Friday, January 22, 2021

Euros Still in Doubt

EURO 2020 MAY NOT HAPPEN IN 2021

The delayed UEFA European Championship could be hosted by a single country or may not happen at all this summer as Covid-19 continues to grip the world.

Euro 2020

UEFA's plan for a multinational tournament and 24 teams has already been delayed by a year but the rejigged tournament looks increasingly threatened as European nations wilt under the third and worst wave of the pandemic.

Northern Ireland has just extended its national lockdown until the 5th of March, coincidentally UEFA's deadline for deciding on the fate of their showpiece tournament. 

As it stands it is slated to begin on the 11th of June in Rome and end a month later in London, but should other nations follow Ulster's suit and extend their lockdowns into the Spring, the prospect of Euro 2020  happening this summer grows smaller.

And yet, domestic leagues plow on and the Champions League and Europa League were concluded last year, behind closed doors of course. 

The multi-country hosting was the "romantic" brainchild of former UEFA President Michel Platini in 2012, expanding the number of finalists to 24 to boot, but the French legend was banned from football three years later for corruption. Nine years since the hosting decision, UEFA is still having to live with the disgraced Platini's vision, or monster.

Michel Platini

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has told German newspapers that UEFA boss Aleksander Ceferin is currently mulling over whether to award the whole tournament to a single host nation instead of the 12 planned.

Ceferin said UEFA were assessing the options of playing in nine or ten countries as well as just one as well as stadia a third or a half-full.

England, as the major host with seven matches including both semis and the final at Wembley, may be in pole position to host the whole show but other nearby venues would be required too as the finals comprise 51 games in total. Ten were used in France for the 24-team Euro 2016

Glasgow's Hampden Park is due to host three group matches, while Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, which narrowly missed the cut, could be brought back into the fold too.

That said, Great Britain is statistically the least safe place in Europe right now to hold the finals as it boasts the continent's highest death and infection rates.

If the worst happens and the Euros cannot go ahead in June they could be played in summer 2022, two years late, but with winter 2022 taken up by the Qatar World Cup, footballers would have a packed calendar. The fact the World Cup is not being played in summer however does leave that window uniquely open.

This week, the Tokyo Olympics, like the Euros delayed since last year, has had to deny press rumours their tournament is on the brink of cancellation or postponement. 

The Olympics are slated to start two weeks after the Euros finish but a Japanese minister admitted it was touch and go and the head of World Athletics Sebastian Coe has said the games might go ahead but behind closed doors. 

In his New Year's message, Ceferin was ever the politician: "I am 99.9% sure we will have the European Championship in all twelve cities as planned," he said.

Today those words seem extremely doubtful.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Young Reds can learn to play the Liverpool way with launch of new platform

Young Reds can learn to play the Liverpool way

Liverpool FC has launched a brand-new online platform to help young footballers master the skills necessary to play the Liverpool way.

Developed by coaches at LFC, this is an unparalleled opportunity for young players to benefit from the leading academy expertise of one of the world's most successful clubs. Whether they are starting out in the game or want to supplement other forms of training they may be undertaking.

Young Reds can learn to play the Liverpool way

Through world-class academy training methods, elite technical insights and inspiring content from the Reds' first team heroes, LFC's new eAcademy provides youngsters with the unique opportunity to develop their individual skills and techniques.

So, for players hoping to learn how to shoot like Mo Salah, dribble like Sadio Mane, pass like Thiago or strike a ball like Trent Alexander-Arnold, the eAcademy will show them how to do it.

Designed to be easily accessible to young fans around the world, the platform provides access to professional skills development videos and LFC coach demonstrations to break each technique down in to the most important aspects to focus on.

For added aspirational value and to help push young players closer towards their goals, eAcademy includes LFC match footage to inspire and motivate, whilst identifying examples of the techniques deemed to be the most important by our coaches. And young Reds can also get pointers from the first team boss himself with Jurgen Klopp endorsing which skills to focus on, giving an authentic insight into the areas most valued at LFC.

