Author Topic: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002  (Read 25256 times)

Offline MichaelA

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Belief. Faith. Trust.

When I was really very young, I believed in Father Christmas. Even the most joyless cynic believed in Father Christmas, once upon a time. As I grew older, and as I heard the wicked and scurrilous playground stories about him not being real, I still believed in Father Christmas. As I grew a little older, I stopped believing in Father Christmas, but I still believed in the magical power to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, and I believed in the pleasure and enjoyment that holding onto that belief gave to me. These days, I still sometimes manage to switch off the cynicism long enough to remember the power and the magic of believing in something, the wonder of disbelief. Hold onto it. Magical moments happen.

When I was still young, I believed in the Baby Jesus, and the story of the Nativity, of his miracles, and how he rose up from the dead. The power of faith made me believe, the trust I had in the people who told me those stories. I believe that even a Godless heathen is able to see beyond the religious cant, and accept that the story of Jesus is a story about humanity, about our capability to be humble, and the power and the goodness that comes from, you know, just being nice to people. It's good to have faith in people, and in turn, trusting them to have faith in you. Faith and trust can produce magical things in the lives of people. The "placebo effect" swings into full effect when it come to religious belief - because we want to hold onto a promise. Trust in yourself and have faith in others. Miraculous things are really more common than you think.

Much later on, when I was really quite old enough to know better, I believed in Emile Heskey. I believed in Emile because I saw him score twenty odd goals in a season, and because he helped me to renew my faith in football - through the faith he had in his ability to deliver for us in Red. In turn, I trusted that Gerard Houllier could bring out the best in Emile, and bring out the best in the squad of players that he had assembled at Anfield, way back then at the turn of this century. The names of the team that turned out that night still catch my breath; from the sublime Jari Litmanen, to the ridiculous future European Cup winner Igor Biscan. We had a pair of centre backs that I would happily kill for today, and we the had flickering flair of Vladimir Smicer and the graft and guile of Danny Murphy, and at the centre of it all we had the grit, determination and authority of our future, current Captain. Through the course of that season, Emile, and Steven Gerard and Jamie Carragher and the rest of the squad had earned my trust, I had growing faith in their ability, and I had begun to believe - briefly - that we were seeing a new dawn over Anfield. A myth was being made, and magic and miracles were being wrought.

This goal played a huge part in restoring my belief in football, transcending the humdrum, the run of the mill, and delivering something magical and miraculous that I still treasure almost thirteen years later...

On the night of the 19th March 2002, at Anfield, Liverpool Football Club were playing against the legendary Associazione Sportiva Roma. That night Emile Heskey was as big and as red as Father Christmas, magic made flesh as he covered as much ground as the big man does on Christmas Eve. That night, in the 64th minute, he resurrected his Anfield career, miraculously appearing in the penalty box, ascending in a heavenly manner like Jesus at Easter. And at that moment, this goal, this majestic header against AS Roma, this single moment in time, exemplified all of the beauty that football delivers to the fan -  our belief, our faith and our trust rewarded. And it also exemplifies the utter idiocy and self deluding stupidity that football players and football managers visit upon the poor helpless fan. In those moments we give ourselves up to the ecstatic fervour of the goal, the joy of the win, our faith in the magic of our players, and then - trusting and believing - we offer up our hopes and dreams in order to seem them dashed, and then broken, and ultimately to be betrayed. Over and over again. Like all the kneeling supplicants in pews and on mats, prostrate or heads bent, we believe that miracles can happen. Like sleepy infants on Christmas Eve, we keep one eye open to the possibility that magic is abroad that night. And as fans we sit and stand and kneel and pray and promise and hope with our hearts that we will see wonders. As fans, as Liverpool Football Club fans, we have a reason to believe. We have seen wonders. We have seen miracles. Faith is rewarded.

But that night. That night was already shaping up to be special. Gerard Houllier had been ill, recovering from his heart trouble, and he had been away from Anfield for five months. That night, AS Roma arrived, we needed a big win to progress beyond the group stages of the Champions League. That night, Gerard stepped up to the touchline. That night, I was sat in the upper centenary, directly opposite the tunnel, and I suddenly became aware of the crowd looking in that direction, the surge of noise, the roar of approval. And then his dark overcoat against the green turf, his drawn and pale face, and his crimson scarf. And at that moment the whole of the ground was on it's feet, scarves swinging, all chanting, all singing, all engulfed in the emotion that rolled off the stands and onto the pitch. All of that emotion was enveloping that man in the red scarf, it was reverberating back from the Kop to the Anfield Road End, and it was passed reverently backwards and forwards from the Main Stand to the Centenary. And it was deafening - an all encompassing moment of communion between the fans and the manager - 'Allez, Allez, Gerard Houllier".

