really wants him. If we get offered big bucks he may go this winter. But let's face it, we won't get offered big bucks for anyone, and we'll get stitched up in the transfer market. As usual.

Pheeny: right sided player and two CB’s

Victor Meldrew: A) Andrade and Quaresma

AdamS: I am not too picky about the players, but I think that it’s vital that we sign a centre half. I like Upson, but I’ve seen much more of him than many of the other candidates. I’d love to see Woodgate, but I think he will make himself indispensable to Real by January. If Gerrard is happy to play starting from the wing and roaming I’m not sure that right wing is a priority anymore. I’d like to see a really solid left back though.

Spartacus: Don’t know really. I know what positions I’d like to see filled but that’s about it. Don’t particularly want to see anyone leave either, aint got much of a connection to any of them so if he has a clear out then so be it, as long as he brings some decent ones in that’ll do for me.

Hinesy: A) William Gallas. Any good strong centre half. A right midfielder who’s happy to cross the ball all day and stretch the pitch a little. A Premiership player as opposed to an overseas one. What about Robben anyone ? Unsettled at Chelsea… I’d like to see Josemi leaving, and that’s it really, I don’t really think any of em are terrible

Roper: A - Id like to see Josemi leave, and some of the loan players to finalise deals - but thats all wishful thinking. I'd obvioulsy love to see a few players come in, but i dont think a) we have a fuckin chance, and b) its Rafa's style to buy big names. Even in the days of Evans, we spotted we needed centre backs and we went out and bought who were regarded as 2 of the best in Scales and Babb [Babb after a sensational world cup]. We dont seem to have that transfer market conviction at times, and I know a few people have also mentioned some of the shit that goes on inside Anfield at times in the transfer market can be a bit moody to say the least.

Olly: Brought in - bit controversial here, but I’m going to go with at least one winger, and a central defender. Both would need to be experienced players that would improve the team early on. Also, without the likes of Robinho, Adriano and that 13 year old Swahili central midfielder who is excellent on Championship Manager, we’ll never win the league.

Sold - Josemi

Filler: I still think we may be on for Simao, but it's a guess. I've banged on reasonably privately about Alex de Souza from Fenerbache. He plays midfield, or up front left in a 4-3-3. He should be our striker. A centre back is needed. Leaving? Josemi maybe.

Rushian: I'd like us to sell one of Kirkland or Dudek - there's no need to have four keepers on the books. The money brought in can help towards that tricky right winger we've needed for at least 4 years. I don't care who it is, as long as the player is of international quality. A pacy young centre-half as back up the Bootle-Finnish Wall would also be useful for the second half of the season.

B) Expect to see brought in and expect to see leave in January?

WOOLTONIAN: More Spanish league players in, who are not cup tied in the CL, ie not the best available perhaps from other European leagues. Anyone who has played for us in the CL could only be sold at lower money, therefore I hope any exits are left until summer

Victor Meldrew: B) Upson or someone (!!) and Simao

AdamS: Simao seems likely by all accounts. It seems unlikely that we can get Gonzalez in January so but we will sign him in the summer. I worry with the re-emergence of Kewell and with Gerrard offering width do we need both Simao and Gonzalez? I also expect to see a centre back, but I have no idea who?

Hinesy: B) I expect a defender from abroad, a right sided player from abroad, I’m not sure if Cisse will leave given his recent improvement in mood, but maybe him, though I doubt it’s a good idea. I think leave at the end of this season and possibly Sami depending on his games til then.

Roper: B- I think Dudek may go in the Jan window, just cos he cant afford not to be playing in a world cup year, and possibly Cisse if Lyon offer enough wedge. Aside from that, i think we should really be adding before selling anyway. I couldnt even begin to guess who it will be though. No doubt no one we've ever heard of but who is "the next such and such".

Olly: Brought in – a right winger, and a couple of youngsters. Sold: a couple of youngsters, and possibly Cisse

Filler: Rafa hasn't texted me back yet.

