Posts Tagged ‘ Liverpool ’

Walking Through the Storm, Ken Kendra

Walking Through The Storm: Watching the 2015-16 Liverpool Football Club season at the North American pubs their clubs call home

Ken Kendra is the founder of Raleigh Reds, the Official Liverpool Supporters Club in Raleigh, NC and traveled around the States during the 2015/16 season to follow the Reds, meet fellow fans and write a book. The result is Walking Through the Storm.

The book is several things: a series of match recaps, an assembly of memories and stories, and a look into the life of a fan and supporter group organizer. Liverpool’s season was not boring with a managerial change, frustrating results and two cup finals. The account of the second leg against Borussia Dortmund is quite good which feeds into the trips down memory lane for both the author and the fans he meets along the way. From the most recent fan to the lifelong supporter, everyone has a story to tell. Finally, the Official Liverpool Supporter Group (OLSC) covers the entire US and the book gives insights into not only match days around the country and the fellowship created by gathering to watch games week after week but also into local drinking laws and how to start a local chapter.

The book is an easy read and a must read if you a Liverpool fan, especially in America. If you’re not a Liverpool fan, still worth the read as Ken recaps the season and recounts stories that every fan can relate to.


For more book review, check out my Recommended Reading page.

Walking Through the Storm


Walking Through the Storm

Liverpool fan Ken Kendra came back on the SoccerNomad pod to update listeners on his book Walking Through the Storm, which chronicles the 2015-2016 season for the Reds.

Learn more about his project at his website and facebook and follow him on twitter @walking_storm. Check out the LFC Raleigh website and on twitter @LFCRaleigh. LFC Atlanta is online and on twitter @LFCAtlanta.


Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Red or Dead


Having enjoyed the Damned United so much, this book was on my to read list, and the focus of the Howler Book Club prompted me to pick up a copy.

As a fan of the game, I knew the name of Shankly and of the great Liverpool teams of the 70s adn 80s but not too much more than that. The book educated me on Liverpool in the 1960s, and how Shankly took over a team in the Second Division and built the foundation for the all-conquering side of Paisley. His tenets of hard work, pass and move and team spirit, as well as an intense connection with the fans from both himself and the players were strong elements of the book.

Red or Dead is quite long, coming in at over 700 pages. I got the book in hardcover and it’s pretty hefty. A relatively quick read, the narrator moves the reader through season after season, with short chapters covering pockets of time before the narrator moves on. The style is striking with the repetition of elements (line ups, household chores, pre-season, etc) used through the book. The choice of first person and these repetitive passages are interesting and consume the reader as Liverpool consumes the character of Shankly.

The manager works and works and works and then abruptly leaves. Not knowing the story, I was shocked as Shankly left the club on the verge of immortality. I actually enjoyed the post-Liverpool section more. I felt the narrator was more insightful, more reflective, more philosophical than the manager who was grinding every day, thinking about the next opponent, the next trophy. The continued involvement in the game and the community and the relationships with other clubs was another striking feature of the man’s legacy.

Not sure how to recommend this. If you’re a Liverpool fan, definitely read it. If you’re a soccer nerd, definitely read it. If you neither of those, you might enjoy another book better.

Liverpool Away Shirt 1998/99



In the late 90s Liverpool were on a run of four consecutive top four finishes, but a good start to the 1998/99 season soon dissipated and December saw the Reds in 12th. They would eventually finish 7th and outside the European places. The Reds didn’t find much success in the cups, losing at the second hurdle in both the League and FA Cups. Spurs eliminated Liverpool from the League Cup and Liverpool’s encounter with Manchester United at the end of January has gone down in United folklore, with the Red Devils turning the match around in the dying minutes on their way to the Treble. Celta Vigo knocked out Liverpool in the Third Round of the UEFA Cup.


The following season, Liverpool began to reshape the squad and finished 4th. After a poor start to the season, the Reds had a stretch from October to April where they only lost twice in the league. There was no cup glory as Southampton beat Liverpool at the Dell in the Third Round of the League Cup and Blackburn sent LFC packing in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup.

evans-houllierThis was an era of transition for the club, as Roy Evans left in November of 1998 to be replaced by Gérard Houllier, who would stay with the club for almost six years. The playing staff turned over as well with McAteer and Harkness leaving in 1998, followed by McManaman, Jones, and Ince in 1999. Berger, Song, Friedel, Heskey, Hyypiä, Henchoz and Hamann came in to lead the club forward.


