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.

Monday, May 27, 2013


Regular readers of this blog will by now be more than familiar with the dismal maths facing anyone unlucky enough to be unemployed in this seemingly endless recession. A person on the dole gets about sixty quid a week and most of their rent paid. In the cold snaps of the winter, very few are able to get their gas and electric costs much under £25. If they remain law abiding, they need to stump up £3 or so for a TV licence. And now the new Bedroom Tax takes a further £11. In almost every case people are left with about £20 to feed and clothe themselves.

As in £3 a day.

It seems that £3 a day is more than enough for Ian Duncan Smith to live in the style he is accustomed to, but most of us would find it all but impossible.

So what are the ‘can’t do without’ basics for people eking out a living on a cold island on the eastern edge of the Atlantic bowl?

Food. Obviously.

Water. Obviously.

Heating. In the winter at least.

Light? Of course we need light. Few of us would have the psychological strength to deal with twelve hours of darkness every day in the depths of winter.

But at least the light issue is dealt with in the £25 of power costs. Well, it is and it isn’t. Assuming you have bulbs screwed into the light sockets, then that assumption is indeed very much true. But what if those light sockets are as empty as your pockets? Well in that case you need to get out and buy a bulb.

A couple of days ago I was dispatched to buy a couple of light bulbs only to find myself standing in front of a Tesco shelf in a state of disbelief.

The cheapest bloody light bulb on offer was £3.50.

Three pounds sodding fifty for a lousy light bulb.

The last time I had bought one I got change out of 50p. Which goes to show how often I do that kind of shopping.

Quite often these days, I cannot help but relate the price of something to that dreaded £20 of disposable income that so many now have to get by on.

And £3.50 is pretty damn close to 20% of that figure.

I guess that most MP’s will be left with something like £1000 a week to live on once they have paid their taxes; say £900 a week once they have paid their utility bills. So when they go to Tesco to buy a light bulb, it represents 0.004% of their disposable income. And 0.004% really isn’t any kind of a big deal. If they were to pay the same rate for a new light bulb as someone on the dole, it would weigh in at £157.50.

Now if it cost a hundred and fifty quid to light up the bathroom, I think our heroic leaders would be making all kinds of a racket about it.

It is probably worth getting back to the reasons lying behind so many people having to try to dress, eat and light for £20 a week.

There has been a king size depression. Fair enough. Most of it was caused by bankers. Fair enough. With the best will in the world, there was not a great deal the politicians could have done about it. It is the price we all pay for living in a capitalist society for when capitalism crashes and burns, it crashes and burns big style.

So can the country afford to pay everyone £100 a week whilst they are unemployed instead of £60? Obviously it can’t. In truth we can’t really afford £60 a week.

Do the politicians carry some of the blame for £60 a week no longer being enough? Too bloody right they do, and here is where the light bulb thing becomes pretty cancerous.

Over the last ten years or so a bunch of scientists have come up with a theory that the world is warming up and it is all the fault of humankind. This played really well when the world was in a better place. For a while, we started acting like the Spanish Inquisition used to act. Back in the day anyone musing that the world was round instead of flat would get burned alive for their trouble. For a while anyone who dared suggest that the whole global warming thing was a load of unproved mumbo jumbo faced a similar fate. And not surprisingly the politicians cottoned on to this. They all leapt into it with alacrity and strove to out-Green each other. And they passed law after law accordingly in a frantic effort to ingratiate themselves with the much hankered after Green Vote.

So it was that many of us were presented with umpteen bins to clutter up our gardens and duly threatened with fines if we put an empty baked bean can in the paper bin. MP's all wanted to be seen as being responsible for filling the horizon with as many windmills as possible. This was a tad problematic as windmills are massively expensive to build and all but useless when it comes to generating power. They solved this ticklish problem by promising anyone who built a windmill a 30p a unit bonus for twenty five years on top of the going rate of 10p. How completely smashing. David Cameron flounced around on a sledge complete with huskies and touted for votes. Look at me! What a super duper chap I am! Vote for me and I will build you lots of windmills and our world will be all cuddly and Walt Disney.

I don’t seem to remember him saying anything about getting all the energy companies to collect a new Green Tax to pay for these spectacular white elephants.

