Hard on Man Utd, even harder on Liverpool’s owners, Gerry Ormonde* is a man who knows his own mind. A Dubliner with his footballing heart across the Irish Sea on the Mersey, he was quick to agree to preview Sunderland’s return to Premier action against his beloved Liverpool this Saturday. Gerry runs Kopblog.com – part of the This is Anfield website – and Salut! Sunderland takes off its hat to the feedback his efforts receive from fellow fans of the Reds. And little wonder: his blog won Best Premiership Blog in the New Football Pools awards and this year iBest Sports and Recreational Blog at the Irish Blog Awards.
Disappointing Champions League game for you, dropped points in the Premier. Is the press premature in sounding alarm bells, and what are your priorities this season?
Obviously losing both games (CL , then Chelsea) was a big disappointment but it’s early days yet. I’m still confident we’ll qualify from our Champions League group and as for the league, it’s more competitive then ever this season and it looks like a lot of teams are going to drop points so we’ve just got to hang in there and take it one game at a time.
The alarm bells in the press are always premature. The opinions expressed in the media seem to change on a week to week, game to game basis. For example, Chelsea made a perfect start to the season until they lost against Wigan and then suddenly the media seemed to be going out of their way to raise question marks about their manager. Then they beat us 2-0 and suddenly they are red-hot favourites again, at least for the moment! It’s incredible how these clowns in the media constantly change their tune and even more incredible how some fans allow them to form their opinions. It used to be said that today’s headlines are tomorrows fish and chips wrappers, but these days I’ve far too much respect for my fish and chips to wrap them up in that s****!
Our priorities are the same this season as they are every season, Premiership, Champions League, FA Cup, Carling Cup.
If Torres and Gerrard fell under the same bus, how much trouble would Liverpool be in?
Another one of those media myths. Torres and Gerrard are our best two players and obviously if we lost them both it would be a big blow to us, but couldn’t you say the same for every team if you took out their two best players? Last season we beat both Chelsea and Man United without Gerrard and Torres in our starting line-ups. In fact, because of various injuries, the dynamic duo only started together in 20 games for us last season and yet we finished second with our highest ever points tally in the league and were a little unlucky to be knocked out in the quarter-finals of the of the Champions League. Obviously had they been available to start together more often for us we could have been a lot more successful last term but on the other hand our results in a season when they weren’t available together anywhere near as much as we would have liked, I think shows that we have a pretty decent team even without them.
Does being as much a global brand as a down-to-earth football club bother you?
No. Liverpool have always been one of the big names in world football as long as I’ve been around so I’m well used to it and don’t really give it a lot of thought. Of course there are pros and cons to everything but in terms of the money it brings into the club directly and indirectly, I think there are far more pros then cons.
What about the club’s ownership.? How do you see that panning out, and does the prospect of another wealthy proprietor fill you with excitement or dread?
Our American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have been a complete and utter disaster and the sooner they piss off the better. It’s difficult to be brief on a subject that I could write a book about but suffice to say, it’s very clear we were sold down the river by the previous club chairman David Moores and chief exec Rick Parry when they did business with this pair.
They had spent many months arranging the hand over of the club to the Dubai Investment Consortium but at the eleventh hour these two American businessmen turned up and in a matter of days the DIC deal was scrapped and they were in charge. They said this was in the best interests of the club but the facts strongly suggest it was in the best interests of themselves. Our former chairman received millions more for his shares then he would have received from DIC and was also given a lifetime presidency of the club, our chief exec reportedly received somewhere in the region of £500,000 as a bonus payment for concluding the deal.
As for our American owners, we are fed up and want them out. For example, in relation to our new stadium they said there would be a spade within 60 days of them taking over; about three and a half years later we are still waiting. They said that the club would not be saddled with the debt they had generated to buy it, a few months later the club was saddled with that very same debt. They said the manager had their total support, a few months later they were having secret meetings with Jurgen Klinnsman about possibly taking over at Anfield. They said, and have recently restated, that the manager would be given a healthy transfer budget. This is something that is often misreported in the British media but the very easily checked facts show that in the time they have been in charge the boss has spent just over £100 million but has recovered £80 million of that in player sales. That may still seem a lot to some teams but for a team that is meant to be seriously challenging to be the best in England not to mention Europe, a £20 million net spend is pretty much chicken feed.
Sorry to have gone on longer then I intended on this question but as you can probably tell, it is something we Liverpool fans feel passionately about. I would personally be excited if we were taken over by any other “wealthy proprietor” because basically they couldn’t possibly be any worse then the two we have in charge at the moment.
Greatest three Liverpool moments for you, and greatest three players?
