Thursday Sep 25Posted by: Antoine Zammit  Comments Off

Rare signed match day programme : Liverpool vs AC Milan 2005 Istanbul

Jamie Carragher has signed a limited number of Champions League Final commemorative programmes, Liverpool v AC Milan, 2005. They are brand new.
As we near the 10th anniversary of that incredible night in Istanbul, here is your chance to own a piece of history! The signed programme will be sent with another publication called The History of the 49 finals which includes details of Liverpool’s 4 previous triumphs!

2005PROGPROM1

There are limited numbers available and Jamie has signed them on the cover in a permanent marker (as per pictures attached).

To order please write to mike@jamiecarragher.org with details of your full postal address and preferred payment method. They will be sold on a first come first served basis.

They are £55 each which includes shipping by recorded mail and each one will be accompanied by our unique certificate of authenticity. Payment can be made by paypal, bank transfer or cheque payable to the 23 Foundation. All profits go to our charity.

Istanbulprog1

Saturday Mar 15Posted by: Antoine Zammit  Comments Off

VIDEO : Man United v Liverpool: Who’s Most Successful?

Great video by Talksport.

Friday Mar 14Posted by: Guest Writer  Comments Off

What’s so funny? Remembering an underrated striker.

By @DanielFieldsend

The man in question has been capped 62 times for England (that’s more than Gazza, Trevor Brooking, Glenn Hoddle & Ray Clemence). He played for his country in 3 different decades, won 8 major honours and featured in 2 World Cups. His name is more likely to spark choruses of sarcastic laughter nowadays, but Emile Heskey has had the sort of career that many strikers can only dream of.

If you’re the type of person to chortle at his mention, then you’re probably also the sort of football fan who draws guidance from LAD Bibles and gains insight from tabloids. Heskey in his heyday possessed all the qualities that would make a contemporary football club part with millions for his services.

He was good in the air, excellent at both playing the ‘9’ role and breaking the defensive line. His work rate was good and ten years ago he had pace in abundance. His downfall came when the pace of the Premier League increased, his declined. Many players would have resigned to obscure leagues and cashed in on their legacies, yet Emile was too proud for his own good, he aged in the public eye and allowed for his reputation to become depressingly comic.

Coming through the ranks at Leicester City, Heskey flourishing under Martin O’Neill’s tutelage, scoring ten goals in his first full season in the top flight and receiving a senior England call up from Glenn Hoddle. In 1999, Leeds United had a £10m bid rejected for Emile’s services, as O’Neill was desperate to keep hold of his promising striker. Goals were deemed a problem for Heskey considering his position, yet far-sighted managers recognised how his role was beneficial for the team. With his back to goal, Heskey was part of an insurgent band of strikers who were allowing their teams to retain possession: Flo, Quinn and Julio Cruz to name a few.

After helping Leicester to win the League Cup in both ’97 and 2000, Heskey persuaded Gerard Houllier that he was the man to take Liverpool up a level. Ian Rush stated at the time that Heskey would give Liverpool a “different dimension” and he was right. His partnership with Owen was Liverpool’s latest telepathic, little and large duo, comparable to the successful Keegan and Toshack strikerforce of the 1970′s. Heskey complimented Owen’s game so much so that it eventually forced out club legend Robbie Fowler in 2001. Michael Owen scored 99 goals in all competitions for the Reds whilst playing alongside Heskey, over a four year stretch.

Emile was tasked with providing a plentiful of goals for Liverpool’s two young wonders – Owen and Gerrard – and was a major contributor to Owen’s 2001 Ballon d’Or triumph. This followed Liverpool’s famous treble in which Emile scored twenty-two goals along the way. In the FA Cup final, Liverpool adopted a counter-attacking style of play, with Heskey attempting to pull out Tony Adams, leaving Owen with the straightforward task of outpacing Martin Keown. En route to the UEFA Cup final (which was to be Liverpool’s first post-Heysel European trophy) Heskey bestowed three goals as Liverpool out-muscled Liberec, Olympiacos, Roma, Porto, Barcelona and finally Alaves. He proved a handful for soon-to-be legendary defenders such as Cafu, Walter Samuel, Frank de Boer, Carles Puyol & Jorge Andrade (God knows I hate to name drop). The not-so hilarious Emile also scored in England’s famous 5-1 thrashing of Germany in 2001. Later, Liverpool beat European champions Bayern Munich in the 2002 Super Cup, with Heskey scoring the Reds second.

His star had never been higher, unfortunately at the preceding 2002 World Cup his only headline was to be the racial abuse that he and team-mate Ashley Cole suffered against Slovakia.

Heskey’s career started to decline following his release from Liverpool at the start of the 2004/05 season. Nobody told him this though, and at Birmingham City he won their ‘Player of the Season’ award in his first year, finishing as the clubs top scorer. After their relegation the following season, Heskey signed for Wigan Athletic for £5.5m. Here he reached the celebrated Premier League landmark of 500 appearances (the 6th player to do so following Giggs, David James, Speed, Sol Campbell & Carragher). A move to Aston Villa followed for £3.5m – making his total costs to date £20m. Against all odds Emile forced his way back into the England squad under Fabio Capello, who eventually picked him for the 2010 World Cup. His penultimate adieu came at the tournament as he put in a quality performance against the United States, answering a growing batch of critics.

