The Liver Bird  

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Football Blogging Awards - Short List Announced

The Liver Bird is in the running for best female football blog and it's all thanks to you lot!

Image: footballbloggingawards.co.uk


The Football Blogging Awards released the list of nominees in each category last night and The Liver Bird is in the female short list along with some other great blogs!

You can see the list of nominees here.

I can't thank you enough for voting for the blog and your support means the world. It would be lovely to be rewarded for doing something I love and being on the short list is just fantastic!

The awards will be held in Greater Manchester on July 14th and that is when all of the winners will be announced. It looks like a brilliant event and I think they are planning on streaming it live so I will be sure to keep you posted on how you can follow it via Twitter updates.

Thank you once again!

#YNWA

Kirsty

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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Top 5 Ex Reds You Love To Hate

As you'll probably remember, during last week I asked my readers on the blog and on Twitter to vote for their "Ex Reds" that they love to hate. Some hatred is evidently a bit tongue and cheek but when board members and previous owners are allowed onto the list, it's always going to get a bit heated.

Unsurprisingly those lovely leeches Hicks and Gillett topped the list followed by El Hadji Diouf, Fernando Torres, Michael Owen and Christian Purslow. So why are these five men, (well, six men really as H & G are a duo... though I'd question if either count as "men" after their shenanigans!) the top "Ex Reds" that you lot love to hate?

Christian Purslow
KD: "Know your place lad."
Image: Liverpool Echo
You voted him in at number 5, it's Christian Purslow.

With a middle name like Cecil you could be hated on that reason alone but Purslow ruffled a few feathers in his time on the Liverpool board.

He was made managing director in 2009 but before I get on to the bad I think Purslow has to be credited for his role in ousting Hicks and Gillett. There is no denying that he was a big help to Broughton and Co in the court process.

However, Purslow can't escape his villain like presence and overstepping the mark when concerning his duties. The gripe that most people have with Purslow is the way he seemed to suck up to other members of the board in his time as managing director and how he ended up apparently having more control than the manager when it came to transfers.

Purslow was brought in by Liverpool to secure investment and to help sell on the club to better owners and although he eventually did that, he got too big for his boots in the meantime. A managing director shouldn't have any involvement with the football at the club or with the players or signings but it appears Purslow did.

Purslow was believed to have held talks with other clubs over the signing of players behind Benitez's back and also when Roy Hodgson was brought in. It made matters worse that Purslow boasted about this his new duties to the press, most Liverpool fans have a touchy relationship with the press and any member of a Liverpool board that is pally pally with them was always going to be disliked.

Along with stories that he was helping Dalglish to choose the new manager after Rafa had gone too it was all a bit too slimy for Liverpool fans. Purslow as a managing director should have stayed quiet and done his job and although he did secure investment with Standard Chartered and also helped the club succeed in it's sale to FSG, he went about it in the wrong way. He's a very easy man to dislike unfortunately and the power went straight to his head, that's why you voted him in at number 5.

Michael Owen


"Crap! I didn't check the result of the 2:30 at Kempton."
Image: Link
In at number 4 is that man Michael Owen, once a Liverpool legend, now regarded by many as a Judas.

Michael Owen signed a schoolboy contract for Liverpool at the age of 12. His debut came in 1997 for the Liverpool first team against Wimbledon. Owen scored 158 goals for Liverpool in 297 games and every season where he was fully fit he provided Liverpool with a bag of goals, he burst onto the scene when called up for the first team and despite being injury prone he always came back and gave his all for Liverpool.

He loved the club and the fans loved him. The fans however didn't take too kindly to rumours of him wanting to move abroad, most fans can accept that there usually comes a stage where a player wants a new challenge but most fans also seemed to focus on the cash element of this move. 

Real Madrid came calling and Michael Owen didn't seem to hesitate too much. Real signed him up for £8 million with a nice wage packet but by 2005 Owen was already rumoured to be coming back to England. 

He signed for Newcastle and despite a poor reception from some Liverpool fans angered by his Real Madrid move, overall it was quite neutral. The real problem with Owen arose in 2009.

Michael Owen signed for Manchester United in July of that year. The wage packet again was ridiculous enough but he had signed for United. You just don't do it, especially not when you're an injury prone, ex Red money grabber. 

