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Bez Lifts the Lid...
 Life with United...and beyond   Part X

This week from Bez, Philippe the Sexist, the tale of Stevie W and his BMX prang, plus an Anfield spat with miserable Kenny.... 

Liverpool (h) 3-0 Premier League 21/11/1993

"I was injured for this one but even from the bench this was a great win to be part of. It was a shame that the Grobelaar allegations took some of the shine off it a few years later but I don't think many could fault the keeper - he had little chance with any of them. I think the Liverpool defence down our left was at fault for all three with Scotty Sellars and Peter Beardsley getting in behind them each time. Kevin Keegan was delighted after the game as the match had been billed as a real test for us against one of the leading sides in the country. It was also a SKY game so it was nice to do it in front of the nation."

Liverpool (a) 2-0 Premier League 16/4/1994

"An amazing day all round. We were warming up at the start of the game when a Newcastle fan came onto the pitch and laid a wreath in our penalty area. You could sense the emotion around the ground and both sets of fans were amazing that day. Rob Lee scored early on and Ruel Fox had a hand in the second. Didn't he play it through for Andy Cole to run on and score after we had cleared a corner? 

"Even though they were losing 2-0 you could hear constant noise from both sets of fans and I think at one point the whole ground was singing "You'll Never Walk Alone". Although, you are concentrating fully on the game, you are aware of what the crowd are chanting and you feel it on the pitch. I remember feeling really proud to be a part of it all and Keegan was as happy after that game as I can ever recall seeing him. I think he was so pleased because he had seen his own side do what the great Liverpool sides of the 70's had done and to do it Anfield was a dream for him. He subbed Venners and Beardsley late in the game and as ex-Liverpool players they got a fantastic reception which capped a fantastic and emotional day."

Liverpool (h) 1-1 Premiership 24/9/1994 

Rob Lee got a cracker but Ian Rush equalised for Liverpool. Philippe Albert got sent off. 

"Philippe wanted to be a Geordie. He wanted to live the life of a Geordie probably more than any other player who came to the club while I was there. He converted himself, really, and he loved the Sid the Sexist cartoon character from Viz. So much so, that he would sometimes copy Sid's chat-up lines. However, he was a bit like the bloke from 'Allo 'Allo and he'd often get the translation a bit wrong. I remember hearing him use a Sid the Sexist line once when we were in Julie's. It was the one about chocolate and Mars Bars and the look of horror on the face of the girl he said it to was a picture. I asked him if he realised exactly what he'd just said, he replied, "Of course. I zink it is very funny."

"He would be out every night and he often said that he'd live in Newcastle when he finished playing. It was funny because when he was out, he would be ready to fight the world but on the pitch he was completely different. At Old Trafford once he pulled out of a 50:50 tackle just before half-time and Derek Fazackerly went mad at him. He absolutely tore into him in the dressing room and Philippe just sat there and didn't say a word. Faz kept on at him but still nothing. At the end he asked him if he understood and Albert shrugged and replied, "But I may get hurt."  We couldn't believe it. 

"He did eventually change and would go in for full-blooded tackles but he honestly didn't understand why a player would risk being injured for three or four games by going in for heavy challenges. I think that's true of a lot of European players and I suppose it's actually quite sensible. However, it's not the culture in this country and I think he realised that." 

Liverpool (h) 2-1 Premiership 4/11/1995

Les Ferdinand got an early goal but Ian Rush equalised ten minutes later. Steve Watson got the winner in the last minute after David James had spilled the ball. "Watto" also scored a great goal in a Coca-Cola cup game at Anfield that year.

"Watto was massively hyperactive. Nobody wanted to room with him because he would be up all hours playing games and he never seemed to sleep. Honestly, he was like a seven-year-old trapped in an adult's body. He would have played hide and seek if he could have found anyone to join in.... 

"He was once spotted coming out of QuaserLaser at the MetroCentre with sweat pouring off him one Friday afternoon before a Saturday game which didn't go down too well. But worse, was the time he missed a couple of games because he injured himself... falling off his BMX bike. Keegan went ballistic. Even becoming a father didn't seem to calm him down much, in fact he was the kind of Dad who loved to buy Scalectrix and video games so he could play on them himself!

"Steve has every trick in the book and is a very talented player. However, he would sometimes do the odd daft thing. Do you remember the time when he jumped up and punched the ball and gave away that penalty for no apparent reason against Leeds, I think? 

Rob Lee and I would take the mickey out of Watto, Clarkie and Howey something rotten. We labelled them the Three Thickies and we would re-inact that Monty Python sketch where they are deciding whether to burn a witch by seeing if they sink or not. With those three you could hit them with a stinging one-liner and then hit them again before they had time to reply. It was a bit cruel, really, but they took it in good spirit."

Liverpool (a) 3-4 Premiership 3/4/1996

"There's not much that you can say about this game that hasn't been said already. Of course it was an absolute classic but it felt awful afterwards. Keegan is often quoted as saying to Terry Mac on the coach what a great game it had been but to be honest I don't think anyone said a word after that match. We were all just numb. Everyone was devastated.

"We did well to come from a goal down and then took the lead twice. At 3-2 we were playing really well and it was one of those that we could have gone on to make it four or five. However, they had McManaman and McAteer down the right and McAteer had given up chasing Ginola down our left and had decided to push forward. Although this was great for us when we were attacking, as they came back into the game I was getting more and more stretched with McAteer overlapping. Obviously Ginola wasn't helping me out much....

"I was desperate for a bit of help down that left and we had Robbie Elliott on the bench so I was hoping Keegan would bring him on to shore things up a bit. The rest is history...." 

Liverpool (a) 3-4 Premiership 10/3/1997

"This was the one where we got absolutely murdered in the first half and were 3-0 down. It was also the one where a fan came up to the bench and threw his shirt at Kenny. It was also the beginning of the end for me. I was out with a thigh muscle strain and I'd failed a fitness test which was still really painful. Kenny asked me if I'd go on the bench as he was struggling to put down five names. I looked at Derek Wright [physio] who looked as bemused as me. "OK," I said, "But I can't play."

"We lost Beardsley and Clarkie through injury and Ginola and Les came on, who weren't 100%. Les lasted about ten minutes of the second half before it was obvious he was struggling. Kenny turned to me and said, "Go and warm up." I couldn't believe it. I just looked at him and said, "No. I'm injured." "You what?" he said. At that moment my career at United was over. In the end, Jimmy Crawford went on and I turned to Wrighty and muttered, "I bloody knew that would happen."

"The next game was Coventry at home and my injury had settled down a bit by then and I was definitely OK to be on the bench. In the dressing room in front of everyone he named the team and turned to me and said, "I'm not putting you on the bench because you probably wouldn't come on anyway." In the end he just named four subs.

"Of course, I got back into the side and we qualified for the Champions League but I don't think Kenny ever forgave me, which seemed totally unfair."

Niall MacKenzie

Page last updated 24 June, 2009