I don’t seem to remember him saying anything about vote for me and I will jack up your leccy bill by an extra 10%

I don’t remember him saying it because he didn’t say it.

But how can we produce the power we need if not by lots of lovely windmills? Well I guess we could always open up the mines and create 50,000 new well paid jobs. After all, we still have about 300 years worth of coal waiting patiently beneath our green and pleasant land. But of course we couldn’t so much of think about doing such a wicked thing because it would jeopardise the treasured Green Vote. Much better to tax the buggery out of everyone, build lots of worthless windmills, and shell out for gas and oil from Vladimir Putin and the House of Saud – lovely chaps one and all.

So that accounts for £2.50 a week of the £25 a person on the dole has to stump up to get any semblance of heat into their bones.

When the bankers tipped the world on its head the politicians needed to find a way to keep the bills getting paid. Well there is always a simple answer to that one. If you haven’t got enough cash, then just print some more. The thing is that if you tell everyone that you are printing money, it doesn’t tend to go down very well. We are not that stupid believe it or not. We kind of know that the likes of Robert Mugabe like to print money when they are a bit hard up, and before you know it a loaf of bread costs the same as a Premier League striker. So instead they called it Quantative Easing and that sounded much better. Well, it sounded like complete goggledy gook, but what the hell.
Four years ago a pound got you about $1.80 and a litre of petrol cost 90p. Then they printed a bunch of money and devalued the currency by 20% and called it Quantitive Easing, and lo and behold we now get $1.50 to the pound. And fuel needs to be paid for in dollars. Which means we now pay £1.35 a litre and Putin and the House of Saud are laughing all the way to the bank.

Quantative Easing means that the guy eking out a living on the dole pays £5 a week more than he would have done had the money not been printed. But because it is called Quantitive Easing, nobody much has twigged.

So far it seems like £7.50 a week extra would have been possible without the tinkering of vote hungry politicians. Which inevitably leads us nicely to the Bedroom Tax. Oh but there is no other way they howl! We are borrowing £120 million a day! We simply cannot pay more than £500 a week in benefits! Well of course we can’t. So instead of levying a joke of a tax on the poorest in the land which is basically uncollectable, why not look elsewhere for a few savings? April was the first full month of Bedroom Tax and in Dumfries and Galloway and 80% didn’t pay it. Anyone with half a brain can see that it will cost more than it will raise and it will do absolutely nothing reduce the deficit. Instead it is shameful, tawdry ploy to curry favour with the Daily Mail and its vindictive readers who love to see the poor getting a proper bashing.
But that doesn’t alter the fact that we cannot afford £20 billion a year on Housing Benefit. Course we can’t. So why not set a maximum rent instead? Say £50 a week for a two bedroom flat. That would probably half the Housing Benefit bill and put an extra £11 a week in the pocket of the man on the dole.

Oh, I forgot. It would also crash house prices and piss off very rich people with lots of property and knock a hole in the balance sheets of our banks. So we couldn’t possibly do that could we?

And so finally we come to the light bulb issue. When Dave came home from his Arctic adventure, he needed to find lots of green things to do to win over all those vital environment loving voters. Just like every other politician in Westminster. So here’s one of the things they did to save the planet.

They checked out the electrical appliance that burns the least amount of power – light bulbs. Then they came up with a cock and bull story that new low energy light bulbs were a vital part of the strategy to save the planet from humankind.

So they took tried and trusted light bulbs that were cheap, lasted ages and lit a room at the flick of a switch and deemed them to be wicked and illegal.

In their place they demanded new low energy bulbs that look ridiculous, take forever to light up, last no longer than the old ones and cost £3.50 each.

And so we all pay through the nose for a few politicians to pander to the Green Vote.

This is what puts the Bedroom Tax, Windmills and stupid overpriced light bulbs in the same basket. It is how politicians think they will win Brownie points with the Daily Mail and the Guardian at the same time.

And we all pay the bill for their idiocy.

And the poorest pay most of all.   

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


If prostitution is the oldest profession then surely racism is the oldest hatred. Race hate has cast a filthy shadow for as far back as we go. ‘Kick it out’ has been a clarion call down the centuries. Jesus’s tale of the good Samaritan overcoming his racial prejudice to give a guy a helping hand would have sat comfortably in any ‘Kick it Out’ press release. Trying to get human beings to treat each other as equals and not hate each others’ guts is a thread that runs through William Wilberforce to Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela.

