Posts Tagged ‘Liverpool FC’

Albion 1 – 2 Liverpool

September 22, 2011

That was a great night of football. Even though we lost it felt that this exciting new Albion side has finally arrived, with the potential we now show it can only take a catastrophic loss of nerve not to make something special of this season, the tools are there already, it’s the psychological factor that will decide if we rise or fall.

Seeing Liverpool – virtually at full strength – take to the pitch at Falmer was fantastic. The noise inside the ground was spine-tingling. The scousers are the first ever team to fill the away end (though I suspect the majority of them were probably from the South anyway) and they made some great noise themselves.

Dalglish’s side are in a different class to us, make no mistake, arch-twat Bellamy scored their first with nonchalant ease and the Reds battered us for most of the first half after that. I wasn’t arsed for two reasons – it’s only the League Cup, and I appreciate the beautiful game being played to the highest standard no matter who’s kicking the leather around. This is a team that most likely will finish top five this season in the Premier League, it just shows the quality of the top end of the big league.

Poyet made a couple of changes, Steve Cook replaced the on-form Dunk, which raised a few eyebrows. But the former Albion schoolboy had a decent game. Sparrow and Navarro both started in midfield, and they had a hard time against Rodriguez, Spearing and Lucas. CMS, up front alone without Barnes, ran and ran. I thought he might give that old fart Carragher a harder time, but the former England man is still a class act.

Our best players in the first half were once again our flying wingers – the perennially unlucky Will Buckley, and having the night of his life, life-long Liverpool fan and former tiler of Steven Gerrard’s roof – Craig Noone. Man of the Match for me again.

As someone mentioned on twitter (sorry I can’t remember who exactly) the club spent a fortune on one new winger, and chased another all summer for a loan deal, when actually we had our best winger at the club already. Nooney already has player of the season wrapped up in September, unless our latest winger can make an impact (more about him later).

It wasn’t until 5-10 minutes from half-time that Albion got a foot on the ball and started to threaten. Up until then it was flap central at the back, and our uprights played a blinder as Ankergren showed a worrying lack of nerve against the onslaught from Bellamy, Kuyt and Suarez.

No-one needs any further proof of Gus Poyet’s powers of motivation, and after his half-time talk a new team emerged (same players) from underneath the West Stand ready for the second interval. We took it to them, and it was one of the best second half performances I’ve ever had the privilege to watch. The atmosphere went stratospheric, and there were a few worried-looking faces in the away end.

Noone rattled the crossbar with Reina stranded and off we went. Sparrow went close, and Calderon and Noone started making progress into the last third. Then the crowd went hushed – poor old Buckley injured his hamstring again and the player who was taking off his trackie was none other than Vicente Rodríguez – The Dagger of Benicalap. This is Hollywood stuff folks, two times La Liga winner, UEFA Cup Winner, and 38 caps for Spain, now wearing the stripes in Brighton. The roof came off.

Vicente may not be 100% match fit, but straightaway he was flicking and dribbling into the danger area. Liverpool were reeling, and another world class player was about to come on. Say what you want about Gerrard, and he is a prime example of a modern-day shithouse millionaire footballer, but the guy can play. The Reds’ fans were happy he was back and he set about marshalling his midfield.

With ten minutes to go and Albion pressing, we got hit with the classic sucker punch, Liverpool broke, it was two on one at the back and Rodriguez put Kuyt in to finish us off. Hopes were raised when Vicente took a tumble in the area, and the substitute Ash Barnes tucked away the spot-kick with aplomb. It didn’t matter though, the game was worth it no matter how it turned out.

The train home was good fun, lots of scousers being scouse, the ‘let them mingle’ policy at the ground has worked famously – although Friday night and Leeds, then the Palace on Tuesday will almost certainly be segregated. But, there was no drama with the Liverpool lot and they remain dedicated and noisy on their travels.

I thought the recent international break broke Albion’s momentum, apparently we were bobbins at Leicester on Saturday, but this game hopefully has us back on track for a tilt at promotion. Roll on Friday.

The Hovian’s Team performance : 8 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Craig Noone

Attendance: 21,897 (2,403 Liverpool)

A casual buy No. 5

December 13, 2009

It is a widely acknowledged fact that casual culture started in Merseyside in the late 1970s. Hordes of Liverpool scallies followed their team on their successful runs in the major European football competitions around this time. Being true scousers many took the opportunity to raid the poorly secured continental clothes and sports shops. The scallies were the first to be seen wearing such sporting goods labels as Lacoste, Sergio Tacchini, Fila and Ellesse on the bleak football terraces of late seventies Britain.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the country, other young male football fans were either dressed in biker leathers, flares, club scarves, bobble hats and knitted tank tops (the regions); or, especially in the nation’s capital, bovver boots, donkey jackets, sta-prest trousers, braces and Fred Perry jumpers. London youth was immersed deep in the mod revival/skinhead movement, and the terraces of all the London clubs were full of unruly suedeheads and latter-day sawdust caesars.

