Friday, December 12, 2008

The Gaffa Speaks

How many people in this world have been refered to as 'God'. Not even the fans of greats lile maradona, zidane and pele called them 'the almighty'. this will certainly bring a smile on the face of liverpool fans who have followed the club over the years..when a local lad called Robbie Fowler banged in goals left right centre with his gifted left foot. If that was not enough we had players like Jamie Redknapp Ruling the midfield and my favorite Steve Mcmanaman crafting his way passed defender with utmost ease,the ball rolling on the outside line like a line tracking robot. These were the spice boys, young lads with beautiful wives by their side outside of football and gracing the pitch at anfield that was once a fortress in the 70's and 80's thanks to Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley. A lot has happened since then.

The most decorated club in England who won the Top Division in England at ease was now only a Cup team thanks to blunders committed at the board and management level. These were the 90's.

In 1998, the club appointed the previous French team manager Gerard Houlier to work alongwith Roy Evans, our legendary manager. Made some controversial exchange of players, like offloading McManaman, Ince, McAteer and so on. And brought in players like Hamann, Traore, Hyypia, Smicer and others. The best of the lot to be Hyypia. Never really took off as a good manager with his managerial skills, but was deeply adored by fans nonetheless.

Fast forward to 2005 an ambitious young manager who had an excellent track record signed for liverpool replacing Gerrard Houllier who had led the club to many a victories in cup competitions but lacked what it took to compete for the league for more reasons than one.

This manager as we all know is indeed Rafael Benitez famous for the excess usage of words like 'Quaaaalitee'(Quality) and 'passibities'(Possibilities).

I thought it was a bit too late now to catch United and Arsenal.The emergence of Chelsea made the task all the more difficult. I don't want to comment on the 2005 season as every football fans knows of our legendary Road to Istanbul.

While the other clubs have taken steps to improve,liverpool have taken strides to catch up and till now its fair to say Rafa has done a splendid Job. Rivals might disagree with that but hey only a fool will not acknowledge his efforts and performance. While Mourinho had the millions of Roman at his disposal, Arsenal with their famed Youth system and the united with all their resources Rafa has managed to transform liverpool from a mere cup team to a team that is getting ready to last the distance.

This Season:

Things have been good so far for us especially away from home. There are a few things i would like to change but hey there are always ups and downs in football. At the beginning of the season if someone had told me that we would top the league and our group in Europe, I would have called him a wackjob.People say its due to the United fixture list and that they come good in the second half of the season, but so do we. and this time we have the players needed although not as much as uniteds to win it. But i don't want to jinx it by saying 'This is our year' and i will not say it till i see Steven Gerrard lift the trophy.(hopefully at anfield).


Geography Sucks. It is the only reason why I am not close to my club. Hence to fill in the void, me along with a few other friends i made on orkut. we decided to form a group which will get all the supporters of the only RED team in the world that matters together. And till now things have been going great for us. There have been Hicupps, infact a lot. The main problem was trust. Nobody would want to be standing on a Sunday morning at Shivaji Park waiting for people who he or she has never met. Lots of attempts were made previously to kick start this organization by various people but we decided its time to take action and we finally met. Started with 6 guys and now though we have higly fluctuating attendances,it is safe to say that there are atleast 40 members actively participating in the activities of the lmfc football team while 10 more who join us during screenings of matches. During screenings we bring the KOP to us. Electric atmosphere is usually associated with the Kopiites but we are no less. We right now have close to 190 members and are steadily increasing. We hope to apply for official status soon although its going to be difficult but hey there is no easy way when it comes Liverpool.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Post By Manas Singh

Liverpool FC, the team with the richest history in English football; 18 time league winners, five-time champions of Europe. Liverpool FC is a huge part of my life. I started supporting the club when I was 10 years old i.e. back in 2000. The oldest memory that I have of the club is Gary McAlister scoring 40 yard free kick at the dying stages against Everton at Goodison to win us the game. It was also the year where we would go on to win three titles.

I remember the first time I jumped and celebrated for Liverpool. It was Riise’s belter against Manchester United at Anfield. I am sure the TRUE United supporters must know which goal I am referring to. I did see the goal scored by Gary McAlister and follow the treble season but it was not something that I celebrated. I think it is fair to say that moment (JAR’s strike) was when support/interest turned into passion. Liverpool now runs in my blood.

My mom was quite stressed that I was so into Liverpool. Not going for dinner with the family, watching Liverpool’s Champions League matches which started at 1:15am. There was a time when the same morning I would wake up to give my 10th standard prelims. Saving huge amount of money, using it to buy new kits, are just a few examples that made my mom angry. But a true football supporter of any team will know these are just common things. But my mom has come to terms with all this. She does not know what BPL, Champions League is or for that matter who Rafa is. But she knows that Liverpool FC is something that will be in my life forever. With Liverpool being such an integral part of my life, it does make me hyper at times, making me remove my frustration on others. Sometimes I am not able to study, just keep making notes about the team personnel and formation. Liverpool Liverpool Liverpool. That’s all that runs in my mind. But it is something that I have come to terms with. As I have grown up, I have learned how to tackle the problems as they come.

It’s difficult to imagine how my life would be without Liverpool. Whether I would be watching football or not, if I was, which other team would I root for? How exactly I would spend my weekends? I really do thank God that I came across Liverpool FC at such an early age. It makes me feel that it was just meant to be.

Liverpool has given me a few moments that I can’t forget ever in my life. As I mentioned, I didn’t celebrate the treble of 2000-01 too grandly. We reached the Carling Cup final, losing that game against Chelsea. In that particular game Steven Gerrard scored an own goal, which took the game to extra time and we went to lose from there on. The game was not shown live here in India but seeing the videos on the internet, how gutted the players were, made me realize that players really do give it their all in the game. They feel the worst when the team loses. This has made me appreciate each and every player that represents the club.

INSTANBUL. What a night. That final against AC Milan had everything. That game was just what football is all about. The disappointment of going three down at half time. AC Milan was complacent, and Liverpool capitalized. Those 6 minutes, where we scored thrice, are and always will be the best six minutes of my life. The drama of penalties. The game had it all. We had done the unimaginable. Going down 3-0 against an awesome AC Milan defense, than equalizing and going on to win the game.

The following year Rafa and the boys delivered yet another trophy; it was the FA Cup against West Ham United. Even that game had everything. I remember hearing the announcer’s voice, there will be a minimum of 4 minutes of added time, and than Gerrard just let rip. What a strike from Steven Gerrard.

Things are moving in the right direction for Liverpool. The signing of good players like Ryan Babel, Fernando Torres etc just shows the ambition of the club. Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher will never leave the club. The future is looking bright. As long as the American owners don’t fool around with the club, I expect Rafa to build a squad that can win us the league one day.

LMFC (Liverpool Mumbai Fan Club)is obviously dedicated towards Liverpool supporters in Mumbai. It’s where the Liverpool FC supporters come together, play football, have a laugh and watch important games together. There were attempts being made to start such a group since 2005, but finally in August 2008, LMFC was launched. Its growing steadily ever since. Our aim at LMFC is not to have maximum number of supporters; it’s to have good quality of supporters who genuinely support the club. If there is any Liverpool supporter, you are most welcome to join the organization.