Houllier’s complicated legacy

My review of the 2000/01 treble season, published on This is Anfield, prompted quite a reaction on Twitter. Many people agreed with my argument that Gerard Houllier deserves to be celebrated more on the Kop, for his achievements, with dozens of replies and more than 650 likes.

However, some can’t forgive errors in the transfer market and in particular his decision to sell Robbie Fowler. For me, Gerard made errors. That’s beyond debate. But, I would argue that his achievements far outweigh the mistakes. Houllier deserves a more positive legacy. Do you agree?

Chatting about We Conquered All of Europe with Chris Pajak on RMTV

Video

Jeff Goulding on Redmen TV talking about writing and his latest book We Conquered All of Europe

Here is the interview I did with Redmen TV, talking about my new book, my old books, writing and this website.

On this day 45 years ago, Shankly stunned football and resigned as Reds manager

On the 12th of July 1974, Bill Shankly delivered the news to a shocked city that he was retiring as Liverpool manager. The reaction was akin to grief and mourning. He left behind a legacy of greatness and his vision lives on today.

He had delivered two FA Cups, the UEFA Cup and three league titles in 15 years. More than that, though, Shankly created the foundations, the ethos and self belief required for Liverpool Football Club to go on and dominate European football. He made the people happy.

Read my season review of the year Shankly dragged the Reds out of Division 2, on This is Anfield:

An hour or two with Redmen TV

How boss is this, Red Odyssey has a regular slot on the multi-award winning Redmen TV

Everyone loves a day off work. It’s a chance to recharge, catch up on jobs around the house, get some writing done or, as I did today, while away an hour or two in the company of some great Liverpool fans and award winning vloggers. So, it was an absolute pleasure for me to join Chris Pajak, Ross and the team from Redmen TV to review last season, Liverpool’s plans for the summer, and also discuss the website and my upcoming book, We Conquered all of Europe. There was also a discussion about what the Sing Fong chippy and the Albert Pub would say, if they could talk. Confused? You will be.

That show will be out soon, but if you can’t wait that long, here’s are some clips of me in conversation with Chris about Red Odyssey and Stanley Park Story form earlier.

My debut on Redmen TV
More from my debut on Redmen TV
Jeff and Chris discuss Stanley Park Story

Oh, I am a Liverpudlian

I was born in 1967, so I am kinda old now. I’ve seen the Reds win everything. Nevertheless, I missed Shankly’s first great side and that incredible first FA Cup win. By the time I became consciously aware of football, Shanks was in the process of rebuilding his second great team. The Reds were not winning things – Liverpool went six years without a trophy, between 1967 and 1973.

As a kid growing up in Liverpool in the 1970s, I faced a very simple choice; was I Red or Blue? Obviously, I chose Liverpool. My mum and dad were massive Reds, as were my grandparents, aunts and uncles, but I had lots of Blue mates. If I’m honest, I can’t really say it was parental influence, I’d have chosen Liverpool anyway. And it was because of one man.

If I was going to pick the best side on Merseyside at the time, I might have decided to support Everton. But Everton didn’t have Bill Shankly.

Shankly was like a God to my family. His influence was pervasive, like the unofficial Prime Minister of Liverpool to us. The people who mattered to me, my family and mates, just believed in him. And, I believed in him. If he said we would be winning things again soon, then that was it. Enough said.

The first big game I remember was the 74 FA Cup final against Newcastle. I watched that at home on the telly and I’ve written about this before, but the reactions of the people I loved, to that game and that win, will live with me forever. I would say my all-consuming love of the club can be traced back to that day.

By the time I was starting to go to games on my own, Liverpool were the undisputed Kings of Europe. In 1978 they retained the European Cup and I thought they were magicians. They were something akin to the the Harlem Globetrotters of football. Or maybe the Harlem Globetrotters were the Liverpool of basketball.

Of course, they could be beaten and did lose from time to time, but in my childish mind they could do no wrong. I was so convinced of their infallibility, that a defeat would be met with bemusement more than anger.

Anfield was a magical place, where miracles happened far more regularly than in the the other two cathedrals at either end of Hope Street, Liverpool. There was nothing special about the bricks, mortar, steel and concrete of course. The Kop was austere and the atmosphere was raw, gritty and working class. The Anfield Road end was just as raucous and the people who frequented that part of the ground were as proud and loud as Kopites, who they often referred to as ‘gobshites,’ long before Evertonians did.

For all its primitive trappings. I loved the place. I still do. Especially during a night game, when the grass looks so green and the lights so bright. The feeling of being in a crowd that feels more like a community and being swept up in song and draped in banners is second to none.

Anfield has changed, of course it has. The ground has been evolving for more than a century, along with the team and the people they represent. Yet, somehow the ghosts of those heady days of my childhood and adolescence still linger, whenever I take my seat.

There are countless stories and memories burnt into the fabric of that football ground, and in the streets around it. Some are deliriously happy tales, others are sad, even tragic. Anfield Road has been trodden by countless Reds down the years. Everyone of them carried hope in the hearts and had dreams and songs to sing.

We are Anfield, and Anfield is us. It’s more than a football stadium. Liverpool is more than a football club and this city is more than a place to stay, to me anyway. My city, its people and the team I follow have helped shape my politics, my writing and ultimately they have come to define who I am.

That’s why I care so much. For me, there’s no other way to explain my obsession with the fortunes of 11 men I don’t know, kicking a ball around a field, unless I accept that being a Liverpudlian is about being part of something bigger than myself. I am not religious at all, but perhaps my affinity with Liverpool, the club and the city, is as close to a religious experience as I will ever get.

It is irrational, joyous, despairing and often life affirming. But, it makes no sense when you sit down and try to analyse it. Is that religion? Maybe. All I know is it’s my life and I will be a Liverpudlian until I die.

My politics is the socialism of Shankly. I believe in collective effort and communal reward. I am unapologetically left wing. I don’t subscribe to the notion that politics and football should be kept separate. Heysel and Hillsborough, Thatcher and the doctrine of managed decline have taught me that politics is life and life is political.

So, I write about all of that. My team, my loves and my passions. I hope you stick around on these pages, read, enjoy and join in the conversation. And, if you fancy it, pick up one of my books or all of them, if you like.

You’ll never walk alone.

Hello and welcome to my new site

Welcome to Tales of Anfield Road. I’m Jeff Goulding, a Scouser and lifelong supporter of Liverpool Football Club. Please be patient, while I build the site.

You can look forward to a regular blog, video content and you will also be able to purchase my books directly from the site.

More content coming soon…

 

 

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