Despite all this, I still can't hate him, growing up, to me Michael Owen was Liverpool Football Club, he was my first favourite player and I was amazed watching him play. I still will never be able to grasp though that he signed for United. His Twitter remarks after some of the games too are John Terry "let's grab the glory-esque", it's like that thing where you're parents speak to you after you've pissed them off... "I'm not angry at you, I'm just disappointed."


And it appears many of you are very disappointed in him, that's why he's in at number 4.

Fernando Torres


"This is the happiest I'll ever be."
Image: telegraph.co.uk
You may well disagree if you have a more acceptable nature like myself but you can't be surprised that you lot voted Fernando Torres in at number 3.

Signed in July 2007 by Rafael Benitez from Atletico Madrid he was the man that Liverpool fans had been waiting for. Most had seen his capabilities on display in Spain and the excitement was bubbling when he was unveiled.

Torres broke records and scored like he wasn't even trying. 65 goals in 102 appearances and he reached 50 in the league faster than any other player ever in a Red shirt. He was loved by the Liverpool fans and
"Fernando Torres Liverpool's number 9" soon became a chant constantly ringing around Anfield.

So why on earth is he hated? One word - Chelsea.

As Torres began to realise that Liverpool were in trouble and after he wasn't convinced by the appointment of Hodgson it was clear that he was having second thoughts about his stay.

This is fair enough in my eyes but after the support from the Liverpool fans you would think that he would have treated his departure with a bit more tact.

After being signed by Chelsea for £50 million Torres had a beaming smile and whilst you would be happy after securing a new deal his comments suggested he would quickly forget about those Liverpool fans who supported him for so long.

Liverpool is a club that loves its players even when they have long gone but you have to leave properly. You can't just leave us in the lurch without so much as a goodbye and make Chelsea out to be a bigger and better club than the one you have just left.

I personally wouldn't describe my feelings as hate for Torres because as you will see from number 4 I still can't bring myself to hate Owen and what he has done is a lot worse.

Whilst I can't fully hate the man I can totally see why you voted Fernando Torres in at number 3 for the Ex Reds you love to hate.

El Hadji Diouf


"Pluck those nose hairs."
Image: virginmedia.com
In at number 2 and voted by you is El  Hadji Diouf.

El Hadji Diouf is a less than popular character within the whole of football and despite the fact Liverpool fans do like a loveable rogue (just look at Craig Bellamy) Diouf took this one too far.

Diouf isn't the most talented of players and his attitude to go along with it stinks. However when he arrived at Liverpool, as always, the fans got behind him. Signed by Houllier in 2002 the Senegalise born Diouf was an interesting player for the Reds due to his versatility.

The focus from fans though wasn't on his dribbling, it was what he was doing with it. Saliva seemed to be some sort of valid weapon in Diouf's eyes. Footballers spit all of the time, we see them doing it all over the pitch but when it is aimed at a player or fan it is one of the most degrading acts you can perform. Utterly disgraceful.

Soon after signing for Liverpool Diouf was accused of spitting at some West Ham fans whilst he was warming up. Despite the disgust it was assumed that this was an isolated incident.

A year later though Diouf was at it again, this time spitting at Celtic fans in a UEFA Cup quarter final. This time it became clear that Diouf was a disgusting player, he clearly had no respect for the opposition fans and he wasn't exactly respectful to opposition players or even team mates at times.

You'd think by now, after being fined and guilty for spitting at fans he would keep himself to himself and stop creating scenes. You would also think that he would realise how disgusting spitting at somebody is but no, he decided to take it that one step further didn't he?

Once again, opposition fans but this time it was an 11 year old. In 2004 he was charged by police for this unacceptable incident and still to this day I cannot understand what encourages a player to do something like that, it's bad enough spitting at people but what on gods green earth has an 11 year old done to deserve that? He really makes me sick Diouf does and there's still more stories about him and his mouth.

Whilst at Bolton Diouf spat at Portsmouth player Zeeuw. At this stage then manager Sam Allardyce was deciding whether to send Diouf to a Sports Psychologist.

Away from saliva, Diouf racially abused a ball boy whilst at Everton and tried to claim that it was because the lad had thrown the ball at him like you would throw a bone to a dog, he also tried to claim that Everton fans were throwing bananas but no evidence was found.

