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A Scousers point of view

WestDerbyRed - from Vital Liverpool answers some questions ahead of the Pompey v Liverpool game this weekend.

Are you happy with how your season is going so far? I would guess no!
Certainly not happy, I have been going to games since the 70/71 season and can't remember a worse start to a season. We need to find form and fast.

Are the club treating the fans well, or are they fleecing you?
Personally I am in two minds, whether to stay a loyal supporter in the stands and continue to invest in my club, or do I vote with my feet and stay away as I don't want any more of my money ending up in the hands of Hicks and Gillette? I'm afraid the yanks have us by the short and curlys and they know it. Anyway, it's a bit late now as I am a season ticket holder.

Who do you think was your best summer signing and why? Although you did not make many did you, so I would guess it must be our boy Glen Johnson?
The jury is still out on that one as we have seen very little of Aquilani, although the signs look promising. Johnson is obviously a very good signing and I'm sure the Pompey faithful would like him back. Many have said he is better going forward than in defence, which is a little unkind as he has played fairly well so far, the O.G vs. Arsenal an exception.

Speaking of Johnson, how is he doing with you lot?
I'm happy with his progress as I think he will give us an extra attacking dimension, which is what we have been used to at Anfield down the years. I hope he is here for the long term so that he can help us win that elusive 19th title.

Could you have done with more arrivals - if so in which areas and maybe even who?
Well, Liverpool have always tried to add quality rather than quantity, a mandate which has perhaps not been possible since the arrival of the yanks. We certainly need another top quality striker to share the weight with Torres, N'gog is coming along nicely and Nemeth, who is on loan at AEK Athens, is a real star of the future. But as we approach a defining moment for the future of the club and manager, I would prefer proven quality like Luis Suarez of Ajax or Wolfsburg's Dzeko. Madrid's Van der Vaart would also be the calibre of signing we need. A decent pair of wide men and a quality centre back would see us improve in vital areas. This is largely dependent on Champions League qualification though. What we don't need is to be linked James Beattie and Scott Parker.

If the banks called in your debts you would be in a worse position, financially at least, than us - is this something you fear given the level of your debt?
Other clubs have a much bigger financial debt than us, including that lot down the M62, yet they are able to survive mostly because they more or less guarantee Champions league football and have a bigger stadium capacity. As long as the debt is serviceable we should be fine, to do that Rafa has to get us back in the top four.

So, go on, who is to blame for the 'apparent' mess you are in. Fat Rafa, the owners, both or a variety of things?
I think the owners have created a situation where Rafa is having to fight Utd, Chelsea et al with one arm tied behind his back. United and Chelsea have been able to buy more players in the £20-30m plus sector of the market like Ferdinand, Rooney, Berbatov, Drogba, Essien and Shevchenko while Rafa has had to search the market for cheaper options. The owners have also certainly not helped the atmosphere at the club by offering Rafa's job to Klinsmann. Rafa himself is certainly not blameless, although he has brought Torres, Alonso, Reina and Mascherano to the club, he has also drafted in Dossena, Babel, Degan and Voronin (both admittedly on a free). Hicks and Gillette are universally hated by the fans of LFC for what they have done to our club. Washing our dirty linen in public was never the Liverpool way and I, like many, won't be satisfied until they are removed from our club. But it is fair to say that the manager and players are not totally blameless for our current predicament.

What were your expectations, or hopes before the season kicked-off? Have they changed since?
They certainly have, I have seen a few false dawns since our last title win but I genuinely thought we had a great chance to win title number 19 this season. Despite what the press say, the departure of Alonso is not the reason why things have gone wrong, but I feel that the off field problems and uncertainties have led to a collective lack of confidence which we are yet to recover from. I hope we can put a decent run together to force our way back into the top four.

What about Pompey, what do you think we should expect or hope for now?
From an outsiders point of view I thought Paul Hart was unfairly treated, although once Grant had been allowed back at the club Hart must have known his time was up. I think Pompey fans must hope for a period of stability both on and off the pitch, this obviously includes making sure your players get paid and ensuring that you are picking up points off the teams around you in the table. Like our own situation, this will probably only happen after the ownership problems have been resolved.

Steven Gerrard's a bit of a hypocrite is he not? He bangs on about diving yet he is a serial offender - does this bother you, or is it just 'part of the game' these days?
Not sure he has ever 'banged on' about diving, but it's true that it is a part of the game, but not a part that I like. As much as we love Stevie, he has gone down easily on occasions. Having said that every club has at least a couple of players that do it, and if you are a regular at Fratton Park you will know exactly who yours are too.

Who is the real danger man that Pompey need to watch?
The usual suspects really, Torres, Gerrard and on his day Benayoun are all capable of deciding a game on their own. Watch out for our right back he can hit them from distance!

