Derby mayhem matches boardroom confusion

THERE’S no pleasing some people. Drop 20 points out of 30 and the manager’s clueless, the players are charlatans and the club is heading to hell in a Honda.

Win 17 from 21, and the courage is only papering over the cavernous cracks that became ingloriously apparent last week.

Supporters group Spirit of Shankly met with Christian Purslow weeks ago. After delaying publication of the minutes they finally went public with two separate versions. Despite what seemed like an attempt to encourage a media blackout the revelations were stunning. In the SOS copy our suave would-be saviour was quoted thus: “The promises of Hicks and Gillett are unforgivable. Hicks and Gillett can no longer hold onto the club”.

Good grief! You said a mouthful there, chummy. Except he didn’t, according to his version. That section of the evening was in his view “a short ‘any other business’ type of discussion” — what Woodward and Bernstein would call a non-denial denial.

The real scare came when it ‘slipped out’ that £100m must be found for the bank by July. The rush to sell their US franchises now makes more sense.

It beggars belief that 12 supporters all misheard one man, nor would they have colluded to misrepresent a senior Liverpool official so brazenly. Could it have been the starting pistol for potential investors? The union may be frozen out by the club for this but given the disparity between each perception of the meeting they could not have served their members conscientiously if they’d agreed to rubberstamp Purslow’s take on matters.

Most supporters felt galvanised by the quote, and didn’t let the local media silence worry them unduly. It’ll be a shame if the subsequent derby triumph were to dissipate the impetus of knowing that Butch and Sundance may just be running headlong into a hail of Bolivian bullets at last.

Not that we should be mourning the hilarious vanquishing of the blue blight. Moyes was revelling in our financial chaos, gleefully pronouncing we were now at their own level of raggedy-arsed cheapskatery.

Their clueless fans clutched their favourite straw; their innate Scouseness, in-bred suspicion jealous of success-driven cosmopolitan civility (except when they’re around, but we’ll come to that).

The derby cliché runs thus; start the game, and then 20 minutes later throw the ball on. It’s been a while since reality matched myth. This was the sort of skirmish that two months ago Liverpool would have retreated from, rolling into a ball to protect their tender extremities from harm. Not on Saturday, it was the kind of eyesore you can excuse because we won with a player missing.

The older you get the less you indulge in referee conspiracies, but seriously; what was going on there? Neville on Gerrard, Fellaini kicking Kuyt in the face, Pienaar cutting Mascherano in two and Fellaini stamping on Kyrgiakos.

Yet by half-time Everton had one yellow card, we had two and a red as malice on the pitch was equalled in the stands. Ironically we grabbed a goal from Kuyt being pulled hither and yon in the area by two players bequeathed from the Alex Ferguson ‘You’ll Never Be a Threat’ benevolent fund.

Carragher and Mascherano (plus Lucas after the goal) were immense in protecting the lead, but the star man was again Kuyt. ‘Mere’ work-rate has been much derided of late, but given the contribution of his supposedly more talented countryman (the final last chance, surely) I’ll take Dirk’s endeavour any day.

Moyes hid behind excuses but wasn’t even fooling himself. He claimed they were doing well when it was 11 v 11, but he said that in 2006 and the same happened then; given impetus and advantage, Everton did nothing.

They shamefully play the underdog card for all its worth, and when that one trump is confiscated there’s nothing. Eight years, no trophies, a manager idolised — but no one call them small or you’ll be slaughtered, ask Rafa.

Concerns about the paucity of skill can wait for another time. Not tonight, hopefully.

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