Has any of it worked? Are we cured?

Watching the miserable spectacle of a bunch of cave dwelling Ultras doing chimpanzee imitations in honour of the fact that Mario Ballotelli and Kevin Price Boateng were playing a game of football in Milan was evidence that a cure is still some way off.

For a few decades football has become the lens through which we tend to measure racism. Lord alone knows why. I suppose football grounds tend to give large numbers of young males an anonymous platform to vent their spleen about the world and life in general. Sometimes this can be a pretty good thing. Attending Dynamo Kiev games gave thousands of Ukranians a chance to feel less like cattle in a Nazi pen. Steve Biko once upon a time used the cover of football matches to grab a microphone and feed the fire that in the end burned down the Apartheid pigsty.

But other times the anonymity of a packed terrace provides a fertile seedbed for the darker side of our nature. Once upon a time over 100,000 Romans got their rocks off at the sight of the mass murder of Christians. All over the world there are few spectacles more certain to get bums on seats than a public execution. Would someone want to watch a fellow human being getting hung from the neck on their own? Doubtful. But among the safety of a crowd of hundreds of others, we cheer ourselves hoarse.

Would any of the idiots in the San Siro stadium have done a chimpanzee imitation on the bus if a black guy had got on board? Not a chance. But once in a crowd, they were all of a sudden very brave indeed.

Of course it is no accident that we are seeing an upsurge in morons from all over Europe being consumed with the desire to do monkey imitations on football terraces at this particular moment in history. Hard times and rampant racism have always made happy bedfellows.


6 million on the dole in Germany. Lots of angry pissed off people desperate to blame someone for life being so crap. A few years later 6 million dead Jews had paid the price.

Austerity Europe is providing a sumptuously equipped maternity wing for the rebirth of Racist Europe. The worse the financial shite, the worse the racist shite. Greece tops the league for both and Golden Dawn are the nearest thing we have seen to a full blown Nazi party for a while. Thankfully we have a way to go yet until we are as far up our necks in it as the countries in the south of Europe. Right now we have UKIP and every politician competing to be the toughest on immigration. Funny when you think about it. I never realised that Fred Goodwin was an illegal immigrant. Just goes to show.

For once, the recent racism in football stories have been on the pitch rather than the terraces with John Terry and Luis Suarez playing the pantomime villains. The fact that British crowds have grown out of throwing bananas at black players and indulging in mass monkey imitations is rightly celebrated as progress. It would be easier to have more faith in this progress were we to see more black managers and coaches, but apparently Rome wasn’t built in a day. We did have one charming fan arrested at Anfield last year in the wake of the Suarez/Evra incident. A nineteen year old black left back from Oldham was reduced to tears by the abuse the fan in question screamed at him from the Kop.

The supporter was duly arrested and charged with racist behaviour only to be found not guilty and told he was free to leave court without a blemish to his character. It was all down to a misunderstanding. Everyone thought he had screamed ‘Black cunt’ to the young defender, which would have been wicked and evil and seen him sent straight off to HMP Walton. However, the court discovered that this was far from the truth. The truth was that he had merely labelled the left back as being a ‘Manc cunt’ and this was of course deemed to be absolutely fine.

What a load of tosh.

A few years ago I spent some time in the midst of the whole ‘Kick Racism out of Football’ thing. For whatever reason, racism has always been a thing that has disgusted me. I had my Free Mandela T shirts back in the day and felt physically sick at the sight of Everton fans throwing bananas at Johnny Barnes. Then I met my partner who is black and we now have two lads who are both brown. Which of course brings the whole thing very close to home.

It is no easy thing explaining to a young child why certain people feel the need to get in their faces and call them every name under the sun simply because of the colour of their skin. Both my lads have never had any choice whatsoever than to be Liverpool daft, and so it was that in 2001 I decided to write a football story for them to help to get their heads around the whole being the only black lad in the class thing. To start with, that was all it was going to be: an extended bedtime story written in instalments. A story of two black players dealing with racist abuse whilst wearing the red shirt of Liverpool. When it was done, I gave copies to a few other people to read and everyone seemed to like it. So I decided to publish it and soon to my great surprise it was getting lots of media attention.

