Haiku Corner: Steven Gerrard's MBE

Hokusai Welcome back to the tranquil haven that is Haiku Corner. Take off your shoes and let us sit a while, to contemplate the more spiritual side of the beautiful game. This week, our Zen-like focus is on Steven Gerrard, the bestest midfielder in the whole wide world ever, who collected his MBE medal on Wednesday.

God save Stevie G!
But please don't pass to Fat Frank
against Israel.

If you have any haiku of your own on this pressing matter, we'd love to read 'em…

March 22, 2007 in Haiku Corner, International football, Liverpool | Permalink | Comments (2)

Liverpool v Barcelona, the Spanish view (with 'You'll Never Walk Alone' karaoke)

Even if you don't speak Spanish, you get a great idea of how Spanish TV saw the game. Watch out for the awesome karaoke version of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' at the beginning of the video.

March 9, 2007 in European football, Liverpool, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (1)

Champions League quarter-final draw: Liverpool, Chelsea & Man Utd avoid each other

103895100_20AC Milan v Bayern Munich
CHELSEA v Valencia

Click below for the Pies verdict.

Champions League quarter-final draw continued

So much for Sepp Blatter conspiracy theories! The quarter-final draw could not have been any kinder to the English teams. For this reason, the tie of the round (on paper at least) does not involve an English side: AC Milan v Bayern Munich sounds like a pretty mouthwatering prospect.

You would expect Liverpool to progress against PSV Eindhoven - although you would have expected Arsenal to. The Dutch outfit are by far the weakest side left in the tournament. Manchester United would have settled for Roma before the draw, I am sure. And Chelsea face a Valencia side which will presumably be weakened by a suspension or two following their brawl with Inter.

[Rob Parker]

March 9, 2007 in Chelsea, European football, Liverpool, Manchester United, News balls | Permalink | Comments (2)

Liverpool, Man Utd & Chelsea through, Celtic & Arsenal out: a few Champions League reflections

283355 1 Why is it Ballack & Shevchenko can do it against Europe's finest, but not against the likes of Wigan and Charlton? Must be very frustrating for Chelski fans.
2 It's never a good idea to headbutt the pitch. Just ask poor Mikael Silvestre.
3 Celtic have got some very talented kids who should be proud of their gutsy performance in the San Siro. Darren O'Dea deserves special praise. The young defender had a wonderful match.
4 Who really feels sorry for Arsenal? They paid the price once again for playing their flawed brand of why-shoot-when-you-can-pass? football. When will Arsene Wenger learn that sometimes you just have to hoof it long and hope for the best? Liverpool, Chelsea and even Man Yoo all play the long-ball game when they have to. There's no shame in it. It's still the first week in March and Arsenal's season is over.

5 Liverpool's prosaic brand of sleeves-rolled-up football isn't pretty but it sure as hell is effective. They really need a decent striker though. Dirk Kuyt works his socks off but he lacks pace, finesse and composure, among other attributes.

6 Clive Tyldesley is a one-eyed cliche machine.
7 Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea are now the best teams left in the tournament, at least according to the bookies. Does this mean that as well as the gulf between the Premiership and the Championship, there's also a gulf developing between the Prem and other European leagues?
8 PSV Eindhoven will not win the Champions League this season. And you can quote me on that…

March 8, 2007 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European football, Liverpool, Manchester United, Scotland | Permalink | Comments (3)

Eamon Dunphy's latest rant: 'Steven Gerrard found out... a nothing player'

Liverpool must be buzzing today. They've just beaten Barcelona! The European champions for crying out loud! Well, whilst the players smile away, any neutral who watched the game must be wondering why they bothered. With most of the press being, shall we say, kind to Rafa & Co, the same can't be said for the marvellous Eamon Dunphy and chums over on Irish telly. They stuck the boot in on The Reds performance, and anyone wanting a chuckle at some Liverpool bashing, watch the video below and smirk (or get riled) as he quips "I was hoping in the last fifteen minutes that Barcelona would beat them... Liverpool were terrible in the second-half. If that was a concert, you’d boo". Weren't we all puzzled when Bellamy was brought off for Jermaine Pennant?

March 7, 2007 in Cult Heroes, European football, Liverpool, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (5)

THE VOTE Can Barcelona come back against Liverpool?

Bellamyswing2 "The danger for Liverpool is if they think they have already done the hard work by winning in Spain… We are the defending European champions and we will not relinquish the trophy without a fight." Ronaldinho

As much as I dislike some of Barca's stars, I would never write off a team containing Ronaldinho, Eto'o (the key), Messi and Deco. I have no doubt that Barca can beat Liverpool at Anfield, as Man Yoo did on Saturday – after all, the Catalans are only one goal behind. If Barca score first tonight, Rafa Benitez will be faced with the age-old dilemma: stick or twist? I predict a 2-1 Barca scoreline at 90 minutes, with Liverpool surviving extra time to go through on penalties (Pepe Reina is good at those), after an almighty scare. What do you reckon?

