Wednesday, 12 December 2012

liverpoolvastonvilla

With Darren Bent pulling his calf, I dont think there is much Skrtel and Agger need to do other than f*#king Benteke from behind. As for Andreas Weimann, Lucas Leiva is NOT Micheal Carrick so all is going to be well in defensive midfield.

Mind you, Luis Suarez will be back and I smell blood in Anfield. Red "Brummies" juice.


Join us. Dont worry, we go dutch.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Rafa, adiwira baru.


Benda macam ni mudah, Chelsea fans ialah plastik. Nak teruskan benda macam gambar atas ni pun dorang tak boleh buat.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Wiganiscious

It is KL writers & readers weekend folks.
Stop Shaun Maloney and we will be home and dry. With a striker aptly named Kone, how can Skrtel and Carra go wrong? Let us enjoy some wiganiscious bashing this weekend.

#YNWA ./

Monday, 5 November 2012

A Gentle Reminder


Please log out from any of your online application in your mobile devices. If you don't, you might get your 2 1/2 year old son accidentally publishing a black picture of nothing. See above. 

Hey, maybe he is trolling Evra.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Super Suarez is My Hero

Inilah kali pertama saya lihat seorang pemain bolasepak menyimpan duit syiling yang dilontarkan kepadanya diatas padang. Kalau Nani, mungkin dia dah menangis dan melontar syiling itu kembali keluar padang.

Luis Suarez simpan syiling itu kerana dia membesar didalam kemiskinan, bermain bola tanpa kasut di kaki lima bandar Montevideo. Dia simpan syiling itu sebagai satu pengajaran kepada manusia sejagat bahawa rezeki jangan kita buang walaupun sebesar duit syiling kerana waktu dia kecil, setiap kali pulang dari bermain bolasepak dia tidak tahu samada makanan ada atau tidak diatas meja rumahnya.

Dia mungkin villain kamu tapi dia hero saya.



Sebagai manusia yang membesar didalam kesusahan, dia belajar untuk tabah, tidak perlu serius sangat dan senantiasa tersenyum ketika menghadapi apa jua cabaran. Ini dapat kita lihat didalam aksi lompat rajalawak ala diving selepas menjaringkan gol pertama Liverpool. Didalam interviu selepas perlawanan, David Moyes bersetuju  bahawa aksi ini agak melucukan dan menerimanya dengan kaki terkangkang.

Everton bermain dengan sangat baik ditempat sendiri. Mereka garang dan sentiasa bersedia bertarung untuk mendapatkan bola. Pemain-pemain muda Liverpool kelihatan terkesima kerana kurang pengalaman didalam pertembungan Merseyside kali ke-219 yang seringkali ganas, kasar dan selalu menghasilkan kad merah ini.

Seperti Fellaini 'The Belgian Beast', mereka yang berjersi biru, telah menyinga Ahad lepas. Joe Allen mungkin agak tenggelam berhadapan dengan Fellaini tetapi pujian harus diberikan kerana walaupun hanya setinggi 5'6", Joe berhempas pulas berjaya mengekang gergasi 6'4" dari Belgium itu. Ko boleh? Micheal Carrick yang berdiri 6'2" tak boleh, malah satu team ManUtd tak boleh. Dalam game bulan Ogos lepas, Fellaini skor dan ManUtd kalah 1-0 di Goodison. Oh yer, Andre Mariner si adil dan saksama yang mengadili perlawanan itu. Patutlah.

Jaringan Suarez yang telah dibatalkan pada minit terakhir adalah satu jaringan yang baik. Namun sekiranya jaringan itu telah dibenarkan, sejujurnya saya rasa Everton dirampas 1 mata. Keputusan seri adalah keputusan yang saya terima dengan hati yang terbuka. Pujian harus diberikan kepada Everton. They played well.

#YNWA ./

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Friday, 28 September 2012

A Short Story About Judas




Excerpts taken from the book "My Liverpool Story" by Steven Gerrard.

***
It became obvious that he wasn’t happy at Liverpool, but his departure in 2011 still hit me hard. Very hard. Every player is entitled to do what they want to do in their career. I don’t own anyone else’s career and I can’t make decisions for them. But when you love playing with someone and you have a player alongside you of Torres’s calibre, then you cannot help out feel sorry for yourself and the fans who adored him. You wonder where the club is going if the best players want to leave, but I didn’t feel let down by Liverpool.
   There was nothing they could do to prevent him from leaving for Chelsea. His mind was set, but they made it as hard as they could for the £50m deal to happen.
   In the days before the transfer, Torres came to see me as captain. He said he wanted to leave, but added that the club was being difficult. “Listen,” I said. “You have to understand that you are a top player and they don’t want to let you go.” It didn’t matter. He asked if I could speak to Kenny Dalglish, our manager, on his behalf. That put me in a difficult situation because I didn’t want to help Fernando. I didn’t want to help Fernando. I didn’t want to tell the manager that the star player wanted to go because, at that point, I wanted the deal to fall through. I wanted Chelsea’s interest to go away and for his enthusiasm to be rekindled. We had just signed Luis Suarez from Ajax for £22m. Money was available. We were trying to compete for silverware.
   Fernando had told Kenny himself, but, with the club still playing hardball, he asked me to speak as well. I just told Kenny he was unhappy and left it at that. That is the role of the captain that people don’t see and that I never want to experience again. You don’t want your best player to come to you and say, “I’ve had enough. I want to go to another club. And I want to go to one of your major rivals.”

When Fernando approached me and said he wanted out, it was like a knife to the heart.
- Steven Gerrard(My Liverpool Story)
***

Agger did not want to wait to write about it in his future book.


Judas!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Truth


"I thought we were poor. Over the last four years we have allowed the (Anfield) crowd to get at us a little bit.

"They gave fantastic support to their team and they dominated.

"We played better in the second half but it was against 10 men and Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs' experience got us through."

- Si hidung ungu

**********

Sekali-sekala si hidung ungu terpaksa bercakap benar.




Ini bolasepak. Bukan netball. Dalam keadaan bola 50-50, pemain harus berusaha untuk menguasai bola itu. Shelvey dan Evans berhak untuk melaksanakan tugas mereka. Benar, terjahan Shelvey memang keras dan wajar untuk dilayangkan kad merah tetapi apa kurangnya lompat kijang yang menunjukkan kedua-dua tapak kasut bola Evans? Walaupun beraksi dengan hanya 10 orang selama 50 minit, Liverpool bermain cemerlang. Saya bangga dengan prestasi pemain muda seperti Raheem Sterling, Martin Kelly, Joe Allen dan Suso.

Saya juga setuju bahawa permainan yang bagus bertahun-tahun tetapi kalah atau akhirnya pulang tanpa piala ialah sesuatu yang secara matematiknya merugikan. Persoalannya ia merugikan siapa? Pemilik kelab? Pengurus kelab? Arsenal FC?

Cuma saya agak kesal dengan beberapa keputusan pengadil pada waktu-waktu kritikal yang kadang-kala agak menghairankan dan telah mengubah terus hala tuju perlawanan. Tetapi perkara sebegini memang kerap berlaku didalam perlawanan yang membabitkan pasukan hidung ungu. Mari kita imbas kembali kenangan di Stamford Bridge musim lepas dimana the smurf sudah mendahului dengan tiga gol tanpa balas sebelum Howard Webb tiba-tiba membuat beberapa keputusan pelik, memberikan dua penalti dan akhirnya perlawanan berkesudahan seri 3-3? Sungguh keji.