When the cockneys saw the scousers at the match in their bright Italian sportswear, their “wedge” haircuts and adidas trainers, they most likely died laughing. The scallies saw the cockneys as muggy boneheads with no style. But, eventually the casual look caught on, especially when the London boys realised how easy it was for the effeminate looking northerners to evade the police – who were still out looking for shaven-headed louts in club colours on matchdays.

So, the casual scene grew and all the mod and skin clothes were eventually thrown away or kept on the backs of older lads who would never look like the “facking poofs” in their Trim Trabbs and Fila Bj trackies. All the old clothing labels died out, all except one that is, and that label was Fred Perry. The Manchester version of the scouse scally was even named after Fred’s clothing line.

The Fred Perry V-neck jumper in burgundy has outlived them all, it has seen the original 1960s mods come and go, the original skins, the new waves, the casuals, the Stone Island/Burberry clones of the 1990s, and can still be found on the backs of well dressed lads at the football or when they’re out on the tiles on a Saturday night.

The Specials' Terry Hall models a rare limited edition Fred Perry V neck with oversized laurel

If you own only one item of casual clothing, this is the one it should be. I’m a bit of a mod too, in clothes and musical taste, so how can I not own the only item that managed to straddle the gulf between so many antagonistic subcultures? What I’m saying here is that the Fred Perry V-neck is THE item of football fashion, but it is much more than that – it’s as much a British cultural icon as the Mini Cooper, or Big Ben, or Doctor Märtens’ famous boots, OI! That is why you’ll see old blokes, scruffy students, superannuated mods, and smart football dressers all wearing it. It’s a beaut.

AFC Wimbledon 0 – 2 Albion

July 21, 2009

My favourite football photograph of all time. I loved the old Crazy Gang, ever since they won the 1988 FA Cup Final 1-0 against the then cocksure top-flight superstars Liverpool. They didn’t exactly outplay Liverpool as much as mug them with extreme violence, and underdog lovers everywhere lapped it up – a legend was born.

But, after relegation from the Premier League in 2000 the Dons imploded and out of the ashes rose AFC Wimbledon (MK Dons? who they?) - this is by far the most interesting of our pre-season friendlies, and one I defo would have gone to had I been at home in Hove. So, I have to make do with the Seagulls World radio commentary from the Beeb.

New trialist getting a run out tonight is Alan Navarro, a former MK Dons midfielder. No Michael Ricketts, looking ominous for him not being in blue & white stripes this season. It’s 11:15pm here (central Asia) as the match kicks off. I hope the game is worth staying up for.

McLeod hits one on 15mins, off da woodwork, Albion looking lively, especially in midfield with McLeod, Navarro and Spiller buzzing about. Adam El Abd putting himself about in characterisitic style at right back. It’s raining in Kingston too, I’ve the aircon on in bed, hoho. Tunnicliffe having a good outing at centre-back, that’s promising for the big yin, big throws into the box too – looking forward to him bombing those in over the season.

GOAL! Hart feeds McLeod on 30mins and POW!! in the onion bag. Stitch that you bastards!

Second half gets underway, trying to work out who’s on and who’s come off. Dicko on up front with Daaaaavies. Immediately Dicko has a pop at goal, looking very hungry. McLeod still on, he’s playing a blinder. McLeod floats one in, Daaavies connects with his head and misses (signs of things to come this season?). Dean Cox on for McLeod on 60mins, well played that man.

Dicko having a better night than his last game at Stevenage, he’s enjoying stretching those big legs. Daavies trying hard too, not as classy,  he needs a goal, they both do. Coxy and Wright both troubling the Dons defence, Daaavies can’t finish. Dons finally make a decent attack, appeals for hand ball off Virgo – piss offffff!!! AFC threaten again with 5 mins left, Dickinson clears his lines, having a good half the big guy. Dons miss a sitter, empty net, fook me! And another, what are Albion doing???

Other end, Dicko feeds Cox, keeper saves at his feet – good little game this. Cox takes a corner with minutes to go, falls to Virgo, he smashes it low into the goal – get in!!! Final whistle goes, good work out for the team. Night night.

Xenophon’s Albion Team Performance : 7 out of 10

Xenophon’s Albion Man of the Match : Kevin McLeod

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-4-2) G Smith (Kuipers 45); El Abd (Whing 45), Hawkins (Elphick 45), Tunnicliffe (Virgo 45), Livermore (Cook 60); Brinkhurst (Wright 50), Navarro (Crofts 45), Spiller (Dicker 45), Mcleod (Cox 60); Murray (Dickinson 45), Hart (Daaaaaavies 45)


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