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RAWK's new Writing Team Spyin' Kop:

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RAWK has some new writers. They’re not new to the site, they’re certainly not new to the club and some of them knew Johnny Houlding personally.

Royhendo, VdM and myself agreed over a campari and soda, a list of who we thought best represented the variety of support we have on the site, who wrote in a passionate, unique and brilliant way. Who are opinionated and certainly not Writers for RAWK but Writers on RAWK. We discussed the list with the other mods and all agreed to invite this motely bunch of talent to become the new voices on RAWK. Of course, there are always our scribes and other writers too, but this list, we hope, will provide insight, humour and analysis over the seasons to come. (If not, we’ll get someone else in… ;) )

We are in a process of upgrading and redesigning the front page and replacing the great but rarely here and heard writers of old. So allow me to introduce them to you:

I quote VdM here:

--- Quote from: Veinticinco de Mayo on May 11, 2012, 11:29:37 am ---Welcome to our new team:

                                                       Fat "Flying Pig" Scouser

"Bite yer" Degs                 Yorkykopite                   Royhendo                    Juan Loco

                              L6 Red                           E2K                          Rhi

                    Garstonite                           Sabu Pundit                    Rushian

Sub (well History Correspondent):  Wooltonian

--- End quote ---

(Wooly will be the librarian in what we hope will be a new history board, a repository of all things Red and Past.)

The best way to introduce them I thought would be to ask them their memories and opinions of the club from the beginning to now.

Rushian, and L6 haven’t replied, but I’ll add them up when they do. Meantime as the close season starts, here’s a welcome distraction. Enjoy.


1. What's your earliest memory of LFC, was it a match attended or watched, bedspread, scarf, telly viewing, drunk uncle leaping up off the sofa during a televised match or otherwise?

Fat Scouser: First proper clear memory, 1965 cup final and homecoming. Football was something the men in the family and the bigger lads wouldn't take me to.  I could hear the Kop from ours and see the floodlights, closest I got to it... back page of The Echo. 65 Cup final changed that, watched it on the telly, went the homecoming, started going the next season.

Garst: Before I answer these questions, I'd just like to gloat at my foresight in holding back my views before yesterday's shitstorm. Thanks.

OK. So. First memories. Definitely my first game. Stoke 4-0 at Anfield. I was in the Paddock with my Dad and Uncle and spent more of the game watching The Kop than the pitch. I was seven or eight at the time and couldn't wait to get in there.

Rhi: Maybe being 9 or 10 years old and sitting in the car listening to the radio commentary of the first Newcastle 4-3, while my family were all indoors having a meal at my aunt's house? How a little Welsh girl got that obsessed is anyone's guess. Or it could have just been a really shit meal. Who knows?

E2K: I have no real recollection of how I came to support the club, no one in my family was into football so I can only assume it was through the influence of friends in school. My first memory is actually a bad one – League Cup (or ‘Littlewoods Cup’ as it was at the time) final 1987, Charlie Nicholas, Perry Groves, etc.

JuanLoco: Being McManaman. Remember having socks halfway down my ankle and running with the ball down the street or in school, pretending I was McManaman. I have vague recollections of the 3-3 against United and especially the game against Palace at the start of ’94-’95 in what looked like a quarry. Think I had the away kit that season as well (the green, white and black one?) and I distinctly remember having the bleach blonde Fowler look, for my sins.

YorkyK: The Kop. Seeing it on television some time in the late 60s provoked me into putting one foot in the Liverpool camp. The other foot followed when I first saw the famous Red jerseys in an actual match (First Division fixture v Huddersfield Town in 1970-71 season)

RoyH: It was always a vague sense of Kenny for me. I was born in 1974, so about as early as it was possible to remember, my country was gripped with World Cup fever and all that went with it, so that, coupled with my old boy's Red leanings, meant that I always had a vague sense of Kenny. I can just about remember the 1979 European Cup win, aged 5, and have vivid memories of the 1981 win, along with the other finals of that time. My Xmas presents consisted of Scotland, Liverpool and Dundee United strips. Funny how it works eh?