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been all that taken aback. Racism in football always fills column inches. It seemed odd to be sitting in the Radio 5 studio in London being interviewed about football and racism.

Then, to my complete delight, the club got on board with the whole thing and commissioned one of the Brookside screenwriters to convert my story into a play which was eventually performed at Anfield to an audience of 4000 school kids. On the back of this, lots of schools across Merseyside took class sets of the book. This of course is the kind of thing that makes writing books worthwhile. Well there has to be something! There certainly is no money in it. I had a highly amusing exchange of views in my blog’s comments section with a furious Liverpool fan called Arthur who was incandescent with rage at my tribute to Sir Alex. He was convinced that the real reason for me being such a foul traitor was a desperate attempt to hawk my E books in the Kindle Store. If only! To date my tribute to Sir Alex has been read 25,000 times and this has generated sales of eight books. Wow. The big time. John Grisham must be quaking in his boots. 25,000 blog hits has seen my net worth rise by a mighty £10 over the last few days. I passed this news on to Angry Arthur, but it didn’t seem to calm him down much.

No doubt Arthur will be similarly angry at me for penning this blog and making ‘The Drums of Anfield’ available to one and all as a free download. Well, if I have got your blood pressure up again Arthur, than I apologise. There really isn’t any kind of secret agenda here.

I have always tried to take on board the message of Gandhi, Mandela and Martin Luther King. When the racist poison starts to seep up out of the gutters and onto the pavement, it is the job of any civilised human being to shine a torch on it before it gets out of hand.

Before we wake up on morning and find that we are up to our necks in it.

This is a promise I have made to myself many times over the years. A few years ago we drove a hire car through the night across a snowy Europe to the worst place there has ever been.

Auschwitz. Of course Auschwitz. The nightmare of nightmares. The ultimate contagion. The ultimate reminder that it is always racism that brings out the ultimate evil in us human beings.

No sane person could visit those tortured acres of Upper Silesia and not make a solemn vow to do anything in their power to make sure such a living, breathing hell will never again visit our world.

We can only do what we can do. My thing is writing and ‘The Drums of Anfield’ is my contribution. Has played a part? Left a legacy? Made a contribution? I cannot say. Instead all I can do is to be hopeful. Hopeful that the kids who read the story will now think twice should they ever get the chance to join in with a bunch of idiots making like chimps because the other team has a black player.

Have we kicked racism out of football? No. Not completely. We never will. But it is a whole hell of a lot better than it was.

Have we kicked racism out of life? Not even close. The racial bloodbath in Rwanda came less than fifty years after the tanks of the Red Army rolled up to the gates of Auschwitz Birkenau.

Christ, this is a dark sort of a blog! Before hitting the publish button, I really should point out that ‘The Drums of Anfield’ is anything but a dark story. Most people read the thing in a few hours. Obviously it would be bad form to give away any of the plot, but it is fair to say that Liverpool fans like the way things turn out whilst United fans don’t.

Lots of Mancs have had lots of nice things to say about me after my Sir Alex tribute. They will probably be rather less complimentary if they download a copy of ‘The Drums of Anfield’ and have a read.

Let normal service resume.
To download a free copy of ‘The Drums of Anfield’ follow the link below.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Both of my sons are boys no more. They are men now. One is 26 and one is 20. And until yesterday neither has known so much as a second of their lives when the Knight of Govan hasn’t held sway in the dark empire of Mordor at the far end of the East Lancs Rd.

When he first arrived in his new lair from the frozen northern wastes, there was nothing to suggest the nemesis he would become. In later years we would hear that he made a solemn vow back in those distant days. He swore that one day he would knock ‘Liverpool off their fucking perch.’

And let’s face it, did he ever.

Seldom in history has anyone been so conclusively knocked off any fucking perch!

For a while all seemed fine. For a while it was business as usual as yet another manager strode through the doors of Old Trafford to throw money at rubbish. These were the halcyon days of Mike Phelan and Jim Leighton and Clayton Blackmore. Mordor started to empty out and for a while they couldn’t even manage 40,000. We sat high on our perch and laughed our heads off.

