Sport / TV and Film

Being Liverpool – Episodes 1-3

English: Flag with a shield of Liverpool Footb...

English: Flag with a shield of Liverpool Football Club, Anfield (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being Liverpool FC, is a documentary currently being aired on Channel 5 and is a treat to the eyes for any Kopite. For those who know me well, it comes as no surprise that Liverpool related content will occupy my blog space. I hope to keep this to the limit…yeah right, I hear you say or think. I concur. It makes sense to have a documentary on Liverpool FC. They are the most successful football club in England and are currently going through a transitional period with new management. The fans would love for an insight into what sort of football style the new gaffa wants to bring in and how he wants to stamp his authority on proceedings at such a prominent football club.

The episode kick started with the use of three words which personify Liverpool: history, tradition and vision. The word ‘vision’ could not be more poignant, considering the arrival of Rodgers and his need for a passing style of football – a sight sorely missed from the glory days. The chants by supporters and the soul stirring anthem ‘You Never Walk Alone’ consumed the TV screen and I felt myself welling up before half time.

“Liverpool is a religion and Anfield is our place of worship.
Where there’s a place of worship you need faith and faith can move mountains.”

Dave Kirby (playwright and Liverpool supporter) represented the die hard Liverpool fan that I found myself relating to, but to an extent. Like many other loyal supporters, he is living proof of a guy who most definitely bleeds Liverpool red. What followed was bitter memories of Liverpool’s defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup final and shots of half boozed up fans in the local pub, caught in a flurry of cursing and exasperation. The final whistle marked a disappointing end to the 2011/2012 campaign under King Kenny’s one year reign. Deadly Drogba did a lot of damage that day. Wenger’s wise words come to mind:

“I don’t know if Chelsea miss him, but we don’t miss him. He did a lot of damage against us.”

Couldn’t agree with you more Monsieur. Narrator Clive Owen’s use of the word ‘mediocrity’ summed up that season perfectly.

So why was the episode titled ‘Silver Shovel?’ Rodgers proclaimed that he wasn’t brought up with the silver spoon but rather the ‘silver shovel.’ The ‘working class’ background of Rodgers blends in smoothly with the blue collar working roots of Liverpool. I guess that helps his case a tad bit – he doesn’t seem like a hopeless case, nor a deluded manager. Rather his projection as the ‘family man’ helps the Scousers relate to him. With the contract signed, viewers saw Rodgers take a stroll down the Anfield pitch. The cinematic ‘mulling’ moment was needed to add to the beginning of a new chapter of a man who doesn’t have such an illustrious playing or managing football career.

What I like about this guy is that he seems genuine in terms of wanting to lay down a plan, implement it and make sure that things change for the good. If that means attributing the success to Liverpool kitchen staff, so be it! Brendan’s mentality: what the heck, if good food gets wins, I’ll take that observation and make up some spiel to charm the supporters!

I suppose the ‘every player is my son’ and ‘it’s how you win on and off the pitch’ comments only adds to the slow process of getting everyone on his side. I mean, the guy has a way with words no doubt with his Irish charm doing wonders again.

The sharp contrast of the players’ lifestyles was well presented. Steven Gerrard, captain of the team and born and brought up in Liverpool was shown going back home to escape the pressures of sports to his wife and three daughters. For Leiva, Suarez and Coates, the South American common link has resulted in an off the pitch friendship, with lunch combined with Monopoly helping them switch off from the footballing world.

Episode 2, ‘On the Road’ turned out to be a dull watch bar a few key ‘eyes glued to the screen’ moments.Rodgers unleashed his annoyance at the youngsters during training, with Sterling being threatened to be sent back on the first plane home after cheekily quipping ‘steady.’ Crikey. There was also Daniel Craig, a Liverpool supporter shown to be meeting and greeting players rather comfortably. However, it didn’t go too smoothly for Principal Owner John W Henry who introduced himself and nervously asked two of the players, ‘so you know who I am?’ I think they didn’t.

Episode 3, ‘Anfield Calling’ started off with Suarez signing an extended contract which probably brought more jubilation (and relief) to the board, than any other signing this season. Joe Allen’s shirt number discussion and being called the ‘Welsh Xavi’, Borini moving his house six times and the cringe moment of managing director Ian Ayre on his motorbike were highlights. What really took the cake was poetry. Can’t beat another of Dave Kirby’s poems now, can we?

Whenever life gets tiresome, when clouds above are grey,
I just simply close my eyes, and slowly drift away.
I think about a special place, that’s when the darkness fades,
That special place is Anfield, the place where dreams are made.
I see the pitch, I hear the Kop, the tasty atmosphere, flags, banners, songs of old, which echo down the years.

Colours entwine, red and white, with grass of emerald green,
A beautiful vision, a sacred place filled with hopes and dreams.
So many memories, elation and joy, cheers, passion, glory, victory, ecstasy, emotion laced with tears.

Whenever life gets tiresome, I know how to see it through,
I simply think of Anfield, a place where dreams come true.

All in all, I’m hoping the last few episodes will provide a little bit more of entertainment. Can’t say I haven’t loved all the publicity my beloved football club has been getting through this show though. Even if it’s in the midst of hanging around in the relegation zone and losing 3-2 sloppily to Udinese at home, in the ‘prestigious’ and ‘rich in heritage’ Europa league cup competition.