Degs: LFC is in my blood. I was born red, I have lived in Liverpool my entire life - red, I will die red. There is no second team, there is no national team, there is no choice, only the red of Liverpool.  For me there is no earliest memory of Liverpool FC, there is a haze of being taken to the standing Kop as a very young kid (although I think this is as much because of a photo at the time), I can picture flowers at Anfield from the time of Hillsborough, but there is no vivid marker I can put down as that's when Liverpool FC came into my life, it's like asking for an earliest memory of your parents - you don't have one, they were always there.

Rushian: Being forced to choose a team in school as everyone had to have one. My best mate Gary came from a family of Manc fans, so I chose to be different and picked the Mighty Reds. At the time little was I to know my prosaic choice would go on to dominate Europe.

2. What Liverpool era/team is your favourite one and why?

YorkyK: The best team was the one that won in Rome in '84 - the culmination of years of hard thinking about the game by a succession of brilliant managers. But the boys of '88 were the most enthralling.

E2K: The Barnes/Beardsley/Aldridge years take some beating for me (so roughly 1987 – 1989). Some of the football that team played was just sublime. There used to be a video on Youtube, Liverpool Goal of the Season 1988. Each one was just ridiculously good, from Steve Nicol’s run down the wing at St. James’ Park to Beardsley’s volley against Everton to Steve McMahon chasing a lost cause out to the touchline against Arsenal. Brilliant stuff. The Benitez years hold a lot of fond memories too.

RoyH: The early 80s team, precisely because that's when I became obsessed with football. It's the same thinking that means the 1982 World Cup will never be topped in my mind. It was also probably the best side, albeit maybe not necessarily the best footballing team.

Rhi: For my generation it's got to be Rafael Benitez's team – Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Javier Mascherano, Pepe Reina – genuinely world class players at the top of their game playing in our team. We had some good times with that team. Some really good times.

Garst: Kenny's '86 side and beyond without any shadow of a doubt. It was at the height of my football obsession. I barely missed a game home or away and we were demolishing sides all over the country. I took it all for granted.

Fat Scouser: Now I'm knocking on a bit, it's still that first team of Shankly's, getting the aul fellas walk down memory lane syndrome. But we've been jammy bastards, seen some great sides over the years. And I'm hoping Kenny can build another "Better than Brazil" job, but not holding me breath.

JuanLoco: Being of the age I am there’s no choice but to pick a Rafa one or Ged’s between 00-02. I guess it’ll have to be Rafa’s team from 2007-2009. No trophies, but there’s not many teams that we didn’t beat, and I loved watching them manage to totally shut down an opponent in Europe. For a couple of years every Liverpool victory against a European Giant (or Chelsea) was greeted with the standard “X just didn’t show up”. Well obviously not – they weren’t allowed to. It was also the team with the best player I’ve seen in a Liverpool shirt playing at his best.

Degs: King Kenny's 80s team.  I've only seen it on VHS tapes of it from growing up (when they weren't being used to build "bases" for action man and his mates), the era is idealised and romanticised, the poor performances are abandoned to memory while matches like the 5-0 against Forest are preserved for eternity.  It's easy to look back on a team you never saw and see perfection in it but all I have to do is listen to my auld fella talk about them.  Even in the midst of Rafa's team beating Madrid 4-0, the Mancs 4-1, winning the European Cup he'd still eulogise about yesterday's heroes: Barnes, Rush, Hansen, etc. Pass and Move, The Liverpool Way.  That's the football I want to see again.

Rushian: It has to be the 87-88 team. It was a privilege and a pleasure to follow them home and away.

3. What's your belief's on how Liverpool should play - do we still have a style, pass and move, kick to Rush, kick and rush what?

RoyH: I want us to pass and move. Everything should flow from that. But equally, I like a side that solves problems and grinds when it has to. That was what struck a chord for me with Rafa's teams - they were reminsicent of the early 80s team in that respect. The notion that sometimes they'd be nullified, or they'd stink the house out, but when it mattered, they tended to find a way and win without being too wedded to that approach for its own sake.