That night, Gerard waved to the Kop, and at that moment he was embraced by Capello on the touchline, touching and touched, and that night Liverpool Football Cub roared again. The Liverbird soared again. And at that moment it seemed to me that anything might be possible, anywhere, in any sphere of human endeavour, and also at that moment, Roma knew that their task was impossible. The noise was energy giving, a hypnotic racket that transformed the fans, the players, the balance of events to come. Within moments of kick off we were ahead, and well of course we bloody were, and the noise that night did not diminish. That noise did not diminish because we believed unquestioningly that we were the team that was going to win the European Cup, and we believed that we would not be moved. The goals that we scored were the articles of faith that demonstrated the belief of our players, and the songs that we sang, and the names that we chanted, were the articles of faith by which we proved our belief in Liverpool Football Club.

It's worth a reminder (if only to myself) that there was a game on during this great outpouring of emotion and energy. I don't remember Roma delivering much of a threat, but I do recall that things on the pitch began to lull, and Totti chose to remind us that we were only midway into the second half. This was the time when Ged carefully chose to carefully stand up again, and the crowd duly erupted again. The players responded again as the energy and determination inside the ground grew. From my vantage point I was perfectly positioned to see Danny Murphy deliver a geometrically precise free kick from the left, from deep, curving right across the penalty area at the Kop end, describing a parabola, spinning over the heads of the Roma defenders. Drifting in to the arc of that cross rose Emile Heskey. Emile seemed to hang suspended in mid air, a freeze framed moment of grace and finesse. And at the very point of the intersection between his trust in the technical ability of Danny Murphy, and his belief in his own powerful striking ability, Emile Heskey met that football with his head, his clear focussed head, a head full of faith in his own wonderful talent, and he sent that football curling beyond the reach of Antonioli and into the back of the net. It was a beautiful goal. If this goal was a Venn diagram, it would sit perfectly in the intersection between the two circles labelled 'magical' and 'miracle'. We were winning 2-0, and we were going through to the the next round of the European Cup. At that moment, I had absolute faith in Emile Heskey, and I completely believed that we were going all the way to Hampden that May. Forty thousand other people in Anfield felt the same way; and maybe, briefly, Emile Heskey believed that we were going there too.

We hadn't had been at that stage of that competition since I was a boy, watching us reach our fourth fated Final - Heysel. It had been a long road back for the club, for the fans, and for me that night was very special. Our trusted Manager was back at Anfield, the belief was back at Liverpool Football Club, and it was tangible. The faith that the fans had in the manager and the players was unquestioning. I had fallen in love with football again, fallen head over heels with Liverpool Football Club again, and after too many years away, dashed, and broken and betrayed, this was a rebirth. A second nativity. That night, I placed my trust in Emile Heskey, and Steven Gerrard, and Jamie Carragher and John Arne Riise, and yes, even Igor Biscan. I allowed Liverpool Football Club back into life, into my personal space, and for the first time in (too) many years I had allowed the actions of eleven strangers to get into my head. I gave them the keys to my emotional wellbeing, and I believed they would deliver the good times for me. For a few short weeks after that night, every game felt like Christmas. 

And Emile? Emile Heskey exemplified the idea of the 'confidence player'. When Emile believed in himself, we all believed in him, but even when we all believed in Emile, he didn't always believe in himself. Learning to believe in yourself is the (second) greatest gift of all. HIs goals dried up again, the form fell away again. But we believed in Emile, and I believe he had faith in us. His humanity was undoubted, and by all accounts he's a smashing person. He's one of my favourite ex-reds, and he is someone who delivered one of my most emotional experiences as a supporter, and I owe him a deep debt of gratitude.