LFC Change Kit 1892-1896


LFC Change Kit for Ajax match in 1966

As for the kit, white was the color of LFC’s first away strip and was used almost exclusively until the 1980s, with the exception being a red yoke kit in the early 1900s and vertically striped shirts used from 1911-1921. Yellow was introduced as a third shirt in the 1960s and eventually added to the change strip palette in 1982. After almost a ten year absence the white change shirt reappeared for the 1998/99 season. The kit would be rolled over as a third strip for the following season.


LFC Change Kit 1998/99 and Third Kit 1999/00

The strip was manufactured by Reebok, who had the contract from 1996 to 2006 and featured a white shirt, black shorts and white socks, pretty much the standard template from the 1930s to the 1980s. The shirt was very clean with red bands edged in black down the sleeves and a white overlapped v-neck collar with black and red trim. The shorts continued the red band and the white socks had a hint of red and black on the turnovers and featured a red Reebok logo on the shin. I also found an all white version in my research which echoed the change strip from 1985/86.

Also of note was the club badge. There are several great sources on the history of the Liverpool badge (Design Football and Ajjam is a Red) and this particular shirt had the badge inside of a large oval. The club returned to more of a shield in following incarnations.

As a Manchester United fan, you may be wondering why I had a shirt from the most hated of rivals. A friend of mine picked it up at TJ Maxx and gave it to me not knowing football history. This was the only Reebok jersey I ever owned, and it was light and breathable. I actually kind of liked it but eventually the shirt was given to Goodwill as to not tarnish my United collection.

Let me know what you think about the shirt. If you’re a Liverpool fan, chime in about memories from those years.


Special thanks

Read the rest of my Strip Club posts here and follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Liverpool v Manchester United


SoccerNomad podcast: Liverpool v Manchester United

I joined supporters of Liverpool and Manchester United to watch the big game at Anfield. After meeting at Fado Midtown, home of the Atlanta Manchester United Supporters Club, we marched into Meehan’s downtown to settle in at the LFC Atlanta bar. A tense and exciting 90 minutes followed with the match ending in a 0-0 draw. I was able to interview several fans from each side and get updates on the each supporter group, memories from previous matches and thoughts on the teams thus far. Thanks to both groups for their time and a great atmosphere.

Find out more about Atlanta Manchester United Supporters Club and LFC Atlanta.

Atlanta Manchester United Supporters Club

LFC Atlanta

  • Website
  • Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat           @LFCAtlanta


Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

LFC Atlanta


LFC Atlanta

Several members of LFC Atlanta joined me on the SoccerNomad podcast to talk about their group and Liverpool Football Club. LFC Atlanta is a group of passionate fans who create a vibrant match day experience and also serve in the community. We discussed the formation and development of the group, their recent special guests and memories of the club over the years.

Find out more about LFC Atlanta here:



Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat          @LFCAtlanta


Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Atlanta Supporter Groups



I’ve been in Atlanta for over two years and have run into tons of passionate and knowledgeable soccer fans, many of whom have formed official and unofficial supporters groups for their favorite clubs. I started jotting down a list and was surprised how many teams were represented throughout the city. Below is what I’ve come up with so far. If I missed a group or got something wrong, let me know.




English Premier League
Team Nickname Twitter Facebook Bar
Arsenal (Official) ATL Gooners @ATLGooners Facebook Brewhouse
Chelsea (Official) ATL Blues @ATLBlues  Facebook Hudson FC
Chelsea GA Blues @georgia_blues Facebook Ri Ra
Crystal Palace Crystal Palace ATL @CPFC_ATL Facebook Fado Buckhead
Everton (Official) ATL Evertonians @atlevertonians Facebook Fado Buckhead
Leicester Atlanta Foxes @LCFCAtlanta Facebook Brewhouse
Liverpool (Official) LFC ATL @LFCAtlanta Facebook Meehans Downtown
Manchester City ATL Cityzens @MCATLCityzens Facebook Brewhouse
Man Utd (Official) ATL MUFC @atlmufc Facebook Fado Midtown
Man Utd (Unofficial) MUFC ATL (Brew Crew) @ManUtdScAtl  Facebook Brewhouse
Swansea Atlanta Jacks @Atlanta_Jacks Facebook Meehans Vinings
Tottenham (Official) ATL Spurs @ATLSpurs Facebook Meehans Atlantic Station
West Ham (Official) Atlanta Ironworks @IronsAtlanta Facebook Brewhouse
Team Nickname Twitter Facebook Bar
Bayern Munich (Official) Mia San ATL @miasanatl  Facebook Der Biergarten
FC Barcelona FC Barcelona Atlanta @barca_atl Facebook Fado Buckhead
Real Madrid (Official) Madridistas ATL @MadridistasATL Facebook Olde Blind Dog
South America
Supporter Group Twitter Facebook Bar
Corinthians Fiel Torcida USA @FielAtlanta Facebook
Atlanta United FC
Supporter Group Twitter Website
Footie Mob @FootieMob Website Midway
Resurgence @ResurgenceATL Website Brewhouse
Terminus Legion @TerminusLegion Website Fado Buckhead
Faction @TheFactionATL Website Fado Midtown
Atlanta Silverbacks
Supporter Group Twitter Facebook Bar
Westside 109 ATLWestside109 Facebook
Atlanta Ultras AtlantaUltras Facebook
Georgia Revolution
Supporter Group Twitter Facebook Bar
The Uprising @TheUprisingRevs Facebook
United States National Teams
Supporter Group Twitter Facebook Bar
America Outlaws ATL @atlantaoutlaws Facebook RiRa


