CITYTALK: CLASH OF THE TITANS by The Anfield Wrap | Mar 20, 2015 | Podcast | 11 comments NEIL ATKINSON was joined by Rob Gutmann, Mike Nevin, Simon Hughes and United We Stand’s Steve Armstrong as they look to Sunday’s six-pointer against Manchester United at Anfield. Direct Link – CITYTALK: CLASH OF THE TITANS Podcast RSS feed. Get the TAW podcast on iTunes. 11 Comments Rey on 21 March 2015 at 12:43 am Someone tell Si we’ve kept 6 straight clean sheets away. Reply TheAnfieldWrap on 21 March 2015 at 12:58 am Fair point, Rey, but Arsenal have won their last nine in the league at home. Will be a lot tougher than Burnley, Sunderland, Villa, Everton, Southampton or Swansea. Reply Rey on 21 March 2015 at 10:16 pm No doubt they’re flying high and will be a challenge — but I think if anything, over the last few months we’ve shown exactly the shrewdness that Si was questioning to go there and get a result. But really, I just back ourselves to beat anyone at the moment. ;) Reply The Lady In The Van on 21 March 2015 at 1:54 am Great pod, as usual. With regard to the crowd’s relative indifference to Sterling and Sturridge, I think we all know what’s going on here if we are being honest. Our match-going fans are largely white middle-aged Scousers. They just aren’t likely to feel any strong cultural connection with young black lads from outside of the city. I can think of very few black players, currently playing in the Premier League, who have really formed a strong bond with the home fans. You just don’t hear the crowd sing their names with the same degree of passion that is reserved for other players. To be honest though, crowds don’t get particularly attached to the majority of players anymore. Being good at football is not enough. A player needs to make a fan think ‘that’s me out there, or at least the person I would really like to be’. I actually think that British fans now tend to identify themselves more with Latin players, particularly those from South America. Even if they are on shedloads of money, they still seem able to convey the sense that they are underdogs. Most sins are forgiven, because fans genuinely want to see them succeed. Goals are acknowledged with pure outpourings of joy, rather than posturing. Any perceived injustice is raged-against ferociously. Fans need to see genuine passion. To be fair to Sterling, he does still seem shocked and delighted to have scored a goal. I guess that’s just one element though of what it takes to make the fans feel that you are one of them. It’s far more complicated than racism. The Kop never sung Michael Owen’s name with any great verve. He’s white, was born and raised not too far from the city and played at a time when the average age of match-going fans was significantly younger. Who was he though? A great player, but he didn’t show enough of himself as a human-being to be truly embraced. Ryan Giggs probably contributed five times as much to the success of Man United than Eric Cantona did. Giggs is respected, while Cantona is adored. I very much doubt that any member of our current squad will be rewarded with a really good song that was penned in their honour. One single word was seen as befitting enough to reward our favourite son though. “Dalgliiiiiiiiiish!!!!!” – The cadence and volume said it all! Reply Robin crimes on 21 March 2015 at 10:39 am I think you started off talking shit then probably got close to the real reason. Do you honestly think people look at skin colour in how they judge a player? We’re far too fickle for that. I find the suggestion offensive. You actually hit the real reason on the head when you roped Michael Owen into the same mentality. Right or wrong is down to the perception of the players personality. Perceived aloofness is the biggest crime. Suarez was a hit not because of his greatness though obviously it goes hand in hand but because of his attitude and largely because of his personality. We felt like he’d go to the end of the world to get Liverpool a win but importantly seemed a bit needy. Coutinho seems an honest lad without an ego. Henderson gives all but doesn’t have a big ego. Allen and Can the same more recently. On the one hand there are a few Sturridge songs that aren’t that good but on the other I think male pride plays a part in it. We want to make the likes of Mario, Henderson Suarez and Coutinho feel loved because we think they need it. They need a boost to their ego. Sturridge certainly doesn’t, he’s comfortable enough. The false rumour years ago was that Sterling had 60 kids. I think that’s stuck a little and people think he’s a jack the lad. Confidence, Aloofness or perceived arrogance won’t win you over to the Liverpool crowd imo. It’s not that we’re against it, far from it but deep in our psyche we don’t feel the need to let them know how much we appreciate their efforts. Reply The Lady In The Van on 21 March 2015 at 4:33 pm Robin, I think that fans look at absolutely everything when they are deciding to take a player truly to their hearts. Judging a player is something completely different. I think if Fowler, Carragher or Gerrard were black Scousers, they would still have formed a very close bond with the fans. A little less close though. If they were also from another city in England, the bond would be weaker still. If the player also seemed a little aloof and didn’t share the fans’ sense of humour or style, another degree of separation would exist. How many black players have been through the revolving door at Anfield in the last 20 years? How many players (of any colour) from the south of England have we had on the books in that that time? I can’t think of any that