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26th April 2006

The season still goes on

What a fantastic weekend it was for us - the defeat of Chelsea and then Steven Gerrard being awarded Player of the Year. In fact I can't believe it has taken the lad so long to be awarded such as a deserved title.

Back to the Chelsea game and we dominated - at least for the first 60 minutes. Much has been made of Mourinho's tactical disaster but at the end of the day, we still scored twice against the tightest defence in the country.

Chelsea fans, and Mourinho, thought they were going to walk to the double. As the events of last seasons Champions League final show - they should know that money can't buy desire.

I have never really been bothered by Chelsea, and when Abromavich arrived I knew what was coming, and thought they would add something to the dominance of United and Arsenal at a time when we were undergoing the final throws of the Houllier years.

However their manager, like some of their fans' websites, are completely ungracious in defeat. The end of our European dream this season against Benfica, a team we know we should have easily beaten, did not end with recriminations and accusations. Rafael Benitez didn't walk away from their coach and refuse to shake his hand. Rafa didn't suggest that Benfica would be lucky in the next round if they were fortunate with the referees. What did happen?

The Kop applauded Benfica off the pitch.

Rafa Benitez congratulated his opponent for his tactical astuteness and his team's desire.

Jose Mourinho, the manager with the open chequebook, who doesn't need to worry about the nurtue of new talent, but simply flashes his money at the established international footballer has no humble qualities.

At first the guy was interesting, it was amusing to see his antics with Ferguson and Wenger. Now he just looks pathetic.

Some Chelsea websites also seemed completely unable to take the defeat with any kind of graciousness. Nearly every match report, or post match comments, ended in comments about 'stealing hub-caps', 'grim northern cities', 'whining scouse accents' etc etc. You get the point.

I know the vast majority of Chelsea fans have been there through the lean years, and for them they deserve their glory years, and my comments are not aimed at them.

Because of his actions however Mourinho will never be considered a truly great manager, and eventually the guy will leave bitter and twisted at never being afforded the credit he probably does deserve.

Which brings me on to Arsenal who tonight sealed a historic European Cup final place. Jens Lehman made a great penalty save from a penalty that never was. I am thoroughly pleased for the club and its fans, which I find a complete surprise considering I have never forgiven them for that title-snatch at Anfield.

Well played also for Henry after the game congratulating Gerrard and our team for giving them inspiration. I hope they go on and win it now in Paris.

But back to Liverpool, and more importantly back to Cardiff. This season may not have resulted in a European Cup, but the reds have been immense in the Premiership compared to last season. They have also gone a little bit further in the FA Cup than last time out.

Rafa has really got his feet under the table. He has already told Madrid he is not interested, and Stevie G has as well. It's all like one big happy family, and we could write our name on the FA Cup for the 7th time.

And Everton are back mid-table. Normal service is resumed.

The Editor

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