After that night, Gerard Houllier returned, back to the day to day management shortly after the Roma game, (in)famously declaring that we were ten games away from greatness. Maybe we were; but the form of the team dropped away over subsequent weeks. Beliefs were betrayed, faith was lost, trust was broken. A cynic might say that Ged believed in himself a little too much; that there is no place for hubris in football. The lesson I learned that night - and over the course of those ten games - was this: that it's better to live your life as a believer, have some faith in your ability to make a difference, and have faith in others to make a difference too.

That goal was one of those rare moments of euphoria that football can deliver; it was a chance to revel in the result, but it was also an opportunity to enjoy the way that it was achieved and the emotional catharsis that it delivered. More than that, Emile's goal became a talisman for me for months and years afterwards, a moment to savour, to anchor optimism and belief. It became a near-perfect illustration of how faith in ability - and trust in those around you - can deliver something truly wonderful. That night I saw something for myself that reminded me of my lost belief, and it restored my faith in football.


I put my trust in Liverpool. I still believe in Liverpool Football Club.
« Last Edit: December 4, 2014, 10:04:23 am by MichaelA »

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2014, 11:53:55 am »
brilliant

loved every word
yer ma should have called you Paolo Zico Gerry Socrates HELLRAZOR

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2014, 12:15:37 pm »
Awesome! Got goosebumps reading that! Think it's because I was in the Lower centenary that night so I remember it exactly as you described it. Having not gone to any of the European games under Rafa this is the closest I've been to a 'famous European night at Anfield'. The pre-match roar when Houllier was spotted lives long in the memory. A very emotional moment.

We flew out of the blocks and could have scored two or three times before we got the early penalty. Heskey then beasted Walter Samuel for that header.

Roma were a very, very good team back then as well. We'd beaten them the year before in the UEFA but they rested quite a few big names over the two legs. Here is their line up from this game, absolutely packed with quality and with Fabio Capello in charge:

Roma: Antonioli, Panucci, Samuel, Aldair, Tommasi, Emerson, Assuncao, Lima, Candela, Totti, Batistuta. Subs: Pelizzoli, Zago, Montella, Zebina, Cassano, Delvecchio, Guigou.

Definitely one of our best wins in Europe in the modern era. Thanks for the memories!
« Last Edit: November 25, 2014, 12:17:19 pm by C(r)osby Bill »

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #3 on: December 3, 2014, 09:39:32 am »
I remember clearly driving from Glasgow arriving at the ground as YNWA was erupting from the ground, legging it up to Anfield puffing like an old man in the cold air. Brilliant writing mate.
Yep.

Offline MichaelA

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #4 on: December 3, 2014, 09:40:48 am »
I remember clearly driving from Glasgow arriving at the ground as YNWA was erupting from the ground, legging it up to Anfield puffing like an old man in the cold air. Brilliant writing mate.

Before we met.  :-*

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #5 on: December 3, 2014, 10:07:04 am »
A most excellent post.  I was there too.  The roar when Ged came out.  It was like electricity running round the ground.   One of the unforgettable times.  Thank you.
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Offline John C

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #6 on: December 4, 2014, 12:22:05 am »
This was the first completed in the series and raised the bar for us all :)
Brilliant Michael.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #7 on: December 4, 2014, 09:02:12 am »
This was the first completed in the series and raised the bar for us all :)
Brilliant Michael.
what a start it was
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #8 on: December 4, 2014, 10:02:36 am »
Day 4 of the advent calendar is a treat. Bit like that treat when expecting the horrible coffee chocolate in the box and getting your favourite.

A most fabulous write up of a very special day :)
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #9 on: December 4, 2014, 11:21:03 am »
Great stuff!

Still fondly remember Emile.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #10 on: December 4, 2014, 11:27:24 am »
Worth noting what an incredibly tough group that was. It was back when there was a 2nd Group stage (12 matches needed just to get to the Quarter Finals!).

We were up against it from the start, losing 3-1 at home to Barca (was it Overmars who scored that superb team goal?). After that we got a decent 0-0 in Rome, battered Galatassary 0-0 at home, got a late equaliser to keep our hopes alive back in Turkey and another 0-0 in Barcelona meaning we went into the last game still able to qualify despite not having won a game!

Barca beat Gala in the other game and went on to make the Semi Finals, losing to a Mcmanaman goal for Real I think.

I love these old accounts and how they get your mind wandering!

