Carroll missing as young full-backs start for Reds

Andy Carroll is missing from the Liverpool squad after sustaining a knee injury in the draw with Sunderland. Luis Suarez and Dirk Kuyt will be providing today’s goal threat, supported by Maxi and Raul Meireles.

Carroll isn’t Liverpool’s only injury worry and those injuries see Kenny Dalglish once again in a position where he’s got to thrown some of the youngsters in at the deep end. Jon Flanagan gets his third start in a row, filling in for the injured Martin Kelly. Jack Robinson follows his impressive sub appearance against Arsenal with a start against today’s visitors Birmingham. Robinson replaced Aurelio on Sunday, he’s out injured again having come in himself for the injured Johnson.

With Liverpool’s full-backs having a combined age of a frighteningly young 35 it’s reassuring that Jamie Carragher has recovered from the collision with Flanagan to start alongside Skrtel. Not that the young duo play like rookies.

Dad-to-be Jay Spearing and new dad Lucas Leiva will be doing their bit to control the midfield.

Kenny has named another youngster in his match squad – Conor Coady is back from the suspension that he got for a red card in the youth cup.

Photoshop star Howard Webb is set to officiate today.

Continue reading Carroll missing as young full-backs start for Reds

The Sun boycott remains as strong as ever

On Monday, shortly before RTÉ released a public statement about the issue, a text came through: Ronnie Whelan and Ray Houghton would not now be appearing on the Sun-sponsored ‘Premier Soccer Sunday’.

The decision to remove them from the show was thanks to the tireless campaigning of Irish Reds and came as a huge relief. The two players stopped playing for Liverpool a long time ago but any introduction for either of them will always include the club’s name. In effect their appearance on the show would give ammunition to the tiny minority who think it’s possible to be a Liverpool fan and a Sun reader. It would also give ammunition to the sick, small-minded, individuals who feel that it’s acceptable to abuse Reds based on the Sun’s false version of events.
Continue reading The Sun boycott remains as strong as ever

Ex-Reds must pull out of Sun-sponsored TV show

Ronnie Whelan and Ray Houghton are being urged to act quickly and openly and to sever their association with an Irish TV show sponsored by The Sun.

Friday was the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster that resulted in the deaths of 96 supporters and countless cases of deep psychological trauma for survivors.

Tuesday is the anniversary of The Sun printing front-page lies accusing those survivors of carrying out unspeakable acts on those who died. Under a headline of ‘The Truth’, those lies led to a boycott of The Sun that still holds strong 22 years later.

As the fight continues to get the truth in the quest for justice there is always a feeling that the paper assisted the establishment in hiding that truth. The paper’s editor at the time, Kelvin MacKenzie, later admitted the claims were lies and also said they were fed to the paper by “a Conservative MP” and backed up by the “Chief Superintendent”. To this day some people still believe those lies.

Any decent person taking time to read the truth about the disaster before reading the words under that headline of ‘The Truth’ would find it difficult not to avoid that paper. That’s why the boycott is observed so strongly – not just by Liverpool fans, not just on Merseyside, not just by people who follow football.

Ireland has a huge Reds fanbase and those fans feel as strongly about the boycott as anyone from L4.

The disappointment felt by those Irish Reds was huge when they heard RTÉ plugging a show sponsored by The Sun and featuring major roles for ex-Reds Ray Houghton and Ronnie Whelan. Ronnie was club captain on the day of the disaster. Ray was memorably approached on the pitch that day by a fan desperate to get word out about what was unfolding on those terraces.

It is unthinkable that either would knowingly allow themselves to be associated with that paper.
Continue reading Ex-Reds must pull out of Sun-sponsored TV show

Hillsborough: Some links for today. #JFT96

The Hillsborough disaster that saw 96 Liverpool fans lose their lives at a football match happened 22 years ago today.

That’s such a long time ago now it’s understandable that some people won’t really know what happened – for all kinds of reasons. 22nd Anniversary of HillsboroughIt’s also true that many people still believe the lies that were told in the days that followed.

Two years ago, for the twentieth anniversary, a great deal of effort from a small number of individuals led to the publication of what was described as “The Dummies Guide to Hillsborough”. It’s available online and allows anyone with any amount of knowledge of the disaster to confirm their own understanding or to learn something new.

You can view this here:

That year, the 20th, saw Labour MP and then-minister Andy Burnham speak at the anniversary service. Although he was jeered by supporters tired of waiting for successive governments to act on the shameful cover-up he made promises that he would do all he could to get those documents made available.

Two years on and the progress on that project was discussed by the Bishop of Liverpool in an interview with The Guardian’s David Conn.

You can read that interview here: Hillsborough Family Support Group’s long wait edges towards conclusion.

You can also read a little of the background to that from 2009: “Not ‘justice’ but full truth may finally be possible for Hillsborough victims” – The Guardian.

The club’s official website has published 96 answers to the question “What does Hillsborough mean to me?”. This is split into five parts and features contributions from a wide range of people.