If you could take any Pompey player and put him in your squad - although I doubt you would want any of our 'superstars' - who would it be, and why?
I think we have already done that haven't we? But if I was horribly tortured and ordered to take a Pompey player I would probably go for Younes Kaboul or Tal Ben Haim.(only joking lads)

Is there anyone that you would like to send Pompey's way? We will 'begrudgingly' take Johnson back if you need, Gerrard and Torres would be taken if we 'had to'...
To be honest I have an entire minibus full of them, and a driver to deliver them to your door....me! You can certainly have Phillip Degan, a Swiss right back that plays so little not even his agent has seen him play, you can also have the ponytailed Andriy Voronin one of the deadliest strikers around (that is if you watch the Bundesliga) I feel at this stage I should limit this list to two players as I feel you have enough of your own problems.

Go on, to be honest I REALLY think you are there for the taking this weekend, but who's going to win?
Pompey are definitely a different prospect at home and have been unlucky at times, especially away to Chelsea in the last match, but despite our own frailties I think we will shade it 1-2.

Obviously apart from when you play us, good luck from the Anfield faithful for the remainder of the season.

Questions answered by WestDerbyRed from Vital Liverpool.

Look out for my answers arriving on their site any time...


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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday December 18 2009

Time: 8:00AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Ah, statistics have shown that Rafa the gaffa has spent more than Chelsea in the last 3 years.. FACT. No excuse, really.
Report Abuse
18/12/2009 08:54:00

But not in the last 5 years since he has been at the club. Fact also. Your bellendry is growing JT.
Report Abuse
18/12/2009 09:41:00

I just wish Pompey had some money to spend !... A good honest read WestDerbyRed.. thanks for sharing that with us .. hope ya season picks up .. after Saturday of course ..
Report Abuse
18/12/2009 10:32:00

What is the Net spend JT between Rafa and the 37 managers you have had in the last four years?
Report Abuse
18/12/2009 11:58:00

Thanks Chix
Report Abuse
18/12/2009 11:59:00

nice one WestDerbyRed, you were a pleasure to do with! i enjoyed answering the questions that you put to me aswell, like i said in my email to you i think that some of these were among the best i have had over the years...
Report Abuse
18/12/2009 12:21:00

Agree with Chix. Good stuff from WestDerbyRed. At present we are running on hope more than expectation but the Reds have had a very disappointing start.
Report Abuse
18/12/2009 12:53:00

agreed fellas niceone westderby look forward to the match, could be interesting, but i fear that your prediction might be right.... i'll just have to hope that its the other way around. lol
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18/12/2009 13:08:00

Thanks lads, I have always thought that there are similarities between the two cities and as I said on VL our answers show that despite supporting different teams, the problems we face as fans are generally the same and sometimes caused by the people we trust to run our club.
Report Abuse
18/12/2009 13:58:00

Excellent Q & A Westderbyred, however I think I speak for all Pompey supporters whan I say that none of us trust any of the people who run our club. They created nearly all of our problems!
Report Abuse
18/12/2009 16:26:00

IMHO this has been a very good balanced Q&A from both sides with WDR and PR both providing brilliant answers, on here and on the VL one, to good questions.
Chubby Alonso
Report Abuse
18/12/2009 16:43:00

If you've not already looked at PR's answers on VL come over and have a look.
Chubby Alonso
Report Abuse
18/12/2009 16:43:00

I never want Liverpool to win a game!...stems from being in my mid forties and when being a kid; watching all the idiots at school glory hunting, chasing the red dream...much like the Manyoo, chelski and now Manc*****ty so called fans, instead of supporting those around them!
Report Abuse
18/12/2009 23:09:00

Oh yeah plus the obvious bias towards the Scouse by the Beeb and other media. Like it's their given birth rite to win the League. Since when????
Report Abuse
18/12/2009 23:16:00

It isn't Liverpool FC's fault that the kids you went to school with wanted to support a winning team pentonpompey. Glory hunters are everywhere and I would bet these people have now grown up supporting other teams that are currently on top. I would prefer them to support their local side, whatever the standard but I guess these people don't know the meaning of loyalty.
Report Abuse
19/12/2009 00:07:00

On the subject of so called 'BBC scouse bias' maybe you have a point with Alan Green, but other LFC pundits like Hansen and Spooney on 5 live tend to be reasonably fair. Lawrenson oddly tends to be at his happiest when Rafa bashing. I think if you like an anti Scouse stance try Talksport. Messers Brazil, Irani, Parry, Jacobs, Durham etc are all fully paid up members of the anti-scouse corp.
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19/12/2009 00:25:00


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