March 6, 2007 in European football, Liverpool, Vote | Permalink | Comments (6)

Craig Bellamy School of Golf t-shirt

275783l_2 The wags at T-shirts365 don't miss a trick. In this case, the trick is producing a t-shirt called 'The Craig Bellamy School of Golf', just days after Bellamy showed the world his swing. Ouch, it's zeitgeisty! Available in green, red or white, for the princely sum of £14.99. BUY IT

March 6, 2007 in Funny old game, Gear & games, Liverpool | Permalink | Comments (0)

Robbie Fowler to line-up a move to USA (just as soon as he's got his ducks in a row)

Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler is rumoured to be heading to the USA in the summer to join former team-mate Steve Nicol at New England Revolution. And former Liverpool centre-back Nicol - coach of the MLS side - is so excited at the prospect he has been throwing idioms around like he is Ian Holloway.

Nicol said: "He's really just dipping his foot in the water here. It's something he's thinking about. He's getting his ducks in a row. Whether he gets a contract at Liverpool or whether he moves on, he's dipping his foot in the water." Meanwhile, Fowler's agent has been angling for a more lucrative move to Dubai or Qatar.


[Rob Parker]

March 1, 2007 in Liverpool, Rumours & gossip | Permalink | Comments (0)

Obscene season ticket prices to be slashed?

Money_4 News reaches us that Premiership chairmen are going to be forced into cutting 'obscene' ticket prices because fans have just about had enough of being the victims of daylight robbery every weekend, and as a result, football has reached a tipping point.

Two top-flight chairmen have expressed the same view, both of whom predict price cuts all round next season. 'It is a serious issue that has reached saturation point across the country,' said Phil Gartside, chairman of Bolton. 'We feel duty bound to make a stance by reducing the cost for our season ticket holders, and I'm sure other clubs will follow suit next season and listen to public opinion.' But surely the tickets are inflated at the chairs' behest?

This weekend saw ManYoo fans protesting about the amount being charged to let their fans watch their side at Fulham. They were asked for a whopping £45 to watch their team, and that doesn't include travel and grub... although they hadn't got far to travel from Essex eh? Ho Ho Ho... I'll get me coat. A senior executive from another of the Premiership's 'big four' clubs told Observer Sport that prices could not go any higher. 'Officially we are monitoring the situation,' he said. 'But privately we have realised that ticket prices have reached their maximum, at least in the immediate future.'

These warnings come slap bang in the middle of an attendance slump. Despite an increased capacity at Arsenal and Manchester United, the average attendance is down from last year, and whilst the big four continue to sell out their games, the overall Premiership average is down by more than 1,000 year on year and now stands at 32,775, not including this weekend. What is causing fans to stay away? Well, once, you could watch the footy and not dent the wallet too much, and know exactly when you'd be going out. Basically, high prices and amended kick-off times to enable saturated TV coverage aren't encouraging fans to get down the ground. 

Of course, a lot of money is generated by the TV rights, which obviously help clubs to bring in new players and the like. That said, the Premier League negotiated a new £600million, three-year deal for overseas TV rights to the Premiership. Add the £1.7 billion Sky and Setanta will pay to screen matches in Britain, and the £400m for internet and mobile phone rights, and it seems scandalous that ticket prices continually increase. Each club will be getting around £900m per season (starting in August).

Apart from drops in season ticket prices, a group are also want away matches addressed. The Football Supporters' Federation want a fixed price for all travelling supporters. 'Away fans in England are unique. You would not get 5,000 Milan supporters travelling to Juventus. If prices were to stay in line with the Taylor Report's recommendation, then £15 would be a fair price for those who travel to watch their team.' The report, published in January 1990 in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, stated that 'it should be possible for seating to be £6'. With inflation, that would mean fans paying just £9.60 now, rather than the average of about £30.

So what's the answer? Well, looking at Germany's Bundesliga, the average attendance was approximately 40,000, which is superior to our league matches. In fact, it's about a quarter more fans in through the turnstiles, shouting for their team. German fans can buy tickets for as little as £10 or £15 for all games, and in some cases, terracing is being used, which gives a fan a feeling of real unity, as opposed to the sterile stadia over here. What is interesting is that the Bundesliga is renowned for its competitiveness, with many teams standing a chance of winning it. Should we look at the German model to fix our game? [Mof Gimmers]

February 26, 2007 in Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, News balls, Portsmouth, Reading, Sheffield United, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford, West Ham United, Wigan Athletic | Permalink | Comments (2)

Rob Hulse puts the ouch into Peter Crouch

16741452523_1 Q: Who put the 'ouch' in Crouch?

A: Blades striker Rob Hulse, whose stray boot connected with the blonde giraffe's face during Liverpool's 4-0 defeat of Sheffield United on Staurday. There goes Peter's catwalk career…

The injury to Crouch was the only downer of the game for Liverpool, although I've read several reports claiming that Steven Gerrard dived to win their first penalty. Still searching for the YouTube footage of said incident, will post when I find it.

In other Scouse news, the club has confirmed they have reached an agreement with Andriy Voronin to bring the Ukrainian striker to Anfield, from Bayer Leverkusen.

February 26, 2007 in Liverpool, Sheffield United | Permalink | Comments (0)