Mungkin ramai yang sudah lupa, buat-buat lupa atau mungkin butakan mata dan pendekkan akal dari berfikir demi mempertahankan satu penipuan, perlakuan yang lebih keji.

Saya tidak akan menyalahkan sesiapa jika tiada isu yang perlu dipertikaikan. Saya bukan Evra. Kalah, seri atau menang memang adat bersukan tetapi ianya haruslah didalam batas undang-undang yang adil dan saksama. Pengadilan yang kelihatan memihak kepada satu pasukan sahaja harus dikekang bukan sahaja didalam bolasepak malah ianya juga harus sentiasa wujud didalam kegiatan kehidupan sehari-hari. Bukankah sifat murni seperti ini yang ingin anda semaikan kedalam jiwa keluarga atau anak-anak anda?

Jika kemenangan yang melangkaui peraturanlah yang dimaksudkan dengan 'we do how we want' bagi penyokong pasukan hidung ungu maka silalah menang sebanyak mungkin kerana ibarat pinang dibelah dua, kemenangan sebegini amat sesuai bagi mereka. Kemenangan yang tiada kualiti langsung.

#YNWA-JFT96-Never Forget.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

We Come Not To Sell


Tajuk diatas saya ambil dari artikel yang saya baca minggu lepas. Artikel ditulis oleh seorang peminat Liverpool yang sedang bercuti di Asia. Artikel itu boleh dibaca disini (klik sini).

Artikel itu bercerita tentang kelemahan Warrior Football didalam memasarkan jersi Liverpool di Asia. Berbanding dengan Adidas dan Nike, Liverpool gagal untuk mendapat tempat yang stratejik didalam kedai-kedai sukan. Satu contoh yang ketara, penulis mendapati kedai sukan di Jepun meletakkan jersi Adidas dan Nike di hadapan kedai manakala Warrior Football di bahagian belakang.



Di Malaysia, jersi Liverpool dan barangan Warrior Football boleh didapati di semua kedai New Balance Concept Store dan juga kedai sukan seperti Al-ikhsan. Tiada masalah untuk mendapatkannya dan tidak seperti di China dan Jepun, jersi Liverpool bergantungan dengan megahnya. Sila (klik sini) untuk lokasi kedai New Balance di Malaysia. Cuma yang tidak menariknya hanya keadaan dan rupa paras kedai New Balance yang agak kelam-kabut dan tidak berapa cantik.

Harapan saya adalah agar New Balance menaiktaraf kedai-kedai mereka didalam masa setahun-dua ini dan menambahkan lagi jumlah kelab/negara yang menggunakan jenama Warrior Football. Harimau Malaya barangkali?

Monday, 3 September 2012

35 perlawanan lagi.

Apa khabar semua? Harap sihat-sihatlah hendaknya. Selamat hari raya yang ke... Errrr.... *google kalendar hijrah* ... 15.

Saya ingin meminta maaf jikalau kata-kata ini mengguris hati, tetapi yang pahit tetap pahit, yang manis tetap manis.

Mengupas kekalahan (kalah terkejut) yang telah dialami di kubu kuat Anfield, ianya adalah sesuatu yang sangat-sangat mengecewakan. Jarang-jarang perkara begini terjadi apabila melawan Arsenal. Tapi itulah, kalau dah main pun celaru dan tidak dapat menyudahkan peluang terhidang, inilah harga yang perlu dibayar oleh abang Gerrard dan rakan-rakan.

Kawan saya (Gooners) pernah berkata, "Ah lawan Liverpool dekat Anfield tak apa." dan saya hanya tersenyum sinis kepada dia. Kerana, saya yakin dengan persembahan yang ditunjukkan anak-anak buah BR (bukan Baskin Robbins) ketika bertembung Man City minggu lepas, paling tidak kita akan dapat membantai Arsenal sebanyak 6-0.

Tapi sayang seribu kali sayang... Ibarat kapal perang yang kehabisan ubat bedil di atas samudera, Liverpool bukan Liverpool yang sebenar di Anfield. Hilang arah dan tidak berkuasa di atas padang. Tidak cukup bernafsu untuk merobek benteng Arsenal apatah lagi gawangnya.

Memang ada beberapa peluang yang dicipta, namun seperti mana yang lepas-lepas, masalah untuk memasukkan bola ke dalam tempatnya yang hak tetap membelenggu Liverpool. Steven Gerrard tidak beraksi seperti jeneral perang dan Luis Suarez pula tidak banyak membantu. Begitu juga pemain-pemain lain.

Hanya persembahan Raheem Sterling dan Joe Allen mampu mengukir senyuman di bibir Kopites. Daniel Agger pula tetap meyakinkan dan berhak berada di kesebelasan utama. Arsenal pantas menghukum kesilapan hantaran oleh Liverpool dengan serangan balas dannnnnn apa kena Reina tak dapat selamatkan kedua-dua bola itu?

Tamat perlawanan, tewas 0-2 kepada Arsenal di tempat sendiri adalah sesuatu yang sukar untuk ditelan oleh semua Kops di seluruh alam semesta.

Apa pun, saya pasti Liverpool akan bangkit dari mimpi ngeri ini. (Harus diingat Arsenal hanya mengutip 1 mata dari 3 perlawanan pertama musim lepas.)

Sabar itu, separuh dari Liverpool.

YNWA.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Charityshield, Sunday 12 August 2012



Mari melepek minum teh tarik sambil menyaksikan perlawanan Charityshield antara City dan Chelsea Ahad ini.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Pre-season 2012


So the two pre-season game have been disappointing. Anticipation was high but the moment I saw the line-up, I knew these two games were not meant as a warm-up match. Its more of evaluating "high profile" players on whether they suit the gaffers style. Charlie Adam, Aquilani, Joe Cole and Jay Spearing to name a few big names that might not fit in.

I can safely predict that Adam, Aquaman and Joe Cole just don't make the mark and it's interesting to see how the three move forward from now on. Rumour stating that Adam might be tied in with the price tag to get Clint Dempsey to Anfield may just be true. Aquaman and Joe Cole, loaning them out again is my best guestimation. As for the rest, they are young enough to sit on the bench and get ample time to prove their talent and maybe squeeze into the first eleven in the future.

The match against Tottenham this Saturday on the other hand is technically more important than the previous two. I am sure BR will bring in the big guns and refine his game plan. 



So far, the youngsters that really caught my eye are Sterling, Ibe, Eccleston (picture above) and Suso. They are quick and more importantly willing to chase the ball around, putting pressure on opponents to win back possession and make runs into spaces to receive passes. Suso might not be as quick but his passing and skills on the ball is neat and full of composure. Nevertheless, it is quite sad to read that Eccleston is free to leave the club. Considering now that we have Borini, places up front is harder to come by and to be fair to him, he needs playing time to flourish.


What about Big Andy? I think he is off to another club soon.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Suso Fernandez

Congratulations on winning the Euro U19 2012 in Estonia. The nineteen year old Spain number 8 is heavily left-footed, has the skills to dribble pass opponents and send accurate passes that can slice through any defense, anytime.


