I was an amazing inc
redible night. We were gutted at half time, but NEVER say die. For fifteen minutes after the restart Liverpool where superb and ripped right through AC, scoring 3 goals to even the score. AC recovered and it was stalemate right up to the penalty shoot-out where Dudek was superb and won the game for Liverpool.
Stevie Gerrard was immense and refused to be beaten. And the fans took same attitude.
The Stadium was superb and the people in Istanbul lovely, warm and firendly.
But the access roads to the stadium was horrendous - we walked the last two miles to the Ataturk Olympic Stadium as the traffic was at a complete standstill.
The airport couldn't cope either. 15,000 fans arrived at the aiprort at 2 am and it was chaos. After 8 hours there was no sign of our plane so we walked right through securityand the gate, got on a bus bound for a plane going to Luton, walked on board and sat down. The plane filled up and we took off. 3½ hr later we were back in the UK. I've no idea who's seats we took and I've no idea what happened to our flight either. There are people still stranded in the Sabiha Gökçen Airport - an airport which only has four gates was supposed to handle 50 flights back to the UK in about 5 hours
Glad you managed to get back ok John, sounds like Turkey isn't really ready for these sorts of games yet after that chaos.
I watched some of the highlights last night, those were three great goals from Liverpool in the second half, and I loved the goalie getting a quick lesson about wobbly legs before the penalties :)
I believe there are still fans stranded in Istanbul, and John Lennon Airport have intervened to get them home on a flight to Bristol.
I was too knackered to go into the City Centre afterwards, but my son went. They reckon about half a million people turned up to watch the team parade back from JL airport via Anfield to a reception in Lime Street.
The match was fantastic! The players and the supporters were superb.
Huw (my son), Luke (Stuart's son), Me and Stuart.
"Kopites all over the world - Caernarfon Reds" The lads from Cymru Gogledd make their presnece known!
THE AMAZING COINCIDENCES FROM 1978 AND 2005 The Pope dies.
The Welsh rugby team wins the Grand Slam title.
The league winners (1978 Nottingham Forest, 2005 Chelsea) beat Liverpool FC in the League Cup final.
Liverpool FC are crowned Champions of Europe.
THE AMAZING COINCIDENCES FROM 1981 AND 2005 Prince Charles gets married.
Coronation Street's Ken and Deirdre get married.
There is a new Doctor Who.
Norwich City and Crystal Palace are both relegated.
Liverpool FC win 17 league games and finish 5th.
Liverpool FC are crowned Champions of Europe.
If any one wants to visit the Trophy Room at Anfield which now houses 5 European Cups, let me know and I'll take you in.
Only Real Madrid (9) and AC Milan (6) have won it more times.
There are so many parts of the game that I loved. No one can say AC Milan were not at their best after how they played in the first half, and then to see the Reds attack ruthlessly as they did was pure joy. Sir Dudek had me worried much of the game, but he made several nice saves before he became superhuman late in overtime and loosey-goosey during the shootout. His attitude was confident going into the shootout, whereas Dida looked nervous and Shevchenko looked almost ill with anxiety. I knew that Shevchenko was not going to score just by the look on his face as he walked forward.
It has been a delight to read your posts John. Have you had a chance to see it replayed on television? Gerrard made history by willing and imploring his teammates AND the crowd to push to victory. He knew the Liverpool supporters in the stadium had to step up too, and he got what he asked for. You and the rest of the crowd in red were fantastic and deserve the "assist" you are being credited with.
I've just been sorting out my papers and love the Entry Visa into Turkey:
I'm going to post up more photos on the website where the current pics are, but I'm on limited bandwith and I hope I have enough. I've used 250Mb so far today!
Dudek was immense, and his double save off Shevchnko a minute or two before the end definitely included the hand of God!
When Serginho missed the first penalty, we knew LFC were in the lead. When Pirlo missed the second, we knew we were almost there.
> > Shevchenko looked almost ill with anxiety. I knew that Shevchenko was not going to score just by the look on his face as he walked forward.
We couldn't see that from the other end, but Dudek looked confident handing the ball to Shevchenko and his run up to kick the ball lack conviction.
> > Gerrard made history by willing and imploring his teammates AND the crowd to push to victory.
He's a terrific lad. And he knows we're the 12th player.
It looks like he'll be staying at Anfield - there's no way a local lad could play for anyone else.
He's promised to go back to his school and show the boys and girls there the trophy - 20kg of silver!
I'm still amazed at how many people made the journey from the Atlantic coast of Europe to Asia minor - about 2,000 miles. The Ataturk Stadium became like Anfield with the "visiting" fans in one corner. There must have been the best part of 40,000 reds' fan there.
I did video the match at home but the the tape ends just as the Italians get their medals I've not got all the final celebrations. :-(
No doubt there'll be a DVD out soon!
And Germany say Dietmar Hamann won it, the Poles say Dudek and the Scousers say Jamie Carragher and Stevie G!
Harry's not performed well this season. I suspect that was his last chance. Expect to see him transferred.
Smicer and Hamann will be moving on, and Baros and Biscan too. Dudek's not secure either as there's deal under way with Villarreal to bring José Manuel Reina to Anfield.
There's a fair amount of £££ at Anfield right now. I don't know how much the Champions League win has brought in in prize money, TV money, souvenirs sales and sponsorship, but £50M would be fair guess. So expect much activity in the transfer market.
I'm still working on it, but here's a few including some I'm borrowed.
