International Break-Part 4

Continuing on a theme,today’s offering is from SALTIRESENSEVILLA,and again,while I only saw it on TV,yer man brings it all to life for me!!!

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Liverpool v Celtic 0-2 (Agg: 1-3)
Uefa Cup Quarter Final 2nd Leg
Anfield Stadium 20.3.2003
Attendance: 44,000

As I had been working away from home for most of 2002, my opportunities to attend games had been few and far between. Restricted to TV only, I’ll was feeling a wee bit left out of all the excitement. Blackburn, Vigo and Stuttgart.. all came and went.

Luckily, I had made it home for the 1st leg of the Liverpool tie and watched as we came out of the blocks like demons. Big Bad John had dropped a shot onto the Liverpool bar in the opening spell and the place was thoroughly rocking. Liverpool were visibly shaking and when Henke, only recently returned from injury, diverted a low cross into their net in the first few minutes I thought ‘this is it’… they are going to cave in.

That is how dominant we were. I hadn’t reckoned on that equaliser from Big Heskey and to be fair he put it away with great technical aplomb.

1-1

We lost an away goal…. Ach!!!

As we trooped out of Paradise feeling despondent, memories of Liverpool’s last visit and how Stevie McManaman’s late, meandering, waltzing goal heralded our subsequent exit at Liverpool, was like a dirty great black cloud.

However, we did have them rocking…they did not look comfortable in defence and we seemed to overrun them in midfield at times.

Plus-Henke would be fitter and more of a thorn in their flesh in seven days time.

The week of the second leg in Liverpool, I didn’t have a ticket. Despite the A.P.B call going out, there was no chance and time was running out.
Meetings, of the Phantom variety, had been scheduled to ensure that I would be in Manchester the day before and after the game …well, you just never know…

Then, just as I had almost given up hope, on the afternoon of the game, I was attending a ‘meeting’ (parked just off the M62. Listening to MW909 or 1035. Feeling right sorry for myself.)

“Get yourself to the Bill Shankley statue 15 minutes before kick-off. You are in the Kop tonight…Hail, Hail!”

I dropped my phone and struggled to txt back as my thoughts raced. Who am I meeting, how will they know me, the place will be packed … jeezo!!

“He will know you..just relax”

As I pointed my car West on the M62 in the direction of the Mersey, I’m not ashamed to admit a wee tear formed in my eye. I started to tick off my ‘To Do’ list. Hotel and dump motor, arrange to meet buddies for a few beers and off to the game.

It was now 16:30 and I was 30 from Annfield. Never been before and totally misjudged traffic and other daft delays …

Ended up parking near Stanley Park ( no Hotel and my mates all boozed up at other side of the city.) Collar up, Head down and started alone towards my date with Bill Shankley. A few Celts around, but mainly Scousers all cackling away and veeerrry confident of victory … sooo laid back etc. I kept my mouth shut and bought one of those half/half scarves and wrapped it around my neck.

I never found out how my ‘shining knight’ knew who I was, but he was on hand with my ticket and a cheery scouser “enjoy the game & good luck” and a wee wink ” coz yer gonna need it righ?”, then he was off. No payment accepted, despite my protests ( in a crumby Bread accent…) a decent guy and I still owe him for that one.

Inside the mighty Kop for the first time and seat about 8 rows from the front, right behind the goals. Surprised at how small the stadium was, compared to Paradise it was almost pokey. Noted a few Celts dotted around ( just in case..). I was sitting beside a group of 5 or 6 older female fans, all dressed head to toe in red, with what looked like college jumpers and box pleat skirts – huge knitted scarves with around a million of those wee metal football badges glistening under the floodlights. Red berets, also covered in badges, completed the look…

At the opposite end it looked like Celtic fans had 40% of that stand – and around the ground I could make out small groups of Celtic fans dotted everywhere.

There was no sign of any bother.

Although, I will say this, the Liverpool fans around me were 100% Not! Celtic friendly. Not aggressive or intimidating, but it was clear to me that might change in certain circumstances.

They were not loud and mainly just waving huge banners, depicting their, admittedly awesome, European Honours.

From my vantage point, I could clearly hear the Celtic fans working through the back-catalogue of songs and they were in fine voice.

I decided to get a coffee and read the programme as I waited , trembling like a wee boy with excitement. Pinching myself, as around 3 hours earlier I was watching this game from some bar in fekin’ Rochdale or Bury… ( nae offence intended to any Lancastrian Towns..)

As I looked down the Liverpool squad the names popped out: Hyppia, Carragher, Riise, Sammer, Stevie Gee ( aye him..) Danny Murphy, Smicer, Baros, Heskey and Michael Owen.