I hope he can make regular appearances for Brendan Rodgers reds next season. The future looks bright and it is already here.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Tentang Zain & Wembley - Cergas

Tanpa melengahkan masa, Zain terus membuka TV sebaik sahaja menutup pintu bilik hotel bernombor H-311. Wanita di kaunter 'check-in' hairan kenapa Zain beria-ia sangat mahukan nombor bilik itu. 




Seperti hotel tiga bintang lain yang berselerak di kota London, Haven Hotel tempat Zain menginap tiada skyTV. Yang ada hanyalah BBC One, BBC Two, ITV dan Channel4. Saluran yang sama seperti TV1, 2 dan 3 di Malaysia, banyak memaparkan program yang lemau. Zain pasrah lagi.

"Apalah nasib aku ni. Dua minggu di London, tempat macam ini yang company sediakan?

"Celaka, celaka, celaka. Memang balik KL ni aku nak resign".

Hati kecil Zain menyumpah-nyumpah comel. Dia ke tingkap dan merenung jauh. Merenung masa hadapan, merenung masa lampau dan mengharapkan impiannya ke Wembley untuk final Piala FA nanti tercapai.




Letih merenung, dia perlahan-lahan meletakkan beg besar berisi baju, makanan dan Macbook diperut katil lalu duduk dihujungnya. Telefon bimbit yang juga Zain bawa diletakkan atas meja. Tiba-tiba Zain teringatkan sesuatu dan bergegas mencapai kembali Blackberry Bold 9000 tadi. Signal "wi-fi" melantun-lantun tanda ada.

"Yes!"

Zain gembira dan dengan pantas mengangkat ganggang mendail operator hotel.

"Hello.

"Hi, I'm calling from room H-311. I see that I have wi-fi access in my room.

Suara dihujung talian jelas menerpa gegendang telinga Zain. Dia khusyuk mendengar.

"Ok. It's free for hotel tenants then?

Sejurus selepas bertanya, Zain tabah menanti jawapan.

"Ok. Alright. The user is 'guest' and the password is? G.U.E.S.T.1.2.3. Ok, thanks. Thanks luv."

Usai meletakkan telefon, Zain melompat 'stage dive' ke katil.

"Tak jadi aku nak resign.

"Hmm..Bau apa yang kepam sangat ni?"

Zain menghidu-hidu badannya yang sudah mula melekit, tersengih lalu terus membuka baju dan seluar jeans bersaiz 37. Seluar bersaiz 'rare' itu dicampak ke tepi pintu bilik mandi dan Zain terus berlenggang masuk.

"Zas, zas, zas". Bunyi air menyirami tubuh Zain. Ini disusuli oleh 20 saat yang sunyi, sessi menyapu sabun kebadan sebelum bunyi zas tadi kembali berdesing, berkali-kali, hinggalah Zain rasa cukup bersih.

Selesai lap badan dan memakai baju, Zain menekan butang 'ON' alat kawalan jauh TV dan melayan rancangan TV yang sedia ada.

5 minit berlalu.

30 minit berlalu.

Tanpa disedari sudah 3 jam Zain menatap Channel4 di TV. Barulah dia sedar bahawa selemau-lemau mana pun, siaran percuma yang keudara di England banyak berunsurkan pengetahuan seperti dokumentari dan kisah kehidupan yang agak menarik jika dilayan. Program realitinya sahaja jauh lebih mantap dari Akademi Fantasia dan Masterchef Celebrity.

Macbook Pro 13 inci miliknya dibuka. Kini tiba masa untuk Zain menghantar panggilan 'S.O.S' kepada rakan-rakan 'reds' yang ada di U.K. Kesemua laman web dan forum LFC yang popular telah Zain singgah dan tinggalkan pesanan ringkas.

"Hi, my name is Zain from Malaysia. I'm here in London, six thousand miles away from home to watch Liverpool play the FA Cup finals in Wembley and I'm looking for tickets. Please help. I can be contacted at IamZain [at] gmail [dot] com".

Selesai menutup Macbook, Zain ke tepi tingkap lagi untuk kembali merenung jauh dengan tangan mengusap-usap rambut bertujuan untuk mempercepatkan pengeringannya.

"Come on you reds, dont let me down. Not this time.

"Esok,mesti cergas beli kad pra-bayar untuk Blackberry aku".

Detus hati Zain sambil tangannya masih menyapu mesra ubun kepala dan rambut tanpa sedikit pun gusar tentang kursus yang sepatutnya dia hadiri keesokan hari.

Malam kian berlalu dan menjadi semakin suram. Zain pasti azan subuh sedang berkumandang di kampung.

(... bersambung)

Edisi yang lepas:

1. Tentang Zain & Wembley
2. Tentang Zain & Wembley - Tiba di London
3. Tentang Zain & Wembley - Tiba di London, Bahagian 2

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Liverpool Third Kit

So folks, the long awaited mystery kit is out. Some find it interesting, some loathe it, vomits blood and swear that it is God's way of punishing them for all their sins.

Let's visually scrutinize the kit together.





The Warrior team says that the main colour is 'nightshade' and there is a tint of orange at the collar, which looks like a conventional 'V-neck'. A tribal design on a white sleeve sums it all up.

Nightshade. This colour on a kit is what I call 'daring'. In hex the colour code is 3F3149 and it is not actually purple. I do not see any issue if it is purple to be honest. Fiorentina has been donning purple kit for ages and it looks pretty neat.

Being off-purple, it takes away the norm in a jersey. White, yellow, green and grey has all been our away colour and Warrior decided to instill daring differences to the norm. It is a way of telling people that we are different and we are here, ready to fight.

I reckon that the usual away colour will be adopted in future seasons.

No issue with the orange collar.

Now, whats with the tribal design?

Warriors of old have all been synonymous with tribal tattoos. Look at The Maori's for example. Their Ta'Moko has now gone mainstream and defines their culture as powerful, strong, brave and historically a man with a moko ranks high in their social hierarchy.

I personally think that a tribal motif is a wee bit too much but again it's a design philosophy that is way firmer than the table cloth theme chosen by our next door neighbour.

Liverpool's third kit has grown on me and I may get one soon, just for keep and please remember, it is a kit one of its kind and made specifically for Liverpool. Kau hado?

Friday, 6 July 2012

Jamie Broad




Nice ...

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Tale Of Two Twat
















This picture was taken last season. One I hated from sometime ago and one I am beginning to for obvious reasons.




Saturday, 23 June 2012

Art From Ramil Guerra

This is boss!




A painting of Luis Suarez on canvas by Ramil Guerra, a Liverpool fan living in Sabah. Some of his artwork can be found (here).

Its fantastic and keep up the good work.

#YNWA ./

Friday, 22 June 2012

Cerita Bola Sepak Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur 1987-1989


Manusia beratur seperti rantai dihadapan mesin tiket KL monorail Stesen Imbi yang mengadap Berjaya Times Square. Sebenarnya stesen ini terhimpit diantara dua bangunan gergasi dan disokong oleh tiang-tiang besar dicelah jalanraya menuju Jalan Imbi, sajak dengan namanya. Himpitan yang jelas memberitahu kita bahawa perancangan pertumbuhan bandar Kuala Lumpur ini bolehlah dirumuskan sebagai ‘hampir tiada’.

Suasana sudah mula redup. Angin yang asalnya sepoi-sepoi kini semakin menganas. Dahan-dahan pokok yang menjadi lanskap mengindahkan kawasan Berjaya Times mula menggila. Bau hujan makin jelas menusuk hidung. Titis air halus mula gugur berpusing-pusing melayang ditiup angin deras. Saya berdoa agar saya sempat sampai ke KL Sentral sebelum hujan lebat turun.