Brawls and motoring offences are the minor things that create the hatred towards Diouf but it is safe to say that in at number 2, he is one of the Ex Reds Liverpool fans love to hate.


Hicks and Gillett


GG: "Ooo that was close from snoogy." TH: "Like my scarf? That bloke in KOP block 305 paid for it."
Image: dailymail.co.uk
Straight in at number 1 are Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

For those of you reading this who don't know who these two men are, I will attempt to round this all up in as simple a way as possible though simple is a word rarely used when discussing these two.

Tom Hicks and George Gillett were two American business men. They had dabbled in sporting ventures before and somewhat unsuccessfully but they had Liverpool fans completely duped with their passionate paragraphs and determination to buy the club, unfortunately for Liverpool it quickly came to light that these two men were not in this for the good of the club or to get themselves involved in English football, oh no, they were in this for the money.

February 6th 2007 was supposed to be an enjoyable day for Liverpool fans and it certainly was at the time, fans were excited, the club had just been bought for in the region of £400 million and the owners seemed trustworthy and more than willing to supply current manager Rafael Benitez with the transfer funds that he needed.

These two men didn't take long though to start digging holes, creating lies and sucking money out of their offshore "Kop Holdings" account that was set up to buy the club, it all began so quickly.

Almost immediately both Hicks and Gillett, Gillett specifically in this case began to talk to the English press about Liverpool Football Club and it was well known that the two businessmen were keen on the idea of buildng a new stadium for the club in Stanley Park. Gillett was so eager and excited he went as far to say that there would be "a spade in the ground in 60 days". As we all know, despite some impressive drawing and visualizations from an overly paid architect, the stadium was never built.

Then we have the "snoogy doogy" debate. Rafael Benitez had won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005 and the FA Cup in 2006 but it was no secret that he required funds to help build up and better the side, Rafa was as passionate about giving Liverpool title hopes as the Anfield faithful were and it finally seemed as though Liverpool could start to compete with the money throwers of Manchester United and Chelsea.

"If Rafa said he wanted to buy Snoogy Doogy, we would back him." This quote from George Gillett did not only turn out to be another lie, it also began to show the clear lack of knowledge from the Americans about "soccer".

Rafa's best and most supported transfer market was the year that Hicks and Gillett took over, Fernando Torres was snapped up for £20 million and it appeared as though what the owners were saying despite not knowing an actual footballer to insert into their comment was true.

However, as the seasons went by, Rafa's mantra in the market soon had to become "sell to buy" and the Spaniard found himself struggling to create funds himself rather than be handed them. The thing was, I don't think Liverpool were expecting millions and millions just a healthy budget.

Considering we're on the topic of Rafael Benitez and the owners, we'll mention Jurgen Klinsmann shall we? Yes, because Hicks and Gillett also thought it was a brilliant idea to target the German behind Rafa's back despite the fact that back then barely anyone wanted rid of Rafa and an even greater amount didn't want Jurgen soddin Klinsmann.

As the years went on Rafa took the chance to be honest with the fans, he was trying his best but the owners weren't backing him. As Spirit Of Shankly the Liverpool supporters group got on the case, more and more information about the owners began to come to light. Things like how the men took funds from the "Kop Holdings" they had set up, Hicks claimed £523,000 in expenses and Gillett £1.32 million. They found it perfectly acceptable to take money which in effect was from the sale of tickets and merchandise, supplied by Liverpool fans and use it as and when they wished.

Relations between the owners and the fans got worse and worse and Liverpool's football took a hard knock too. How on earth Rafael Benitez managed to almost win the title in 2009 under those circumstances I will never know and he'll never get the credit he deserves from most for doing so.

Hicks and Gillett also told us fans that the club had been bought outright and that there was no need to worry about loans and leveraged buyouts, it soon became clear though when RBS began calling for a repayment that once again, the Americans had lied to us. The debts racked up from the failure to repay this loan were massive and Liverpool Football Club was in a dangerous financial state RBS however offered re finance to the Americans but that didn't give them as much time as they had hoped.

With administration being talked about and even the deduction of 9 points, protests began headed by Spirit Of Shankly and eventually the two parasites were ousted.