The Liverpool player that concerned me most right in that moment was Riise… he was the type of player that I felt might slip under our radar.

Walk On … of course, was good but nothing like the sheer volume generated at Paradise in the 1st leg. Part of the reason for that was because the Scousers were not taking the game seriously. You get to know the signs and I swear to god they were just yabbiting away, hardly even mentioned us once and no battle cries ‘c’mon… get intae thum’ etc.

If I’m being honest, they were being complacent. It just occurred to me now, that is definitely what was going down.

When I saw the Celtic team,a surprise was the inclusion of Mo Sylla (eh?)

Within about 5 minutes he had absolutely plated Riise .. I smiled. Martin had identified that risk and made his plan. It worked and Riise seemed rather deflated for the remaining 80 minutes. Thank gawd!!

Henke free kick saved by Dudek and twice Big Bad John had him scrambling with headers. We were on top and I could feel a goal coming.

When Thommo placed his free-kick, just before half-time, low and hard into the net at the Kop end, I was right behind it and watched it go in through the nets. Fortunately, everyone around me was standing and my wee jump, and yelp, didn’t attract any attention. A few Bhoys to my right were jumping about and all around the stadium pockets were doing the same. At the formal Celtic End it looked like bedlam.

In the interests of keeping the Entente Cordiale … ahem…cordial…I’ll not repeat some of the comments from my fellow Koppites.

Let’s just say my eyes were opened! As my seat was adjacent to one of the exits, I had my escape tunnel already sorted.

The mood had now changed.

Suddenly, rate of speech had doubled and concert pitch achieved and maintained. Scousers DO whine … (sorry bu’ that’s what it sounded like) and they they had good reason to as Celts were matching them and had cancelled out their priceless away goal advantage.

They were right in a game,and they knew it..

If anyone can remember watching those Wednesday evening highlights of Euro games from Liverpool’ glory period in late 70’s to mid 80’s … let’s call it the King Kenny era.
Then you will recall the animated swaying crowds in the Kop and the absolute racket they make?!

It was now like I had imagined….

As the second half began I could literally feel the skin crawling around my bones as they let rip. What a bloody intense din they make. Absolutely deafening and designed to strike terror into opponents, and to urge their favourites on.

It was working on me and I feared it was beginning to have an impact on the red shirts too.

The tempo was up!

Liverpool prompted by Stevie G, began shifting the ball across the front of our midfield line . The ball zipping and curling across the lush green carpet that is Anfield. Whizzing from the Stevie Gee/Hamann fulcrum in the centre of the pitch out to Smicer, Murphy and Owen at pace, almost mesmerising. They had moved up about 15 yards in the second half.

Owen had one dangerous turn on Big Bobo in the first half on the left touchline, but other than that had been fairly quiet. He was now far more animated and looking to get a run at our defence.

Stevie G had let fly and stung Rab Douglas’ gloves in the first half and he looked the part, but I noticed both he and Hamann were restricted to side passing. Nothing they tried was getting into dangerous areas.

Lenny was absolutely outstanding. He allowed no space anywhere. Not a sniff.

Paul Lambert was doing that classic move where everyone thinks he’s going to header , but takes 3 rapid steps back and collects the ball at the top of his chest and brings it down under his control as he turns away from an opponent and slips the ball to Petrov or Thompson.

Mantra…keep possession on the deck! Leave one opponent wrong side. Absolute class!

Our midfield were Always in the right space closing them down, denying them space and angles.

Celtic were holding fast and still they came at us. The atmosphere was incredible ( think our Man U, Juve or Barca victories at Paradise)

I was Counting Out Time as the Koppite Carpet Crawlers became more and more agitated and frantic in their urgings for release.

Alas, for them, the only orgasm came at the other end. As Big Bad John pulled back his leg and shot his thunderbolt at full throttle into the netting at the Celtic End. What a fucking goal! I watched it sail past Dudek at eye level from the opposite end of the ground. Bang!

2-0 Nil Celtic on the night (3-1 on aggregate)

5 Little Red Riding Hoods … let out a collective shriek. ( Think Macbeth…)

“C’mon Liverrrpppooolll get into these bassass..”

As I checked my escape route… I spoke briefly for the first time in 2 almost hours…

“3 goals in under 10 minutes…Aye! Good Luck wi’ that”

Sharpish exit✅

No idea where my car was, no hotel booked … but I knew where my mates would be, at the New Albert Docks, and I needed a beer to celebrate!

