Open meeting on ‘Safe Standing’ tonight in Liverpool

A pub that holds a place in the histories of both of Merseyside’s Premier League clubs will tonight play host to a meeting on a topic that is close to the hearts of both of those clubs. The Football Supporters’ Federation are holding the event, ‘Safe Standing: An Open Meeting’, at The Sandon on Oakfield Road.

Tonight’s meeting is on a topic that is hugely emotive for football supporters on Merseyside because it relates to the changes made to stadiums in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. That disaster that saw 96 Liverpool supporters lose their lives and also saw the lives of countless others changed forever. To this day the survivors struggle to deal with the ordeal they went through and the families and survivors still await justice for the acts that caused their suffering. Supporters of both clubs lost people or saw friends or loved ones hurt that day.

The Taylor Report was commissioned after the disaster and whilst blaming the disaster predominately on overcrowding, failures of the police and also on the layout of and methods of entry to the stadium at the time of the disaster it also recommended the introduction of all-seater stadia at clubs in the top two English divisions and the top Scottish division.

The disaster happened at a time when the desire to curtail the hooliganism of a few had outweighed any desire to consider the comfort and safety of the majority. Hooliganism didn’t cause the Hillsborough disaster but had the attitudes of the authorities not been so focussed on curtailing hooliganism perhaps the safety concerns that had been raised time and again in the game in the years leading up to the disaster would have been dealt with first.
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England U17 scorer Sterling determined to make it at Anfield

Raheem Sterling scored the second goal for England as they won their opening Under 17 World Cup fixture with a 2-0 win over Rwanda at the weekend. The forward is one of six players from Liverpool in the England squad for the tournament in Mexico alongside Brad Smith, Adam Morgan, Jack Dunn, Matty Regan and Tyrell Belford.

Liverpool paid QPR a reported £600k for the player in February 2010 in a deal said to be potentially worth £5m to the London club Sterling had grown up supporting. He turned 16 in December and in a memorable week in February bagged five of Liverpool’s goals in the 9-0 FA Youth Cup win over Southend before getting a place in the first team squad that travelled to Prague for the Europa League tie against Sparta.

Sterling spoke to after the England win and told them he knew it was going to be tough getting himself established in the first team at Anfield: “Liverpool are one of the best clubs in the world, so it is always going to be very difficult to break into the first team, the players at the club are of top quality – but it was a great experience for me when I was in the squad for the Europa League games last season.”

Despite the clamour from supporters to see him turning out for first team games he’s well aware that Liverpool will do all they can to ensure he makes that step at exactly the right time. It’s easy to forget that he was still at high school last month and that there is still a lot of time for him to make that next move, but he’s going to do all he can to ensure it happens: “I realised football was going to be my career when I was about 14. I had my heart set on becoming a professional footballer from a young age and was very determined to make it.”

The full interview with Raheem Sterling is available at Eye on England – Raheem Sterling.

New book charts LFC’s complete history

A new book due out this summer looks back in detail at Liverpool Football Club’s almost 120 years of history. The book – ‘Liverpool: The Complete Record’ – has been put together by Arnie Baldursson and Gudmundur Magnusson, the people behind the internet hive of information on all things Liverpool,

LFC Complete HistoryAs users of the LFC History site will be well aware, details of every single Liverpool match over those 120 years can be pulled up in an instant, including line-ups, scorers, attendances and in many cases original match reports.  The two have spent years building this information up and have now created a book from the contents of their huge LFC database.

Alongside the stats the book will feature a comprehensive narrative history of the club that went from its creation in The Sandon pub to being the Kings of Europe with five European Cups alongside the 18 league titles. The club’s history tends to be told by jumping from formation to the day Bill Shankly started his revolution but this book covers the bits in between in as much depth as the bits we’re all used to hearing.

The book is available to order now from where you can also view a preview of a few of the hundreds of pages. An ‘early bird’ discount on the cover price has been extended until later today for those ordering through that website.


Clubs confirm Henderson deal agreed

Liverpool and Sunderland have both confirmed that a fee has been agreed for 20-year-old Jordan Henderson.

