Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Billy on the Box: Liverpool forced to go back to future

Picture the scene. Liverpool fans are anxiously awaiting their rescuers from a foreign land to arrive when a DeLorean suddenly bursts onto the scene.

Eagerly awaiting the imminent emergence of Marty and Doc, there is more than a degree of consternation when the doors lift, the smoke thins and out steps Marty’s da seemingly accompanied by Lionel Blair. No sign of Una Stubbs.

Within a couple of hours the deal is done, the Reds have new owners, only the DeLorean is now sitting on a pile of bricks, its windows smashed and the Flux Capacitor has long since gone.

All is not lost though, for stashed between the big dog and the hover board is a real hero in Red — Robbie Fowler — here to join Sky’s team for the most eagerly awaited Merseyside derby since, well, the last one.

Even Richard Keys didn’t have to hype this one up, but old habits die hard.

“There’s never been a time like it on Merseyside,” Keys told us, before Johnny Cash version of Bridge Over Troubled Water hammered home the message for those not listening and keeping an eager eye out for any angry Libyans looking for their plutonium back.

Mind you, a boatload of radioactive material drifting down the Mersey would get a warmer welcome that poor old George Gillett and Tom Hicks, but John W Henry and his NESV chairman Tom Werner seem good ol’ boys. For now.

Old Tom even stopped for a friendly chat with Geoff Shreeves, and earned many brownie points by using the word ‘football’.

“We’re just here to root on the team,” with a smile not seen from a Bostonian since Carla and Cliff did more than say hello in the Cheers’ poolroom.

“I love the majesty, the panoply, the excitement,” he added. Indeed, panoply, the game for all the family.

But once the darling of the Kop, Red Robbie has long since lost the glasses tinted of that hue for the reality specs and as Liverpool fans licked their wounds after being chewed up and spat out by the Toffees, he didn’t mince his words.

“The team we had at Leeds was better than this Liverpool side,” he told us.

He who drinks Australian, clearly pundits in Australian, and out of shot Jamie was on the blower to Dan and Brad to ask for some advice.

Still, at least we could depend on some former Kop idol to assure us that these new Yanks would have the X Factor.

Alan Hansen popped up on Football Focus 24 hours earlier saying the first thing JJ Henry has to do is get a new stadium off the ground. A tad harsh on the American golfer to have to dig deep but these are desperate times.

A word in his ear from the control tower and Hansen corrected his mistake but yet again Stan Collymore’s words about ‘golfing cliques’ seem to be haunting the Match of the Day boys at the moment.

Hansen was last seen trying to give the DeLorean a jump start from a Vauxhall Viva to try and escape it all while rumours that old JJ and Tom were spotted hanging off the side of the Liver building with a huge wire and muttering something about lightning and 1.21 gigawatts of power are totally unfounded.

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