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #11 on: December 4, 2014, 11:33:28 am »
Entertaining and enjoyable :) In all honesty, never quite liked Emile, be it for the role he played (indirectly) in Robbie's leaving, be it because he never met his potential and never hit those heights (of his Leicester period and early years with LFC) again.
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #12 on: December 4, 2014, 11:52:18 am »
Enjoy this calender!
I can recall that night too, but not in as much detail. Whatever happened after, forget it. It was a great night, with lots of belief.

Merry 4th of December!

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #13 on: December 4, 2014, 11:57:01 am »
Fabulous stuff that, love reading these!!! I tell you what, that was one hell of a Roma team too...
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #14 on: December 4, 2014, 11:59:30 am »
Fabulous stuff that, love reading these!!! I tell you what, that was one hell of a Roma team too...

Totti and Batistuta with Montella, Delvecchio and Cassano on the bench! Bit of depth there.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #15 on: December 4, 2014, 12:01:20 pm »
Worth noting what an incredibly tough group that was. It was back when there was a 2nd Group stage (12 matches needed just to get to the Quarter Finals!).

We were up against it from the start, losing 3-1 at home to Barca (was it Overmars who scored that superb team goal?). After that we got a decent 0-0 in Rome, battered Galatassary 0-0 at home, got a late equaliser to keep our hopes alive back in Turkey and another 0-0 in Barcelona meaning we went into the last game still able to qualify despite not having won a game!

Barca beat Gala in the other game and went on to make the Semi Finals, losing to a Mcmanaman goal for Real I think.

I love these old accounts and how they get your mind wandering!

very tough group, littered with draws

Totti and Batistuta with Montella, Delvecchio and Cassano on the bench! Bit of depth there.
yeah they had some team. i was a big roma fan then. kinda lost touch with them now.
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #16 on: December 4, 2014, 12:08:20 pm »
Totti and Batistuta with Montella, Delvecchio and Cassano on the bench! Bit of depth there.

Don't know if they all rocked up on the day i've slept since then, but also Tomassi, Emerson, Cafu, Candela, Samuel, Aldair..... that's a mean bit of protection behind them lads you mentioned too.
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #17 on: December 4, 2014, 12:22:43 pm »
Don't know if they all rocked up on the day i've slept since then, but also Tomassi, Emerson, Cafu, Candela, Samuel, Aldair..... that's a mean bit of protection behind them lads you mentioned too.

Certainly was. Always thought Emerson was a bit over rated though. Or maybe he was just bad on both visist to Anfield! I was lucky enough to be at the game with them the year before too and I remember Candela standing out as being absolutely top class. He was unlucky that Lizarazu was around at the same time.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #18 on: December 4, 2014, 12:28:29 pm »
Certainly was. Always thought Emerson was a bit over rated though. Or maybe he was just bad on both visist to Anfield! I was lucky enough to be at the game with them the year before too and I remember Candela standing out as being absolutely top class. He was unlucky that Lizarazu was around at the same time.

Emerson kept a good positional sense, was a 7 out 10 every week sort of player from my recollection of the era, was nothing special on the ball more a circulator.

Candela i think for that season in particular was very unfortunate in terms of international selection, Lizarazu though... you can't really argue with, Bayern had been fantastic for a number of years in Europe and he was number one left back.

Did Roma win the league that year? or was it the year before?
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #19 on: December 4, 2014, 12:36:39 pm »
Emerson kept a good positional sense, was a 7 out 10 every week sort of player from my recollection of the era, was nothing special on the ball more a circulator.

Candela i think for that season in particular was very unfortunate in terms of international selection, Lizarazu though... you can't really argue with, Bayern had been fantastic for a number of years in Europe and he was number one left back.

Did Roma win the league that year? or was it the year before?

Capello loved Emerson so he can't have been that bad! You're right though, solid and kept things ticking over I think. They had enough match winners elsewhere!

Agree about Lizarazu, rightly first choice, just meant Candela was unlucky to have been around at the same time. Didn't he end up at Bolton when Fat Sam was trying to build his time machine with Hierro, Jardel etc?).

I think Roma won the League in 00/01 when we knocked them out of the UEFA (they rested quite a few players for that). They signed Batistuta in the summer of 200 and pretty sure he brought instant success.