1 Question: 96 Responses. Part 1
1 Question: 96 Responses. Part 2
1 Question: 96 Responses. Part 3
1 Question: 96 Responses. Part 4
1 Question: 96 Responses. Part 5

The annual service takes place at Anfield today. The stadium opens at 1pm, the service begins at 2:45pm. As always the service will be very moving and will include the lighting of a candle for each of the 96 victims, whose names will be read out, and of course the singing of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

One of today’s speakers is Jimmy McGovern, a man who did a great deal for the disaster by writing the ITV docu-drama “Hillsborough”, bringing The Truth into the homes of millions of viewers who maybe hadn’t realised what had really gone on.

You can view a clip of Hillsborough, featuring Ricky Tomlinson and Scot Williams, below:

If you can’t get to Anfield today you can still see the service online or on TV – and if you can’t see it live it will be repeated. More details on that, again from the club’s official website, here: “How we’ll cover Hillsborough”.

Justice for the 96.

96 names that will never be forgotten

On April 15th 1989 an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest was, like any semi-final, the cause of much anticipation and excitement for supporters of the two teams involved.

Instead of the celebration of a win, or even the disappointment of a defeat, the day would end in tragedy.

By 3:06pm, six minutes after kick-off, the referee had stopped the game.

People were dying.

In all ninety-six Liverpool supporters would die because of the events of that day at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium.

96 needless deaths. 96 people who will never be forgotten.

22 years later we are still waiting for justice to be done.

22 years later we are still waiting for the cover-ups to be uncovered and the liars to be exposed.

Today we remember those 96 victims. Today we think of all those who survived the horrors of that day and continued to suffer long afterwards as a result. Today we offer our support, as always, to the families of those who died and to anyone else still hurting from the consequences of a disaster that could – and should – have been so easily avoided.

We also thank those people across the world, irrespective of who they support or where they are from, who take time to show their respects and send their support.

The 96 who died were Liverpool fans, but they could have been fans of any club, they could have been anyone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, dad, granddad. They are all missed.

In memory of the ninety-six.

John Alfred Anderson (62)
Colin Mark Ashcroft (19)
James Gary Aspinall (18)
Kester Roger Marcus Ball (16)
Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron (67)
Simon Bell (17)
Barry Sidney Bennett (26)
David John Benson (22)
David William Birtle (22)
Tony Bland (22)
Paul David Brady (21)
Andrew Mark Brookes (26)
Carl Brown (18)
David Steven Brown (25)
Henry Thomas Burke (47)
Peter Andrew Burkett (24)
Paul William Carlile (19)
Raymond Thomas Chapman (50)
Gary Christopher Church (19)
Joseph Clark (29)
Paul Clark (18)
Gary Collins (22)
Stephen Paul Copoc (20)
Tracey Elizabeth Cox (23)
James Philip Delaney (19)
Christopher Barry Devonside (18)
Christopher Edwards (29)
Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons (34)
Thomas Steven Fox (21)
Jon-Paul Gilhooley (10)
Barry Glover (27)
Ian Thomas Glover (20)
Derrick George Godwin (24)
Roy Harry Hamilton (34)
Philip Hammond (14)
Eric Hankin (33)
Gary Harrison (27)
Stephen Francis Harrison (31)
Peter Andrew Harrison (15)
David Hawley (39)
James Robert Hennessy (29)
Paul Anthony Hewitson (26)
Carl Darren Hewitt (17)
Nicholas Michael Hewitt (16)
Sarah Louise Hicks (19)
Victoria Jane Hicks (15)
Gordon Rodney Horn (20)
Arthur Horrocks (41)
Thomas Howard (39)
Thomas Anthony Howard (14)
Eric George Hughes (42)
Alan Johnston (29)
Christine Anne Jones (27)
Gary Philip Jones (18)
Richard Jones (25)
Nicholas Peter Joynes (27)
Anthony Peter Kelly (29)
Michael David Kelly (38)
Carl David Lewis (18)
David William Mather (19)
Brian Christopher Mathews (38)
Francis Joseph McAllister (27)
John McBrien (18)
Marion Hazel McCabe (21)
Joseph Daniel McCarthy (21)
Peter McDonnell (21)
Alan McGlone (28)
Keith McGrath (17)
Paul Brian Murray (14)
Lee Nicol (14)
Stephen Francis O’Neill (17)
Jonathon Owens (18)
William Roy Pemberton (23)
Carl William Rimmer (21)
David George Rimmer (38)
Graham John Roberts (24)
Steven Joseph Robinson (17)
Henry Charles Rogers (17)
Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton (23)
Inger Shah (38)
Paula Ann Smith (26)
Adam Edward Spearritt (14)
Philip John Steele (15)
David Leonard Thomas (23)
Patrik John Thompson (35)
Peter Reuben Thompson (30)
Stuart Paul William Thompson (17)
Peter Francis Tootle (21)
Christopher James Traynor (26)
Martin Kevin Traynor (16)
Kevin Tyrrell (15)
Colin Wafer (19)
Ian David Whelan (19)
Martin Kenneth Wild (29)
Kevin Daniel Williams (15)
Graham John Wright (17)

You’ll Never Walk Alone. Rest in Peace.

