I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


So we are all just over half way through the annual limbo zone. Off season. Close season. The window. Whatever. No football basically, and millions of us get a kind of detached feeling at the weekends when things just don’t quite feel right somehow. For almost three eerie months of summer, quarter to five on a Saturday afternoon becomes a meaningless number rather than stoppage time up and down the land.

Instead of fixtures we live of the scraps of rumour and raging propaganda from the club.

One by one, the manager and headline stars are wheeled out into press conferences which are as closely managed as anything the Soviets ever came up with. Everyone is on message. The lads are ready and raring for a genuine push for the Champions League – the uber-hyped Promised Land we were driven out of four years ago. To get back there our great leaders are signing up a selection of very young players who nobody has ever heard of and all seem to speak Spanish as a first language. We dive onto Youtube and watch carefully edited clips of guys who look like they are due to be back at school on Monday morning doing their tricky stuff in tiny stadiums with lots of empty seats.

So here is the new dream team. Our new merry band of gladiators who will carry us back to the top table and help us to achieve our great dream….

Of finishing fourth.

And with a splash of Arctic cold water in the face, we arrive at the new reality.

Liverpool Football Club with its 18 league titles and five European Cups now dreams and yearns to finish fourth care of a bunch of kids from hot places where they grow olives.

When you take a step back from the frantic Goebbels spin a very different picture can just about be made out.

Some stark facts.

This year Liverpool Football club will get an extra £35 million care on the new TV deal.

This year Liverpool Football Club will pay out £25 million less on wages.

This year Liverpool Football Club will get another £10 million or so from sponsorship deals.

The most recent accounts basically show that the club has been more or less breaking even, so all this extra dough should mean a profit of somewhere approaching £70 million a year. Not a bad return for the lads who bought us for £300 million a couple of years ago.

Which begs a question or two. Are they really all that bothered about getting back into the Champions League and challenging for the title again? To make a genuine attempt to take the club and get it back to where it once was would mean upping the wage bill by £20 million a year instead of cutting it by more than that amount. It would also mean shelling out wheelbarrow loads of borrowed cash to buy the players. It all has the look of two birds in the bush to me and my gut tells me that our boys from Boston are much more interested in the bird in hand.

In the cold calculating light of day, it is hard not to conclude that Fenway Sports are in fact perfectly happy for us to stay rooted sixth or seventh in the league and to keep on sucking in the cash. Oh of course they won’t say that. They will carry on peddling all the right lines. And all the while they will seek out promising Spanish speakers and get them into the global shop window that Liverpool FC offers. Buy cheap and sell dear and stay seventh and rake it in.

And what message do these guys peddle around the world in the pursuit of ever more shirt sales in Asia? They hawk the Liverpool dream with all the desperate enthusiasm of a double glazing salesman. They run and re-run the archive images from the great nights of Anfield when it seemed like the roof might come unbolted with the raging sound. Liverpool and the Kop. Liverpool and the 12th Man. Istanbul and Rome and the dream long ago kick started by Bill Shankly.

They never tire of telling us how important we all are to them. Well they would, wouldn’t they? Is it true? It is buggery. Were it true they might have stepped down from their Ivy league Ivory Towers and clocked on to the fact that things are bloody hard right now in the north of England. Coppering up to raise the cash for a £800 season ticket is stretching the 12th Man all ways. Had they given even the tiniest shit about us, they might have decided to use 10% of their extra income to acknowledge the fact that the recession is kicking the 12th Man squarely in the teeth.

10% of £70 million is £7 million.

£7 million would mean they could drop the price of every season ticket by £200.

Instead they have raised prices by 5%.


And slowly but surely, they are pricing out the ones who once filled the air with that same barrage of sound that the Bostonians now use to flog their tawdry shirts in Asia. And every time an old school Koppite finally gives up the ghost and hands in his or her season ticket, the men from Massachusetts punch the air. They have no interest in this particular band of dinosaurs. In no way do we even begin to fit the fan profile they aspire to filling the stadium with. We go to the pub, turn up ten minutes before the kick off and never spend a penny in the ground. They want the guys from Scandinavia who shell out for weekend packages from Thomas Cook including a match ticket which weighs in at double the cost of a season ticket seat. These lads turn up for the match at noon and give their plastic a complete hammering in the club shop and then they go through the turnstiles early and spend even more in the bars inside the ground.

No doubt Ian Ayre’s laptop is loaded up with sort of stuff in graphic detail. When I go along to a match with my dad or one of my sons, the club gets £80 out of it. If a Norwegian dad were to go along with his son, they would look like a much more attractive option.

Seats - £150.

Museum Tour - £20.

Club Shop - £200.

Cafes - £20

Programme - £4.

Total £394.

No wonder they don’t want the old guard any more. Every time we renew our season tickets, they see it as blot on their beloved bottom line.

We are not stupid of course. We all know full well that we are being conned and ripped blind. But can you do? If football is in the blood, it stays in the blood. They have us hook, line and sinker and don’t they ever know it. This is why we look at Germany and turn green with envy. We look at the carnival of a Dortmund home game and dream of being like them. We dream of our club being our own. We dream of affordable seats. We dream of being more important than a set of accounts for a few super rich guys who live at the far side of a deep, grey ocean.

Have you ever harboured such thoughts?

Of course it is a pipe dream and it could never, ever happen because we live in a world where the 1% gets ever more bloated whist the 99% get quietly screwed.

‘You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…’

Wasn’t it a Scouser who once said that? In fact, didn’t we name an airport after him?

Well I’ve had my own little dream. It is a dream where King Kenny Dalglish is persuaded to head up a worldwide campaign to turn his beloved Liverpool Football Club into a Dortmund: a club owned lock, stock and barrel by the fans where match tickets cost a tenner each.

A dream? Duh.

An impossible dream? Almost certainly, but things didn’t look so clever on the night of nights on the Bosphorus when we were 3-0 down to AC Milan.

The result of my dreaming is ‘King Kenny’s Revolution’ and for the next five days it is available absolutely free of charge in the Kindle Store. You can have a copy by clicking the link below and take some time out to wonder how things could be so very different.

So download and enjoy and if you approve of this particular pipedream, please share it around.    
To get a free copy of 'King Kenny's Revolution' click the link below


'The Long and Winding Road to Istanbul'

'The Drums of Anfield'

'Quiet Desperation'


1 comment:

  1. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
    The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.