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May 7, 2014
by Jim Boardman
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LFC Awards: Smiling Suarez grabs a hat-trick

LUIS SUÁREZ might have been in tears on Monday night but he ended Tuesday night all smiles after picking up a hat-trick of awards at Liverpool FC’s inaugural Players’ Awards Dinner in the city centre.

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24 hours earlier the league’s top scorer had been visibly upset after his side had let a 3-0 lead turn into a 3-3 draw, the club’s fading hopes of the title seemingly all but gone. As he and his team mates arrived at the ceremony there was barely a smile to be seen, and even then only the kind of smiles photographers force out of people stood outside a wedding reception when they’d rather be inside at the bar.

As the night went on a feeling of doom lifted as more and more voices pointed out that “it” was only a little bit less “on” than it was before that game against Crystal Palace, if you think about it. It wasn’t just the drink talking. Fantasy scorelines aside, City needed to drop points in their last two games if the Reds were going to win the league, a fact that remains even now, albeit three points rather than two.

The last time I saw Liverpool’s team bus it was through a haze of pyro in a sea of banners on Anfield Road. Last night it arrived almost unnoticed at the back door of the ACC or whatever that other end of the Echo Arena is called.

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Round the front of the building another door was letting X Factor contestants in and out, as good a reason as any to try and stay round the back. Either that show’s going to take a huge ratings dip this year or this wasn’t the day they pretend normal people can just turn up and queue up for an audition.

The group that gets the Christmas number one could have been walking out of that door but the only group we were interested in was Brendan’s and they were more or less the last to arrive.

The first to arrive had been Joss Stone, who had shoes on.  She didn’t stop to speak, but it turns out her dad’s a massive Red which in turn means she is too. I obviously wouldn’t brainwash my own daughters into supporting Liverpool. Of course not. Not that you have to anyway, although Johnny Ball should have tried harder with his.

c20140506_182345TV chef Simon Rimmer was one of the guests – without Tim Lovejoy – but in a sign of what some people will say demonstrates all that is wrong with football the chef kept two legendary European Cup winning Red full-backs waiting as he chatted to the club’s TV channel.  It just didn’t seem appropriate for Alan Kennedy and Phil Neal to be left waiting patiently on the red carpet for their turn as Mr Rimmer discussed his tips on getting a lemon meringue just right.

This club has a lot of celebrity fans, even if many of them weren’t there last night. Maybe Daniel Craig could have kept those boys waiting – maybe – but Simon Rimmer? Sorry Si.

At least it wasn’t DJ Spoony. The DJ, he used to be on Radio 1 but Wikipedia doesn’t really say what he does these days, didn’t hold anyone up. He did hold Colin Murray’s can of Red Bull though, the Northern Irishman clearly in need of an energy boost ahead of hosting the awards with Sky’s Natalie Sawyer.

Other  legends – LFC legends – there on the night included Didi and Dizzy. Didi Hamman stopped to speak to some of the media, Gary “Dizzy” Gillespie just wanted to have his photo taken and get in. He still had to speak to LFC TV though.

Ian Callaghan, the man who still holds the LFC appearance record  and is quite possibly the nicest Liverpool legend going, came over and told us that there was still time for a twist and turn in this mad league season. He probably didn’t called it a mad league season but that’s what he meant. As far as he was concerned it’s still on and he’s right. At the time of writing.

Jason McAteer was last to arrive – probably went to the Town Hall first, his former team mates would say – but was happy to give up more of his time to chat. He also thinks it’s still on, and not only that but that Liverpool have set themselves up for more seasons like this one.

Legend of the night probably goes to Ronnie Moran, the 80-year-old former club captain, coach and bootroom boy who still makes regular visits to Melwood. He picked up a lifetime achievement award.

At the other end of the age scale came The Academy boys, looking resplendent, if maybe a little uncomfortable, in their suits and Kris Peterson got the job of doing the interviews. He was gutted about Tranmere going down, he said, and added that he’d made a lot of good friends during his loan spell, becoming something of a fan and making an effort to get to games even after his loan spell was over. He says they’ll bounce straight back.