Little did we know that far behind the scenes he was tearing down the old with the blazing passion of a fanatical zealot. Far away from the public view Sir Alex was mining for Orcs, and by the time they clambered into the light they were already an unstoppable force.

They were the Vandals and the Visagoths and the Gauls.

And we were Rome.

And we got well and truly sacked.

When the true might of his re-booted and renewed dark empire was revealed for all the world to see, we didn’t come close to having an Aragorn to smite them down. We had Julian Dicks, and Torben Piechnik and Phil Babb.

And so it was that Bill Shankly’s shining white city on the hill was smashed and burned and reduced to broken columns and stray dogs mooching through its deserted streets.

And of course we have remained under the heel of the Dark Empire ever since. Hindsight makes me remember the greatest line from George Orwell’s 1984.

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.’

They have been the boot, we have been the human face.

In the end he didn’t just knock us off our perch. He sawed up the perch and threw it into the molten lava at the heart of the mountain. We idiotically clung on to an era that was already fading fast. For us, 1986 was that golden summer of 1914 when the sun seemed like it would shine forever and nothing would ever change. But change it did. The old times were already breathing their last.

We never saw any of it coming.

But Sir Alex did.

He smelt the future on the wind and geared up for the new world of Murdoch and merchandising. He built a mighty money machine that would ensure that his newly mined army of Orcs would never suffer a day without the chance to eat some flesh.

And all of a sudden, we became an anachronism. A dream. A faded picture on the wall remembering different times. Better times. Times when money wasn’t everything. Times when Billionaires and stock markets were not required.

Our twenty six year long nightmare had well and truly begun.

But the man behind the mask was never what he seemed. Of course he never allowed too many cracks to appear. For two and a half decades he played the role of the Dark Knight of Mordor to perfection.

But everything wasn’t what it said on the Mordor tin. Rumours would creep out through the tiny cracks in the walls. Young managers fired by idiotic owners would tell of late night calls from the great man. Chin up lad. There’s always another job around the corner. When the sky fell in us on 15 April 1989, he was the first to call up Kenny and say whatever he could do would be done. Anything at all.

When Gerard Houlier all but died from a massive heart attack, the first visitor through the door was Sir Alex who begged that it should be kept secret. 

When the great Shipworker Union leader Jimmy Reid passed away in 2010, Sir Alex dropped everything to head north to give a heartfelt speech at his funeral. How the bloated money men of Old Trafford must have hated that. Their great leader deserted a pre season till-stuffing banjoree to remember a working class hero from the banks of the Clyde. Something tells me that the Glazers don’t do working class heroes. For the Glazers, a working class hero is someone to be stripped of every penny of their wealth and ground into the dust.

And so it was that the truth emerged as we looked up at the new world order from our new position on the floor under the place where our perch used to hang. And the truth was a hard truth to swallow.

For this Dark Knight of Mordor was in fact a new Bill Shankly. A genuine tough as teak, straight talking socialist from pre Thatcher Scotland. He shared Shankly’s remorseless passion and determination. He shared Shankly’s unstoppable will to conquer everything in his path. And underneath their ferocious public face, they shared the same rock solid humanity.

They were true men of the people.

Maybe the last men of the people.

My one brief contact with the great man shines a light on his true greatness. It was the early days of First Base and I was helping a client along the hard road to becoming heroin free and the hope of a Rehab centre. The client in question was a genuine disciple of Mordor and never missed an opportunity to crow about it. I spoke to him on the phone when he was a few days into the unforgiving regime of the Rehab Centre and when I finished the call I had little optimism he would stay the course.

Slowly, but surely he was being drawn back towards the comfort of heroin’s warm and jealous embrace.

Without much hope I decided on the wing and a prayer option and penned a letter to Sir Alex. I explained how far my client had come and how he was now hanging by a thread. I suggested that Sir Alex must have seen at first hand how the Scottish heroin plague had eaten away at his beloved Govan. I implored him to maybe drop a note to my man and I hopefully included the address of the rehab centre.

I remember clearly dropping the letter into the postbox.

Sir Alex Fergusson. Manchester United Football Club. Old Trafford. Manchester.


And I was almost totally convinced that my letter would disappear into some cavernous post room in the bowels of the dark Empire.

