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January 27, 2014
by Jim Boardman
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Infographic: Liverpool V Everton

ON the eve of the latest Merseyside Derby have sent us this Liverpool v Everton infographic comparing the two teams both this season and since 1901.

The gap in numbers between the two club’s social media followings might be large but the gap that matters is in that league table where the two sides are separated by one point and two places. A win for Everton would see them move above the Reds in the table. Anything less than three points for the Reds would open the door to Tottenham to move above them in the table and in that hunt for a top four finish.
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Rushie, Coutinho, Jordan Henderson's shirt, Nigel Travis and Ian Ayre

January 16, 2014
by Jim Boardman
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Reds sign with Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins

IT’S the middle of the transfer window and Liverpool fans are hoping to hear announcements of new signings. They sort of got that today, but it wasn’t for a new player, it was for the club’s latest partnership deal. To help pay for players, the Reds are now plugging doughnuts, coffee and ice cream, joining forces with Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins.

Rushie, Coutinho, Jordan Henderson's shirt, Nigel Travis and Ian Ayre

Rushie, Coutinho, Jordan Henderson’s shirt, Nigel Travis and Ian Ayre (Pic: John Powell / Liverpool FC)

The “multi-year partnership” sees the Reds team up with Dunkin’ Brands Group, parent company of both both Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins and according to the blurb that accompanied the announcement, “Reds fans will benefit from this relationship as Dunkin’ look to expand their businesses into new territories.”

How will Reds fans benefit? “They will bring fans closer to the club through innovative promotions and activity across the globe,” says the press release.

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Garcia in action for the Reds (Pic: Phillip Chambers / Wikipedia)

January 14, 2014
by Jim Boardman
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Luis Garcia announces retirement from football

SCORER of the so-called “ghost goal”, European Cup winner in Istanbul, drinker of sangria, Luis Garcia has decided to retire from football.

In a touching letter published on his personal website the former Reds number 10 announced he was calling it a day.

Garcia in action for the Reds (Pic: Phillip Chambers / Wikipedia)

He thanked Rafa Benitez and Pako Ayestarán, “for teaching me to show my best.” He thanked his parents for helping and encouraging him to make it as a footballer, he thanked Luis Aragones for giving him the chance to play in a World Cup, he thanked “each and every one of the people over 17 years of career that have been with me, have helped me and supported me at every stage I have lived and although not mentioned one by one, I will be forever grateful.”

He also thanked the fans “who have followed me over the years, always with good intentions, always encouraging and motivating me every game to be a better player every day.”

Garcia’s song still gets aired on a regular basis at Anfield, the Spaniard remembered with fondness as an important part of some very happy times at Anfield. Garcia, signed from Barcelona in 2004, left for Atlético Madrid in 2007.

This is Garcia’s announcement in full:
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January 13, 2014
by Jim Boardman

Nine new global TV deals for Liverpool

NEW TV deals in nine countries have been announced by Liverpool FC this morning – not for live football but for delayed coverage of recent matches and exclusive content from the club.

Liverpool’s worldwide fanbase is already massive and growing steadily and it’s important for the club for a number of reasons to do what it can to reach those fans. The reception the club got in its last pre-season tour was proof of the adulation there is for the Reds thousands of miles away and this deal is just a small part of the club’s plans to make itself available, albeit not in person, to fans away from ‘home’.

Ian Ayre was criticised in 2011 for suggesting it could be time to bring to and end the equal sharing of TV rights between Premier League clubs, regardless of their share of the viewing or subscriber figures.

Ayre said, at the time: “Personally I think the game-changer is going out and recognising our brand globally. Maybe the path will be individual TV rights like they do in Spain. There are so many things moving in that particular area.

“What is absolutely certain is that, with the greatest of respect to our colleagues in the Premier League, but if you’re a Bolton fan in Bolton, then you subscribe to Sky because you want to watch Bolton. Everyone gets that. Likewise, if you’re a Liverpool fan from Liverpool, you subscribe. But if you’re in Kuala Lumpur there isn’t anyone subscribing to Astro, or ESPN to watch Bolton, or if they are it’s a very small number. Whereas the large majority are subscribing because they want to watch Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal.