Matt Beard, manager of LFC Ladies, the league champions, arrived with his team and told us he was happy with the start to their new season, disappointment in the cup aside. Whilst the English game is now a summer season, the Champions League for the ladies doesn’t begin until September but he was quite comfortable with the idea of an extended season. Imagine trying to get his counterparts in the male game to be so understanding.

Before the ceremony got going properly the Liverpool team were introduced in pairs to the audience sitting in the big hall. From an adjoining room we saw player after player line up on stage without smiling, at least until fans’ Young Player of the Year Raheem Sterling came on and laughed as he tried to work out where he was meant to stand. The last pair were the league’s top scorers, the SAS, Suárez and Sturridge. Suárez had a fixed, serious expression on his face, then someone said something and he burst into a massive, broad grin.

That was the massive broad grin that this whole season has been.

Suárez won three awards, including Goal of the Season for his first goal against Norwich (rather than his third, which was surely better). He also picked up two Player of the Year awards, one voted for by fans, one by his team mates, to go alongside the ones he got nationally from players and football writers. He’ll probably use some of these awards as goal posts in the front room when he’s having a kickabout with his kids.

He probably already has.

May 1, 2014
by Jim Boardman
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LFC warn fans about forged and fake tickets

AS the season comes to an end with Liverpool still in contention for the league, if not quite in control of their own destiny, demand for tickets is at a high. Preying on that demand are touts, often selling tickets that either don’t exist at all or are forgeries.

With this in mind the club has issued the following warning to supporters ahead of the final two games of the season:

LFC warns fans of counterfeit tickets ahead of Crystal Palace fixture

Liverpool Football Club has been contacted by a number of fans voicing concerns over supporters who intend to travel to Selhurst Park for Monday night’s sell-out fixture against Crystal Palace without tickets.

The Club is reminding its supporters to be aware of counterfeit tickets, and to only travel to Selhurst Park if they have an official ticket.

Those fans that do have tickets are encouraged to arrive at Selhurst Park in good time ahead of kick-off at 8pm.

The Club is working closely with Crystal Palace to ensure that fans with official tickets can access the stadium with extra LFC stewards on hand to assist with security at Selhurst Park.

Merseyside Police will also be supporting the Metropolitan Police with any illegal ticketing issues around the stadium prior to kick-off.

Both remaining Reds’ fixtures are now sold out and the Club is asking fans to be extra vigilant with tickets and to ensure that their tickets are purchased from authorised selling points.

All tickets purchased are the responsibility of the supporter whose name is on the ticket. Any breach of regulations may be subject to further investigation that could ultimately result in the Club pursuing a ban for each person involved for future LFC games.

Liverpool FC is very proud of our support at every game, not just at Anfield, but wherever we play in the world. Thank you again for your continued support of the team.

April 15, 2014
by Jim Boardman
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IN MEMORY OF THE 96

Football - FA Premier League - Liverpool FC v Manchester City FC
NINETY-SIX Liverpool fans lost their lives at Hillsborough, 25 years ago today, in 1989.

It could have been any of us, whoever we support, and the fresh inquests that recently commenced in Warrington must find the truth of what happened and must ensure justice is done.

Those fans had gone to Sheffield to see Liverpool play Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final. They went to watch a game of football, they never came home.

Our thoughts are with them, with their families and friends and also with those who survived after going through such unimaginable trauma.

In memory of the 96.

John Alfred Anderson (62)

Colin Mark Ashcroft (19)

James Gary Aspinall (18)

Kester Roger Marcus Ball (16)

Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron (67)

Simon Bell (17)

Barry Sidney Bennett (26)

David John Benson (22)

David William Birtle (22)

Tony Bland (22)

Paul David Brady (21)

Andrew Mark Brookes (26)

Carl Brown (18)

David Steven Brown (25)

Henry Thomas Burke (47)

Peter Andrew Burkett (24)

Paul William Carlile (19)

Raymond Thomas Chapman (50)

Gary Christopher Church (19)

Joseph Clark (29)

Paul Clark (18)

Gary Collins (22)

Stephen Paul Copoc (20)

Tracey Elizabeth Cox (23)

James Philip Delaney (19)

Christopher Barry Devonside (18)

Christopher Edwards (29)

Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons (34)

Thomas Steven Fox (21)

Jon-Paul Gilhooley (10)

Barry Glover (27)

Ian Thomas Glover (20)

Derrick George Godwin (24)

Roy Harry Hamilton (34)

Philip Hammond (14)

Eric Hankin (33)

Gary Harrison (27)

Stephen Francis Harrison (31)

Peter Andrew Harrison (15)

David Hawley (39)

James Robert Hennessy (29)

Paul Anthony Hewitson (26)

Carl Darren Hewitt (17)

Nicholas Michael Hewitt (16)

Sarah Louise Hicks (19)

Victoria Jane Hicks (15)

Gordon Rodney Horn (20)

Arthur Horrocks (41)

Thomas Howard (39)

Thomas Anthony Howard (14)

Eric George Hughes (42)

Alan Johnston (29)

Christine Anne Jones (27)

Gary Philip Jones (18)

Richard Jones (25)

Nicholas Peter Joynes (27)

Anthony Peter Kelly (29)

Michael David Kelly (38)

Carl David Lewis (18)

David William Mather (19)

Brian Christopher Mathews (38)

Francis Joseph McAllister (27)

John McBrien (18)

Marian Hazel McCabe (21)

Joseph Daniel McCarthy (21)

Peter McDonnell (21)

Alan McGlone (28)

Keith McGrath (17)

Paul Brian Murray (14)

Lee Nicol (14)

Stephen Francis O’Neill (17)

Jonathon Owens (18)

William Roy Pemberton (23)

Carl William Rimmer (21)

David George Rimmer (38)

Graham John Roberts (24)

Steven Joseph Robinson (17)

Henry Charles Rogers (17)

Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton (23)

Inger Shah (38)

Paula Ann Smith (26)

Adam Edward Spearritt (14)

Philip John Steele (15)

David Leonard Thomas (23)

Patrick John Thompson (35)

Peter Reuben Thompson (30)

Stuart Paul William Thompson (17)

Peter Francis Tootle (21)

Christopher James Traynor (26)

Martin Kevin Traynor (16)

Kevin Tyrrell (15)

Colin Wafer (19)

Ian David Whelan (19)

Martin Kenneth Wild (29)

Kevin Daniel Williams (15)

Graham John Wright (17)

Rest In Peace
Football - FA Premier League - Liverpool FC v Manchester City FC

April 8, 2014
by Jim Boardman
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Legends train at Melwood ahead of special match

MELWOOD, the famous training ground of Liverpool FC, was the scene of a special training session on Monday featuring the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Roy Evans, Alan Kennedy and Jan Molby.

Legends Training Session 01The session was being held in advance of the ‘Celebration of the 96’ charity match due to take place at Anfield on Easter Monday afternoon, in aid of the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG) and Liverpool FC Foundation.

Also joining in were former Ireland and Liverpool stars Ronnie Whelan and Jason McAteer.

The game will see a “UK and Ireland” side take on “The Rest of the World” and the squads – so far – were announced earlier:
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April 3, 2014
by Jim Boardman
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Music but much more: Sound City 2014

WITH The Anfield Wrap taking part for the second year running, there’s a bit more to Liverpool’s Sound City festival than music, but music of course remains the main focus.

The LFC-centric radio show, podcast, website and online digital magazine, fresh from doing three nights of live shows in New York, have big plans in mind for their part in this year’s city centre festival, but for now you’ll have to wait for more details of those plans. They have a lot of plans. Keep an eye on theanfieldwrap.com.

In the meantime here are some details from Sound City, in their own words, of how the rest of the festival is going to look.

Sound City 2014 Promises World Class Event

Liverpool festival pulls out the stops with most ambitious bill to date

Despite being the biggest metropolitan festival in the UK and boasting a live bill of more than 360 acts from Clean Bandit to Drenge and everything between – a line-up that would be the envy of any festival anywhere in the world – this year’s Liverpool Sound City more than ever before is not just about the music.

Exploring the inextricable links between music, football and style, the Liverpool Sound City conference boasts some truly world-class names headlined by rock legends John Cale and Thurston Moore.

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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 livefootball.co.uk 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.

Right.
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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
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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.

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