How wrong I was.

A few days later I got a call from my man at the Rehab Centre and the voice was that of a completely different human being. He had received post that morning. A package. It contained a long, hand written note and a signed photo from Sir Alex. And these words were all that was needed to make my man believe in himself. He stayed the course. He found his new life. He was inspired.

After that, I became an unshakeable convert. So what that he had knocked us off our fucking perch. Shankly knocked everyone in sight off their fucking perches. After that, the football and the tribalism became secondary. After that day I saw only a great man with the heart to find the time to write to a lost lad in a rehab centre who was hanging by a thread.

So farewell Sir Alex and may your retirement be a golden one. I hope your horses win and your grandchildren behave themselves. In the god awful money mad world of the Premiership and Champions League, it seems inconceivable that we will ever see your likes again.

Now at least we might just have a chance of getting back onto our fucking perch again.     

Saturday, May 4, 2013


I have a slightly uneasy feeling as I kick off this blog. A worry. Am I in the process of turning into that bloke who sits a couple of rows behind you and does nothing but moan all through the match? Christ, I hope not. Two moaning blogs in a week where we have gone up to St James’s Park and won six nil certainly has the feel of that old git in the cap a few rows back.

Believe it or not, I make a point of never having a moan at the match. ‘In-match’ moaning has always seemed like an Old Trafford sort of thing and something to be avoided at all costs. The only time I ever have really been tempted to get into full on slagging off mode was during the dark depths of the Hodgson era. Actually, that isn’t quite true. There were also a few times during the desperate days of Souness, Torben Piknic and Julian Dicks. But I can say with absolute honesty that I never actually succumbed to such Mancish behaviour and turned on the team on the pitch.

To be honest, I am pretty confident that I never will. It seems that if you start going the match to slag off the team, you might as well go the whole hog and buy a season ticket in the Stretford End.

That said, slagging off the dickheads who are making a mockery of the club off the pitch seems to be absolutely fair game. It will take a lot to convince me that Fenway Sports Group and Ian Ayre are anything but bad news. Brendan? I really feel like I ought to give him the same support that we always give our managers, but it is getting harder all the time.

His endless management speak is seriously annoying, but it would be a bit harsh to completely condemn him for it. The thing is that he just keeps spouting stuff that really gets on my nerves. No matter how I try, I cannot get by the fact that everything about Brendan looks and feels like a ‘Yes’ man. Our beloved American owners obviously had no faith whatsoever in the fact that King Kenny would put looking after their investment first. They were right enough about that. Kenny Dalglish was only ever going to look after the interests of one thing and one thing only: Liverpool Football Club and its supporters.

FSG clearly hated that. They wanted someone who would jump when they picked up the phone and instructed them to jump. And they hired Brendan.

More and more, Brendan seems to be like a scared kid who is desperate to avoid getting the cane. His handling of the latest Suarez affair seems to have been all about frantically trying to prop up the player’s transfer value. Would Shankly or Paisley or Fagin or Dalglish have given a shit about transfer value? Not a chance. All they would have been bothered about would have been the great name of Liverpool Football Club and nothing else. Mind you, can you imagine in a million years that Luis would have had a go at biting Ivanovic had Bill Shankly been sitting in the dugout?

Aye right.

This week Brendan has really pissed me off with the drivel he has been spouting about not wanting to be in the Europa League. In every respect he seems to be desperately trying to peddle the company line.

We would rather not play in the Europa League because it would interfere with our tour to Asia and Australia. Who gives a shit about some tawdry shirt selling exercise in Asia and Australia? We are Liverpool for Christ’s sake. European nights are at the very core of our being. Who cares if we have to start in July? I never heard Rafa moaning when we kicked off our Champions League campaign against Total Network Solutions in July 2005.

Oh, but we will have too many games and we need to focus on getting into the Champions League. Oh, come on. I listened to Peter Reid on this subject a few months ago. He asked a series of questions to Jamie Redknapp. Was the tackling harder or easier when I played, Jamie? Harder. Did the referees allow more ‘reducers’ when I played, Jamie? Yes. Were the pitches better? No. They were mud baths. Was our diet better? No. Was our training regime more scientific? No. Did we need rotating? No. Do Messi and Ronaldo get rotated? No.