Rushian: I've written to Rafa and he said he'll sort it out for me. Seriously, we had the funds available in the summer to agree a 10.5m deal for Simao and bid over 5m for 2-3 different central defenders, so I'd expect Rafa to get who he wants in early January given the extra four months he and the board will have had to negotiate deals.

What do we think of Rafa's premiership tactics.

WOOLTONIAN: If he has a tactic for Europe and another for Premiership, I’d be amazed. A win is a win no matter what game you play in. What succeeds in Premiership must succeed in the Europe, I still believe we play in the best league in Europe. I think it’s more to do with the players. The Premiership is probably the most physical around Europe and some of our players just don’t seem to relish weekend football when the boot flies.
If Rafa’s aim is to make us a pretty side as against a grafting side as I’ve become used to over the decades I’d be disappointed.
Flare is nice to watch on ‘showboat’ Saturday am, but it’s never going to bring the title back.

MichaelA: We think he needs to knuckle down and pick a side and stick with it when they're winning. Rotation is for farmers.

We think that the team that plays should play to the formation that suits them best, rather than selecting a formation and then hoping that the round pegs in the square holes can cope with playing out of their natural position.

We think he needs to sort out one or two players who seem to think that they have all day to choose their pass or shot.

We think that he needs to buy a couple of players in January who can take us up a notch in performance.

We think that the motivation of the team needs to be worked on when they are facing Portsmouth,etc in the league on a wet Tuesday night in darkest winter.

We think that ultimately, he probably needs the remainder of this season to sort out his squad and his tactics, but we think that next season there should be a more determined campaign in the league.

Victor Meldrew: Negative and cautious and attacking and flowing. All depending on what system he selects.

AdamS: I’m not a big believer in questionning a manager’s tactics. I mean there is the odd occasion when it’s clear to see that the tactics aren’t working (Like Sven playing Beckham behind Gerrard and Lampard and watching them get totally bypassed). On the whole though I am happy to see the manager choose the tactics. One thing I have seen is that the speed of our play is growing. I remember watching Rafa’s Valencia tear us to pieces with some of the best passing football I have ever seen. I occasionally see glimpses of that.

I really hope that is where we are going. You can play any kind of formation playing like that, it doesn’t matter.

Hinesy: Well I think he is slowly seeing a 4-4-2 formation might be a good idea sometimes and I think he’s still learning and I don’t think we’ve done that bad, so I’ll hold off that answer for a longer thread.

Roper: I dont see much difference between Premiership tactics and European tactics to be honest. Just that they are more effective in Europe because we are allowed time to execute them.

Olly: At times we’ve been a little negative away from home, but that’s hardly surprising given our form last season. Everyone can see what we are trying to do with the one man up front, but without any decent wingers Crouch / Morientes will always struggle in front of goal. The increased movement of our front players in recent weeks has looked promising though.

Filler: On the up - one real bonus is the amount of clean sheets we've got so far, something to build on. All the players need is some confidence. Tho Cisse wide right? Not anymore I hope.

Rushian: I think that sometimes he underestimates the ineptness of the opposition and rather than controlling the match at an assured pace we need to go for the jugular. Though he is still stymied by the lack of balance in the squad, so criticism has to be tempered.

In your opinion, is the notion that the European Cup win has distorted expectations amongst fans to an unrealistic extent positive or negative?

WOOLTONIAN: Negative, as I said earlier, we burnt our fingers after the treble year, surely we should have learned a lesson from that.

Roper: Definately negative. The fans we attract when we win things [which inevitably happens] need to learn the basics of this club. We're not fuckin Birmingham, Boro, or Blackburn....things are a little different. Think before you speak and learn the traditions of the club. All those in the know just knew that we werent the best side in Europe player wise last season and it just happened for us with hard work, and a touch of luck. To think we would stroll things as a result would be fuckin ridiculous. Be optimistic about things and maybe set yer targets high, but deep down expectations should be more realistic and we shouldnt then be ready about people going beeee-zerk when Liverpool are waltzing to victories.

Olly: Negative – patience and realism seems to have gone right out of the window, and in an age where people demand things instantly, some people appear to expect too much too soon. Shame really, as they’ll only end up disappointed.

