It may sound odd coming from a Liverpool fan but was nice to see Everton go through to the FA Cup final.
I guess part of this was to do with the opposition, The Mancs. I notice Fergie left Rooney, Ronaldo and van der Sar at home. Surely this was a case of showing the occasion “contempt” and displaying an “arrogance” that was “beyond the pale”? OK, not that convincing but neither was Fergie’s argument about Rafa.
What it does bring into focus is the danger of setting yourself up in the way Fergie has done recently. Only last week he saw fit to pull Rafa over the coals for his comments two years ago in which he alluded to the fact that he felt that Everton were a “small club”. The Mancs line up yesterday also said something about Fergie’s attitude to David Moye’s team and the FA Cup as a whole? Let’s be fair other managers, including Rafa, have at differing times not given the competition the priority it still deserves. The difference is that they don’t hypocritically set themselves up as some self appointed, whiter than white guardian of footballing morals?
To the games this weekend and every one, in the Premiership or the FA Cup, seemed to have an indirect effect on us. More of my own making I admit! For example Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Hull still find themselves in the relegation mire however, they’ve matches to come against The Mancs so perhaps they might raise their game and indirectly do us a favour? Arsenal loom heavily. We are playing them on Tuesday but perhaps, now that Villa have slipped up again and they have all but secured forth place, they will rest against us on Tuesday with an eye on the Champions Leagues semis? On it goes, you see what I mean? All nonsense of course as we still have to win our games and should only be thinking of that and nothing else?
The fall out from Tuesday night and the Hillsborough twentieth anniversary continues. I don’t think there is anything I can say about Tuesday that hasn’t already been said short of the fact that if you are going to be knocked out, you might as well be knocked out like that!
As for the Hillsborough anniversary service even though I’m a labour supporter I was overcome with the crowd’s intervention during Sports Minister Andy Burnham’s speech. The subsequent announcement that the government is planning to release all the files relating to the disaster is good news but begs the question why has it taken twenty years for them to decide to do so? What has changed and why did they decide to keep them under wraps for so long? Could it be that the proposed release was nothing to do with the feelings of the victim’s relatives but reasons to do with serving the interests of, or not wanting to offend, others which have now passed?
Going back to the service and Charles Itandje has been slated for not showing respect. Clearly this was wrong and he has apologised but apologists of Itandje might say he was only seven when Hillsborough happened and that, as a foreign player, perhaps he misjudged the depth of feeling that the event still has? One wonders if this is the case or maybe he is just genuinely stupid, other players in similar circumstances didn’t behave as he did.
Itandje’s gaff does raise an issue? May be the club needs to make players aware about Hillsborough, especially the young ones? For example The Mancs before the fiftieth anniversary of the Munich Air disaster, showed all their players a film so that they realised to significance of the event. I’m not defending Itandje, he was out of order, but not everyone followed the club in 1989 or keeps up with its history or current affairs. I feel it shouldn’t really need to be spelt out to anyone and I’m sure the club already does something but perhaps, to be on the safe side, new players, now that the disaster is twenty years old, should go through some form of organised induction or awareness process once they have joined so they realise the significance and importance of the event and don’t make the same errors?
Meanwhile it seems that Kenny Dalglish, if reports are true, might be making a return to L4 in an ambassadorial / youth academy type role. This has been done many times before with other players at other clubs but Kenny is different and always will be, not only for the success he bought to the club, as a player and then as a manager, but also for his conduct and response in the immediate aftermath of Hillsborough. It’s been suggested that this finally took its toll on him and led to his resignation. One wonders what he would have achieved with us had this not happened?
However, those days are gone now and it’s a sign of what Rafa has done that Kenny’s considering a return. Kenny is also an important link with the old “Liverpool way”. Hopefully the powers that be will not use him in a cynical way to gain much needed credibility with the fans. If they do then I bet you can be sure that Mr Dalglish will the first to let them know that such stunts will not be countenanced!