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Charlton 0 Liverpool 4 - Prem (May 19 2001)

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Charlton 0 LIVERPOOL 4

Report by Graham Suppiah at The Valley

charltonreport2.jpg

Scorer(s) – Robbie Fowler (2), Danny Murphy, Michael Owen

Half Time - 0-0

Venue - The Valley

Date - Sat 19 May 2001

Star Man – Robbie Fowler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the drama, stress and eventual jubilation of the past seven days, I was thoroughly looking forward to a nice relaxing end to the season. You know the sort of game where both teams have nothing to play for. The ocassion can be enjoyed with all the favourite songs being aired; the beer flowing before the game kicks off and a chance to say your final farewells before the luxury of a well-earned summer break kicks in.

 

Not a chance! Gerard viewed this as the most important of all the 'cup finals' and he was adamant that the season would be a major disappointment if we failed to qualify for the 'Also Rans league'.

 

Dave hit the nail on the head when he described the treble as one of the greatest triumphs in our history. No other side has ever won all three knockout tournaments (the Glams included) in the one season, and I doubt whether this feat will ever be repeated again.

 

I wrote an article in issue 19 of the fanzine concerning the above issue. Winning trophies is the be-all and end-all and it's what Liverpool Football Club stands for. Not finishing third and entering a competition that is ruled by money, money and yet more money.

 

On the coach heading towards 'Sarf Landon', a few of us were saying that we wouldn't be hugely disappointed if we missed out on the third spot. After what we've been served up then we would be greedy demanding more. Somehow I don't think that Gerard would have viewed it from the same angle.

 

Whilst downing a few pre-match beverages in the Antigallican pub, the mood was what you would have expected. There were a group of Scallies in the corner in full voice as the rest of us still tried to get our heads around the greatest week of our lives (well certainly mine anyway).

 

As we headed towards the ground there were a number of ticketless reds willing to part with huge sums of money to have one last view of their hero's before they signed off. I felt fortunate to be in possession of a ticket as they were like gold dust. The official website announced that they had been sold out within a day of going on sale. At least they were going to genuine fans and not the bandwagon hoppers who've most likely got sick of life at the Theatre of wet dreams.

 

The game itself was a case of deja vu. This time last season it was Bradford who put paid to our Champions league aspirations and the way things started off the likely outcome would be ditto. You have to say that all these games were going to take their toll eventually.

 

These lads have shown so much guts and determination over the past few months. Ever since the defeat against 'dirty' Leeds, every game has been a Cup final. Defeat in just one of them and the season would have been in danger of going off the rails. Only the Glams could have achieved what we have, and only because they've become accustomed to success. We're still short of the finished article, hence why we're still a fair few points behind them in the league.

 

Time and time again in the opening period we were being ripped apart. With Henchoz our injured, Gerard opted for Vignal at left-back, moving Carra across to the right side of the defence with Markus keeping his place alongside Sami. The changes were showing up badly, which was not at all surprising.

 

After having a settled back four for quite some time now this was always going to present a problem when Gerard was forced to change things. Therefore don't be surprised if one or two more quality defenders are signed in the summer to add a bit more competition in those areas.

 

Despite escaping yet another handball decision (you can just here the likes of Sir Gobshite Ferguson calling us jammy Scouse bastards) and a shot rebounding off the post to safety, we went in for the half-time cuppa with the goal intact.

 

Mainly thanks to an excellent display of shot stopping from Sander. He may turn into Dracula when the ball is lofted into the danger zone but when he needs to get down (create your own smut here if you wish) he's one of the best in the business.

 

I'd love to know what Gerard said to them at half time. Whatever it was then it worked a treat. The old saying, 'a game of two halves', was never more evident as we absolutely tore into them. It was only a matter of time before we made the all-important breakthrough.

 

God was around to give us a helping hand. Well an opportunist overhead kick! Robbie has been at the centre of yet more speculation concerning his future but no one can claim that he's not committed to the cause. The elation in the visitor's section of the South Stand was there to see. A now familiar sight and long may it continue for years to come.

 

Unfortunately it did produce one or two idiots who were intent on carrying the celebrations to pathetic extremes. My worst fears were confirmed as some one-stop wonders had managed to get their hands on a ticket. Their celebrations consisted of knocking everyone in sight for six, as if they were at a Sex Pistols gig.

 

As well as singing 'Are you watching Manchester'. It was also the prelude for one of the more genuine fans to yell out to them to fucking shut it. We should have all been in a joyous mood milking the moment. Instead we were facing the prospect of full-scale arguments breaking out. Thankfully they all saw the light of day and lived happily ever after.

 

Dave and Chris Smith weren't fortunate to get hold of tickets for this game. The former is a season ticket holder whose been going since the mid-eighties and the latter is a genuine fan who rarely misses a home game even though he isn't a season ticket holder.

 

Once again somehow the 'supporter' who goes when they've got nothing else better to do is benefiting. Now that we've had a little success, the situation is bound to reach tenfold. And there are those who wonder why Anfield is so quiet nowadays!

 

Anyway back to the action. Robbie's strike opened the floodgates and it wasn't long before Super Dan added a second. St.Michael then added a third with God completing the route. The party was now in full swing with a few new songs entering the charts. Firstly we had 'three cups and the Champions league', and secondly 'Fowler is going nowhere'. Let's hope that is one piece of news that ends on a happy note.

 

Come the final whistle, the players weren't the only ones who were ready for the knackers yard. It's been a long hard season, but for once it had a happy ending. I've said it already but I'll say it again, the lads have excelled themselves game after game and today was no different. Most sides would have folded after 63 games. Not our troops though! Gerard has motivational skills that are simply out of this world. The man is definitely Shankly in disguise.

 

You can be rest assured though that he won't be taking his foot off the pedal over the summer months. There will hopefully be a fair amount of wheeling and dealing, so we are fully prepared to give the title a real shot since we last lifted it way back in 1990.

 

As for yours truly, apart from saving money for the next campaign, I'm going to take some time out in an attempt to fathom what has taken place in the last week or so. Some clubs have never won a major trophy in their entire existence. We've won our 36th & 37th within the space of four days. Those moments are only supposed to occur when you're in a deep sleep. Even now I swear that I'm going to wake up in a cold sweat knowing that it was all a dream that would never happen.

 

 

TEAM: Westerveld; Jamie Carragher, Babbel, Hyypia, Vignal; Barmby (Murphy), Gerrard; McAllister, Berger (Heskey); Fowler, Owen:

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