You'd have to go a long way to find worse "Ex Reds" than these two and I am glad that you voted them in at number 1 because I 100% agree. A real torrid time for Liverpool supporters and the above is only a glimpse of it, I never even mentioned the email from Hick's son or the intense and almost ridiculous boardroom battle towards the end of their tenure but I am sure you get the jist, we certainly love to hate these pair!

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Monday, 18 June 2012

Liverpool Fixtures 2012/2013

The fixtures were released today much to the excitement of many a Liverpool fan ready and eager to find out who exactly Brendan Rodgers would face in his first game as Liverpool manager. As it turns out it will be away to Steve Clarke's West Brom.

The first three home games have got many talking as the Reds will have to face Manchester City, Arsenal and then Manchester United on the bounce at Anfield. There's no hiding from the fact that this is a difficult start but to be the best you have to beat the best and plus, if you look at it with a neutral head, if Brendan's boys win these games or get some good results we'll be laughing but even if they don't they have the large portion of the season to focus on before these fixtures swing round again. I say bring it on!

One thing most people like to do is look at the fixtures closest to their birthday and for me it's Newcastle at Anfield the day before.

Brendan will have to wait until the 24th November to face his old Swansea side.

Christmas and New Year see the Reds face Fulham on the 22nd December at Anfield then they travel to Stoke on Boxing Day and will face QPR at Loftus Road on the 29th December. New Year's Day will see us battle Sunderland at home.

As for the end of season and May as a whole, well it's a relatively kind finish for Liverpool. Everton at home on the 4th is followed by Fulham away on the 12th and then to end the season we have QPR at Anfield.

At this moment in time and remaining realistic you would think that these last few fixtures won't mean the world to us but who knows?

What are your stand out fixtures for this season? The full list is below (Source: http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/latest-news/lfc-s-2012-13-fixtures-revealed)


AUGUST
18 West Brom [Away]
25 Manchester City [Home]
SEPTEMBER
1 Arsenal [Home]
15 Sunderland [Away]
22 Manchester United [Home]
29 Norwich City [Away] 
OCTOBER
6 Stoke City [Home]
20 Reading [Home]
27 Everton [Away]
NOVEMBER
3 Newcastle United [Home]
10 Chelsea [Away]
17 Wigan Athletic [Home]
24 Swansea City [Away]
27 Tottenham [Away]
DECEMBER
1 Southampton [Home]
8 West Ham [Away]
15 Aston Villa [Home]
22 Fulham [Home]
26 Stoke City [Away]
29 QPR [Away]
JANUARY 2013
1 Sunderland [Home]
12 Manchester United [Away]
19 Norwich City [Home]
29 Arsenal [Away]
FEBRUARY
2 Manchester City [Away]
9 West Brom [Home]
23 Swansea City [Home]
MARCH
2 Wigan Athletic [Away]
9 Tottenham [Home]
16 Southampton [Away]
30 Aston Villa [Away]
APRIL
6 West Ham [Home]
13 Reading [Away]
20 Chelsea [Home]
27 Newcastle United [Away]
MAY
4 Everton [Home]
12 Fulham [Away]
19 QPR [Home]
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Thursday, 7 June 2012

Reds Called Up For England Duties

Image: Link

With the Euros starting on Friday, kicking off with host nation Poland facing Greece I thought it would be nice to do a round up of the Liverpool players at the England camp in Poland. Injuries to some of the England players meant that the original 4 Liverpool squad members was increased to 6 by Roy Hodgson.

Steven Gerrard
Image: telegraph.co.uk
Steven Gerrard is England's captain for Euro 2012 as chosen by Roy Hodgson. As Liverpool's long standing captain we all know he has a real presence over 90 minutes and can encourage or spark a performance out of most players.

More so than ever though Steven Gerrard is left in a tough position because Hodgson's side this year is one of change and of youth. There's some experience next to Gerrard in Scott Parker but many of the midfielders and forwards are lacking in England caps.

Gerrard is of course more effective in a more attacking role but in this particular England set up and in Roy's plans he will have to settle for a more defensive one. The plus side hopefully being that with Andy Carroll as a possible regular up front starter, Gerrard can and will be aware of the types of ball Carroll is after. Despite the need for Gerrard to play deeper you can still guarantee he'll be constantly drifting in to more forward positions.