JuanLoco: Oh I don’t know. I didn’t get to see the club my best so anything I take from that is just opinion and could be wrong. I’ve always thought Liverpool are meant to be a pragmatic team. A team that looks to pass the ball and play good football, but one that isn’t dogmatically attached to that. Pass and move is the Liverpool groove, but I’ve never felt there’s been the same “we must play this way” approach that happens at other clubs. Didn’t Shankly once use Toshack against Borussia Monchengladbach because he’d seen the night before (in a rained off tie?) that they couldn’t cope with the ball in the air?

All the best Liverpool teams are before my times, so it’s hard to say, but I always imagine the great Liverpool sides as the Germany of club football. Compact, relentless, filled with individual quality but always greater than the sum of their parts. The way people talk of Paisley’s teams you get the sense that nothing physically or mentally. They could be compact, get their foothold in the game and then dictate it. I know that’s not a ‘style’ of play, but that’s the best way I can say it. It doesn’t really matter to me if we press high or drop off. It all has its place. I think we should look to pass and move first and foremost, but that’s only a base. I don’t feel we should be slave to it as Barcelona have been, for example.

Garst: I think it was Cruyff who said, 'to win is not enough. You must also play beautiful football'. I'm a great believer of that. It annoyed me that people criticised our football under Rafa. It was progressive, it was modern and with the right personnel it was bloody effective. I can't say I enjoyed the football Ged brought us, but I was certainly grateful for what he did to the club. We were in disarray under Evans. He came with his methods and for a while they worked. I guess it was a revolutionary period and the treble in 2001 was obviously fantastic but when the dust settled again, it was clear when watching the football Wenger was bringing to Arsenal that we needed that at Anfield.

I know I'm danger of going on a tangent but it also annoyed me when people from the Damien Comolli school of stats compared Hodgson's record with Kenny's. Watch the game. Our football under Dalglish was a million miles from what Roy had us serving up.

YorkyK: Pass 'n Move of course. We should aim to play our football in the opponent's half. Attack from the back, defend from the front. The accent on pace, technique and playing for the collective. No room for honest triers.

E2K: I have no particular philosophy on how we should play, I just want the team to have ONE style (call it a vision or an identity if you prefer) and a positive, confident one (i.e. not what we saw under Roy Hodgson). I don’t think there’s any one ‘right’ way. The important thing, I think, is to have a singular way of playing that everyone buys into. That’s when you get success.

Rhi: I don't think it matters as long as we're winning. I mean in an ideal world, it wouldn't be the "hoof and chase", but if it's getting results, who can argue? We've played lots of different systems over the years, and in my generation none of them would be the quintessential "pass and move" Liverpool. But we had success under Houllier, despite a pretty dour system, and I have a huge soft spot for the Benitez "crushing machine". There was a lot of criticism of both of those systems at the time. Houllier's with more reason, for sure. But they were effective, there's no denying that. That's what should be important. So what if we're playing "two defensive midfielders at home against Fulham"?

Degs: Pass and Move. Press high up the pitch, play fast down the flanks, push the back line up, have a sweeper keeper, centre halves comfortable on the ball and in a fight, have players with heart.

Fat Scouser: I'd just be happy to see one at the moment. Sorry, but we're shite.

Rushian: Pragmatic. It's great seeing beautiful football but even better seeing winning football. I want a manager to make the most of the players available by utilising our most efficient style of play for those sent out onto the pitch. And I want us to change tactics during matches and for individual opponents as necessary. You'll only rarely find yourselves to be so good you can play as you want, when you want.

4. What's your (brief) take on the recent turmoils the club has been through?

RoyH: I worry that the owners don't have a joined up plan, and that they're not joined up analysts and planners. We have problems to address and goals to aim for, and we need plans and integration to help us get where we need to be. I worry that they're just worrying about wage bills and not necessarily going too far beyond that level.