My first proper European Semi-Final … We could hardly contain ourselves. 0ur last SemiFinal was in ’74 against Atletic Madrid, when most of us were not yet teenagers.

Now in our early 40’s we could finally dream of some real Glory!

Bring on the Chequered Harlequins of Boavista!

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SALTIRESENSEVILLA

That’s a superb article,mate. Absolute pleasure to read it. So have some good news to go along with it-MURDOCHAULDANDHAY or Stephen H as you better know him,has just been released from hospital. So too has THECELT45,over in The States.

The good news just keeps coming!!!

TIMHORTON

Welcome aboard,old bean-and don’t be a stranger! We even allow posters to contribute an entire article for the day. In fact,we are quite keen for people to do so,so here’s your chance for your day in lights!!!

Above also to JACKIEMAC,and anyone whom I might have missed.

To contribute an article,mail MAHE on

sentinelcelts@gmail.com

saltires en sevilla

Majoc

Cheers buddy.

I received a Txt from MAH earlier this morning. Absolutely brilliant news on our 2 Bhoys!

Stephen’s txt arrived about 6:00 a.m. Heheheh….I’ll be having a wee quiet word with him later. I’m sure he must be walking on air and deserves a right good turn of luck. ?

HH

Mike

Cracking article SES or should that be SAS, it made me feel as if I was there beside you, hawd oan a minute, I was there, perhaps not sitting beside you but in the stadium in amongst the majority of the Tims. My two sons and I drove down to Liverpool and joined the throng of Celtic supporters cheering the Celtic on. When MON signed BBJ I must admit I couldn’t understand why because we had big Sutty and the King of Kings (who can forget his terrible injury in Lyon). But I will never forget that strike from outside the Liverpool box, it must have hit the sweet spot because it went off his right foot like a rocket. My, my, another Celtic memory to treasure, to put away in the corner of your mind and bring out from time to time to savour.

That is what Celtic gives you, golden memories, disappointments occasionally but the good memories far exceed the disappointments, the pathway to Seville was full of golden memories and you know, some teams that always seem to be successful in Europe, the big financially rich clubs, might take success in Europe for granted, but when you are a team from a poorer league, success in Europe is always just that bit sweeter. We might have not won that years Europa Cup but we certainly enjoyed our pathway to the final. Thanks for sharing your golden memory, sharing is caring. H.H.

S.E.S. Another excellent read. Thank you. Love all the detail.

These articles during the international breaks are superb.

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Mike

Cheers buddy – you have it perfectly, our successes can really be savoured as they are so difficult to achive they mean more.

HH

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JTT53

Cheers buddy – get your next best game in to Mahe as the human experiences colour the experiences for us all.

HH

I couldn’t do an article nowadays, my memory is shot to pieces. Everything is vague. I remember bits and pieces bur forget opponents, scores, players, dates etc. I often meet people that I know, I know, but can’t remember their names or why I know them. But it’s nothing critical, I can operate as normal in every other way.

mahe

SeS,,
Bloody fantastic piece of writing mate , captured it all . Pat yerself on the back.
You were in the Kop ! holy crap , I wouldnt have made it out.
On that game ,, I remember it well .
I felt confident of every game we went into that season , however every time we raised our game and overcame these huge challenges there was a wee bit less in the gas tank .
After Souness made the mistake of pissing Henke off and paid the price I also thought the Pool where very arrogant and seen themselves as a level above .
The truth is they were a cup team , and couldnt find the consistency to deliver the league . They ended up squandering their big chance with a load of buys that didnt make it and Chelski overtook them on the pitch with some new young manager . Two years after this game they lifted the Big Cup in circumstances that you wouldnt believe if you didnt know it was real.
I always thought they should have went for Martin at some stage and it would have been a good fit , but thats for another article.

We settled down in the house with a carry out and the commentators gushing praise at the smaller stadium and quieter Walk On ,,, and you just knew that they were going to get one hell of a game . We were in it to win it , as they say . And that arrogance hindered the team that night ,, they shoulda backed their lads big time from the first minute but that first half their expected dominance didnt arrive and that silenced the crowd .
Thommos free kick was very very cute ,,, giving the keeper and wall the eyes to the top corner the whole time ,, they now only jump 6 inches to try and counteract that type of free kick .
And BBJ’s goal ,,,well that football ramble podcast had a big discussion with a few ex players and they all agreed big John had the biggest hams they had ever seen . I can confirm they are effing enormous and will try to find a pic to post. That was what is known in the football media trade as a “ Thunderbastard !“ and only Thor himself could wallop it better ( although thon fella Riise who you rightly give praise to would later in his career hit one of the all time great free kicks imo ,, a fellow Thunderbastard no less ! )

She was a hell of a night indeed and I think I might be right in saying lead to some changes in the Liverpool dug out . That was a serious marker that scalp , and everyone knew how good Henke was after that cup run , the doubters were convinced . Beppe kept saying he could play for Real and I thought he was being a bit generous but obviously not if Barca swooped and he delivered the big one.