I am just a supporter and I have never played a game of pro football in my life so I feel at times like I have to take all this stuff about players needing resting at face value. But Peter Reid certainly did play plenty of pro football and if he reckons it’s a load of bollocks, then that is good enough for me.

Anyway. Who says we have to play the first team in the Europa League? There is no reserve football any more so half of the players in the squad spend week after week doing nothing but train and get bored. How is it not a good thing for the likes of Shelvey, Suso, Sterling, Wisdom, Assaidi and lots of others to get 15 games under their belts in Europe?

Then we get the usual 'know it all about the modern game' types who get all serious and holier than thou and say there isn’t enough money in it. This is where my blood really starts to boil. Let’s imagine we managed to get to the quarter finals. That means eight home games. 40,000 a game at £20 a head. That’s £3.2 million. The prize money would be about £2.5 million. The TV would be about £1.5 million. All in all, it would bring in just over £7 million. Just because that is a lot less than what you get from making the quarters in the Champions League, we are all supposed to turn our noses up and say that such thin pickings are somehow beneath us.

What a load of utter crap.

Before anyone starts down this particular track I suggest they consider this very relevant fact. For the last three years Robert Lewandowski has been paid £20,000 a week to lead the Dortmund line. As in a million a year. That is what they pay. In Dortmund, £7 million pays the wages of seven first team regulars. Last time I looked they are down to play in the Champions League final in a few week’s time. Maybe those in charge at Anfield would do better to focus on spending our money as wisely as the managers in Germany rather than whinging on about there not being enough cash in the Europa League.
I get so completely sick of hearing the excuse that we can’t compete because United and Chelsea and City and Arsenal have more money than us. I remember doing a few back of a fag packet calculations when Argentina took on Germany in the quarter finals of the World Cup in South Africa. On paper the Argentinean squad was worth £500 million and then some. The largely unknown Germans were valued at less than £100 million. So according to the money is everything theory, there could only be one result. It didn’t work out that way of course. The Germans completely hammered them four nil. One side had great organisation and team spirit. The other side were falling out with each other and managed by a basket case. Money never came into it. With better management, we could make £7 million go a long, long way. Just like Borussia Dortmund.

However none of these things comes close to the one that really pisses me off. Our owners and executives and Brendan go on and on about how much they treasure us, the fans. In fact they treasure us enough to have hit us with a thumping price hike for our season tickets at a time when most of us are getting kicked in the teeth by the recession.

If you cared to stop the ‘yes man’ act for a minute or two Brendan, you might consider this. When have we seen the best atmosphere at Anfield this season? Europa League nights. Why is that? It is partly because European nights under the lights will always be magical at Anfield. It is partly because at £20 a ticket, these games give the chance for thousands of fans who have been priced out to actually go to a match and support the team. Younger fans. Fans who live close enough to walk to the match. The same Scousers who once upon a time could afford to stand on the Kop. These are the nights when all the old songs get dusted down and given an airing. These are the nights when Anfield feels like Anfield used to feel. But, hey. That is of no importance when compared to disruption of a shirt selling tour to Asia and Australia.

And Brendan, have you stopped to think about where these Europa League games appear on the tele? The Mancs love to take the piss about us appearing on free TV on a Thursday night. But they are and always will be a bunch of tossers. There are hundreds of thousands of Reds who cannot run to £45 a month for Sky. Europa League games give them the chance to watch the lads on the box for free. That should mean something. It obviously doesn’t.

One last thing. You will have to go a long way to find a more optimistic Red than me. All of us who there in the Ataturk Stadium will always be optimists. How can we not be? But even I cannot see any way that we will win the league next year. And we certainly won’t win the Champion’s League because we ain’t in it. But we definitely could win the Europa League. And wherever the final is, there would be thousands of Reds making the pilgrimage to get there.

That is what I thought Liverpool Football Club is supposed to be all about. Winning stuff. Lifting trophies. Not hawking shirts around the globe and gearing everything to the Holy Grail of finishing fourth and earning more cash.

Sadly, it seems like that is the Liverpool Football Club of the past. All we seem to be now are a series of numbers on a Bostonian balance sheet.

And it stinks.