I'm going to add some of the celebrations in Liverpool. I never got there because of flight delays out of Istanbul and when I got home I was totally knackered. In the mean time there's a whole pile on the BBC's Liverpool pages:
You guys! Are any of Liverpool's players from Wales? My wife's great grandmother was Welsh. My wife has been there, but she can't translate a word of it.
By the way, there are clear signs that football is moving into the American mainstream, as our younger generation who grew up playing in large numbers are now into their 20's and 30's. Our hometown newspaper used to never run positive stories on football, but the lead story in the sports section this past Thursday was about the Reds and their historic victory, and today there was a good story about England's 2-1 win v. the U.S. yesterday. Our major sports network, ESPN, now features soccer segments in their programming. And then I overheard two teenagers at the store yesterday arguing over whether Sir Dudek "knew anything about" his second save of the double save late in overtime to deny Shevchenko. We are coming around, despite those here who wish it weren't so!!
> clear signs that football is moving into the American mainstream<br /><br />Unlike virtually every other religion, Football (real football) will eventually become universal!<br /><br />> Are any of Liverpool's players from Wales?<br /><br />There have been many. After all a Scouser is only a Taffy with a passport!<br /><br />> My wife's great grandmother was Welsh<br /><br />What position did she play? <g><br /><br />> Cymru am Byth!<br /><br />There is actually another line to that famous phrase. (perhaps I'll leave it to John to recall it!)<br /><br />Chris.
Saw all the pics with no error message. Thank you, John!
Some year I'll go spend a month in England taking in as much football as I can. I told my wife I'm planning it, and she can come if she can keep up with me!
We have four world cup tickets coming for one group stage match. We hope we'll get more, but in any case we are going over to Germany with friends and friends of friends for three weeks next summer! England should have quite a strong team.
> > some of your pix were taken right in the thick of it.
They have been borrowed. ;-)
I was at school with Steve Shakeshaft, who has been the Echo's top (sports) photographer for years. He was camera/photo mad as a teenager and has done really well. I expect he was in Istanbul.
I was never very good a football, and usually cast as a big centre back like Sami Hyypia.
> > We have four world cup tickets coming for one group stage match
Excellent! Meanwhile I now have to pay off my credit card bill for match tickets, flights to Istanbul and other associated costs.
However it's almost certain Wales won't be playing, though England should qualify. It's been more exciting because they were drawn in the same qualification group.
This time there has been no automatic right of entry for the Title Holders, Brasil, so they have had to qualify.
Here's a site with all the Stadiums which will be used in the 2006 World cup in Germany.
> > Are any of Liverpool's players from Wales?
Ian Rush was probably the best, though Michael Owen was almost Welsh - he lived in Wales but the nearest maternity hospital was in Chester, just in England.
> > There is actually another line to that famous phrase. (perhaps I'll leave it to John to recall it!)
Before this thread drops completely, there is one thing I noticed on rewatching the final match. In the minute before Gerrard scored to give Liverpool their first goal, Milan was on the attack and the Reds were defending. Liverpool was struggling to win the ball, and they lost it again when they had it briefly. Milan was threatening, and then a Liverpool player not only won the ball but played a beautiful release ball to launch the counter-attack that led to Gerrard's goal off that brilliant header. The player for Liverpool who won the ball and began the counter-attack? Steven Gerrard.
UEFA have afound a way, and I believe they have amended their rules to give the title holders a place by right.
Liverpool will enter at the First Qualifying Round stage and this will cause chaos to their pre-season plans and could prove financially costly.
As UEFA have allowed England to have five teams in the tournament, and broken therule which states that the maximum number of teams is four, Liverpool wil have no country protection. That means Liverpool could be drawn against one of the other four teams from England: neighbours Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester
Full details of the all the clubs in the tournaments, seedings and the calendar for the 05/06 tournament can be found at Bert Kassie's excellent site:
(Well worth adding to yer favourites).
Note difference in the Ranking Coefficient between Liverpool and the other teams in the 1st qualifiying Round. Liverpool are seeded right through to the Group stages, and ranked 4th out of all the 52(?) teams.
It's quite complex, and heavily weighted in favour of the top 5 or 6 countries with the 18 clubs in the "G14" operating arguably a cartel.
The G14 site is http://www.g14.com/intro.htm - "The Voice of the Clubs", all 18 of them!
There have been rumours that Glazer's possible de-stabilisation of Manchester United could put their G14 place in jeopardy, and Chelsea would be all set to take it from them. Glazer is looking to go it alone for TV and Marketing, and they may well just let him.
The official regulations are on UEFA's website at http://www.uefa.com/newsfiles/19071.pdf They give full details of the allocation of places and how the ranking coefficents are determined. The ranking coefficents are not just for seeding purposes but for determining the share out of TV and marketing receipts. The big clubs have this well stacked in their favour, while the small clubs have be content with primarily appearance in the tournament and any prestige which comes their way.
It is 14 years since a team from outside the countries represented by G14 won the trophy - FK Crvena Zvezda in 1990/91 - such is their stranglehold, both on the pitch and off it, financially and politically.
Champions League Winners - Most Titles Real Madrid 9 (1956, '57, '58, '59, '60, '66, '98, 2000, 2002)
AC Milan 6 (1963, '69, '89, 90, 94, 2003)
Liverpool 5 (1977, '78, '81, '84, 2005)
Ajax 4 (1971, '72, '73, '95)
Bayern Munich 4 (1974, '75, '76, 2001)
Benfica 2 (1961, '62)
Inter Milan 2 (1964, '65)
Juventus 2 (1985, '96)
Manchester United 2 (1968, '99)
Nottingham Forest 2 (1979, '80)
FC Porto 2 (1987, 2004)