An Apology

ShanklyGates.co.uk

During the course of the 2000/1 season, we may have inadvertently given the impression that we hated all Premiership clubs that were not Liverpool. Headlines like “FORCES OF EVIL STAND IN WAY OF HOLY REDS” and “HOW DARE THESE CLUBS TRY TO STOP US WINNING” may have reinforced this impression.

Another source of confusion may have been the article entitled The Far Side A-Z of Being Bitter and Twisted, which some people took to be an assault on the clubs mentioned within. The editors of ShanklyGates.co.uk would like to apologise for any misleading image portrayed by said article.

As a gesture of conciliation towards the clubs who may have been unintentionally maligned, the following article will endeavour to explain just how much we love seventeen*† of the other teams that partook in the 2000/1 FA Premiership season. The editors would also like to emphasise that this seeming volte-face has nothing to do with rubbing salt in the wounds of teams who were unfortunate enough to win sod all while the Reds took more silver than a kleptomaniac in Versailles.

Arsenal: how could we be angry at Arsenal? How could we be angry with a team that collapsed like a burning house twice against Liverpool this season? We also must thank Arsene Wenger for hypnotising Thierry Henry into thinking that the goal and Sami Hyypia were the same thing. A goal is 192 square feet in area. Sami is probably no more than twenty-five square feet, yet Thierry struck Sami unerringly every time. Thank you, Arsenal.

Aston Villa: the easiest six points of the season. Two performances with less spine than an entire school of jellyfish, Aston Villa have proven themselves to be true friends of Liverpool this season. Long may this bountiful and beneficial relationship continue.

Bradford City: what goes around, comes around. Bradford City beat us on the last day of last season to save their Premiership status and keep us out of the Champions League. A year later they were relegated after a horrendous season, we had beaten them twice and won the Uefa Cup that we would not have been in had we beaten them last season. So, in a way, we owe it all to Bradford.

Charlton Athletic: Charlton had the opportunity to bring it all crumbling down around our heads. And they raised the hopes of the Bitters in the first half of that fateful match on the last day of the season by completely outplaying the Reds. So it was all the sweeter when Liverpool put them to the sword in the second half. Charlton have earned their apology for generating false hope in the hearts – do they have hearts? – of the Toffees.

Chelsea: the Blues no doubt thought that their 2-2 draw with Liverpool in our last home game of the season might have earned them our eternal wrath. Nay, nay, thrice nay! They merely succeeded in giving other teams false hope while making our eventual Champions League qualification all the sweeter. Also, Chelsea have reminded everyone that their recent success was but an illusion. Only Liverpool’s success is enduring. Thank you for giving everyone this valuable lesson.

Coventry City: it was very generous of Coventry to give us Gary McAllister for nothing. With him in their team they probably would have been challenging for Europe. But they didn’t want to keep him away from a stage that suited his talents any longer than necessary. No greater love hath a club for humanity than to lay down their Premiership status so a great player can play for a great club.

Derby County: we must thank Derby for unleashing Emile Heskey on the world. The big man hadn’t done anything to justify his £11 million price tag up until then. But with one thunderous hat-trick he was transformed from bumbling mild-mannered paperboy type into footballing Hercules. We couldn’t have done it without you, Derby.

Everton: you can go whistle for your apology, Blueslime.

Ipswich Town: for many months, we were told to look at Ipswich, to see how it should be done and that we could all learn a valuable lesson from their penny-pinching success and how wonderful Marcus Stewart was. And the lesson has been learned. Minor clubs like Ipswich can approach the top table but ultimate success always goes to the great clubs. Ipswich, we salute you.

Leeds United: if ever a game saw the purging of large amounts of bad karma, it was Liverpool’s defeat at the hands of Leeds at Anfield this season. The rotten nature of that defeat saw Liverpool’s Champions League hopes written off, lulling Leeds into a false sense of security and enabling us to pilfer third place from under their noses. Oh, and let us not forget the 2-0 win at Elland Road in the FA Cup, a match destined to conjure thoughts of “their name is written on the Cup.” And it was. Cheers, Leeds.

Leicester City: for many years, Leicester have been the darling of the media with their plucky exploits among the Premiership big boys. But this season, Leicester demonstrated themselves to be the talentless football retards that they are. Add to that their suppression of the talents of Emile Heskey, making him look like an £11 million player when he was worth at least twice that, and we are obliged to thank them for the bargain.

Manchester City: so busy were Man Ure trying to bury Man City – sorry, Manchester City – this season that they neglected to spot us galloping up on the inside, bringing the day when we overhaul them that bit closer. We must also acknowledge the comic value of Big Fat Joe’s paranoid rantings. It wasn’t luck that relegated you, BFJ! It wasn’t dodgy refereeing that relegated you, BFJ! It was because you were crap!

Middlesbrough: Bryan ‘Teaboy’ Robson has flown the coop, so what is there left to dislike? After the irritation you have caused us over the last two seasons, it will be satisfying to have you around next season to put you firmly in your place.

Newcastle United: you know those stories of heroic football failures? About Sunday league teams with records like P24 W0 D0 L24 F1 A189? That’s Newcastle at Anfield. They’ve lost their last seven league outings at Glory Central, and they don’t look like they are going to end that satisfying streak of incompetence any time soon.

Southampton: let’s just be grateful that none of us are ever going to sit in the freezing wind tunnel that is The Dell again. Let’s move on.

Sunderland: the Mackems are probably the principal club that fans have a ‘soft spot’ for. But after the shrieking, frothing, spiteful, vindictive reaction from the fans to the draw at the Stadium of Light (gnnh), it’s unlikely that any Reds feel anything for them anymore. Thank you for your honesty, Sunderland.

Tottenham Hotspur: it was extremely decent of Spurs to put out a kindergarten team when we met them towards the tail end of the season. Okay, I admit it, I’m struggling to think of anything good to say about anybody at this stage.

West Ham United: the Hammers must have seen me coming. There I was, lamenting my awful record at Anfield and dreading the return of Titi Camara – returning player syndrome. So in a spectacular display of generosity, they allowed Steven Gerrard and Robbie Fowler to trash them off the pitch. And let us not forget their victory over Man Ure at the Big Top of Delusions the week before, which didn’t so much show us the way to the FA Cup as lay on a chauffeur-driven limousine

*I didn’t insult the Mancs, so no need to apologise to them. Nice.

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