With all this in mind, the next time you’re down the local and hear a snigger at Heskey’s expense, please ask the jester ‘what’s so funny?’

Wednesday Mar 12Posted by: Guest Writer  Comments Off

Grobbelaar and the invisible hand of fate

bruce-grobbelaar-image-3-793455366-3253972

By @DanielFieldsend

The man in the green jersey strutted from post to post. He wore the hopes and prayers of thousands confidently on his shoulders, exhibiting their concerns like a rich fur coat to flaunt with pride. He smiled to the camera men, bit the net, joked about his goal line and toyed with the minds of the opposition. Up stepped Graziani – missed! “And if Alan Kennedy scores, it’s all over, Liverpool has won”. Not Augustus, Trajan, Maximian nor Constantine could have saved the Romans this night; the red machine was in full effect.

Twenty-one baron years later, a generation stared at the crazed, sweaty Scouser as he motioned in front of the bewildered Pole; ‘REMEMBER GROBBELAAR?!’ Carragher screamed at Dudek. The goalkeeper did. On the grounds of Constantine’s second Roman Empire, the Reds made it 5.

Like him or not, we can all appreciate the great influence that Bruce Grobbelaar has had on the success of this club. Yet if it was not for the guiding hand of fate, the odds of Brucey playing football at all would be so overwhelming that Ray Winstone’s in-play floating head would (hilariously) combust as he considered the returns.

It all started when a fourteen year old Grobbelaar was playing with friends at a local school. A passer-by approached the moustached youth (go with it) and asked him to play for his team. The passer just so happened to be a Scotsman named Dave Russell, who coached the youth squad of an all-whites team called Salisbury Callies. Upon impressing, Bruce was drafted into the first team; who promised to pay his travel costs, plus two dollars for each win. Within the same year he had made his professional debut and was playing in front of 30,000 spectators. Rosy? Not quite. Salisbury was the only white team in a Zimbabwean black league during a time of racial tension. Alongside his two dollars for a win, Grobs would receive a police escort out of the townships.

His blossoming career was interrupted when he was drafted into the army to fight in the Bush War. In an environment where only the fortunate survives, Bruce was as lucky as they come. He spoke in the marvellous ‘Liverpool Heroes’ by Raghnild Lund Ansnes of several events which shaped his character. Grobbelaar was the stick leader in the army and was in charge of several men. One day, the vehicle in front of his drove over a land mine and exploded with four fatalities. Later, a friend was shot down just metres ahead of him. Yet it was never Bruce. At one point, his men were ambushed and he was abandoned. Grobs desperately radioed for help; and who was the person who responded to his frantic pleads when he thought it was all over? His cousin. What are the chances?

“To say it changed me is an understatement. From then on, I set out to live life to the full.” That he certainly did. The man who arrived in England with £10 and left with £1 was so eccentric he made Salvador Dali look like a ‘basurero’ conformist. Upon leaving the army, Bruce was asked to fulfil a scholarship to play Baseball in the United States but his mind-set was not right for it (imagine that? They would have loved his antics across the pond).

Then in 1977, Star Wars hit the screens, the first Apple computer went on sale, Bob lifted ‘ole Big Ears’ and Bruce returned to his birth-country to play for Durban City. When the South African army tried to recruit him to fight on the wrong side of apartheid, he moved to Canada to play for the Vancouver Whitecaps. After struggling to emerge as the #1 keeper’, Bruce went on loan to Crewe Alexander.

There are days when you wake up and can have no idea of the magnitude of what’s to come. When Tom Saunders trudged his way down to Crewe on such a day to watch the fourth division side play, he wouldn’t have had a clue that he was about to spot a future European Cup winner. Maybe old Tom had watched the forgettable ‘Concrete Cowboys’ starring Tom Selleck earlier that day and thought ‘what Anfield needs is more moustache’, maybe he hadn’t, (he definitely hadn’t) it’s hard to say. Nevertheless he liked Bruce and strongly recommended him to Paisley.

However, nothing is ever easy with Grobs. The day after he signed for Liverpool his work permit expired. Peter Robinson improvised and sent the keeper to Paris, but they wouldn’t let him enter the country on an African passport. He couldn’t return to England so the Zimbabwean was stuck in transit. Tom Hanks received acclaim for his role in ‘The Terminal’, yet this is just another chapter in Grobbelaar’s Hollywood story. Whilst solemnly perched watching the crowds of people going about their business in the airport, he noticed a woman holding a South-African passport. He chased her down and discovered that she had obtained entry from a ’24-hour shopping visa’ which he could get over the counter. What are the chances? That through the crowds he noticed this one particular woman, and why hadn’t she put her passport away? Paris is notorious for pickpocketing, somebody should have told her. My aunty Maureen nearly got her handbag pinched by the Arc de Triomphe. Anyway, as it was, the very next day Bruce Grobbelaar became a Liverpool player. 628 appearances, thirteen trophies, ups, downs and one outstandingly monotone rap solo later, it seems it was all just meant to be.