“So is it right that the international rights are shared equally between all the clubs? Some people will say: ‘Well you’ve got to all be in it to make it happen.’ But isn’t it really about where the revenue is coming from, which is the broadcaster, and isn’t it really about who people want to watch on that channel? We know it is us. And others. At some point we definitely feel there has to be some rebalance on that, because what we are actually doing is disadvantaging ourselves against other big European clubs.”

The quotes caused uproar, especially at Bolton (who have since been relegated), and there wasn’t any “rebalance”.

This deal won’t come close to being as lucrative as those live rights deals but it will help Liverpool go out and “recognise” their “brand globally”, especially with a planned “roll-out for new-look LFC stores across the world” underway.

The nine nations in on the new coverage of LFC, along with the broadcasters involved, are:

Balkans – Arena TV
Hong Kong – beIN Sport
Iceland – 365 Media
Indonesia – Kompass
India – Sony
Middle East & France – beIN Sport
New Zealand – Sommet
Norway – TV2
Malta – Go TV

The club are working with Pitch International, whose head of sales, Henri Kamerling, says: “We are delighted to be working with Liverpool FC on this project. These wide ranging deals represent the first steps as we work with the club to deliver their key content to their fans around the world.”

Matthew Baxter, Chief Media Officer at LFC said: “It’s fantastic that the club has been able to secure the new host of TV partnerships, allowing passionate Reds to watch the heroes they love.

“One of the club’s main aims is to extend engagement though our various media with the millions of fans across the world, so that they feel part of the Liverpool FC family, and these deals are another step in that direction.”

There will be much cynicism about these deals, especially from fans and observers in England, but for individual fans in those places around the world this will undoubtedly be welcomed with open arms.

There’ll no doubt be some disappointment in those countries not mentioned in the press release, but it seems highly likely that LFC’s TV reach will be extending to plenty more nations before too long.

No details were supplied of the cost of accessing this new content in those nine countries.

December 24, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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Luis Suarez stars in festive kids TV show

Scorer of 19 goals in just 12 league games, Luis Suarez is a hero for Liverpool supporters of all ages, especially after signing a new contract last week, but one young Red wasn’t overawed at being given the chance to interview him.
Luis and Finn have a kickabout
The interview, which you can see below, was done for LFC TV’s ‘Kop Kids’ series, returning over Christmas, and a young supporter called Finn got the honours, sitting down for a cuppa with the Reds’ No 7, attempting to nutmeg him and trying to get him to sing along to his own song before finding out his dream is to win the Premier League.

The series also gives supporters the chance for a closer look behind the Melwood scenes as Victor Moses and a number of Academy players battle it out for a ‘Kop Kids challenge’.

Episode two features Philippe Coutinho teaching some Portuguese and learning some English footy phrases. Younger first team stars Raheem Sterling and Jordan Ibe also meet the magician – and Liverpool fan – Zamaan Ismail. The episode also features the injured Jose Enrique discussing current football issues for Smalltalk.
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December 20, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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New deal for Suarez shows LFC’s intent

THERE was delight for Liverpool fans this afternoon with the news that Luis Suárez has signed a new contract for Liverpool FC.

The Premier League’s top scorer, currently on 17 goals from just 11 league appearances, has committed himself to the club in what is described as a “new extended deal”, putting an end for now to any speculation about his future.

Suarez signs a new deal. (Pic: Liverpool FC)

Luis Suarez has signed a new deal. (Pic: Liverpool FC)

In the statement announcing the deal Suárez said: “I’m delighted to have agreed a new deal with Liverpool and have my future secured for the long term,

“We have some great players and the team is growing and improving all the time. I believe I can achieve the ambitions of winning trophies and playing at the very highest level with Liverpool. My aim is to help get us there as quickly as possible.”