MatchDay Memory: Luis Suarez Then and Now Part II (Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz)

Imagine a time in the distant future when a player named Luis Enrique joins FC Barcelona or a new Hughes is signed by Manchester United.  That player will inevitably be compared to their predecessor, with the shadow of former glory always hovering around the player.  For Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz, who joined FC Barcelona in the summer of 2014, not only was he not the first Luis Suarez to have played for the Blaugrana, but he will probably not be as successful in terms of trophies as his predecessor.  On top of this, he also comes with his own unique baggage.

Part I  Luis Suarez Miramontes


Moving forward fifty years, the talent of El Pistolero or Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz is undeniable.  From the streets of Salto and Montevideo in Uruguay, Luis Suarez used the beautiful game to escape poverty, eventually securing a spot with Nacional in Uruguay.  After growing as a player and making a name for himself at Nacional, where he helped the club win the 2005–06 Uruguayan League, he was discovered by Dutch club FC Groningen.  As Michiel Jongsma tells the story for, club representatives were visiting Nacional to look at Elías Figueroa.  They left trying to figure out how to sign Luis Suarez, with the player also looking for a move, as his girlfriend, Sofia Balbi, had moved to Barcelona to study.  So at 19, Suarez headed to Holland, played for Groningen, and averaged nearly a goal every three games.

Ajax came calling and Suarez forced his move to the Dutch giants, scoring over 100 goals in three and a half seasons.  Suarez never won the league in a full season with de Godenzonen, but he did help the club to the 2010 Dutch Cup.  It was during the 2009/10 season that Suarez scored 49 goals in all competitions and won the Dutch Player of the Year award. European success eluded both the club and player during his time there, with their best finish coming in the 2008/09 Europa League in which the squad got to the Round of 16.


During the winter transfer window of 2011, the Uruguayan player moved to Liverpool with Fernando Torres going to Chelsea.  His arrival was part of a rebuilding project for the storied club, along with Andy Carroll from Newcastle, which finally paid dividends during the 2013/14 season as Suarez’s partnership with Daniel Sturridge saw the Reds finish second and return to the Champions League after a four year absence.  His only silverware with the Merseyside club came in the 2012 League Cup Final.


Suarez made his International debut in 2007 and is currently Uruguay’s all-time leading scorer with 41 goals in 79 appearances as of the 2014 World Cup.  He was part of a wonderful cycle that saw Uruguay finish fourth at the 2010 World Cup, losing to the Holland in the Semi Finals.  The following year, La Celeste claimed the Copa America, with Suarez scoring four goals and being named the player of the tournament.  With that success, Uruguay qualified for the 2013 Confederations Cup, making it to the Semis before falling at the hands of the hosts Brazil.

Luis_Suarez uruguay

Heading into the 2014 World Cup, El Pistolero only played two matches after undergoing surgery after the 2013/14 season but knocked out England with two well taken goals, which set up a high pressure game against Italy in the third group game.  He did not score and was involved in an incident with Chiellini, but Uruguay progressed 1-0.  Suarez was suspended for the match against Colombia, who won to move on to the Quarter Finals.

Top Ten Posts of 2014

top 10

2014 was a great year for the SoccerNomad blog.  Visitors from all over the world read about kits, memories and more.  Here are the ten most read posts from 2014. Thanks to everyone for visiting, sharing and commenting on the blog and it’s on to 2015.