***

Saya memandang keluar tingkap gerabak, menggelamun menyaksikan titis air yang berselirat dan menjadi huru-hara apabila ditiup angin kuat memukul bahagian luar tingkap. Tiba-tiba titisan air hujan yang tadinya penuh melekat di tingkap gerabak menjadi semakin sirna. Nun jauh diluar dan membelakangkan lembayung senja, kelihatan sebuah kubu. Kubu yang pernah menjadi kebanggaan negara suatu ketika dahulu. Kubu yang didalamnya pernah dilaungkan kalimat bersejarah, “Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!”

Kubu yang diberi nama Stadium Merdeka.

Walau dengan cat yang kelihatan masih elok dan hanya sedikit kusam akibat serangan kulat hitam yang meliar menyelubungi bahagian tepi konkritnya, Stadium Merdeka jelas tampak sunyi dan keseorangan. Berjirankan pencakar langit yang pernah bertakhta sebagai yang tertinggi didunia, Stadium Merdeka kini tinggal sejarah.

Bunyi geseran tayar gerabak tadi semakin menghilang. Kini, mula menguasai telinga dan minda saya hanya sorakan pengunjung yang bergema dari dalam stadium dan manusia yang berpusu-pusu mencari tempat parkir kereta diluar manakala penunggang motosikal pula sebok memastikan helmet ‘Apollo’ buruk mereka tersendal kemas ditempat duduk motor. Saya yakin mereka ada helmet yang jauh lebih cantik dari itu dirumah. Gema sorakan tadi mendadak naik dan seperti mana ia datang, mendadak surut. Jerit pekik penjual air dan burger juga bersimpang-siur didalam minda.

Pemandangan saya tiba-tiba terus menjadi gelap.

“Wooooaarrrrrrrrrrrrrr!” Gema sorakan dari dalam stadium menyentakkan saya yang tiba-tiba ibarat dalam mimpi, sedang berjalan menuju kearah Stadium Merdeka didalam gelap malam. Ditemani lampu kuning jalan dan agas. Saya berdiri tercegat bagai dilanggar garuda. Tercenggang.

“Lubang kekunci masa mana pulak yang aku dah lintas ni?” hati saya berdetik. Sekeping tiket ditangan menunjukkan saya harus ke pintu masuk stadium nombor 1.

Debaran makin terasa dan langkah saya makin laju. Saya renung kembali tiket dalam genggaman yang tertulis, “Perlawanan Akhir Piala Malaysia tahun 1989”. Lidah saya menjadi kelu.

*************

Sedikit sedutan dari cerita pasukan bolasepak Kuala Lumpur (1987-89) yang saya tulis bersama beberapa lagi jemaah penggila bolasepak Malaysia didalam buku Cerita Bola Sepak Malaysia.

Akan dijual di KLAB esok.




Semoga buku terbitan Dubook Press ini mendapat sambutan hangat.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Tentang Zain & Wembley - Tiba di London, Bahagian 2.



"Ketak ketuk, ketak ketuk, ketak ketuk."

Zain amati bunyi tayar keretapi Heathrow Express yang sedang dinaikinya meluncur diatas landasan besi. Zain pasti frekuensi bunyi yang dikeluarkan disini berbeza dari frekuensi bunyi yang dihasilkan oleh tayar LRT di Kuala Lumpur.

"Kualiti pembinaan berbeza agaknya."

Fikiran Zain yang penuh dengan konsep fizik, mengeluh.




Pandangan mata Zain terpana melihat keadaan diluar gerabak yang cerah dilimpahi sinar mentari walau lembab. Peninggalan embun pagi tadi masih jelas kelihatan namun kini molekul-molekulnya mula aktif setelah dipalun tenaga cahaya, bersusun, tidak sabar untuk memelowap naik kelangit.

"Nyaman betul musim panas ni. Santai di Hyde Park mesti cemerlang," detus hati kecil Zain sementara fikirannya terbayang gadis-gadis London yang genit berseluar jeans potong paras pangkal peha, memakai kit replika Liverpool saiz XS, bermain rollerblade dilaluan pejalan kaki taman terbesar di tengah-tengah kota London itu.

"Paddington Station!"

Suara garau dan kuat bergegar keluar dari celah-celah corong sistem PA mengejutkan Zain dari lamunan gadis-gadis rollerblade berambut ikal melambai-lambai lembut ditiup angin.

Turun dari Heathrow Express, Zain mengheret beg trolinya yang sarat dengan baju, dokumen, laptop dan makanan segera jenama 'Brahim'. Sambil mengheret, mata Zain menjeling jam ditangan yang sudah menunjukkan waktu sarapan yang telah lama berlalu. Perut Zain mencerut-cerut kelaparan dan beberapa kali telah memalukannya diatas keretapi kerana berbunyi terlalu kuat. Walaupun dia cuba menekan bahagian perut kiri dengan siku untuk mengurangkan aktiviti keroncong perut, dia gagal. Seorang lelaki berbangsa Afrika yang duduk disebelah kanan Zain didalam keretapi tadi terpana mendengar bunyi yang datang dari sebelah kiri beliau.

Jelas, perubahan cuaca dan kelembapan udara ditambah dengan kedudukan London yang berada jauh dari garisan khatulistiwa telah memberikan impak yang agak luarbiasa keatas asidifikasi perut Zain. Memang kuat bunyi perutnya tadi. Zain pasrah, menggelengkan kepala dan terus mengheret beg hingga ke mesin tiket.

'Edgware Road, One Way' ialah tiket pilihannya. Edgware Road sebenarnya dekat dan hanya satu hentian stesyen dari Paddington tetapi menarik beg tatkala orang-ramai berpusu-pusu ingin ke tempat kerja bukanlah satu idea yang bagus. Teksi juga bukanlah satu pilihan pengangkutan yang bijak di kota London.

Usai menarik tiket itu keluar dari mesin, Zain bergegas ke tepi landasan menunggu gerabak.

"Mind the gap!"

Ayat yang sinonim dengan sistem pengangkutan di London berkumandang dari pembesar suara didalam stesyen ibarat lagu tidak berirama. Zain terus menaiki keretapi yang tiba tanpa melengahkan masa. Badannya terasa amat penat.

"This train will be calling at Harrow & Wealdstone. Next stop, Warwick Avenue." Pengumuman dari pemandu menyentakkan Zain.

"Aduh."

Zain terpana lagi. Dia tahu dia sudah tersilap. Sepatutnya dia naik keretapi ke selatan, arah Elephant & Castle tetapi kini dia menuju utara.




Zain turun di stesyen Warwick Avenue dan menaiki keretapi arah selatan pula dengan harapan tiada lagi permasalahan yang akan dihadapinya pagi itu.


(... bersambung)

Edisi yang lepas:

1. Tentang Zain & Wembley
2. Tentang Zain & Wembley - Tiba di London

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Tentang Zain & Wembley - Tiba di London


"How long will you be staying in the UK?"

Pegawai imigresen di Heathrow Airport memang sentiasa menjengkelkan. Mereka akan cuba untuk mencari kelemahan pengunjung atas tujuan apa, Zain kurang pasti.