Rushian: Negatively. But it's not just the fans it's the press. Too many of both seem to think that winning the European Cup delivers some sort of magical pot of gold that enables you to challenge Chelsea in the transfer market.

With ever increasing prices for entry to watch English football live, do you think that match going fans have more of a "right" to vent their frustration during games?

WOOLTONIAN: No. If you have chosen to continue to support the club that’s exactly what you should do on match day. If you cannot give it your full support, you should let someone who will, take your place. It’s not a sin to take a sabatical while you get your head back on straight. If you want to whinge and moan, watch it on the box like others do, rather than wash your dirty linen in front of millions worldwide. Or do as we used to, find a mate on the QT, moan like fuck until he cheers you up or puts things into perspective

Victor Meldrew: Yes. Simple as that.

AdamS: Well no I don’t think so. I just don’t think fans venting their frustration through games is on. I think the odd sigh or the odd yell of disgust is okay, but booing and jeering shouldn’t happen. If people don’t like paying that much speak with your feet/cash and don’t go.

Hinesy: We’re fans not customers. As the TO has sometimes shown, what ‘rights’ do we have.

Roper: No one should be negatively venting their spleens during any game. But after games I have no problem with it, thats what footie is all about. Opinions, and voicing them. But I do believe that those who were actually there have more of a right to point things out than those who've watched clips on Sky or whatever. I yearn for the days back where 45,000 of us in Anfield knew the script, the rest just read the Echo and the Saturday pink and fact, that still happens now expect they truely believe they know enough now!!

Olly: No – that is what the pub is for. At games, everyone should be 100% behind the team. We’ve seen in recent times how much the crowd can make a difference, and if anything having paid so much for a ticket why would you want to sit down and moan? The seats in the pub are more comfy in any case.

Rushian: Leave it for the pub.

If you could take your grandad to the game nowadays, what would he think?

WOOLTONIAN: I think he would be absolutely gob smacked at the pace of the game today. The time when players used to slow the ball down and weigh up all his options, is a thing of the past. Players have to be near telepathic nowadays with the short time they get on the ball, the only games you get time and space is in Europe

Victor Meldrew: Cockneys? In the Kop? (Ooo, miaow!).

AdamS: My Grandad is two things. Tight as a ducks arse and a Man City fan. If I took him now he’d probably want me to save my money and make sure I’ve got a nice savings account because one day I’ll need it. He’d tell me football’s not like it was and I should be watching cricket. Then he’d tell me that his brother Phil was on Utd’s books, but hurt his leg on national service.

Hinesy: He’d think my car was difficult to get out of. And that Harry Kewell was a girl.

Roper: What the fuck is this? And, thats not a scouse pie lad!

Olly: He’d probably hit someone, hopefully someone wearing a jester hat, clapping halfway through YNWA with his mobile in the air, and “Look at me – I’m great” printed on the back of his shirt.

Filler: He's be glad there wasn't any cheerleaders and shit songs played over the tannoy when a goal is scored. He'd probably campaign for those teams to be demoted to the Ryman League. And he'd win

Rushian: The ball has changed shape, and he'd wonder who'd nicked all the flat caps.

Anfield, new stadium and groundshare - what's your view?

WOOLTONIAN: As a fan who is definitely on the wind down in attending matches, I really don’t think I’m in the best position to make a call. How can I have a say when whatever the outcome, it wont really affect me. What I will suggest is, I think we are not a million miles away from seeing all Premiership matches moved to Sunday or a fixed time and day, where all games will be available on Pay for View. Ergo I see little point in having a bigger stadium because I believe gates will fall in the long term.

MichaelA: It would appear that redeveloping the ground is a non-starter, which is disappointing. I am sceptical about how often we would fill a new ground outwith the 'big' games. I can't see a mid week fixture against someone like Portsmouth being a big draw.

Groundshare should by now be a dead issue - the very concept is laughable. The fact that it is being perpetuated by a non-elected governmental agency tells you how and why it is still being dragged up. These people understand the price of everything, and the value of nothing. It should never have been raised as an option.