Kenny: “Thank you City fans”

Liverpool’s 3-0 demolition of Manchester City on Monday night brought back some of the pride lost on nights like the one last August when the scoreline was the other way round at the City of Manchester stadium.

An outstanding debut from Jon Flanagan and Andy Carroll bagging his first two goals for Liverpool added to the pleasure on a night where everybody in a Red shirt deserved praise.

But before the match it was time to put football to one side in preparation for tomorrow’s anniversary of Hillsborough. Undoubtedly the saddest day in Liverpool’s calendar, the club have pledged to do everything in their power never to play again on April 15th. It is now custom on the nearest of Liverpool’s fixtures to the anniversary for both sides to wear black armbands and for a minute’s silence to be held before kick-off.

Monday’s game was the fixture this applied to this year and Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has let Manchester City’s supporters know how grateful the club and its supporters are for the respect they showed at Anfield. Continue reading Kenny: “Thank you City fans”

New Liverpool away kit

Liverpool’s new away kit was revealed at midnight and although it won’t be available until next month it’s already generating a lot of interest.

Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll will be wearing the new away shirts next seasonIt’s got every chance of being one of the best-selling away shirts for some time.

Last year a lot of people were boycotting the club’s official products as a way of showing their support for the campaigns to remove Tom Hicks and George Gillett. They left in October, and soon after their departure the club saw existing shirt sales get a boost.

But many of those shirts were bought with a name on the back that makes them pretty much useless to Reds now. Countless Torres shirts were binned, donated to charity or cut into pieces to use as dusters meaning there’s a hole in the wardrobes of those who still wear football shirts. Continue reading New Liverpool away kit

Mutual respect between Dalglish and Mancini

It’s little surprise that the visit to Anfield of Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City has seen comparisons made with current Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish’s spell as manager of Blackburn.

Both sides had rich benefactors trying to give them the boost they needed financially to become a force in the game. The difference is that the money being spoken about has changed almost beyond recognition.

Kenny Dalglish spent in the region of £3.5m signing Alan Shearer for his newly-promoted side – a British transfer record at the time. Blackburn would finish fourth and second in their first two seasons in the newly-formed Premier League. That was an achievement in itself, unthinkable these days for a side so new to the top flight, but then in the third season – after Kenny had paid £5m for Chris Sutton – they won the league.

All this had cost Jack Walker around £30m, not including the money he spent on improvements to Ewood Park. That’s less than Manchester City’s new owners paid for their first new signing – they paid Real Madrid £32.5m for Robinho. Continue reading Mutual respect between Dalglish and Mancini

Spearing wants to prove his worth

A much depleted Reds squad will arrive at Anfield tonight for the visit of Manchester City but there’s not much complaining to be heard from the club about that situation.

The defence is the place hit hardest by the injuries with both the full-backs Kenny would see as his first choice being out long term. Glen Johnson has played well during run at left-back, moving across the pitch to make way for Martin Kelly, the youngster who would probably have been a regular some time ago had it not been for some unfortunately-timed injuries.

Daniel Agger played at left-back earlier in the season when the poor planning of that transfer window saw Paul Konchesky’s signing delayed until almost the last possible moment despite Emiliano Insua having been frozen out. A decision was made that Fabio Aurelio, previously released by the club, could have a new contract but his injury situation has once again seen Liverpool get very little use from a very talented player.

Aurelio might be playing tonight, but such is his bad luck with injuries that there is always a question mark about him making it to kick-off without an issue. He’s the only recognised left-back remaining in the first-team squad and the Reds can’t ask central-defender Agger to move over to full-back as he’s another player out for the rest of the season, meaning Danny Wilson may get asked to do the same if Aurelio breaks down. Continue reading Spearing wants to prove his worth

Not the time to be miserable about the football

Liverpool head into the final straight of a season that has been full of twists and turns with a home match tonight against Manchester City.

The reverse fixture was the Reds’ first away game of the season and then-manager Roy Hodgson saw his side well beaten in a depressing 3-0 embarrassment. It was one of a number of results, before and after a change of ownership at the club, that would see genuine concerns raised about Liverpool facing relegation.

Relegation! That idea would have been unthinkable during the 2009 season, even the small pockets of supporters calling for that manager’s head back then were doing so because they thought he had thrown away any hope of winning the league after criticising Alex Ferguson. Their anger was that the club was heading for no silverware for the third season in a row, now it was looking like dropping out of the top flight.

The threat of relegation became a distraction from reasons why – according to claims from people at the club – the last manager had been replaced. He’d overseen a seventh-place finish, outside of the Champions League places, and this wasn’t good enough. Now some were saying safety from relegation would be an achievement for his replacement.

Supporters felt increasingly distanced from their own club.

In January the new owners finally decided enough was enough and paid the inherited problem of Hodgson off, installing Kenny Dalglish in his place as manager until the end of the season. Continue reading Not the time to be miserable about the football