Gerrard has 19 goals for England, his most recent coming in a friendly at Wembley against Hungary. He also scored in England's rather poor campaign during the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. In fairness to Gerrard during that poor campaign he was one of the better performers.

As Liverpool's main representative and with a lot of pressure being captain I'm confident Gerrard will do well  whether England do as a whole though is a different question.

Andy Carroll
Image: sabotagetimes.com
Towards the end of last season for Liverpool the big Geordie finally began to find his feet and found some of the form and goals that he consistently had in his playing days at Newcastle.

For some, Carroll isn't the ideal choice up front, many England fans would rather see a single striker and one with a more skillful ability. With Wayne Rooney unavailable to start though and Jermain Defoe sadly looking as though he will miss England's first game after the passing of his Father, it looks as though Carroll will almost certainly be involved in the starting line up.

Some argue Welbeck should start alone but it appears Hodgson likes the idea of Carroll's command and presence and I must admit, so do I. People forget that Carroll doesn't just provide a goal threat but he's an extremely effective method of support for the other forwards and any wingers encroaching in to the box. He's better with his feet than some people give him credit for and can set up goals just as good as he can convert them.

The other plus side for me in a strange way is that for me at the moment, I personally feel he fits into the England side better than he does the Liverpool one. Roy's tactics may not have been suited to Liverpool when he was shortly at the helm at Anfield but I feel they will and should benefit Carroll greatly.

I'm not expecting him to score bags of goals although would be over the moon if he did however I can see him scoring important goals and having a decent tournament overall.

Stewart Downing
Image: guardian.co.uk
Downing is a bit of a jar of marmite at Liverpool at the moment and I certainly won't hide from the fact that I criticised him on several occasions last season. As a winger you would hope that he was confident in his assists but he appeared to fall at the first hurdle a fair few times last season.

Despite this, we know, especially from his days at Aston Villa that Downing is fully capable and on his day is a cracking player. He doesn't score many goals but that isn't what Hodgson has called him up for.

With Gerrard in the centre of midfield I would hope that their familiarity with each other could benefit the England side. Downing is versatile and so it will be interesting to see if Roy starts him on his preferred left side or on the right.

No disrespect to Downing at all but I get the feeling that he will fall into a more unnoticed role this campaign if he gets the starts. In a sense this isn't a bad thing because players like Barry and Lucas at Liverpool often go unnoticed when what they are providing to the team is actually very good and usually of utmost importance.

Glen Johnson
Image: telegraph.co.uk
Glen Johnson for me has earnt his place in this England side and with injuries hitting the back four he will surely start. Many neutrals have said that a lot of the Liverpool players called up haven't really earnt their place but Glen I feel is one who has.

He may not have had a perfect Liverpool campaign but then who did last season? What he has done though is feature in several important fixtures and pull out some top performances when they mattered most.

Glen for me is the perfect full back especially when concerning the England side because his confidence and ability going forward is enough to fluster any player and if he can produce it in the Premier League then he can surely trouble the likes of Sweden, Ukraine and France within our group.

Glen also strikes me as one of those players that truly feels pride when he pulls on the England shirt. I'm one of the less excitable England supporters because it's just never the same when it's not your club and I know that a vast majority of Liverpool fans don't give a toss about England but I think it's nice to see a player take great responsibility and I get the feeling that Glen with have a very good tournament.

Jordan Henderson
Image: guardian.co.uk
Jordan was very much favoured by Kenny Dalglish last season and he started nearly every game for Liverpool. At 21 years of age Jordan still has a lot to learn but his effort last season encouraged most Liverpool fans to get behind him and slowly but surely he seems to be learning his trade.

After Frank Lampard got injured it was perhaps a shock call up from Roy Hodgson especially to the neutrals but for Liverpool fans it was fantastic. The England camp was turning remarkably red.

It is quite feasible to suggest that Henderson won't get a chance to start but if he is given one then he should flourish in an England side consisting of the likes of Steven Gerrard and James Milner in midfield. The slightly different set up for England will also give Jordan another opportunity to gain experience and hopefully learn some lessons.

Given the chance to I think Jordan could impress some England fans during this tournament and will undoubtedly progress along the way.