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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #20 on: December 4, 2014, 12:41:03 pm »
Capello loved Emerson so he can't have been that bad! You're right though, solid and kept things ticking over I think. They had enough match winners elsewhere!

Agree about Lizarazu, rightly first choice, just meant Candela was unlucky to have been around at the same time. Didn't he end up at Bolton when Fat Sam was trying to build his time machine with Hierro, Jardel etc?).

I think Roma won the League in 00/01 when we knocked them out of the UEFA (they rested quite a few players for that). They signed Batistuta in the summer of 200 and pretty sure he brought instant success.



Think you've got the time line about spot on....probably a good thing Batigol was a couple years older..... what a sublime finisher he was!

ha ha - now that brings me back, to be fair to fat Sam, that was probably his purple patch as a manager, Jay Jay too don't forget, he was a cracking player during that period too.

Capello did a great job sandwich'ing his team between a Juve team and an up and rising Milan team that we eventually met only a few years later.

Still - seem to remember following dumping Roma, we did a pretty good job on Juve and then Milan come 2005 ;)
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #21 on: December 4, 2014, 12:43:10 pm »
Emerson kept a good positional sense, was a 7 out 10 every week sort of player from my recollection of the era, was nothing special on the ball more a circulator.

Candela i think for that season in particular was very unfortunate in terms of international selection, Lizarazu though... you can't really argue with, Bayern had been fantastic for a number of years in Europe and he was number one left back.

Did Roma win the league that year? or was it the year before?
The year before, came close that year too. Had just signed Cassano to add to their already deadly attack, joy to watch in Serie and Europe. Lacked a solid goalkeeper iirc tho, think that was their weak spot (which is odd since Capello was in charge and he has always put an emphasis on the defence).
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #22 on: December 4, 2014, 12:46:16 pm »

Still - seem to remember following dumping Roma, we did a pretty good job on Juve and then Milan come 2005 ;)

The Italian teams around the early 2000's seemed to struggle a bit against the traditional pace and power of the English game I think. Arsenal knocked out Juve on the way to the final. United beat them in the group stages I think.

Anyway, back to the OP - cheers MichaelA!

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #23 on: December 4, 2014, 12:49:32 pm »
Agree about Lizarazu, rightly first choice...


Good shout for the best name in football, Bixente Lizarazu. An X and two Zs.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #24 on: December 4, 2014, 12:49:35 pm »
emerson was meant to captain brazil in the 2002 world cup but he got injured

antoniolo was a good keeper too

candela was a great full back.
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #25 on: December 4, 2014, 03:34:28 pm »
What a fantastic article, loved every word of it, thank you.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #26 on: December 4, 2014, 05:07:15 pm »
Great stuff, thanks.

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #27 on: December 4, 2014, 07:33:36 pm »
One of the unforgettable times.

Definitely. Thanks all for your kind comments and memories of the game. :wave

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #28 on: December 4, 2014, 10:07:07 pm »
Brilliant writing. Might take a lot of courage to talk about Emile Heskey like that on Rawk!  :)

Chance of seeing another brilliant night under the Kop against Basel? Would love to think so.

December the 4th be with you ... wait?

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #29 on: December 4, 2014, 10:20:06 pm »
One of THE great nights at Anfield for me and one of the most underrated. It's not talked about very much but it was huge. The buzz around the club when news filtered through that Ged was back was unbelievable.

We had a boss final 1/3 of that season. Thommo did a great job filling in and the win at Old trafford when Murphy chipped Barthez was submlime - Gerrard was excellent in that game from the middle of the pitch. The Spurs game still pains me but looking back that Arsenal team were a real class apart.

Anyone got a picture of that "Emperor" Houllier banner?

Quote
After that night, Gerard Houllier returned, back to the day to day management shortly after the Roma game, (in)famously declaring that we were ten games away from greatness. Maybe we were; but the form of the team dropped away over subsequent weeks. Beliefs were betrayed, faith was lost, trust was broken. A cynic might say that Ged believed in himself a little too much; that there is no place for hubris in football.

Sorry Michael I don't agree with this. After the Roma game we won 6 of our last 7 league games including that boss end to the season against Ipswich. In fact from the time we went to Old trafford near the end of January we won 13 of 15 league games. It was the slump in December/January before this that cost us any chance of winning the league. We went nearly the whole christmas period without winning a game. 