JuanLoco: Man, I failed GCSE math and my nuanced take on the Spanish language extends as far as “dos cerveza y una whisky por favor”. I thank RAWK for having people who understand these things are a brilliant at boiling it so a layman like myself can digest it and understand what is/was going on. I just hope it’s over, but once bitten…

YorkyK: The financial turmoils? Those bastards nearly killed us. But they can't entirely explain the failures we've had on the pitch since Alonso left.

E2K: If I never hear the letters “RBS” in connection with the club again, I’ll be a happy man. The new owners at least seem competent and serious about being successful, so those kind of turmoils are hopefully behind us for good. With that said, the fallout of the Suarez/Evra incident was deeply troubling in its own way and I hope we never see anything like it again.

Fat Scouser: To be honest, I think it's being used as an excuse now and we've got to move on.

Rhi: We almost ceased to exist. That sort of thing cannot be underestimated. It has undoubtedly had a massive effect on the club. We're pretty much starting again from scratch in terms of everything that's going on behind the scenes, and I don't think it's a process that can be rushed. There's a lot of impatience and it's not helping. Yes we need a solution to the capacity issues at Anfield, yes we need to increase our revenue, yes we need to streamline our wage bill while improving the squad… but none of these are quick fixes. They're not things that can be rushed. And we need to show a little more understanding to the management of the club as they work to find not just A solution, but the RIGHT solutions. Unfortunately with the fans having had to fight so hard to wrestle the club away from the previous leeches, we're finding it difficult to allow our new owners time, and we're finding it difficult to trust them to do things right. I think that's perpetuating some of our problems, too. It's all very frustrating.

Garst: What, Hicks and Gillett or yesterday? ;D

My honest answer is that in the long run, we'll look back and say we're better off for it. Living in the moment, it's hard to say when that time will be, but the structure of the club is solid and that's the thing of most importance.

Degs: I can actually see what the American's want.  They want Billy Beane.  They don't want somebody who has tried to do what everybody else has tried to do in football so far, they know that if they try and match Manchester City, United, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barca, etc. by bidding for the same set of players they will lose.  They want a transfer revolution. They either want somebody to walk in and say "See this lad: John Johnson from Accrington Stanley, buy him" or "Buy this 15 year old from Man City for 10 million". They want a total revolution and bit by bit they are trying to remove people who are ingrained in the old ways.  They've sacked lawyers, fitness staff, goalie coaches, media people. They're one step away from sacking Kenny, all the while they're waiting for their white knight to ride in and fire his silver bullet.  They think there is a different way to work, they may be right, but in the meantime they cannot afford to wait for it.  They should be pushing on issues like foreign Internet streaming for matches and other areas that would open up tens of millions for the club. At the minute it looks like they're only bothered in baseball's off-season.  They need a permanent presence over here and somebody who knows football. A CEO could do the job. All the while the stadium remains a dream.

5. Who's been your favourite Liverpool player and why?

JuanLoco: Don’t think I’ve got a favourite. McManaman for the reasons mentioned at the start maybe.

I loved Luis Garcia though. You always knew he was one of the two or three most talented players on the pitch, but he’d only turn it on in a five minute period. I loved how fearless he was, the fact that he didn’t seem concerned with who he was frustrating. He could give the ball away 10 times then try a volley the 11th time he got the ball. … And even if he missed he’d have no trouble shooting from 20 yards next time he got it. Always seemed to be enjoying himself as well. Oh, and he had some decent timing on him when it came to important goals.

Also think his goal against Anderlecht is my favourite Liverpool goal that didn’t have something major hanging on it. The best header I’ve ever seen.

Garst: Souness. He resembled the sort of football I aspired to. Unfortunately he's kind of let me down by being a bit of a daft tit since his playing days, but there you go.

Degs: Robbie Fowler.  Robbie burst onto the scene when I was 7, he left when I was 15, I was always going to love that magnificent bastard but that he grew up a few streets from me, that him and Gary Ablett gave out trophies at our end of season awards for kids football, that he was one of us, it put him above everyone. God.