Two of my three greatest Liverpool moments are the 1978 European Cup final which we won 1-0 against FC Bruges at Wembley to become the first British side to retain the trophy and the first all Merseyside final at Wembley which was in the Milk Cup (League Cup) in 83 (I think), it finished 0-0 but we won it in the replay 1-0 at Maine Road. We’ve certainly been in better finals over the years but I was at both of those games and will never forget the experience. But it will probably be no surprise that I think our greatest moment came in that fantastic Champions League final in Istanbul in 2005 when we came back from being 3-0 down to AC Milan at half-time to win it on penalties, absolutely amazing!
My three greatest Liverpool players, 1. Kenny Dalglish, 2. John Barnes, 3. Steven Gerrard.
A West Ham fan site took a pop at your fans recently, saying they were like doormice – or words to that effect – when your clubs met. Complete nonsense or a hint of truth?
You obviously read the same article that I did, but perhaps you didn’t read through all of the responses. One p***** off West Ham fan took a pop at our fans but in fairness quite a few other West Ham fans responded and said he was talking complete crap and some even questioned if he was at the game. They all said the atmosphere at the game was terrific and the Liverpool fans were great.
Maybe I’m being an old fart but I don’t think the atmoshere at all games is not as good as it used to be but I think most fans of a certain age would say the same about their teams support these days, but on our day I think we would give any other teams fans a run for their money when it comes to gettting behind our team.
Sunderland. Any thoughts on us, and were you quite pleased, sympathetic or uninterested when Newcastle went down?
Sunderland seem to be doing great since Steve Bruce took over. I would have feared for you if Roy Keane had stayed any longer. It seemed he had taken you as far as he was able to and you would have only went in one direction had he stayed in charge, particularly if Dwight Yorkes recent revelations about him are true. Bruce is a much steadier hand and as a manager he is definitely a class above his former team mate. The progress of your side is there for all to see and things are definitely looking up at the Stadium of Light.
As for Newcastle, I don’t have any particular axe to grind with them but from a football point of view I was glad to see them going down because of all the ridiculous goings on there in recent times.
Name this season’s top four, in order.
1 Liverpool (that’s the dream anyway!)
2 Man Utd
3 Chelsea ( I think they will be badly affected when the African Nations gets going in January)
4 Man City
Why Man City?
They’ve already spent a lot building a strong squad and apparently they will be spending a lot more in January. They also have the advantage of not having any midweek European games to worry about. Besides this I think Arsenal have rode their luck a bit in terms of finishing in the top four and while they are capable of playing some great football on their day, I just don’t think they will be strong enough this time.
And the bottom three?
I think Portsmouth will definitely go down but other than that it’s difficult to say but I’ll go for Birmingham and Wolves to join them.
Tell us what you really think of Man United. Is the rivalry more intense than between you and Everton?
Our rivalry with our “wee” neighbours Everton is intense but off the pitch there is still a lot of friendliness there. There is a bit more nastiness to the rivalry that has crept in, in recent years but I’ve got friends I’ve grown up with who are Evertonians and I still occasionally go to games with some of them and we have a great time.
As for the mancs, I can’t stand them. I can’t stand their manager, their players, their supporters or the manc obsessed media. Put it this way, when the mancs play Everton I always cheer for the Toffees and I think that answers your question.
The Eduardo question. Last second of last game of season. A win and Liverpool are champions. A blatant dive by Gerrard wins a penalty – and the three points. Do you take it gladly, take it guiltily or feel so ashamed you almost wish United had won the title?
I hate players diving regardless of whether it’s my team or another and I think every football fan would say the same. Thankfully, unlike some teams I could mention, Liverpool aren’t renowned for having players who will take a dive but I have seen it happen over the years and I was never happy about it.
However to answer your question honestly, if it meant we won the title again after all these years I think first and foremost I would be on the p*** for about a fortnight celebrating to give it too much thought initially. But once things settled down I would imagine I would try to justify it in my own mind by thinking about the amount of times we’d be cheated by divers and no doubt I would also think of how many points the mancs and the chavs had accumulated in their title winning years on the back of dives by the likes of Ronaldo and Drogba etc. I’m sure I would also argue furiously that our title wasn’t won on that one moment but in the many other moments of the many other games that preceded it.
There are always ways to justify things if you try hard enough but there’s no doubt that if we won the title in such a fashion it would feel a bit tainted and would definitely leave a sour taste in the mouth.
Will you be at the Stadium of Light for our game? If not, how will you keep tabs? What will be the score?
No I won’t be there unfortunately but I will catch the game on TV or online and I’ll put my money on a hard fought 2-1 win for The Reds!
* Gerry Ormonde on Gerry Ormonde: I live in Dublin and I’ve been a diehard supporter of The Reds since I saw my first game at Anfield in 1973. As a hobby I wrote articles for various Liverpool sites for a few years before I was offered a permanent home for me to air my views at Kopblog.com