According to Suárez the supporters have played a part in his decision to extend his deal beyond the two-and-a-half years previous left on it: “Without doubt the backing I have received from the Liverpool fans has influenced my decision.”

He went on: “I am so proud to represent them and go out to do my best for them every time I pull on the shirt. We have a special relationship; they have love for me and in return I love them back. I will always do my best for them and hopefully we can achieve success together.”

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers was unsurprisingly pleased with the announcement: “This is fantastic news for everyone associated with the club; the team, the owners and most importantly the supporters.

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December 20, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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Simon Mignolet opens new LFC store in Birkenhead

Reds keeper Simon Mignolet was the star attraction last night as Liverpool FC officially unveiled their brand-new store in Birkenhead.

The new outlet, at the Pyramids Shopping Centre in the town, was officially opened by the Belgian stopper in front of a large crowd of Liverpool supporters. Mignolet took time out to sign autographs and pose for photos.

Liverpool's new store at Birkenhead, officially opened by Simon Mignolet

Speaking about the opening event at the store over the water, Mignolet said: “It’s a great honour to come and officially open the new LFC store in Birkenhead.

“Liverpool FC is a global brand and the support from our fans is absolutely fantastic, so it’s great that our supporters from across the Mersey now have their very own club store.”
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December 20, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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Reds won’t want repeat of Cardiff’s last Anfield league visit

CARDIFF CITY are the visitors at Anfield tomorrow, for the first time in a league game since 1959.

That last visit, 54 years ago almost to the day, saw Liverpool lose 4-0 on December 19th 1959 in a Division 2 fixture. It was Bill Shankly’s first game as boss and served as a demonstration of exactly what kind of work he had in front of him.

It could be Cardiff boss Malky Mackay’s last game in charge of the Welsh club, if he is still boss by then, after their owner reportedly sent him a message telling him to resign or be sacked. Brendan Rodgers spoke out yesterday about Vincent Tan’s conduct as an owner of a Premier League side, echoing the views of many a Cardiff supporter in recent times.

Tan went ahead with a move to change the colour of the home kit for Cardiff despite massive opposition. Cardiff, who used to wear blue as their home colour – to match their nickname of the Bluebirds – now wear red, although of course they’ll need to change that tomorrow.

Mackay chose not to attend his own pre-match press conference as the club’s fans await news on his future. Tan is due to fly into the UK to attend the game at Anfield.
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December 19, 2013
by Jim Boardman
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“Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and… Me”

WITH the club having such an illustrious history it’s hardly surprising that there are so many books about Liverpool FC, whether it’s books on certain eras or certain managers, certain tournaments or certain players.

One book that is slightly different is “Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and… Me”, by Mike Yates.

Mike Yates - "Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and... Me"

Mike lived the dream all Liverpool fans had as kids, that dream of playing football in that shirt on that pitch at Anfield. He grew up a blue – like Jamie Carragher, Michael Owen and Steve McManaman amongst others – but once he’d signed for the Reds as a youngster he was as excited as any Liverpool fan about what it could lead to.

In the end it led to a certain amount of disappointment as eventually the day would come that Liverpool would tell him his future lay elsewhere, at least on the field. At the same time as telling him his Reds playing days were over, Steve Heighway offered him a role as one of the first full-time coaches at the newly-created LFC Academy.

Mike combined his role at the Academy with playing semi-professional for Burscough FC and it was whilst playing for the Lancashire side that he got spotted by a scout from Dundee FC.  He signed for the Scottish side, for a club record fee, and played in the Premier League north of the border for three years.

He returned to the Academy in 2001, spending ten years looking after players in the age ranges from under-10 to under-13. Today, in his 23rd year at the club, he works for the LFC International Academy.

The book is a compelling insight into the life of a would-be professional footballer, detailing the time from when Mike was first spotted playing in teams with kids much older than himself through his time as an apprentice and how close he came to that first team. Continue Reading →

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