"2 weeks. Here are my work documents and the hotel confirmation." Balas Zain sambil menunjukkan pengesahan bilik hotel dan aturcara kerjanya di kota London.

"But your work itinerary states that the seminar will end on the 2nd? Why the extension in stay?" Pegawai imigresen berbangsa Pakistan itu cuba menjadi penyiasat.

Zain terkenal dengan sifat panas barannya. Dia pernah mencampakkan fail kepada pengurus ditempat kerja hanya kerana dia tidak diberitahu tentang perubahan masa mesyuarat mingguan. Kali ini dia sabar. Jika dia naik darah mungkin dia tidak dibenarkan masuk ke England dan harapan untuk menyaksikan perlawanan akhir di Wembley, hancur berderai. Pedulikan kerja, Liverpool lebih penting.

"Well, I plan to watch the FA cup finals but I still have not got tickets. If I do manage to get it, then I may fly back to Malaysia the week after."

"You a Liverpool fan?" Pegawai imigresen memenyetkan keningnya sambil merenung mata kiri Zain yang terkebil-kebil.

"Yes." Jawab Zain.

Pegawai imigresen terus merenung mata Zain. 10 saat berlalu dan masa seolah-olah telah berhenti.

"You'll never walk alone mate. I hope you get the tickets because I couldn't." Pegawai tadi tersenyum dan menyerahkan kembali semua dokumen kepada Zain.

"Thanks." Mata kiri Zain masih terkebil-kebil.

"You know what? Chelsea is shite." Pegawai imigresen tadi berbicara halus seolah berbisik kepada Zain.

"Next!"

Pegawai imigresen mengarahkan Zain untuk pergi.

Zain cergas menuju kearah stesyen keretapi bawah tanah di terminal 3, Heathrow. Perjalanan ke hotel di tengah kota London mungkin akan mengambil masa 45 minit. Zain harus mengambil Heathrow Express, turun di Paddington Station kemudian menaiki Bakerloo Line untuk turun ke Edgware Road.




"Mind the gap!"

Suara pembesar suara di stesyen terminal 3 memecahkan hening pagi itu.

Mata kiri Zain terus terkebil-kebil tetapi kini dia sudah hampir ke kota London.

(.... bersambung)


Edisi dahulu:

1. Tentang Zain & Wembley

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Dilema Alou Diarra

Ketika menyaksikan perlawanan England menentang Perancis tempoh hari, saya teruja melihat permainan seorang pemain bertubuh sasa dan tinggi lampai berjersi nombor 18. Beliau bermain diposisi "holding midfielder" untuk pasukan "Les Blues". 




Beliau ialah Alou Diarra.

Tahukah anda bahawa dia pernah bersama pasukan Liverpool tetapi tidak pernah berjaya mewakili kesebelasan utama "the reds"? Gerrard Houllier membawanya dari Bayern Munich ke Liverpool pada tahun 2002 ketika Diarra berusia 21 tahun tetapi telah dijual oleh Rafael Benitez kepada kelab Perancis, Lens pada musim 2004-2005.

Beliau kini telah 42 kali mewakili pasukan kebangsaan Perancis tetapi masih belum pernah menjaringkan gol untuk negaranya.

Saya masih hairan mengapa Rafa melepaskannya. Mungkin kerana sukar untuk beliau mendapatkan tempat kerana pada usia yang muda perlu bersaing dengan pemain yang jauh lebih berpengalaman seperti Didi Hamann dan Salif Diao.

Ini membawa saya kepada satu persoalan eksistensial yang penuh dilema; Mungkinkah Jordan Henderson dan Andy Carroll yang baru berusia diawal 20an akan menjadi pemain yang hebat dan harus kekal supaya pisang tidak berbuah dua kali di Liverpool seperti melepaskan Alou Diarra ketika dia muda dan kurang pengalaman tetapi kini terbukti amat mantap?

Friday, 8 June 2012

Anfield, a place we call home.


Anfield Stadium, home of Liverpool Football Club.

In footballing terms, it is one of the most historic site in England. Entrenched in the heart of Liverpool for more than 100 years, it was opened in 1884 and since then became the darling of merseyside.




Liverpool used to be a bustling port city where sailors from all over the world had come to work and stay. Infact we can find many Malaysians who once traveled the sea making their living on ships became part of its population and being similar to Detroit USA, Liverpool is a city populated by mostly blue collared worker. It is a tough place to live. Many of the sailors back then were Norwegians and the word "scouse" came from a Norwegian word for stew called "lapskaus". I bet they also have a few negritos from South America around then.

Anyway, from the very beginning football has never been only just a past time sport in England. It is one of the most popular and to some, it is like a religion. In Liverpool, it became their life.

Akin to a synagogue to jews and mosque to muslims, Anfield Stadium became a sacred place for the red half of Liverpool. It is the spot where they would come to socialize, drink and spend time together, cheering their team with unconditional love. Until now, the stadium is filled with friends and the kop end placing their most fiercest.

The English league has now become commercially huge. With that comes the need to make football stadium bigger. Arsenal and Manchester United are some of the big clubs that has made that shift and benefited from it.

With a maximum capacity of only about 45,000 seat compared to 75,000 at Old Trafford and 60,000 at Emirates, Anfield Stadium is at a crossroad.

When Hicks and Gillette took over the team back in 2007, they made plans to build a new stadium in Stanley Park. Visuals on the design have also been published to the public.






Recently, Ian Ayre made a press statement saying that they are making progress on finalizing the future of Anfield. It has been a wide known fact that Fenway Sports Group (FSG) is reluctant to build a new stadium at a cost of 300million pounds with only an additional 15,000 seat. There were also rumours saying that Air China is prepared to invest in building the new stadium subject to them having the rights over its name. Okay, let's not go there.

Contrary to this, a recent article in the Guardian reported that instead of building a new stadium, FSG has opted for the cheaper route, my preferred route. Anfield will be upgraded by demolishing nearby houses to add in new tiers and corporate facilities. The management is in the midst of clearing up issues with the city council especially in the area of "right of light" where residents within the vicinity of the stadium will be guaranteed to have similar "illuminations" or quantity of light even after the stadiums refurbishment.

Whatever the future holds for Anfield Stadium, the fact remains. It will always be the stadium most revered by opponents especially when the home fans starts roaring "You'll never walk alone".

It will always be our home and at home, we can call Evra what ever we want.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Why every team needs a Djimi Traore

Alright. Calm down! Just because I watch footie for the blokes doesn't mean I didn't notice how gobshite Traore was.

Make no mistake. He was gobshite. We know it. His team-mates (or team partners according to Suarez) know it. Everyone and their grandmother know it. Not sure if Djimi himself knows he's gobshite though. He does have more CL medal than the short twat who went to the dark side to warm their bench, after all.

Anyway, back to why every team needs a Djimi Traore in their midst.

Everyone and their dog know Traore used to be the biggest gobshite ever to wear the red jersey.

Hence, Traore was a threat. A huge threat!

In fact, you could say Traore used to be our Fear Factor.

See, this is how it used to work.

When Rafa put Traore on the bench, players get scared.

Extremely scared.

Just the sight of Traore lurking on the bench, ready to take over your place, would make even someone like Lazy Andy plays harder.

Now, if they are still slacking, all Rafa had to do was make Traore go and warm up

This would put the fear of  Robbie Fowler on any player and push them to the edge, make them give the best performance of their life.

Cause no one, but no one, wanted to be substituted for Traore.

