Reds can enjoy Wembley success

It’s been six seasons since Liverpool last got their hands on the FA Cup, but 2012 looks like it could be the Reds’ best chance of return to Wembley.

Kenny Dalglish has already set his stall out in this season’s Carling Cup, selecting strong starting line-ups when possible and the FA Cup is likely to be sitting second on his list of priorities, behind a top-four Premier League finish. Anyone following the online football betting should remember this.

With no European competition to deal with, Liverpool will pose a threat to any of their rivals, who are likely to rest key players in order to aid their chances in the Champions League.

Dalglish will be seeking an FA Cup hat-trick, having won the famous old trophy one two previous occasions – as player-manager in 1985-1986 and as just a manager in 1988-1989.

Liverpool are currently fourth in the list of FA Cup winners, with seven victories to their name – the last coming against West Ham in 2006. That final was the last final at the Millennium Stadium and the Reds fans will be desperate to enjoy a day out at Wembley for the first time since 1996. Betfair FA Cup odds suggest they have every chance of doing so.

The team just above Liverpool in the all-time list of winners – Tottenham – may well be their biggest rivals to lift the trophy. Harry Redknapp has made his thoughts clear on the Europa League schedule and with Spurs looking unlikely to go far in Europe, their strong squad also look to be a good bet for a good cup run.

Of course the luck of the draw will have a big impact, with Dalglish hoping to avoid the fate of last season – when his team were drawn away to rivals Manchester United in the third round

My first game – Ross Neumann

Liverpool 2 v 1 Aston Villa
League Division One
1 September 1990 3:00pm
Attendance: 38,061

As a youth I was thoroughly indoctrinated in the ways of football at an early age. From Subbuteo (age four) to my first appearance for Linthurst First School (age seven and a debut brace) it was always there. However until the the age of seven my Saturdays were spent shopping in numerous horrible provincial towns with my Mum (I remember Manchester being particularly grim) whilst my Dad swanned off to watch a game of his choosing.

On this momentous day I remember the conversation in our Nissan as my parents discussed if I was ready to attend my first game. In these pre-Premiership days the main focus seemed to centre on whether I was likely to get maimed by Scousers and/or Brummies but eventually my Dad won out I was off to my first game. I think part of this was down to football’s increasing mainstream appeal after Italia 90 where it became socially acceptable for middle class people to watch football instead of whatever they had done before on a Saturday afternoon (no me neither).

The game itself I remember very little about. Beardsley scored early on before David Platt equalised for Villa with a semi bicycle kick. The game was decided by a late John Barnes top corner effort which sadly I have been unable to find on Youtube.

So for the next month and a half I have to admit to being a Liverpool fan. This would all change at Meadow Lane when a certain Steve Bull struck to equalise for Wolves and not for the first time in this First Game feature secure a young man’s loyalty to the Gold and Black. Mr Bull you have a lot to answer for.

Ross Neumann

Thirty years ago….when we were good

When I get depressed about the latest plans at the club I have supported since I was a child I think back to time gone by.  I was lucky in that I was the youngest in a family of West Ham fans, meaning that I spent a lot of time following the club to strange places with my Dad and brother whilst they were in the old Second Division.  In fact by the time I was 12 I had seen West Ham play in over 50 different grounds – I mean who would do that today (well apart from Lolly who had seen 64 by the time she was 10).

The 1979/80 season for the Hammers was a disappointing campaign in league terms.  Having been relegated to the old Second Division in 1977, just a year after appearing in the European Cup Winners Cup Final the club invested hugely in the squad with the likes of Phil Parkes, the goalkeeper signed from QPR for a then world record £565,000 (worth about £2.1m today), virtually unknown Scottish teenager Ray Stewart for £430,000 and ex-Manchester United legend Stuart Pearson.  Consequently this virtually unheard of level of spending for a second division club made them favourites for promotion. Continue reading

Charity begins at home

To me Snickers will always be Marathons.  Opal Fruits will never be replaced by Starburst and you can change a letter but Jif will always be that and not Cif.  I do not hate change – in fact I embrace it on a daily basis – after all having two young daughters means that they change their appearance on an almost hourly basis.  But I do hate change for the sake of it.

The “curtain raiser” in the English season has traditionally always been the Charity Shield.  Us modern day fans will always know it as the game which pits the league winners versus the cup winners from the previous season (or in the case of a double winner, the top two in the league).  But at some point in the past (2002) to be precise it was renamed to be the Community Shield, and with it went any sign of prestige.  In the past few years the game has been played at a snails pace, and has actually been decided on penalties in the previous three seasons.  It always used to be the first proper game of the season, but again in the past few years it has actually been played after the Football League had started. Continue reading

Style, Taste and Class…

Ladies and gentlemen….May I introduce you to our newest columnist, NorthernJess. A self confessed football agnostic who is intrigued with the constant media fawning of these over paid pre-madonnas she will be giving us her views on a regular basis on what she sees in the press. Today her first victim is Liverpool’s want-a-way star Andriy Voronin….

England, the country that hundreds of thousands of people migrate to every year, is apparently not good enough for a Ukrainian WAG. Yulia, the wife of Premier League player Andriy Voronin, believes the standard of living us Brits are used to is far beneath her, and that she would much prefer to live anywhere else.

Along with insulting the weather and the health service she attacked our dress sense and is reported to have said:

‘The Brits are horrendously conservative. Of all the colours, they like only black and grey.

‘And I was wearing bright and tight clothes, walking in high heels – and evidently looked more colourful than them.’

Clearly Yulia has been living in First World War Britain. Doesn’t she know the hottest colour on the catwalks is coral…?

I’m also not sure that black and brown leopard print, black heels and a black polo neck constitutes as colourful.

Andriy has been wise not to make comments on the English way of life, so it may be unfair to criticise his dress sense. But hopefully he will eventually realise that the life of a footballer does not mean having to wear a tracksuit 24/7.

The couple seem to be modelling themselves on Posh and Becks circa 2003. Andriy with his luscious golden locks tied back into a ponytail and his beau never seen in anything less than a 4-inch heel.

But judging by the photo I think his delightful WAG has got a bit confused. In her leopard print (velour no less) tracksuit she seems to have mixed up her Spice Girls, and she definitely looks scary.

The footballer’s wife is also reported as having said:’ Generally Liverpool is a small city with limited possibilities.’

Liverpool, European Capital of Culture for 2008, obviously does not hold sufficient allure for Yulia. Or perhaps she felt she didn’t stand out enough next to an array of glamorous WAG wannabes.

Andriy is waiting to find out where he will play next season and I’m sure his Black Sea beauty’s comments, made to a Ukrainian paper, won’t help him have a smooth journey back into the Liverpool squad.

Have a look for yourself here..”

Read more from Jess at her blog – Jestenders.