Martin Kelly
Image: thefa.com
The biggest surprise of them all apparently, certainly so in the eyes of the media who are more concerned with the goings on between Terry and Rio was the call up of Martin Kelly.

The thing I don't understand pushing the issues that Roy hasn't explained properly about Terry and Rio aside is that most, if not all proper England fans, I mean the lads that travel all over the shop with trumpets and stuff... Are ALWAYS saying that the England side needs youth, they need a change, a risk, an upcoming talent. So why then when exactly that in the shape of Martin Kelly is chosen are we still moaning about a 33 year old being left at home?

Don't get me wrong, I don't like John Terry or Rio Ferdinand and it's up to them to sort out their differences but for me Terry is the better player and unfortunately for Rio, that means he was going to be chosen, but then I suppose you could argue that maybe Roy shouldn't have chosen either. The other thing about Terry is, he's sort of Mr. England isn't he? So you'd struggle not to take him but then Rio isn't exactly going to not give his all? Anyways, nobody cares about that...

My point is that pushing those issues aside people should be excited about the prospect of Martin Kelly. Neutrals who have watched him in Liverpool games should have spotted his confidence and his ability to push forward. The other thing that always gets me about Kelly is that he is fearless. I remember the first time I properly watched him play and he was diving in to tackles like nobody's business and usually successfully.

He's a cracking young player and has gone from strength to strength in his time at Liverpool. Maybe I am overly excited because he is a Liverpool player but I honestly feel there is a reason to start him in the tournament.

I do see the argument that Kelly should not have been called up to replace a centre back because he doesn't play there but nevertheless, for me, Kelly is a very useful player to have on the bench and many people will be surprised if he gets the chance to start.

Euro 2012 Overall
As for my overall thoughts, well firstly it's brilliant there are 6 Liverpool players travelling as it makes it so much easier to get behind the England side. I also think that the likes of Carroll and Gerrard could be very important to the side during this tournament and I hope they do well.

As for England's chances, we should really get out of the group stages but the problem then becomes massive. If we finish winners we face the runners up of Group C and if we finish runners up we face the winners of Group C.

Going on predictions, you would think that Spain would win the group with Italy following and so for me England would need to pull off a stonking performance to get past either of those two. Italy would be easier to take than Spain but I still don't think England could beat either of them, hopefully however I'll be wrong... It does happen quite a lot! Haha.

Enjoy the footy folks, I hope all your countries do you proud!

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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Vote For The Liver Bird As Best Female Footy Blog

Folks, as you may well have noticed from my tweets and updates on the Facebook page, I've entered the "Football Blogging Awards". They have 10 categories and The Liver Bird is up for best female football blog.

There are some top candidates in that section and there are lasses with blogs from all over the place and from all sorts of different clubs but wouldn't it be fantastic for The Liver Bird and Liverpool to do well?

There are two ways to vote you can simply follow this link -  https://www.facebook.com/questions/376226079081081/  and select "The Liver Bird" which takes less than 2 seconds.

Or alternatively...

If you are a Twitter user you can tweet "@TheFBAs @Username #Female" simply replace the username with "LFCKirstyLFC"

For a full breakdown of the rules follow this link.

I would really appreciate your votes, shares or retweets, it all helps and if any of you have blogs in the other categories let me know so I can return the favour and vote back!

Thanks folks!

#YNWA
#LFCFamily



VOTE RED, VOTE THE LIVER BIRD.

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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Past Players: Volume 6 - Sami Hyypia

Sami Hyypia was at Liverpool Football Club for a fantastic 10 years. As Houllier's signing in 1999, I grew up with the Finnish defender commanding the Liverpool back four. From a relatively unknown element brought into the Liverpool side he flourished into a fan favourite and a legend in his own right.

Image: thehardtackle.com

The Basics

Full Name: Sami Hyypia
Nickname: "Big Sami"
Date Of Birth: 7th October 1973
Born in: Porvoo, Finland
Height: 6'5"
Position: Defender

Background

Hyypia was born into a footballing family as his Mother was an amateur goalkeeper and his Father played for Finnish side Pallo Peikot. His early sporting days saw him take up Ice Hockey whilst in school which is a popular choice in the Scandinvian countries but the footballing influence eventually filtered its way through to Sami.