Victor Meldrew: New stadium - not arsed, it would be good if we did but I like Anfield and its special atmosphere.

AdamS: I think this is tricky. New stadium would have been my answer until recently, but football is facing difficult times. Roman Abramovic’s millions have made a mockery of the modern day rational that football clubs should be run as businesses. I get the sense that people are starting to turn away from football as prices rise and relationships distance. For this reason I would say stay at Anfield. There will be no point of a plush new stadium if all premiership stadia are struggling to fill in a few seasons.

Hinesy: Well if we can’t extend the current ground, we should move. But no groundshare. That simple really.

Roper: I wanna stay put. But as long as we dont groundshare [in whcih case I would cut all ties with the club] im open to moving grounds as long as we keep some originality and dont sell our souls. Either with Ground names, designs, or what have you

Olly: We shouldn’t move, simply because of where we would be moving from. Anfield is one of the most famous grounds in the world, and the history pouring out of the ground could not be transferred anywhere else. Would there have been the noise and atmosphere we created last season at home against Juve and Chelsea at a new ground? I honestly don’t think there would have been. Anfield is synomous with passion and success. Change the location of the ground, and you lose a vital component of our past passion and success.

Other than that, with the price rising frequently I’m worried of the impact a move could have on the team building, we’d hardly ever sell out, and a lot of our older fan base may consider their match going futures.

As for the groundshare issue – well that shouldn’t even be up for discussion.

Filler: No corporate name, no MacDonalds advertising, a standing area, pretty girls walking up the aisles selling pies and beer. Again, I'm rushing.

Rushian: Groundshare is not an option, and never will be an option. Those that advocate it are soulless and clueless. A new stadium of our own is, however, vital for the future of the club if we want to compete successfully on both the home and European fronts. It's also vital to increase the capacity to inject some dynamism into the fanbase, which is aging rapidly as fewer and fewer youngsters find their way into the ground - the extra 15000 seats will aid flexible pricing and reduce the current ridiculous pressure everytime tickets go on sale.

Question: What player, recently sold, would you bring back?

WOOLTONIAN: We really aught to be thinking ahead not backwards. But if pushed for an answer I would say Owen, as long as it’s sooner rather than later. I think everyone knows Michael will score goals no matter which club he plays for. If I’m apprehensive about any game this year it will be the return of Owen to Anfield. I just have a horrible feeling the lad will have something to prove.

Roper: I'm all for looking forward to be honest - no point griping like a bitter twat over stuff we cant change. But, for a purely sentimental reason, id like to see Fowler back....just a total legend. Playing wise, I'd have Owen back, but not for any more than we sold the Taffy for.

Olly: Erik Meijer – but I’d put him in the Main Stand to knock a few heads together.

Rushian: Vladimir Smicer despite his injury record. We always seemed to play better when he was in the side, particularly in Europe.

Liverpool fans have always had a "healthy" rivalry with the Bitters and the Manc Corporation. In the last couple of seasons a new beast has emerged, and most Liverpool fans now have a bitter hatred for Chelsea. Are these sorts of rivalries / feelings of emotion healthy? Or are we becoming so obsessed with other sides that we are actually losing our original focus?

WOOLTONIAN: I will go to my grave with a healthy rivalry for our blue cousins, I think it’s in the blood when your born in the boundary, but I cannot see a time when I hate everyone just because they are successful. If you cannot admire the Arse for going a season unbeaten, I think your in the wrong sport.

MichaelA: Half of my family are Bluenoses. The banter can turn bitter, but I would be genuinely be disappointed to see them go down. It would hurt my Dad, etc, and I think it would hurt the city too. The Mancs is just a given in life. I can't help but revel in their problems and defeats. I don't hate Chelsea, but I do despise the footballing culture in this country which allows Abramovich the licence to fundamentally shift the whole nature of the game.