10   1988/89 English First Division

9     Trip to FC Dallas Game

8     From my Year in Soccer 1974 Series, Johan Cruyff’s impact at FC Barcelona

7     Memorial Day Weekend in Detroit

6     Lansing Kit Nerd (September 2014)

5     World Cup 2014 Kit Preview Part 1

4     Germany Euro 2000 Away shirt

3     2014/15 Kit Preview

2     World Cup 2014 Kit Preview Part 2

1     Going Hollywood (Soccer Player Look-a-likes)

Thanks to everyone for visiting, sharing and commenting on the blog and it’s on to 2015.  Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974 and don’t forget to visit my podcast or subscribe via iTunes.

MatchDay Memory–Goals Galore

Due to my technological backwardness, my family has a functioning VHS player that we still use.  I mean how else am I going to watch Batman: The Movie (1966) or my Euro 2000 tapes or both tapes of Titanic?  (Please note, the Titanic reference is made for comedic effect.  I have never watched, nor ever will watch, James Cameron’s multimillion dollar epic about an incident in which everyone is fully aware of the outcome.)  Going through old VHS tapes, I came across one called Goals Galore.  I don’t even know where I picked it up, but the tape is full of goals from the 1988-89 English First Division season, which came down to the last moment of the last game of the season.  Watching the video again, I couldn’t help but notice the 80’s graphics and music—alternating synthesizer and electric guitar.  Timeless.  The 20 minute show (there is only one replay of a goal) captures a time that featured the following:

  • A skinnier Le Tissier and a young Tony Cottee
  • Ugly unis and short shorts.  The unis can still be ugly at times but the nuthuggers are a thing of the past.
  • The Chris Waddle mullet
  • Crisp handshakes and jubilant jumping for celebrations
  • Roy Wegerle
  • “very tidy finish”
  • Awful pitches, especially through the middle and in the penalty areas
  • Steve McMahon:         Had a professor at GLCC who found out I liked soccer and he asked how Steve McMahon was doing.  I was like Steve MacManaman?  Great.  No, he said, McMahon. Me, shrug of shoulders. That’s the last time we talked about soccer.
  • Glenn Cockerill.  Every time I watch this video I am struck by two things about this player: he had a cannon for a shot and always seemed to be angry.


The video climaxed with a goal scored on May 26th 1989, which is probably not an important date to American sports fans.  A quick google search produced this selective list of significant sporting moments on that date:

1911 – 1st Indianapolis 500 auto race is run

1925 – Detroit Tigers’ Ty Cobb is 1st to collect 1,000 extra-base hits (ends 1,139)

1973 – Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Indians, 6-3, in 21 innings

1984 – Frisbee is kept aloft for 1,672 seconds in Philadelphia, PA

1990 – Philadelphia Phillies retire Mike Schmidt’s uniform #20

1992 – Carlos Martinez hits a ball off Jose Canseco’s head for a home run

For European soccer fans, the date might be of some significance:

1982 – Aston Villa wins 27th European Cup in Rotterdam

1993 – Olympique Marseille wins 38th European Cup in Munich

In fact, I get the sense that Americans don’t really do dates.  References are typically to Super Bowl whatever or game such and such of a series, or simply the Greatest Game Ever Played (1958 NFL Championship Game).  But I’m sure if you asked any long term (and long suffering) Arsenal or Liverpool fan what happened on May 26th 1989, they can probably tell you where they were, what the lineups were and what their reaction was at full time.

Looking at the final table from that campaign there were plenty of names that I recognized from my early days of following the game, some of which have since disappeared from the top flight—Derby County, Nottingham Forest, Wimbeldon, and Luton Town (who finished 16th and I don’t know anything about them).  Then there was Newcastle United, who were relegated that season.  Further research revealed that Chelsea won promotion from League Two (now the sponsored Championship) for the 1989/90 season and the Blues haven’t looked back since.

On the transfer front, several moves caught my eye:

  • Ian Rush back at Liverpool (to help fire in the goals)
  • Gazza moved from Newcastle to Spurs (first of many moves in an unfulfilled career)
  • Mark Hughes returned to Manchester United from Barca (part of the attack that would end years of frustration)
  • Gordon Strachan went to Leeds from Manchester United (would help the Yorkshire club claim the last First Division title in 1992)
  • Chris Waddle went to Marseille (part of a wave of English players abroad, a trend that has since been reversed)

This was also the season that ITV started showing live Sunday afternoon games, which would eventually led to the television explosion, the formation of the Premier League, and a totally different footballing landscape in 20 years.  But really the 88/89 season was about the tragedy of Hillsborough.  That afternoon unfortunately overshadowed one of the greatest finishes in sporting history.