the fans truly took to their hearts. They can’t have all been shit. To me, most British Premier League players just seem like dead-eyed walking cliches. Obsessed with celebrity, shit urban music, social media, pointless selfies, silly tattoos/haircuts and they wear shit gear. I want a player who is happy to take the piss out of himself a bit, likes a pint and smokes a few ciggies. A guy who listens to the Stone Roses, Joy Division and Lou Reed. His heros would be Charles Bukowski, Gil Scott Heron and Norman Mailer, He would wear Lois jeans, Adidas Samba and a Russian watch from the Soviet era. He would drive a Mk1 Ford Capri 3.0 with a bit of concrete in the boot, preferably one fitted with an 8-track cartridge player. In other words, I want a different type of walking cliche. I want one that’s like me. This forming a bond with players malarkey – it sure as hell isn’t easy. It’s probably best to just forget about it and hope we sign players that can at least make us win. When I see Dean Sturridge do that stupid dance, without a hint of irony or self-deprecation, I find myself thinking ‘I really don’t want to be him, yet he has achieved exactly what I wanted to when I was a boy’. However, if I had to draw up a list of players that I think we should sell, his name would be right at the bottom of the list. Reply The Lady In The Van on 21 March 2015 at 4:36 pm Daniel Sturridge even. Sorry, senior moment! Reply robin crimes on 21 March 2015 at 6:11 pm John Barnes? its fair to say a few warmed to him. I know him quite well. One of my best mates who I’m going to Anfield with tomorrow used to live in the same house as him (not quite as it sounds, more like a castle divided into 2 or 3 homes). They don’t come better than him. Very down to earth but loves a party. Heskey was well liked. Babel averagely. Kind of backs up what I say. Haha. If players were into the things you want them to be into then believe me they’re not gonna be very good mainly because people in the 40’s are usually too old, haha. Been playing Joy Division every day this week in the car. You’ll probably think I’m full of it now but I know the Stone Roses. I was on the guest list for every gig from 89 onwards. I’d doubt there’s anyone in the world who’s seen them more times. Velvet underground one of my favourite bands but in the days of John Cale. Not as into Lou Reed. Reply Matthew Webb on 21 March 2015 at 9:21 pm It’s probably occurred before but just thought of one possible Sterling song, an adaptation of Wem-ber-ly: #Wem-ber-ly, Wem-ber-ly, He’s the famous Raheem Sterling and he comes from Wem-ber-ly Wem-ber-ly, Wem-ber-ly, He’s the famous Raheem Sterling and he plays for Liv-er-pool Liv-er-pool, Liv-er-pool, He’s the famous Raheem Sterling and he plays for Liv-er-pool Liv-er-pool, Liv-er-pool.# Needs workshopping but just a thought. Reply The Lady In The Van on 22 March 2015 at 8:40 am ‘What Rhymes with Raheem?’ There is a thought-provoking 400-page book in there for someone, on the 21st-Century relationship between fans and players. Reply Velimir on 22 March 2015 at 9:51 am I think there’s a simple reason for why Henderson’s contract doesn’t get as much play in the press as Sterling’s does. It’s about Henderson as a player, and the perception of him as player and his career from a neutral perspective. Now, we all love him, or most of us anyway, and think the world of him, but realistically, Liverpool is the only club that offers Henderson any sort of top player status. I don’t think there’s any other club he can go to and be in contention for a captain’s position. I don’t think there’s a single club, that might be perceived as bigger than us, that would have him starting regularly. And the wage he’d be given at those clubs wouldn’t be that far off of what he’s looking to get out of his next Liverpool contract. So I’d say his negotiating position isn’t really all that strong, considering what other options he might have. His representatives can play the long game and try and get as good a deal as possible for him, but at the end of the day, given an ultimatum, he sticks with Liverpool. Looking beyond the money, he definitely doesn’t have a better deal elsewhere. Even taking only the money into consideration, it’s quite possible Liverpool is still the best deal, and certainly there about. Now Sterling’s people have a full deck to play here. He’s young, highly thought of, an international player, the very best teams in the world would go for him, and for a cut-price deal they’d take him, no question, even only to have to later figure out where his place is in their team. He goes to another big club, it’s a big money move, he gets a better wage than Liverpool would offer, he’s probably a starter straight away, or at the very least, he’s looked upon as the 10 year future in whatever position he was bought for. So it’s a much much bigger deal and a harder battle for Liverpool to keep Sterling than it is Henderson. I think that’s the reason for the difference in the attention given to either one of theirs contract situation. One other thing, I keep hearing people say how Sterling’s got around 40 goals for us already, when in fact he only just passed 20. I think it’s 22, to be exact. Not sure what I mean by pointing this out, but if nothing, I think that sort of thing shows the other side of the ‘fan’s relationship to Sterling’ spectrum . You have people who have a problem with him being “money hungry”, “tired”, whatever, and then the ones who think so highly of him that their instinctive stats on him show double the ammount of goals he’s actually scored. 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