These are great reads to wake up to ,, thanks a million . Hail Hail

Rebus67

SES,

Enjoyed reading that! Nice hear Moma Sylla mentioned again. He had lots of potential and no little skill. I wonder why the wheels came off in his Celtic career?

Rebus

Oops,link to brief highlights.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WPh5-g0ekt4

The Gombeen Man

SeS,

Fair play to the Scouser that wouldn’t accept payment for the ticket. A gesture like that makes football the great game that we know it is. I’ve never been to Anfield but I’ve always liked the Liverpool way of doing things (apart from the pass back stuff during the Grobbelaar, Hansen, Souness years 😉 )

My memory of that game was being unable to watch and pacing up and down the bedroom upstairs, while the family watched downstairs. It was so tense.
The semi-final was worse. I was at a work function and they’d brought in a tele for the occasion. All the top bosses crammed around the screen and I spent the majority of the game outside in the car park…we didn’t normally win games like that so I plead Just Cause in my defence.

A great piece of writing and it captures the fairytale feeling of the whole adventure where everything seemed just magical.

big packy

SALTIRESENSEVILLA.what can I say, nearly as good as my post from yesterday, ?? just a fantastic post watched it with joan my scouse wife, when john hartson scored I nearly went through the roof, and she wasn’t too pleased, but hey that’s football, lovely memories.hh.

BIGPACKY

Must be love if you’re still together after that!

None of my exes were remotely interested in football,and I rarely attempted to change that. It had its upsides-like they weren’t remotely interested-and it’s downside-like they occasionally tried to stop my interest in football.

Well,football is still very much in my life,and they urnae…

Great post SES, remember the game well, watched it in a bar that I never normally went to in the village I was living just outside of Dublin, in fact I had seen all the other games in the same bar up to and including the semi final, the final I saw in another village, I couldn’t make it back to the bar I had seen us winning to get to the final so I blame masel for us losing the final ;-(

Just been out in the garage,didn’t find what I was looking for of course. Found a Scottish Football Book No 19 from 1973. Pristine condition,too. God alone knows what’s in various lofts…

First chapter I turned to was headed

Hearts-the team with style.

How times change…

big packy

majoc think she loves the dugs more than me. ?? hope you are well. everyone is asking about you on the other channel.hh.

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TET

Bassa .. it was all your fault ?

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BP

Does yer missus have a red beret and a red ra ra skirt ?

We were very well treated by the Liverpool fans but they were not fit messing with … no way.

Within a few years they had won that big cup .. again ?

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TGM

My abiding memory is that the Liverpool fans were Fitba fans same as us

They misjudged us that night

H H

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Rebus

I wasn’t a big fan of Momo until that night, he was handy and did his job when it was required.

HH

BIGPACKY

I know,mate.

JIMMYNOTPAUL kindly c&p’d my request from here on Tuesday that everyone should just leave it,with my grateful thanks.

I’m beginning to think I’m annoying people more in my absence than I ever did when I posted!!!

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Mahe

All of that resonates completely with my own sense of events at the time

?

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JTT53

Oh, yes you could buddy – it doesn’t have to be factually correct it’s all about your sense/feeling etc

Go for it…

HH

JIMTHETIM53

SALTIRESENSEVILLA is bang-on,as ever. Trick to one of these is to rely on your memories of the occasion-maybe why it mattered,the lead up to it,who you were with,etc-plus those of the match itself.

And CELTICWIKI refreshes the parts other sites cannot reach,just helps bring the memories back into focus.

Give it a try and send it to me on my own addy,I’ll give it a once-over with maybe a wee helpful hint for your approval. Once you’ve got the first one done,that’s the difficult bit sorted!!!

HH

big packy

SES, how did you know,??.

Believe it or not, but had I made it back to the bar we would have won, so aye, it was all my fault 😉

The Gombeen Man

SeS,

I agree the whole propaganda machine had me convinced we’d come a cropper that night. Maybe years of disappointment, dodgy refs, the entitlement of others, I really didn’t expect us to do it.