Sunderland released a statement on their official website stating that he now had to discuss personal terms and would be travelling to Merseyside today “with the club’s blessing”.

This was followed soon after by a statement on Liverpool’s official website reporting that Henderson would be on Merseyside today to “discuss personal terms and undergo a medical”.

Neither statement mentioned David Ngog, the player believed to be moving from Anfield to the Stadium of Light as part of the agreed deal. Sunderland are understood to have accepted £13m plus Ngog in a deal which would value the French under-21 player at £7m.
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Reds agree Henderson fee, closing in on other targets

Liverpool and Sunderland are understood to have agreed a fee for midfielder Jordan Henderson, with Reds striker David Ngog moving the opposite way in a proposed deal worth close to £20m. Both players will now undergo medicals today.

Earlier in the evening The Times reported that the two clubs were close to agreeing a deal, with £2m the difference in opinion of the relative worth of their players. Sunderland had asked for £13m plus Ngog, Liverpool were offering £11m plus the young striker. There was also a stand-off about the terms of the cash component of the deal – Liverpool wanted at least some of the fee to be based on appearances, something Sunderland were opposed to. With the two clubs now agreeing a fee of £13m plus Ngog it seems likely that Sunderland agreed to at least part of that fee being in the form of add-ons.
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Liverpool closing in on Jordan Henderson

Reports tonight suggest that Liverpool are on the final straight in their pursuit of Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson with the two clubs believed to be moving closer to an agreement on the fee.

Sunderland have made it clear they value their home-grown 20-year-old at £20m and were unimpressed with Liverpool‘s early enquiries at a fee of £13m. Liverpool target Jordan HendersonDialogue continued between the two clubs with Liverpool indicating a willingness to increase their offer to as much as £16m, but Sunderland remained firm on their £20m asking price.

Henderson has now reportedly indicated that he wishes to speak to Liverpool and is eager to do so in time for any deal to be done before he travels away on Wednesday with the England Under-21 squad for the European Championship finals in Denmark. This development increases the chances of a middle ground being found for the fee, with The Times reporting that a fee of £18.5m has now been mentioned, just £1.5m short of Sunderland’s valuation.
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LFC supporter t-shirts from Hat, Scarf or a Badge

A quick check on Liverpool’s official online store shows that it costs upwards of £100 to buy a full adult replica Liverpool kit, including the names, numbers and patches. The club bring out five new kits – plus goalkeeper kits – every two seasons. The £100 doesn’t buy a kit identical to what the players wear, it buys a cheaper replica. Next season is the last under the current Adidas deal, US label Warrior believed to be lined up for a £25m-a-year deal from the following season.

The shirts sell well and play a part in the club’s rapidly increasing commercial revenues, revenues the club will increasingly rely on in years to come in order to compete on the field. Alongside the online store the club now has five physical shops in the UK; official merchandise is easier than ever to get hold of – if you’re willing to shell out for it.

Official products have their place but with Liverpool’s hierarchy having taken forever to spot the level of demand for anything and everything LFC the supporters have spent years meeting the demand themselves. The Reds were the last Premier League side to get an official website, nowadays it’s read and used alongside a large offering of unofficial sites. Hat Scarf or a Badge - Liverpool shop on Walton Breck RoadThe official match programme is joined by LFC Weekly nowadays, the club’s official magazine, but fans buy it alongside their purchases of unofficial magazines like Well Red and fanzines like Boss and The Liverpool Way. We’re not a club that waves plastic flags given out for free, we make our own banners. Long before the club realised they needed to sell more than programmes and hot drinks at the ground matchgoers were buying hats, scarves and badges on their way to the ground, from supporters who knew what their fellow supporters wanted but still listened to them just to make sure.

As good as the official merchandise might be it’s never truly replaced everything that was available before they got their act together. Mick Deane is a Liverpool fan – lucky enough to have had a season ticket since 1978 – and he knew the club’s official offerings weren’t always quite what he wanted at the prices he wanted to pay. He also knew he wasn’t alone in thinking that way and decided to try and remedy that himself. At the start of the 2010-11 season he opened his own shop – Hat Scarf or a Badge – and gave supporters access to products the club wouldn’t, couldn’t or shouldn’t sell.
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