You’ll never sleepwalk alone

UNLIKE my Mancunian counterpart, I’m rarely privy to inside information from the dusty corridors of Anfield.

Poor old Javier Mascherano seemed to have swapped one training ground for another and I was given numerous reasons why it took so damn long to sort this nonsense out.

Even though I was sworn to secrecy it’s probably not something you couldn’t have worked out for yourself. If certain details became public there’d be plenty of red faces.

When West Ham originally announced their “coup”, many including myself scoffed haughtily. All the big clubs must have been offered these players and examined the paperwork, yet not one would go anywhere near them.

Until now. As numerous journalists keep suggesting West Ham could even be deducted points, I expect Parry and co want every loophole shut tight just in case we should fall down one of them.

Having narrowly averted a court battle with Middlesbrough over the excruciatingly untalented Christian Ziege, you would have thought any savvy chief executive might have tried to avoid any more dubious purchases.

The cynical amongst us would counter that easily enough. Were we to avoid any signature that was even vaguely suspect we might never sign another footballer ever again!

Speaking of Mr Kurt, if he is to be trusted, I’ve come to the attention of another journalist.

Last time it happened I was outed as the potential assassin of Gary Neville. I’m quite sure I’ve never called Simon Mullock a “rag” but he was mentioned in dispatches when a “Rafa-Gerrard rift” exclusive saw the light of day on the word of a former United player.

Which makes him a fool whatever team he supports. The old myth “you’ll like him, Scouse, he’s City” lost its potency long ago. Once we stopped blocking United’s path to glory, most Sky Blues reverted to Mancunian type. They always remind me too much of Evertonians anyway.

I lost respect for all journalists years ago. Like politicians, they can cry wolf all they want but you can only rip through so many tissues of lies before you assume they’re all deceitful.

When they get on the subject of footballers behaving badly however, your head begins to spin. Who can you trust? What was your reaction to the Portuguese rumpus? Since most of it involved the usual suspects, I treated it with caution. Pennant, Bellamy and Fowler are tabloid regulars, so the idea they all kicked off in the same place at the same time is a tad too convenient for plausibility.

The image of Bellamy wielding a three-iron can be conjured easily enough. Think Joe Pesci without a neck. His subterranean reputation goes before him but there were a lot of “allegedlys” in those reports.

The squad posed for photographs as they were leaving for England, and little or no enmity is evident. As for Dudek being handcuffed, was I the only one cruel enough to think that would be an improvement? Later reports said Bellamy would face the axe. A little out of proportion with the crime, surely another golf club would be more proportionate? English footballers misbehaving on a foreign jaunt; how clichéd. It’s almost as obvious as the clashing egos of Barcelona just before we play them. You’re not fooling anyone for a minute, you know. Get money on an Eto’o hat-trick before it’s too late.

Our new owners will be wondering if they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. They’ve just suggested we impose a sharper focus on the Asian market. Short of moving to Tokyo, I’m not sure how much more we can pander to the Far East.

It surely hasn’t escaped your attention how many Liverpool games kick off at 12.45pm? With six or seven hours time difference in the likes of Hong Kong and Singapore, that means we are screened out there on prime-time TV. It could be worse; we could try going after the Yanks themselves. Prime time in Texas would mean starting at 2am. You’ll never sleepwalk alone. It would be harsh to point an accusatory finger at Hicks and Gillett though. The club has always acted this way. Years ago we loved coming to Dublin or Oslo to “entertain” our loyal fan base in those countries. Once they sank their fangs in and began sucking your lifeblood, they moved on to pastures new and you never see them again.

The Brand is ravenous, insatiable. It requires constant feeding and will never be sated until it spills its guts out of a tear in its stomach.

Enough tiresome whinges about the game’s greed. Please bring me football to watch before they start printing this column in the business section.

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