Cause you know if you were to be substituted for Traore, you are an even bigger gobshite! Your humiliation would be complete.

So in effect, Traore was a huge motivator. Which is why he is a legend in his own lunchtime. And he deserves the three medals he had.

Having said that, having 3 Traores in the form of the Three Stooges - Hendo, Downing and Frodo - may be a bit too much though.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Start them young



Chelsea's Baby Kit






Citeh's Baby Kit






Arses Baby Kit






Liverpool Baby Kit





Manure's Baby Kit

 Available at Giant, Carrefour and Tesco. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Tiki-Taka Lollapalooza


With the appointment of Mr.Rodgers as the new Liverpool manager, articles and blogs have mushroomed all over the net telling us the kind of tactics Mr.Rodgers might deploy at Anfield. It looks quite easy really. Is it really?

He divides the field into 8 separate zones and player assigned to play on a particular zone has a certain role and has to have a specific set of footballing skills, unlike "total football" where the skills possessed by each player is adaptive to the role they need to play on the pitch. When they lose the ball, they have to work their socks off to win it back as quickly as possible and when the ball is won, pass it around to create chances. By moving the ball around, the players have time to settle down and take a breather.




That is called tiki-taka football.

The tiki-taka shenanigan has taken the football world by storm. Similar to news of boa constrictors swallowing kids, tiki-taka is suddenly everywhere like wildfire.

Due to this tiki-taka outbreak, some fans are worried that everyone now knows what the hell tiki-taka is all about and Liverpool's tiki-taka tactic will turn into bubbles, blown away into oblivion by gust as mild as Chelsea. Before you know it, there's a handbook called "How To Terminate Tiki-Taka For Dummies" being sold on book stands all over the world.

Folks, it took Brendan Rodgers almost 20 years to make it good, putting ideas to paper and kept load piles of files on the subject matter and we worry over a two page worth of tiki-taka info being shared. Let Mr.Rodgers worry about that and we ourselves worry about settling our own bills, okay?

For all we know, if Sir purple nose were to implement similar tactics it may turn into ziggy zaggy with Gigsy as the clown, rudeboy as the court jester and Nani as, errr ... Nani? When that happens, we shall all sip coffee and call it the "chewing gum-chewing gim" football.

Monday, 4 June 2012

A Liverbird Upon My Chest




"Here is a story about a football team,
the greatest team you have ever seen,
a team that play total football,
and won the league europe and all.

A liverbird upon my chest,
we are the men of Shankly's best,
a team that plays the Liverpool way,
and wins the championship in May.

With Kenny Dalglish on the ball,
he was the greatest of them all,
and Ian Rush four goals or two,
left Evertonians feeling blue.

A liverbird upon my chest,
we are the men of Shankly's best,
a team that plays the Liverpool way,
and wins the championship in May.

Now if you go down Goodison way,
hardluck stories you here each day,
there is not a trophy to be seen,
cause Liverpool has swept them clean.

A liverbird upon my chest,
we are the men of Shankly's best,
a team that plays the Liverpool way,
and wins the championship in May.

On the glorious 10th of May,
there is laughing reds on Wembley way,
we are full of smiles and joy and glee,
its Everton 1 and Liverpool 3.

A liverbird upon my chest,
we are the men of Shankly's best,
a team that plays the Liverpool way,
and wins the championship in may."

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Warrior dan Liverpool 2012/2013.

Kalau ada yang masih ingat ketika 26 Januari 2012, Abang Bellars telah menunjukkan satu persembahan mantap meyakinkan dan paling penting, golnya telah membawa Liverpool mara ke perlawanan akhir Piala Carling.

Secara tidak langsung, Wembley pasti dilanda aura Anfield yang datang dari Merseyside.

Aku terus berniat tegar, akan mencacahkan 'Bellamy' di belakang jersi baru Liverpool untuk musim 2012/2013.

Setelah meredah badai ribut di atas langit, merentas samudera terbentang luas, melepasi pemeriksaan kastam, akhirnya yang ditunggu-tunggu berada di rangkulan.

Ianya jersi Liverpool dengan jenama Warrior, penaja baru yang menggantikan Adidas.

39, Bellamy, tepat sekali. Bagus betul pekerja Liverpool Online Store, tiada kesalahan langsung, semuanya dalam kondisi baik-baik sahaja.

Setelah dicuba pakai, ternyata memuaskan. Material (84% polyster, 16% recycled S.Cafe polyester) sangat selesa disarungkan dan dibawa ke mana-mana jua hatta majlis pernikahan ketua kampung anda sekalipun.

Cuaca yang panas? Jangan risau, sarungkan jersi Warrior dan peluh anda pasti tersejat pantas. Badan pula terasa dingin senantiasa.

Bagi aku, zaman kegemilangan yang mahu dikembalikan pada jersi Liverpool menjadi. JFT96 di belakang tengkuk dan logo Liverbird di dada kiri, ternyata corak ringkas ini berjaya menambat hati.

Buktinya, rekod baru untuk penjualan secara 'pre-order'. Nama yang paling banyak ditempah oleh warga Kops pula ialah Gerrard, disusuli Suarez dan Lucas.

Pendek kata, seluruh manusia harus berbangga dengan wujudnya jersi Liverpool buatan Warrior ini. Kepada mereka yang merasa rendah diri dan tidak berkeyakinan untuk mengorat pakwe/makwe, bolehlah menyarungkan jersi ini pada badan anda. Pasti keyakinan tinggi datang mencurah tiba.




YNWA.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Bila Kita Mahu Start Shopping Players?

Umum sudah jelas akan pengurus baru Liverpool, Encik Brendan Rodgers. Dan tak kurang juga kutu-kutu berahak yang buat lame joke Kenny Rogers, c'mon. Too stupid yet too retards. Cuba nak jadi cool huh? Well, you just did. Cool bloody arseholes with half brain. What a creatures.

Ok sekarang bila kita akan shopping pemain-pemain hebat yang duk ada dalam market? Kata nak rebuild the team, manager dah ada. Supposedly today (UK time) dorang nak reveal Encik Brendan Gan. Maksud saya Brendan Rodgers. Saya taknak jadi skeptikal akan perlantikkan pengurus baru Liverpool ini. Biarlah waktu yang menentukannya. The greatest win is patience kata orang bijak pandai. Bagi orang yang kurang pandai macam saya, bersabar tu takde masalah. Cuma sampai bila?

Ok bagi mereka yang memang tak pandai langsung, macam saya cakap diperenggan awal tadilah. Lawak Kenny Rogers, lawak this is our season, lawak we will bounce back. Itu yang tak pandai langsung. Tapi berlagak "Mr. I Know Everything". Like I care?

So dalam konteks pembelian pemain untuk Liverpool menghadapi musim baru nanti apakah yang bermain difikiran dan apakah harapan (Mohon jangan berhenti berharap) Rakan Kop sekalian alam? Apakah masih mahu duduk depan TV sambil hampir sakit jantung tengok Liverpool main atau redha apa sahaja terjadi lepas ini? Harapan mesti ada bukan?