We had a mad night in Leverkusen and threw that amazing opportunity away but Arsenal were a class above us and ultimately it was a bit like last season where we had an exceptional surge towards the last third of the season but we had too much catching up to do and ultimately the team that finished above us were worthy winners. Arsenal only lost three games that season. That we got so close to a team that was to go unbeaten two seasons later when we didn't have our manager for a chunk of the year and had only added to our squad the previous summer with Riise and Anelka was remarkable actually.

The feeling around that season after January was similar to last season and the Roma game was the pinnacle with Ged coming back and all the emotion around it.
« Last Edit: December 4, 2014, 10:31:22 pm by Guz-kop »
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #30 on: December 4, 2014, 10:21:43 pm »
Wasn't that the game the Kop chanted " Are you Shankly in disguise?" to Houllier? ( Turned out he wasn't!!)...after the Game Cappello implied Heskey must have been on drugs , to have such an awesome game..and he was awesome...as he was against Villa at home once....where was that Heskey the rest of the time?...maybe Cappello was right!!...Great night though and had to attend an all day  seminar in Manchester the following morning with a bastard of a hangover...I couldn't do it..after 30 mins I advised I had phoned work and had to return urgently...by 10:30 I was back on the train to Liverpool necking a curer and reading all the papers and off back home to bed...ah! happy days

Thousands of reds went to the away leg...a chaotic dangerous scene developed at the airport after the game...things were getting tense between the police and reds...a mate of our kids managed to nick a loud hailer off a bizzy and as tension mounted in Corporal Jones Style he bellowed out " Don't Panic! Don't Panic!"...but then the police waded in and started hitting everyone to which he responded "PANIC! PANIC!!"   ;D

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #31 on: December 5, 2014, 10:01:05 am »
The feeling around that season after January was similar to last season and the Roma game was the pinnacle with Ged coming back and all the emotion around it.
i agree with this 1000%

i thought we might win the european cup and league that season. we probably had the best centre back partnership in europe then

contrary to what people say about houllier teams we actually played some great football that season too. we were in the mix almost to the very end. Arsenal that season i think won their last 15 games or something ridiculous.

given we didnt spend mad money that season and competed on two fronts almost to the end it was a great season and i can guarantee at the time when houllier said his 10 game speech thing we all believed it. when he came back i really thought that would spur us on to the title and the european cup. i thought we could do it and i genuinely mean that. and im sure although some may not admit it, at the time they would have felt it.

lastly. back to the roma game. i remember reading that morning houllier wouldnt be back all season. we flicked on itv at home 5 mins before kick off and couldnt believe it when he walked out. what a sight it was. it was an incredible moment.
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #32 on: December 5, 2014, 10:40:46 am »
i agree with this 1000%

i thought we might win the european cup and league that season. we probably had the best centre back partnership in europe then


We were incredibly tough to beat in Europe. Felt like we could go anywhere and grind out a 0-0 away from home. Sadly against Leverkeusen I think Ballack was inspired but we still should have done enough to go through. We would have had a Semi Final against United which would have been epic and of course we'd just beaten them 5 times in a row (you could ague that the law of averages would even that up).

A final against Real at Hampden? Easy!

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #33 on: December 5, 2014, 10:55:59 am »
We were incredibly tough to beat in Europe. Felt like we could go anywhere and grind out a 0-0 away from home. Sadly against Leverkeusen I think Ballack was inspired but we still should have done enough to go through. We would have had a Semi Final against United which would have been epic and of course we'd just beaten them 5 times in a row (you could ague that the law of averages would even that up).

A final against Real at Hampden? Easy!
i remember thinking if we scored an away goal there was no way they would score 3 but they did and infact went one better. when litmanen scored in germany i thought we had done it.

i really fancied us to take down united in the semi and the final is anyones game
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #34 on: December 5, 2014, 11:07:09 am »
i remember thinking if we scored an away goal there was no way they would score 3 but they did and infact went one better. when litmanen scored in germany i thought we had done it.

i really fancied us to take down united in the semi and the final is anyones game

Same. 1-1 at Half Time wasn't it? Xavier scored for us. Thought that would be enough to see us through. Same when Jari scored a great goal to put us through for all of 5 minutes.