I have had that moan chucked back at me by fans of other clubs, accusing me of being bitter; pointing put that we bought the best in the 80's, the Mancs bought the best in the 90's. The difference is that both clubs earned the money they spent, through the successes that they achieved. Mourinho has had a blank cheque every season. It will be interesting to see if Roman does start to turn the money tap off and rely on growing talent themselves. At the moment, the league is a joke as everyone else is playing for second place. I reserve my outright hatred for Peter Kenyon, who is without doubt the most odious and arrogant man in football since the high days of Peter Ridsdale.

Victor Meldrew: Fans do. But Benitez is a strict professional who said, last season, that he only concentrates on his team. 'Mentality'.

AdamS: I actually like the venom that we feel towards Chelsea. I have mates that are Chelsea supporters, so I don’t carry it over, but that semi final in the Champions League was what football should be about. I doubt I’ll ever experience an atmosphere like that again. It still gives me Goosebumps now. I like the fact we are a clear underdog against them and I can’t wait until next time David knocks fuck out of Goliath.

Spartacus: I think the rivalry between Man U and Everton is healthy, I’d be worried if it didn’t exist, the Everton one in particular. The derby is our biggest game of the season bar none. Not so sure about the whole Chelsea obsession though, think that’s a mixed bag between jealously and hatred, fuck them.

Hinesy: I think there should be always good banter (not plain hatred) of the auld enemy be that Everhopful or the Mancs. Chelsea are not worthy of our scorn – it makes us appear envious and given our history, that should be the task of every other club. However many of our songs, sung by a large proportion of the Kop, are tedious (ie we’ve won it 5 times sung at League matches, and not just to Chelsea or Mancs - heard it at the Blackburn match - bizarre) or at worse songs that are plain ‘not us’ – you’re not famous anymore; songs about teams that we’re not playing (what were the Chelsea songs about on Tues ? ?); and stuff like champions league you’re havin ‘ a larf… strictly a cockney song. That worries me.

Roper: The bitters is still mine, and all my mates, biggest game of the season bar none...and i think for a lot of people who live in and around the City this will always be the case. Bragging rights are far too important. This obsession with putting Man U and Chelsea up there is based on nothing but jealousy in my eyes. Obviously, they wind us up and rub our noses in it [especially the mancs a few years back when we were doing fuck all] But we shouldnt be arsed about them so much....i think certain sections of the crowd would love to give it all the "stand up if you hate Man U shit" and thankfully we are still managing to over power this crap at the minute. The day it happens, will be the day I stop going.

Olly: The rivalry with the Bitters and the Corporation is healthy. Of course, there is a pure hatred there and I’d like to see nothing more than both teams fail miserably. Once that feeling subsides may well be the day to hang up my match going boots.

But the rivalry with Chelsea is different. For me it is because I have absolutely no respect for their team, manager, sugar daddy or their actions. I would rather ignore them (difficult I know), and granted the utter hatred felt towards them helped create an atmosphere that will never be bettered last season, but I get the feeling that we are becoming a little obsessed. Songs about them when we’re playing a Belgian side abroad doesn’t help.

Filler: No bitter hatred for Chelsea. Just a bitter hatred for corporate greed all over the world. If they want to support that, let them.

Rushian: It's obsessive and I can't be bothered with most of it. It's often "nu-fan" related and all about bragging rights down the local pub. There have always been rivalries but the nadir for me was reached in April 1999 against Leiciester City at Anfield. The Mancs were playing Juventus away and half the Kop were wearing Juventus scarves, shirts and had brought transistor radios to cheer on I Bianconeri. Oh how they cheered when Juventus took a two goal lead - oh how they forgot their sense of humour when the Mancs came back to win and Ian Marshall scored a last minute winner for Martin O'Neill's team. Dreadful.

What one thing would you change about LFC?

WOOLTONIAN: I’d like to see the club become a PLC. I like the idea of the club being owned by the fans, rather than some muppet who has a few bob and doesn’t understand the passion we have for football in Liverpool. I know it would deal a severe blow to current shareholders, but I think they might accept that if it was for the good of the club.