Bila saya baca pemain-pemain seperti Eden Hazard, Hulk yang menyatakan mereka akan ke Chelsea yakni kelab untuk mereka-mereka dari golongan sumbang mahram, pencurang, perverts serta kelab ini juga memang terkenal untuk golongan mereka-mereka yang sinonim dengan gelaran Pengkhianat. Kenapa saya namakan begitu? Nanti saya kupas. Maksud saya dilain entri, bukan untuk entri ini. Apakah kita rasa bila nama-nama seperti Hazard (dari zaman Benitez lagi scout duk usha-usha) atau Hulk memilih untuk pergi kelab sebegitu rather than Liverpool? Dengki tak? Dengki tak? Sikit pon mesti ada kan?

Ahh sialan, nak taip panjang-panjang bos plak panggil. Nanti bersambung dilain entri.........

Five or Six?

It has been confirmed that Frank Lampard a.k.a "Super Frank" to Chelsea fans (sounds like a stick of gigantic hotdog to me) has been ruled out of England's Euro2012 campaign due to a thigh injury yesterday.




Replacing Lampard is a kid that has never failed to entertain us. Its non other than our own, Jordan Henderson a.k.a "Hendo" to #rakankop twitter committee members.

Will Hendo feature regularly in the three lions line-up? Come on, let's be realistic here. Honestly, he is just there to get a feel of things. Everyone in England expects Hendo to be the person that replaces Gerrard at club and international level (no disrespect to Hendo, but some might beg to differ on this), so what better way than to start making him get the feel immediately.




With the inclusion of Hendo, Liverpool FC has five players in the England squad and this is terribly exciting. Others might argue that England is going to fail miserably this time around (for bloating the team up with kops) but my gut feeling tells me otherwise.

I am sure that the five will do fine and make all of us proud. Some might forget that Roy Hodgson was once a Liverpool chap, so make that six.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Jika Diberi Pilihan

Saya rasa umum dah mengetahui akan perihal Brendan Rodgers.

Ya, biarkan Liverpool haters terkinja-kinja kegembiraan akan fantasi mereka yang membayangkan kejatuhan Liverpool sekali lagi musim hadapan.

Apa mereka ini shaman kah begitu awal meraikan sesuatu yang tak pasti? Apa mereka lupa mereka juga tak memenangi apa-apa musim ini? Atau mereka lupa yang mereka itu hanyalah golongan bandwagon?

Ah. Siapa peduli itu semua ye dak? Paling kuat, alasan mereka adalah, "Bila last Liverpool menang liga?". Ya, itulah yang selalu diulang-ulang mereka. Tapi bila ditanya balik berapa lama kelab kamu ambil masa untuk memenangi kejuaraan pertama selepas pak idung merah memerintah? Jawapan kamu? "Errr...errrr...errr...". Sedih bukan?

Atas sebab itulah, jika diberi pilihan saya lebih prefer Zin Shahar jadi pengurus Liverpool. Siapa Brendan Rodgers ni? Swansea je kot.

Tadaa!

Brendan Rodgers - Our New Gaffer


"In many ways the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgement.

"We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and read.

"But, the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.

"But there are times when a critic truly risks something and that is in the discovery and defense of the new.

"The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends."

- Anton Ego in the movie, Ratatouille

On a similar note, I would very much agree to what Anton has to say and more so towards unpaid critics. The current dogma we suffer is the belief that only a superstar name fits the managerial void in Liverpool.




I am glad that many articles have been written with regards to why Brendan Rodgers is the right candidate to succeed Kenny Dalglish and I do not plan to reiterate each one of them. But, I do like to stress the fact that everyone deals with choices and options in life and no doubt, they come with associated risks. The same goes to the decision made by the owners which I believe has the clubs best interest in mind when deciding on Mr. Rodgers.

Mr. Rodgers may not have the pedigree of managing a cup winning side yet, nevertheless the achievements Swansea made and the style of play they showed last season was astonishing. Stout when defending, fluid when they do attack. They definitely try not to force a goal but instead patiently open up spaces and gaps where they can exploit.

I trust that the players we have in our stable is more than able to grasp the new set of training regime with differing coaching techniques brought along by Mr. Rodgers but the question is, how long? Will they need half a season to figure it out? A season or two?

I would assume that some lady "liverbirds" might have reacted differently if the picture below is of Mr. Rodgers. Friends, looks can be deceiving.




Just to sum it all up, we should not be expecting a cup double or a premier league championship next season but we do look forward to a place in the Champions League and a more emphasized pass and move gameplay.

I read somewhere that on a whiteboard in his Swansea office he wrote "Per Ardua Ad Astra" which means "through adversity to the stars"; Mr. Rodgers, surprise us.

#YNWA ./

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Captain Fantastic




The first time we saw Steven Gerrard played for Liverpool's first eleven was on the 29th of November 1998 against Blackburn Rovers at Anfield. It was a last minute substitution by Gerard Houllier for Vegard Heggem and upon coming in, Steven Gerrard played the role of a winger. The game ended in a 2-0 win with goals from Paul Ince and Micheal Owen, both scored in the first half.

In his debut season Steven Gerrard made 13 appearances and scored no goals, coming in to replace Jamie Redknapp who was injured. Regularly he was playing out of position, defensive at midfield or putting in crosses from right wing. Steven Gerrard was an unknown then, well to the rest of the world at least. He was also not selected to represent England youth even though he excelled in Liverpool's youth squad. His entrance at the tender age of 18 into the EPL scene was, I would say, average at best. Nothing exciting.

How things have changed. Fourteen years on, at the age of 32, Steven Gerrard is regarded as one of the best England midfielder ever if not the world. He is quick, skillful, good at passing with excellent long range shooting ability and most importantly has legendary leadership quality.

He won everything with Liverpool FC except the English premier league title and world club cup honours. He is talismanic in play and Liverpool without Steven Gerrard is like a ship without its sail.

Yes, in life nothing last forever and with injuries getting a bit more regular with every season, we can see that Steven Gerrard is at the twilight of his career. Yet he still leads the team very well by showing eagerness in tackles and determination in making forward runs but eventually the limelight will fade. I trust Steven Gerrard still has another 2 more seasons in the bag before he calls it quit hence there is ample time for Liverpool to seek a "padawan learner" as his understudy.

What will happen after Steven Gerrard? Is there a replacement for such an iconic figure? Can Jordan Henderson do it? I doubt it. He may become Liverpools future captain but he can never replicate Steven Gerrard's footballing skills in the middle of the park. Only time will tell.

By the way, happy birthday captain fantastic.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tentang Zain & Wembley


Berdasarkan sebuah kisah benar.

***

Zain (bukan nama sebenar) tersandar tatkala mendengar berita bahawa tempahan tiket berharga RM600 ke perlawanan akhir Piala FA England 2012 diantara Liverpool dan Chelsea yang dibuatnya sebelum perlawanan separuh akhir menentang Everton lagi, gagal. Ajen yang tidak pernah mengecewakannya kali ini mengecewakan.

Memang Zain akan berada di London seminggu sebelum perlawanan akhir FA Cup itu atas alasan kerja tetapi sekiranya tiket yang ditempahnya itu ada, dia akan tambah lagi 2-3 hari lagi di sana.

Bukan mudah untuk berada di Wembley menyaksikan Liverpool bertarung diperlawanan akhir. Malah, peminat Liverpool yang tinggal di UK pun azab nak mendapatkan tiket, inikan pula peminat yang berada 6,500 batu jauhnya dari London. Maklumlah, kuota tiket dibahagikan kepada pemegang tiket bermusim dahulu, kemudian kepada kelab peminat yang berada di Liverpool dan begitulah seterusnya. Harganya pun memang sangat mahal.

