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Good, bad and indifferent
on 16 September 2010
The good? The early years of the club (particularly around Elisha Scott, 'honest' John McKenna,Billy Liddell et al), and accounts of good humour between fans of clubs which now share at best a mistrust, and at worst a severe loathing. The idea that Liverpool and Manchester Utd could be so generous to each other as for Liverpool to be willing to loan two of their own players after a tragedy (the Munich disaster) or that a legendary Utd manager (Busby) could feature in a list of Liverpool's greatest players as late as 1966 should go some way to explaining that, despite Liverpool and Man Utd's regional competition in many spheres (cultural, economic, etc), the worsening relationships between supporters is only a recent (late 1970s) invention.
The bad? Whether intentional or not, and it's likely the former, it's obviously a deeply personal account of a club - hence it being a biography, rather than a history - but John Williams' final chapters of the book are also the worst. His account of the tenure of Rafa Benitez can't be described as anything other than one-sided, and is in parts deeply misleading. As Williams tries to use the winning of the FA Youth Cup on a couple of occasions as a 'successful' academy - but then fails to mention how few of those players broke through into the first team, which is its actual purpose, and fails to take explain how exciting the current crop of academy players are (Suso, Sterling, Pacheco, etc). This is beyond him neglecting to point out that Steve Hiehgway had resolutely failed to provide any first team players since the early days of the disastrous Souness regime. Another example is that, despite Liverpool finishing second in Benitez's final season, he blames the runners-up position on team selection (which is arguable) but fails to provide the even-handed treatment an unbiased writer would when he excludes the argument that the final points total would have won the Premier League in several previous championships.
The indifferent? What sort of writer on Liverpool FC fails to mention the origins of "You'll Never Walk Alone", "The Fields of Anfield Road", "Scouser Tommy", and many more of the songs for which The Kop is renowned, nevermind the actual battle for Spion Kop?