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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #35 on: December 5, 2014, 11:09:18 am »
Same. 1-1 at Half Time wasn't it? Xavier scored for us. Thought that would be enough to see us through. Same when Jari scored a great goal to put us through for all of 5 minutes.


yep my thoughts exactly
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #36 on: December 6, 2014, 12:16:49 pm »
i agree with this 1000%

i thought we might win the european cup and league that season. we probably had the best centre back partnership in europe then

contrary to what people say about houllier teams we actually played some great football that season too. we were in the mix almost to the very end. Arsenal that season i think won their last 15 games or something ridiculous.

given we didnt spend mad money that season and competed on two fronts almost to the end it was a great season and i can guarantee at the time when houllier said his 10 game speech thing we all believed it. when he came back i really thought that would spur us on to the title and the european cup. i thought we could do it and i genuinely mean that. and im sure although some may not admit it, at the time they would have felt it.

lastly. back to the roma game. i remember reading that morning houllier wouldnt be back all season. we flicked on itv at home 5 mins before kick off and couldnt believe it when he walked out. what a sight it was. it was an incredible moment.

Absolutely.

We conceeded 30 goals all season in the league that year and that included a 4-0 defeat at Stamford bridge. Henchoz and Hyypia were sensational but of course they had excellent midfielders ahead of them (Gerrard and Hamann) and as much as I agree Houllier got unfair stick for our style of play the team was set up to help our back four which is the total opposite of last season. It's what made the capitulation in Leverkusen so hard to take because it just wasn't us. It was mad.

The 01-2 season seems to have been forgotten into the ether of our recent history though. Looking at that Arsenal team and the sort of money that Man United were spending at the time to crack Europe again as well as the circumstances regarding Ged's health - it was some fucking achievement we got as close as we did and although it all went tits up from November 2002 for him he had earnt the right to try and fix things.

I totally agree on the '10 games from greatness' comment. I too thought we were going to do the ultimate double that season and I don't know anyone after that Roma game who didn't feel the same way. The energy around the club was incredible and I thought we were unstoppable. If anything I thought the squad we had at the time was too timid and any bolshie comment in the press would only help us. Owen, Emile and Jari were not nasty strikers in any shape or form. Didi was invaluable and of course Gerrard had tenacity in abundance in him but I don't think anyone else in the side thought we could do it. Sami was a great leader but not someone who would galvanise the team. A lot of the squad were passive players who suited the underdog role in big games/moments. It got us a lot of success but teams don't win league titles like that. Ultimately though the Arsenal team we were up against were brilliant.

In terms of the Roma game I don't think I've ever felt a connection or sheer emotion for a manager as for Ged at that time. There was a lot of hyperbole but The health issues obviously add to that but there was a real sense of belief in one man that wasn't there with Rafa or Brendan yet.

Here is what the Guardian said (first two paragraphs) after the Roma game :

Quote

Liverpool are in the quarter- finals of the European Cup for the first time since 1985. It is a magnificent, historic achievement, at the first time of asking in the Champions League. Yet such was the drama and emotion here last night that it almost had the feel of a beautiful afterthought. That was because it was achieved in front of Liverpool's cherished manager Gérard Houllier, back at Anfield for the first time in nearly six months.

With Houllier sitting beside Phil Thompson in the dug-out, Liverpool produced the performance of 70s-style sustained class which had been demanded of them. The crowd did its bit too - rousing and roaring - provoking the Tannoy announcer to implore those present never to forget the night they had just experienced. It hardly needed saying.

Houllier chose not to speak publicly but a thrilled Thompson concurred. "This was one of the greatest nights in this football club's history," he said. Then he went further. "We can go to the final, there is that much confidence in this team and this squad. There is a belief that we can win the European Cup."
« Last Edit: December 6, 2014, 12:24:56 pm by Guz-kop »
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #37 on: December 6, 2014, 03:18:01 pm »
Great stuff. Agree with you
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #38 on: December 6, 2014, 05:40:51 pm »
Outstanding work brother.

It was a big. Something important did happen that night, it was a real pleasure to be there & equally good to reminisce about it this evening.

Magical Moments do indeed happen.
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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #4 - Emile Heskey versus AS Roma March 2002
« Reply #39 on: December 7, 2014, 09:37:14 am »
That Houllier moment was really special wasn't it? The roar when he appeared felt like hope turning into something resembling expectation. Felt like there was no way we could lose after that.