Friday’s Hillsborough memorial service was a poignant affair and repeated calls for the justice that has so far eluded the 96 and those who are close them.
That should have be enough however, there was another slant added which was the call by a local MP for Kenny Dalglish to be knighted in recognition of his work and support after he tragedy. There is also his charitable work – he and his wife have set up the Marina Dalglish breast Cancer Appeal which opened a centre in Fazakerley hospital. Oh and I guess he was quite a good footballer!
I’ll lay my cards on the table now. I think the honours system is a pointless, antiquated beast where rank and class unfairly holds sway. This still prevails although in recent years the rules, over who qualifies for the various gongs, have been loosened up. I’m also narked by it because of governments ignoring the repeated calls for Bob Paisley to be knighted when others, who have achieved less in their football managerial careers, have received that honour.
Dalglish’s case is slightly different because one has to consider not only his footballing achievements but his work regarding Hillsborough and Breast Cancer. However, there is a degree of irony that the Government should see fit to reward Kenny for his tireless, selfless commitment over Hillsborough when their actions regarding the enquiry, and seeking the justice the victims seek, has been anything but that? Of course I wouldn’t begrudge Kenny the gong but although I cannot speak for him, surely he would trade in any personal recognition for the government getting of their collective backsides and finally ensuring the victims get the justice they so passionately crave?
Meanwhile we travel to London this weekend with it seems half the population. If you’re not at the Emirates for our game at with Arsenal then perhaps you are running the London Marathon (good luck Mark, Jerry, Gary and Emma) or at Wembley for one of the FA Cup Semi Finals?
Our recent trips to the capital underline the difficulty we have in obtaining a degree of consistency. There was a terrific win at Chelsea, in which we outplayed the home team, which was then followed by a battering at West Ham. What version of Liverpool will turn up at Arsenal today? Hopefully it will be one buoyed by Monday’s convincing win over Manchester City? Add to this wins against other so called top clubs, Chelsea (twice) and the Mancs, then we should be reasonably confident of getting something today?
It’s been suggested in some quarters that as Arsenal are The Mancs’ closest rivals to the title we might have something of a dilemma with this game especially as another title means they overtake over record of eighteen? The suggestion is naive, stupid and as wide of the mark as a Paul Scholes tackle! We have our own destiny to try and take care of and shouldn’t be concerned with that of the Mancs or for that matter Arsenal? No doubt they will make us aware of it in their own subtle, classless way if they win it, but the issue of the Mancs taking our title record is irrelevant as it is hopefully temporary. Liverpool cannot control what Manchester United do and the only answer we have is up our game, perform better than we have this season and rival them in years to come.
As for Arsenal it appears be the same old story. A good start some nice, pretty football but once more a telling, and ultimately decisive, lack of resilience to see the season through. Things unraveled over the last month or so leaving them with just the title left when at one stage they were going for honours on four fronts. Arsene Wenger doggedly sticks to his guns regarding the style of play and types of players he chooses. Bloody minded or a purist who won’t’ compromise? Take your pick (if you care) but another barren season beckons. That’s six in row suggesting that perhaps a degree of compromise is required?
Nonetheless it goes without saying that Arsenal still present us with a formidable test and today’s game should give Kenny with a useful indication of where he is or where he needs to get to? We can learn from Arsenal regarding the way they bring their youngsters in which is a policy we are going to have to get used to, bring it on, I welcome it! In turn Arsenal, with an American takeover looming, can perhaps learn from our mistakes in this area, it shouldn’t be difficult!
Prediction? Nothing has changed re the squad since Manchester City and as we did so well against them I see no reason for change including John Flanagan at right back? It’s been a while since we won at Arsenal (remember Titi Camera) but I don’t think we have anything to fear if we play as well as we did on Monday. Do that and I believe we can come away and make our way back home, with the rest of Northern England having earned at least a point, 1-1.