After retiring from football Hyypia set up a charitable fund to help encourage and support young athletes from Finland. He ran the Helsinki marathon in August 2011 in 3hours and 56minutes to help raise funds.

Finnish Roots

Sami's early career saw him sign for his local team KuMu where he played in several positions. In 1992 he signed for MyPa who were in the Premier division of Finnish football. Jari Litmanen was one of his team mates in 1992 and Sami won the Finnish Cup twice in his time at the club.

Sami scored 8 goals in 96 appearances for MyPa.

Willem II

In 1995 Sami left his home country and signed for Willem II who at the time were in the top flight of Dutch football. Willem II at the time were renown for their high levels of fitness and Hyypia had to work extremely hard in his time within the Dutch side.

Hyypia spent 4 years in the Netherlands and scored 3 goals in 100 appearances for Willem II.

Liverpool

It was actually a cameraman who filmed European football that recommended Sami Hyypia to the Liverpool staff and when Ron Yeats went to see Hyypia play he was more than impressed, after several visits Hyypia was eventually signed by Houllier in 1999 for £2.6million.

Hyypia started out as a risk for many Liverpool fans because to most he was an unknown player of unknown talent but he would prove himself almost immediately as a strong and confident centre back.

Just two years in to his Liverpool career Hyypia was a vital part of the side that won the treble in 2001 winning the League Cup, the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup.

In 2002 Sami Hyypia was named as captain but his role was taken away by Steven Gerrard in 2003. Some fans argued that his performances had become sloppy in the year he was captain but everyone is entitled to a poor season, especially when you remain at a club for 10 years.

Sami Hyypia was extremely well behaved on the pitch and received his one and only red card in his career in a predictably heated game against Manchester United.

When Rafael Benitez turned up at the club, Hyypia must have been wondering whether he was in the Spaniard's plans but he had no need to worry because he was, very much so. Rafa put Jamie Carragher into the centre to work with Sami Hyypia and their partnership went from strength to strength.

2005 brought Hyypia's career highlight at Liverpool Football Club and arguably ever. He was a vital pin in the Liverpool side that fought their way to the Champions League Final and then fought hard again to create a footballing miracle coming back from 3-0 down in Istanbul to beat AC Milan on penalties.

In 2006 Hyypia was involved in another cup win as he started against West Ham in the FA Cup final. He also put himself into the top 25 for all time appearances at Liverpool Football Club. By 2008 he had pushed into the top 20.

In May 2009 it was announced that Hyypia had agreed a deal to move to Bayer Leverkusen. Hyypia played his last game for the Reds at the end of that May as he came on as a substitute and Steven Gerrard placed the captains armband on him as he entered the fray for the final 5 minutes. It was an emotional day for Hyypia and the whole of Anfield gave the much loved defender a standing ovation at the final whistle.



Hyypia scored 35 goals in 464 appearances for Liverpool and he won 10 trophies in the 10 years he was at the club.


Bayer Leverkusen
After Liverpool Sami decided to continue playing instead of accepting a coaching role at the club. Hyypia made his debut in August for Bayer Leverkusen and they finished 4th in his first season with them. 
He spent 2 years with the German side and scored 3 goals in 53 appearances. On the 2nd of May 2011 Hyypia announced that he was to end his football playing days.


Finland
Hyypia made his first appearance for the National side in 1992 at the age of 19. Hyypia has featured in many games for Finland including European Championship and World Cup qualifiers and he is currently the second most capped Finnish player ever.
Image: uefa.com
Managerial/Coaching Career
After retiring Hyypia took up positions on coaching teams at the Finland national side and also at Bayer Leverkusen. Hyypia is currently manager of Bayer Leverkusen and they finished the 2012 season in 5th place.


Honours

MyPa
Finnish Cup - 1992, 1995

Liverpool
FA Cup - 2001, 2006
League Cup - 2001, 2003
Community Shield - 2001, 2006
UEFA Cup - 2001
Champions League - 2005
UEFA Super Cup - 2001, 2005

Personal
Finnish Sports Journalist Player Of The Year - 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010
Finnish FA Player Of The Year - 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010
Finnish Sports Person Of The Year - 2001
Goal.com Central Defender Of The Decade - December 2009
Soccer Aid Winner - 2010

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