‘There is no such thing as an accident, it is fate unnamed’ – Napoleon Bonaparte.

Tuesday Mar 11Posted by: Antoine Zammit  Comments Off

VIDEO : Priceless Memories : Dudek

“I did a little bit of Bruce Grobbelaar,” he told us in the sixth episode of MasterCard’s Priceless Moments video series. “If you watch the games, [Bruce] was out of power then immediately he went to save the penalty and I had that in my mind.

“But Carragher came to me just before the penalties and he jumped on my back, he was pushing me like ‘Do something, put them under pressure, please put them under more pressure, I don’t know… like Grobbelaar did, you remember’. I said, ‘Okay but give me a few seconds because I got the book, and I need to study my penalties.'”

Serginho fired Milan’s first penalty over the crossbar, and while Jon Dahl Tomasson and Kaka both converted, Dudek saved from Andrea Pirlo and, to win the cup, Andriy Shevchenko.

“When I do the hands I want to see the player see me doing this,” Dudek added. “And [Serginho] shot over the bar and I thought ‘it’s working, you made him scared, carry on! Carry on, carry on and do something more’, and I had the fortune to save some.”

There may never have been a shoot-out had it not been for Dudek’s miraculous double save at the death, when he first kept out Shevchenko’s header and then, somehow, the Ukrainian’s follow-up from just yards out.

That moment was voted the best in Uefa Champions League history by Uefa readers, and Dudek says it was a big moment in his career.

“It was a crucial moment, he added. “It was the last minute of extra-time. I thought there were two different players shooting at me, it was incredible.

“Straight after that I was thinking to myself, ‘this is the moment you were waiting the whole of your career for, the whole of your football life’. But there was penalties.”

Dudek went on to become the hero of the hour, but although he remembers exactly what happened next, he admits he had no idea that Shevchenko’s penalty was so decisive.

“I didn’t even know it was the last penalty, you know. I was taking it penalty by penalty. I didn’t know how Shevchenko was taking the penalty because he scored twice here, twice there, one there and I said, ‘Okay I have to wait to the last second’.

“And I went to my right side and he stopped. But he couldn’t stop as long, and he shot. He wanted to change because I was on [the right] side, he wanted to change. He couldn’t do anything more. He just wanted to put inside, like straight in the middle of the goal.

“But I saved it like someone had stopped me from falling down. I was in the air for a split second, waiting for this ball and I caught it in my hand, I flipped over and I saw the people running at me, and I thought ‘okay it must be finished!’ It was the most beautiful moment.”

Thanks to Goal.com for providing the video.

Friday Feb 21Posted by: jeroen adriaanse Adriaanse  Comments Off

Looking forward to the ‘Guinness International Champions Cup’

Liverpool FC confirmed the fixtures for their pre-season tour yesterday. The Reds will travel to the United States this summer. The first fixture takes place in Chicago against Greek giants Olympiacos, followed by a trip to New York to face Premier League rivals Manchester City, before heading to Charlotte to face Seedorf’s AC Milan.

Looking forward to the ‘Guiness International Champions Cup’

Olympiacos isn’t a stranger for Liverpool FC. Liverpool faced the Greeks in August for Steven Gerrard’s testimonial. And you might also remember this date: December 8, 2004, a cold December night at Anfield. Liverpool, back where they belong [Champions League] after a year’s absence, were on the edge of elimination from the group stages. They had to win with two clear goals. The fans knew it, the players knew it.

Everybody was nervous, nevertheless The Kop was singing like never before. All the hopes were crushed as the legendary Rivaldo fired a free-kick beyond Jerzy Dudek in the 26th minute. Liverpool had to score three goals to progress, it was mission impossible but history was going to be written.

Frenchman Florent Sinama-Pongolle scored minutes after the interval but Olympiacos were a though opponent. Liverpool had to score two clear goals with just 10 minutes on the clock.

Mellor came on for Milan Baros. The youngster scored two minutes later. He explained:

When I came on, we needed to score two and as a centre-forward, I knew there were going to be chances. I got the crucial touch to score and my response was – come on, we can do this.”

 Mission impossible became Mission possible when Gerrard completed their quest. He pounced on Mellor’s knock-down, fired the ball home in the 86th minute and The Reds were through to the next round of the Champions League. Everybody went crazy even the commenters were screaming and cheering. I still remember the words: ‘A lovely cushioned header…’ and then Andy Gray with the words: ‘Oh ya beauty, what a hit son, what a hit!’ It was a fantastic night with an indescribable atmosphere. History was made that day as they beat AC Milan in the final. Liverpool will face the Italians on the 8th of August. 

This will be the Red’s seventh visit to North America. It will be a humbling experience for the players, as they will experience one of the world’s greatest football families. Liverpool FC hope that this tour will bring the fans, who are all over the globe, closer to each other. Because it doesn’t matter how far away from Anfield they live. The thing that matters is that they all support Liverpool FC, the best football club in the world.

 Written by @LFC_newsblogger