Rhi: Lucas. I love the lad to bits. He's smart, hard as nails, a model pro, spot on attitude, and a fucking brilliant player to boot. Lucas is boss.

RoyH: Kenny. He's my favourite ever player, because as well as being the best in the world at the time I fell in love with the game (and he was by the way), he happened to be Scottish, my father's idol, and a nice fella too.

YorkyK: Boyhood heroes are hard to beat. Step forward Kevin Keegan. The best player we've ever had though is Kenny Dalglish. Or maybe Graeme Souness! The most exciting is John Barnes. The player I wish I could have been is Xabi Alonso.

Fat Scouser: Aul fellas syndrome again... Peter Thompson, me first hero. But again, we've been jammy bastards. And just to upset Yorky... Dirk Kuyt, I love the fella.

E2K: Maybe a predictable answer for someone of my generation – John Barnes. What a player he was, and these days I enjoy the fact that he never leaves you in any doubt as to where his loyalties still remain.

6. Best memory of the club?

RoyH: Visiting for the first time in 1984 with my Dad, and seeing the European Cup semi final.

Fat Scouser: Too many, not even all about trophies. They've been nice like, but then there's things like being in The Pen, seeing the Kop for the first time, going on it for the first time... you know that bit in the Wizard of Oz when everything bursts into colour, well, it was a bit like that. But nowadays even being stuck in Barnsley on a Wednesday night after a shite league cup game, with no dough, pissing down of rain and a hitch hike home across the Pennines to face, seems like it was a laugh.

Rhi: I'm going to be highly original here and go for Istanbul. Best day of my life, bar none.

E2K:/ JuanLoco:/ Degs:   Istanbul

Garst:2005. Istanbul. No question.

I was 14 when we won our fourth Big Ears and because we'd won so many is such a short period of time, I took it for granted. I presumed there'd be more. After the nightmare that was the Heysel and the strides Italian football in particular took from what was being played on this continent for most of the 90s, I never thought I'd see us lift that trophy again and the longer it took, the more prestigious it seemed.

I seem to remember leaving Anfield after Leicester had turned us over to hear that Man Utd had beaten Juventus in the CL semi-final in 1999. We were a million miles away from that trophy. Six years is a relatively short time in life but an eternity in football.

The long and the short of it is that I'll forever be grateful to Rafa. That run in '05 was a fairytale.

YorkyK: Defeating St Etienne. I'll never be as high watching football ever again. Unless we win the league of course

7. What do you want to see changed next season if anything?

Fat Scouser: An awful lot. Wrong time and place to discuss it, but, let's be honest, we're a shambles and if it wasn't Kenny in charge of it we'd all be screaming.


Well. Where to start? What's most important is we have a plan and stick to it. Too often last season we were switching systems. The players didn't perform to their standards last term but to their credit, they were never given any stability. Henderson switched from wide to centre. Downing on the left, then the right. I'm a traditionalist. Stick with a system across all levels of the club so when players get promoted they know their duty.

E2K: Stating the obvious, the team needs more quality, more leadership (a full season from both Lucas and Gerrard will help on both counts, but we clearly need some new faces as well) and, going back to question 3, a more distinct, ingrained style of play because if someone asked me right now to sum up how Liverpool play in a couple of sentences, I don’t think I could.

RoyH: Clear evidence of our owners' ability to analyse and plan, and to act in support of that plan.

Degs: I would like to see our style of football and tactics changed.  We've been stuck in 4-4-2 for too long, it hasn't worked. There is no movement off the ball and players who look to break from their shackles and move between the lines like Maxi, Shelvey, and Bellamy have been reduced to a minimal amount of appearances. Our chance conversion rate is awful and it stems from our front 2 being isolated from the rest of the team (wingers stuck out wide tripping over full-backs), centre mids covering too much ground and not supporting the attack, and players have been misused (why play Charlie Adam in a midfield 2 when he had to be carried in a midfield 3 at Blackpool).