Zain tahu jika dia mempertaruhkan untuk menempah tiket final ketika sebelum perlawanan separuh akhir lagi dengan harapan Liverpool akan ke final, dia akan mendapat tiket pada harga yang jauh lebih murah. Zain benar-benar kecewa.

"Ahh, malam ini kau nak lepak dengan Fowler dan Macca. Tak payah pikir pasal tiket final 6,500 batu jauhnya dari KL ni. Buang masa dan tenaga aje." Hati Zain cuba menenangkan jiwanya.

***

EPL Masters yang dianjurkan oleh Football Focus tamat kelmarin ditutup dengan majlis makan malam di sebuah hotel terkemuka di Kuala Lumpur. Liverpool Masters, juara kali ini diwakili oleh pemain lagenda seperti Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, Patrick Berger dan Vladimir Smicer akan meraikan kejayaan penganjuran dengan hadir ke majlis makan malam anjuran pihak penganjur. Jam 8.30 malam Zain sudah tercegat dipintu masuk hotel.

"Dub dub dub." Hati Zain berdegup kencang. Bukannya Zain tak biasa makan di hotel mewah tetapi malam ini dia akan makan semeja dengan dua idolanya, Fowler dan Macca. Dia agak teruja.

Masuk ke majlis, Zain terus mencari mejanya dan kelihatan Fowler dan Macca sudah disana. Lidah Zain terus kelu.

***



Makanan malam itu memang sedap. Ditambah pula dengan kehadiran dua idolanya, Zain makan bukan main-main.

Fowler yang sudah agak 'tipsy' disebelah Zain ialah seorang yang suka bergurau. Sekali-sekala dia akan cuba mengusik Zain dengan mencuitnya dipinggang. Zain pasrah.

"So, someone told me that you cant get tickets for the FA Cup Finals." Fowler memandang muka Zain.

"Yeah, Thomas Cook just couldn't cook one for me this time." Zain balas.

"Tell you what, if you were to go to Wembley without tickets and you tell those scousers there you flew 6500 miles across the globe to watch Liverpool play in the finals, they'll definitely help you man. Hey, you'll never walk alone mate!" Fowler memberikan pendapat didalam keadaan pipinya yang mula kemerah-merahan kerana separa mabuk.

"You sure?" Zain tanya Fowler.

"I am 100% positive boss." Fowler jawab dengan lagu Fearless dari Pink Floyd berkumandang dibelakangnya.

Zain terdiam dan akalnya mula menerawang jauh. Malam itu membuka lembaran baru didalam sejarah hidupnya.  Dia tekad ke Wembley untuk meyaksikan Liverpool, bersama atau tanpa tiket final itu.


(.. bersambung)

Monday, 28 May 2012

Liverpool In Crisis? - Part II

Phase II The New Phase II
The original plan where the caretaker manager gives way to a new, younger manager had to be readjusted. Kenny Dalglish had overwhelming support from the fans to continue.

Since phase II had to be readjusted, phase III kicks in and they swapped places. The new phase II is now bringing in new players who are young and has lots of potential under the supervision of the manager and was handled by the Director of Football then, Damien Comolli.




Phase III The New Phase III

This is where the tricky part started. FSG realize the fact that there were risks in getting Kenny on board full time 12 months ago and a line had to be made. A key performance indicator (KPI) had to be in place. Hindsight tells us that FSG is in this deal for a very very long time. Replacing Kenny Dalglish after one and a half year seems rather odd. We are all fully aware of the clubs league standing end of this season but frankly, the bulk of the team is rather new and definitely FSG understands that they need time to gel. So, what was Kenny's KPI at the end of the 2011/12 season?

Putting myself in FSG's shoes, how can I return to the original plan with least furore? Please remember that the grand plan was putting great emphasis on a youthful setup, management and player wise.

As I have said earlier, releasing Kenny at the end of season 2010/2011 would have turned Liverpool upside down, but what if the club finished low in the league, even lower than the blue half of Liverpool at the end of this season? I would not want it to be too low so why not contend for two cup finals and win one, not both. I know its a bit too much like the tail wagging the dog story.



In other words, winning at least one cup and being number 8 in the league at the end of the season, was Kenny's KPI? Kenny did say that "if I can be of any help, I will."

In a rather controversial perspective, everything that happened last season fell nicely to pave the way for a return to the original plan. To carry Liverpool back to glory days on shoulders of strong and youthful individuals. If we were to plot a chart on Liverpool's progress from the day FSG took over, I bet next season will look good statistically.

I sincerely do not think Liverpool Football Club is in a crisis. There is a change in the way they do things and I am just thinking "outside-the-box".

After all maybe it's "The New Liverpool Way".

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Liverpool In Crisis? - Part I

18 months ago, Liverpool Football Club was in shambles. Roy Hodgson was managing a free falling team, 4 points off the relegation zone. The clubs financial affair was horrific and there was a possibility that the club might go into administration.

Fans were divided. It was anarchic.




In the midst of these chaos, came New England Sports Venture (NESV) lead by John Henry and Tom Werner to salvage Liverpool. They presented a plan to move forward this great club which included investments in a youth setup both in terms of players and management. The court was happy with the plan and later allowed NESV to wrestle Liverpool away from Hicks and Gillette.

I would imagine the plan to be so comprehensive that it would definitely require a few phases to complete. Remember, they are not running a brothel. Liverpool FC is a huge club and decisions have to be made based on a proper, well thought plan.

Listed below is my assumption of what the plan might have looked like:

Phase I   - To stabilize the ailing club after the mess left by Roy Hodgson, Gillette and Hicks

Phase II  - When the club has stabilized, a new young manager is put in place

Phase III - To start investing on players, focusing on youth with potential

Phase I
At the time when Roy was about to leave Liverpool, the fans were divided and the clubs result, pathetic. If Roy leaves, who in the world can breath hope into the players to make them perform? Who can unite these divided fans into a strong force, back to being the 12th man in Anfield and make them trust the management again? The answer was Kenny Dalglish.




Ian Ayre, commenting on the departure of Kenny Dalglish in the latest Liverpool debacle had only this to say about Kenny's initial appointment back on 8th January 2011;


  • "It absolutely wasn't a mistake and couldn't be further from it, to be honest. If you look back across that period, let's be clear - we asked Kenny to come back, he didn't ask for the job. We very much went and asked him to take the position, to come back and to help and he did all of those things. He always said 'if I can be of any help, I will'. He really was the catalyst to everything we have now to go forward. He was the person who galvanised everyone around such a difficult time, he brought people together, he brought the club, the fans and the players together. There were issues all over the place and in bringing all of those together he cemented us all with this unity to work together."


Kenny Dalglish second coming was very much anticipated and his appointment as caretaker manager proved to be a fantastic decision as it brought the fans together and made the team perform better. At the end of the 2010/11 season, Liverpool finished 6th in the league. Up 6 spots from where they were when Roy left. The mild success Kenny brought to the club at the end of last season meant phase II of the grand plan had to be adjusted. Kenny's managerial contract was extended from caretaker manager to 3-years full time.

Honestly, the change in plan was a natural decision. Last season ended with the fans thriving and the players upbeat. If they had kept to the original scheme of things, Kenny would have not been offered an extension, the new young manager would have started the season for Liverpool and the whole of Anfield would have gone berserk.

(..to be continued)