Who are you? We’re Liverpool (2) – owners, beachballs, Anfield greats

WA1131880 Shankly Wembley 1974

Our Liverpool guests, Peter Hooton, rock singer and leading light in the Spirit of Shankly union, and Neil Jones, a Reds-supporting football writer, have dealt with some of the on-the-field issues affecting their club, who began the season hoping for the title but now have to settle for being just one of a cluster of clubs vying for fourth place. But let’s stop the pussyfooting: what do the fans really think of the owners? What, come to that, do they think about the lad who threw the beachball, whether cheating is OK provided it delivers the title and who will win Sunday’s match against Sunderland? And what do we think of Peter’s band, The Farm?* …

Salut! Sunderland:
Your club has an immense history, with triumph and tragedy, glory and disappointment, but what would Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley have made of the current owners and their impact on LFC?

Peter (SOS):
I think they would be horrified at what is happening. One of Bill Shankly’s most famous quotes is ‘At a football club there is a holy trinity- the players, the manager and the supporters. Directors don’t come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques.’ The problem with these cowboys is that they have run out of cheques; in fact they never had any in the first place!

Neil:It’s the million dollar question I suppose, I’m sure Shankly in particular would have plenty to say. He was a man who despised any interference from above, so he would not take kindly to some of the stunts pulled by the current owners. I’m sure he would be very much behind the supporters’ union which bears his name.

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Who are you? We’re Liverpool (1)

Rafa and Peter

After another good result, 1-1 at Villa, Sunderland face a huge task: stopping Liverpool exact revenge for the beachball defeat at the Stadium of Light (even though it was their beach ball that deflected Darren Bent’s shot into the goal). Salut! Sunderland put questions to two prominent Reds:
* Peter Hooton*, leader singer of the (once) chart-topping Scouse band The Farm and a senior figure in the evocatively named Spirit of Shankly union, which campaigns againts the “dreadful custodianship of Hicks and Gillet” …
* Neil Jones**, who reports – we are sure – with exemplary impartiality on his club for goal.com

Both men had plenty to say about their club, our club, beachballs and Steven Gerrard’s tendency to fall a lot. There may even be more Liverpudlian wisdom on its way, so we’d better turn this into a part work …

Salut! Sunderland: Let’s start with a googly – you might call it a no ball – and ask whether referees and the authorities are soft when it comes to Steven Gerrard; it’s what you hear on the lips of fans of other clubs, especially top six rivals.

SOS: I personally can’t see it. Alex Ferguson thinks so and made a big issue of it last week but that was propaganda before our match with United to try and influence one his favourite referees Howard Webb. The Rio Ferdinand ban was due to the fact that he turned and deliberately lashed out at Hull’s Craig Fagan whereas Gerrard and Michael Brown clashed as Brown checked his run and the referee saw it. How Fergie has the audacity to call FA dysfunctional is mind-boggling. He bullies the FA and referees at every given opportunity.  

Neil: He’s certainly given the authorities plenty to think about. But remember that it was not always this way – Gerrard as a young player was often involved in disciplinary hearings. I think his status affords him an extra amount of leniency from the FA, compared to some players. That is the same for a lot of England stars – I’m thinking Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney at this point.

My personal opinion of the two recent incidents is that the Wigan ‘v-sign’ was petulant, and he took a needless risk out of frustration. He could easily have been sent off, but then is what he did any worse than some of the foul-mouthed tirades we see from other players on a regular basis? Probably not. As for the Michael Brown episode, again he got rather lucky, but I do believe that it was an instinctive defensive reaction as Brown ran across his path, rather than a malicious assault. Still, it is not hard to imagine action being taken were the roles reversed.

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