EPL clubs have consistently underestimated European opposition. Same too with the English national side. They seem to be convinced of their own superiority and always underestimate the opposition.
It’s a team game after all and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The media hype is all about overstating things to generate viewing figures and attract advertisers etc.
Unfortunately, the EPL supporter is the target of the hype and seems incapable of any kind of a balanced view on the likely outcome of things.

It’s classic black and white thinking. One minute they are the best in the world. A couple of defeats later it’s catastrophic’ let’s sack the lot of them.’

Thankfully Celtic supporters don’t think like that 😉

The Gombeen Man

It’s a bit like the British Government’s broadcasting ban on Sinn Fein. Reminds me of actors reading out Gerry Adam’s speeches etc.:)

mike in toronto

There’s hardly anyone left to annoy …., I think people must be following your lead …. I think we may have to change your blog name from majoc to mahatma (MCUWP’s does have a nice ring to it).

🙂

ps .. meant to ask about the meaning of majoc.

I’ve got something in mind that would be less of a problem. But might be a good talking point. I will email you at some time! Just don’t hold your breath.

AS it’s the international break and the land of my birth are playing for a Ginger Alkie, I thot I would ask the burning question that is on everyone’s lips.
There is a debate about who is the best LB, is it Robertson or KT, the media have plumped for Robertson, fair enough, it’s what you expect from huns with typewriters, but, there is the but again, they also seem to realise that KT is too good to leave out of the team, so he gets played out of position to accommodate Robertson.
My question is….If Robertson is sooo gooood, why is it never suggested he gets played out of position ?
Answers on the back of a stamp.

Don’t be so hard on yourself TET. It was actually my fault for not going to the final.

TGM
A classic example of how to give someone you don’t want to elevate the elevation that you don’t want them to have, total ejits.

mahe

TGM, ,,I liked that one, ,, compliments. 😉

The Gombeen Man

Yep how to give your power away.

I’ve watched your posts about the dog, inspirational stuff.

HH

The Gombeen Man

Cheers Mahe, feels surreal thinking about those days.

She was introduced to the pack today and it went without a hitch, they knew to take it easy, as I type she is lying on a couch behind me sound asleep, bonnie wee thing so she is.

The Gombeen Man

What would happen if KT was playing for Liverpool and Robertson was at Celtic?

Or worse if KT was playing for Sevco and Robertson was errr anywhere else?

Till later all.

big packy

the exiled tim, glad she is okay ?.

mike in toronto

My take, for what it is worth …

I see Celtic and Liverpool on TV most weekends …

I would say KT is more of a left back, and AR is more of a modern wing-back.

In the age of converted wingers becoeing left ‘wing-backs’ (most of whom cant really defend), a good, old fashioned left back, who can defend and get forward and cross a ball (KT) is as rare as hen’s teeth, and worth his weight in gold.

AR, who seems more like a modern wing back, has improved immeasurably since he went to Anfield, Playing with and against better players every week will do that.

I think KT has much greater potential than AR, but, of late, AR was playing a bit better. However, recently KT’s play has picked up considerably, along with most of his teammates, and he is once again showing the talent that he has..

At his best AR is a very good left back. KT, at his best, has the potential to be one of the top LB’s in the world. But, I think to reach that potential, he has to move to a better league and the right team/manager, to help him improve, as much as Klopp and Pool have improved AR. But if KT gets the right move, and stays injury free, he will be a 50 million quid player, at least.

big packy

the gombeen man, just cant picture our Kieran in a sevco shirt ??.

MiT
Sadly I have to agree that he needs to move to reach his potential, Germany would be a good place for him imo, or even Italy, I also agree with the rest of your post.
Why just not play Robertson in front of KT then ?

BP
She is no out of the woods yet but hopefully is getting there.

big packy

the exiled tim, the clowns probably think, Andrew Robertson must be one of ours.??..

mike in toronto

TET

Hope you guys are feeling a bit better after your tough week.

I think KT is fundamentally sound, so in time, he could play in any league/any style. But, I dont know how well he would adapt to a new country/life, at the same time as adapting to a new style of football…. not a slight at the kid… that can be tough for anyone

I think a move like AR got – to a good English club – would be a good start …. move to a better league, let him find his legs there, and, after that… he could probably go anywhere.

big packy

mit and the exiled tim, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, let him stay with the famous Glasgow celtic.??.

JTT53
A couple of auld ejits so we are 😉

MiT-BP
Just to be clear I don’t want the bhoy to move but he will I’m sure, if we don’t get to the CL players will be sold, he will be high up on the suits list imo.

big packy

the exiled tim. yes agree about that, can just see peter licking his lips at the prospect of megabucks, from one of the big clubs.hh.