MichaelA: I think the cosy mood of patrician complacency that has existed under David Moores has to change. That culture is comforting, but it isn't competitive.

Victor Meldrew: Bring back the Standing Kop and kick out the glory-hunting knob heads.

AdamS: I don’t know that I would. Nothing is going to be exactly how I want it or how anybody else wants it. Personally I have faith in the people running the club. Parry and Moores get plenty of stick and while I think they are not without their flaws, I think much is unfounded. The take over of the club is a big big issue that should not be underestimated. Is that a kop out answer? Maybe.

Hinesy: I’d make every match going fan read about our history and culture, I’d make every opposition goalie know that we’re actually clapping them – I’m sure half of them have no idea, and I’d make sure that we someone in to motivate our players in the smaller games.

Roper: I dunno what the cure is, but the current atmosphere and the lack of knowledge from some who sit round me on the Kop is fuckin appalling. Basic knowledge of players on the park is just ridiculous, but i guess its the modern era where is fashionable, and people are trying to look good. Id deffo have had a re shake with season tickets so that mates could re-apply to sit together, and then we;d at least have plenty of pockets of people who would sing. Anfield is embarrassing these days. Id also change the ticket office...Premiership team, european champions, with a conference ticklet office.

Olly: I would screen every person coming into the ground. Basic questions would do – are you a nobhead? Do you having feelings towards your mobile phone? Can you tell the difference between any of our players? Anyone failing the test would be marched across the park to Woodison.

I’m certain the Ticket Office would be up to the task.

Filler: The name. Needs something jazzier. I would like to see the strip a darker red tho in all seriousness, been asking that for ages. Blood Red.

Rushian: Consultation with the fans should be introduced on a range of issues. For a so-called family club there is too much of an "us and them" attitude between the people who work for LFC and the fans. The transmitted attitude is one of "look we're doing you a huge favour so don't complain". The club is reactive rather than proactive, and could sharpen up its act in so many ways.

What were your top three memories of Rafa's first season in charge?

MichaelA: Istanbul. And Istanbul. And Istanbul. Okay, and Chelsea CL at home. And having pursed lips after too many home games.

Victor Meldrew:
1) AC. Gosh, that was hard.
2) Arsenal, Olympiacos, Juve and Chelsea. All share the spoils at number 2.
3) The bond with the fans - Rafatollah, trip to the pub etc.

1. Of Rafa himself, when he was so calm after the goal against Olympiakos. The steward wasn’t quite so calm and hugged him.
2. The semi-final victory over Chelsea
3. The Champions League victory and his interview afterwards – “I said if we score it may be different, and we score and it was different!”

1. Meeting him in the pub pre the Leverkusen game in Germany
2. The night before the Chelsea semi final at Anfield, he was asked about Chelsea being unbeaten and his reply was a very calm confident “not till tomorrow” or something along them lines and I loved it.
3. Istanbul – enough said.

1) Istanbul
2) Luis’ goal v Juventus
3) The CL Chelsea semi final
... oh and 4) Rafa’s bringing on of several Academy players

The Bul. Juve. Rafa bevvying with the fans.

1. Istanbul – a week that probably will never be bettered
2. Tottenham away in the League Cup – I fucking love Pongolle
3. Rocking all over the World in Leverkusen

1) Initially, the way he tipped his head to interviewers when listening to their questions, and his conducting from the sidelines, no Shankly-esque arm wriggle yet, but that's sure to come.. for sure.

2) His love for beer drinking in the bars of Europe. Still think he was saying, 'We'll hammer these bunch of tossers!' in one of those pics published.

3) Big Ears in 'Bull.

1) the first text message from Spartacus with the news that "Rafa's just walked in the pub!"

2) the performance away to Juventus which is up there amongst the greatest in the history of the club. It was a stunning piece of tactical brilliance by Rafa which the players carried out with aplomb. Xabi Alonso should have been immediately deified on the final whistle.

3) the explosion of Liverpool Red confetti as Stevie G lifted the European Cup. It's a perfect picture that encapsulates a match for the ages.

© RAWK 2005

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