YorkyK: Too much to discuss here. But I'd like to see Raheem Sterling start the season. And I'd like to think we won't be seeing Carragher again.

Rhi: I'd like to see us win more, and I'd like for an awful lot of our fans to stop being such whiny little bitches. No offence.

JuanLoco: I’d like the owners who make a big deal of making out they’re clever, innovative and “not afraid of a gamble” to show these things, rather than just continuing a long-standing PR campaign. Simply not being G&H isn’t going to cut it any more. Not after 18 months.

8. What makes you such a passionate writer for the club?

Degs: Dunno  ;D

RoyH: Nice to see the word 'passionate' there. I don't tend to think about that aspect. I enjoy writing and I'm obsessed with the football teams I love, so it's a nice wee constructive hobby I suppose!

JuanLoco: I don’t know if I am, but like the others, it gets under the skin. And let’s face it, it’s Liverpool, you’re rarely short of something to talk about.

Fat Scouser: I don't know if I am. yes you bloody are: hinesy

Rhi: I dunno! I think I just enjoy being sanctimonious and inflammatory in equal measure  . I suppose it helps that I make it to a fair number of games, and it helps that I was taught the rights and wrongs of supporting our club by some of the most intelligent and passionate people I know. But I'm really just your average match-going supporter, and I don't think there's a better way to develop passion for the cause than that.

Garst: There's no greater medium for me to vent my spleen. Prior to the internet, I'd spend my days shouting my opinions at a wall. It had the same conclusion. It achieved nothing. But it made me feel better!

YorkyK: No different to anyone else. I'm constantly thinking about the damn club and it makes life a misery.

E2K: As I once heard it put, “it gets under the skin.” It’s under my skin.

9. Anything you'd like to add?

JuanLoco: It’s Kenny Dalglish. Remember that when you’re in a rush to perform transfer fee gymnastics and write binary-code laced dissertations about our failings.

RoyH: Yeah. This is the best Liverpool site out there, whether people realise it or not. The content tucked away in the boards on this forum have rich seams of pure gold, just hidden from view. Our job is to make that speak for itself in the seasons to come. This site should be proud of itself.

Fat Scouser: I'm choka. I think football was invented just to piss me off.

Rhi: I am genuinely and unashamedly optimistic about next season, and I think everyone else should be too. Deal with it!

Garst: I'd just like to thank you for allowing me on the team. I'm keen to impress yorky after taking up Dirk's mantle on the wide right. ;D

Hope you enjoyed that and welcome to our new team!

That's a good team assembled. Hoping that Degs doesn't get too knackered as he's looking a bit lonely out on the right there. Much good to come from L6 and Garstonette. Somehow fitting we have Sabu up front, and we need a bit more of Rushian. Great back 5 tho and a decent pivot - Good read.

Good stuff!

Cheers to those taking up the new 'scribe' roles. Some of the posters I go out of my way to search for their posts already - it'l be good to see some combined posts (I'm assuming there'll continue to be round table style subjects which get input from scribes before us mongs get our paws on them... :D)

I assume Rushian is returning, but we expect to be 'like a new signing'?! Sabu up front to confuse the life outta the defenders of bilge should be good too :D

Seems to be a good mix of those I'd agree with and not! Look forward to some new impetus on the opinion board as a result :)

Absolutely fantastic read. Thanks for wasting a few more minutes of valuable revision time!

The team certainly has made a flying start to the writing season, consider any doubts over the aggressive
4-3-3 formation dispelled. Although I'm still waiting to see Garstonite whip some crosses into Sabu Pundit. The back 4 look assured backing up the creative midfield.

Think that metaphor may have run it's course.

Considering so much is written about football and LFC in particular it takes great writing and thought to come up with something truly original and insightful that really makes you think. A rarity that RAWK has consistently delivered in its better moments.

Looking forward to more.

Nobody had Gerrard as their favourite player?

--- Quote ---Rushian, Garst and L6 haven’t replied, but I’ll add them up when they do.
--- End quote ---

What about SABU?


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