Setting the stage . . .

Arsenal had two wobbles during their season.  (Tangent: One interesting fact that I found in my research was that Arsenal have not been relegated since 1919, which is impressive.)  In late November and early December the Gunners lost away to Derby and drew at home with Liverpool and away to Norwich.  From there they had an impressive run of seven wins and one draw until their next dip in form in February and March, only winning once in six matches, with two losses and three draws.

Reviewing the roster, interesting to see how many of that team have gone into broadcasting and coaching:

  • Steve Bould                coach in Arsenal youth set up; assistant to Wenger
  • Lee Dixon                   pundit for ITV
  • Nigel Winterburn        TV
  • David O’Leary            coach at Leeds, Aston Villa and Al-Ahli
  • Brian Marwood           executive at MCFC
  • Alan Smith                  game announcer for Sky Sports
  • Paul Merson                Young Player of the Year  for 1988-89 and now a match reporter and pundit for Sky Sports

Liverpool were the defending Division One Champions and going for the Double again, having been denied the previous season by Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang in the FA Cup Final.  What a team: John Barnes, Bruce Grobbelaar, Alan Hansen, Steve Nicol, Ray Houghton, Steve McMahon, John Aldridge, Peter Beardsley and Ian Rush.

A string of five straight draws early in the season created the gap the Reds would try to overcome the entire season.  After a 3-1 loss at Old Trafford at the halfway point of the campaign, Liverpool won 15, drew 3 and lost once, but it was the one loss (and the margin of defeat) that cost them the crown.

The aftermath of Hillsborough led to a fixture pile up for the Champions, with the Reds having to play eight games in the month of May as they fought on two fronts in search of both major domestic trophies.

LFC run-in:

League                        03/05/1989      Everton                       Away D         0-0

FA Cup SF                 07/05/1989      Nottingham Forest      N         W        3-1

League                        10/05/1989      Nottingham Forest      Home W        1-0

League                        13/05/1989      Wimbledon                 Away W        2-1

League                        16/05/1989      Queens Park Rangers  Home W        2-0

FA Cup Final             20/05/1989      Everton                       N         W        3-2

League                         23/05/1989      West Ham United       Home W        5-1

League                        26/05/1989      Arsenal                        Home L          0-2

For a long time I thought Arsenal won the game 1-0 because I only saw Michael Thomas’ last gasp goal over and over and over again.  Only years later did I learn that Arsenal had to win by 2 clear goals.

Explanation of criteria via wikipedia

A victory for Arsenal would have brought both teams level on points. Arsenal’s victory by two clear goals meant that they won the title on goals scored. A three-goal deficit or more would have won Arsenal the title on goal difference. Any other result (i.e. a Liverpool victory, a draw, or an Arsenal win by one goal) would have secured the title for Liverpool. Liverpool had not lost by two or more goals at Anfield in three years, and Arsenal had not won there in fifteen.  Furthermore, Liverpool had never previously been defeated when playing forwards John Aldridge and Ian Rush together.  Liverpool were therefore the overwhelming favourites to win the title – the Daily Mirror’s sports sections led with the headline “You Haven’t Got A Prayer, Arsenal”.

I cannot examine this moment in time without referencing Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch.  As a lifelong Arsenal fan, he had achieved one of his goals by moving near Highbury during the winter of this amazing season.  Hornby’s account of this dramatic day is in contrast to the movie interpretation.  In the book there is excitement, even hope, especially after Smith’s goal, while in the movie, Colin Firth’s recreation of Paul from the film version is nervous and negative yet clinging to a sliver of hope.  I could totally relate and watching the scene from the film took me back to 1999 and United’s Great Escape against Bayern Munich.  The minutes at Anfield ticked away and even after Smith’s early second half goal, Arsenal still had everything to do.  And just when all was lost, this happened. Nothing can beat the announcer’s comment in the moment—“An unbelievable climax to the league season.”


George Graham’s men won the First Division for the first time since 1971 and took the title out of the city of Liverpool for the first time in seven years.  Liverpool would rebound and win the title in 1990 with Arsenal reclaiming the throne in 1991.  And then both teams went silent.  One more than the other.  As I was dinking around, it occurred to me that Liverpool last won the title in 1990.  The Reds from Liverpool are near the dreaded number 26 that the Reds from Manchester suffered through.  Maybe they will have a rebirth like United, who went 26 without the trophy, then couldn’t stop winning them.  Let’s hope not.