Jurgen Klopp, said: "The eAcademy gives users a unique insight into the skills we value when playing the Liverpool way. It's a great platform to help young players learn the techniques they need to advance their skills and become a better footballer. The LFC eAcademy will show you how to master the most important skills and techniques."

Reds captain, Jordan Henderson, said: "Developing your skills to become the best footballer you can be is about hard work, dedication and commitment. You need to spend hours and hours practicing and mastering techniques as a young player.

The LFC eAcademy will support and guide young footballers to make sure they are working on the areas that will help them the most."

eAcademy is the ideal way for parents and guardians to help their children learn to play the Liverpool Way and improve their game performance from home.

LFC Academy graduate and first team player, Trent Alexander-Arnold, said: "I didn't only rely on my training with my coaches to improve my game, I had to work hard and practice on my own to make sure I was going to achieve my goals. I'd have loved to have something like this when I was growing up.

The eAcademy is a fantastic platform to show young players how to play the Liverpool way."

The perfect gift for any young player and Liverpool FC fan, LFC eAcademy is available for the one-off cost of £50 for 12 months, providing access to the full programme and masterclass content.

LFC eAcademy is available to access via: eacademy.liverpoolfc.com

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Liverpool FC scoops win at the ISC International Sports Awards 2020

Liverpool FC scoops win at the ISC International Sports Awards 2020

Liverpool FC has been recognised as a leader in sports innovation at the ISC International Sports Awards 2020 for the launch of its eAcademy platform. Beating off tough competition within the category, the Reds took home the accolade for innovation, with judges impressed by the new platform. LFC eAcademy launched last month and has been designed to help young footballers master the skills necessary to play The Liverpool Way.

Liverpool FC scoops win at the ISC International Sports Awards 2020

Developed by coaches at LFC, this is an unparalleled opportunity for young players to benefit from the leading academy expertise of one of the world's most successful clubs.

Through world-class academy training methods, elite technical insights and inspiring content from the Reds' first team heroes, LFC's new eAcademy provides youngsters with the unique opportunity to develop their individual skills and techniques.

Celebrating exceptional success in the sports industry, the International Sports Awards recognise the achievements of individuals, groups and companies with honour and recognition on an annual basis.

Overall, seven categories saw seven outstanding winners recognised for demonstrating the best creativity, innovation and solutions in 2020.

The awards will be presented to the winners during ISC Virtual Week 2020, which takes place December 7-11, 2020.

Commenting on the award win, Dan White, Vice President, LFC International Academies, said: "The eAcademy has been created to help young players learn the techniques and skills they need to become better footballers.

To achieve this, we required a unique platform that would inspire, support and guide the user, whether they were starting out in the game or using the eAcademy to supplement other forms of training.

"We're thrilled to have been named the winner of the innovation award at the ISC International Sports Awards 2020.

It's fantastic for the eAcademy to be recognised for its approach to skills development, the insight given to the user and also the innovative approach taken."

The perfect gift for any young player and Liverpool FC fan. Register at www.LFCeAcademy.com and access the full programme of masterclass content.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

傑志落實丹恩奴域加盟

傑志落實丹恩奴域加盟

Dejan Damjanovic

傑志今日正式宣佈,在韓職效力多年的前鋒丹恩奴域(Dejan Damjanovic) 將轉往香港繼續其足球生涯,他早前已動筆簽約,落實加盟傑志,預計他將於本月尾至下月初抵港,隔離檢疫後再正式報到。

來自黑山的丹恩奴域自2007年登陸韓職以來,先後效力過仁川聯和FC首爾,並於2011-2013年三度奪得韓職神射手。及後他雖曾轉投中超兩季,效力江蘇舜天及北京國安,但之後重投FC首爾,再先後效力水原藍翼及FC大邱,在韓職合共射入接近200球,三度為FC首爾奪得聯賽冠軍寶座。

他於亞冠盃亦有豐富的比賽經驗,2013年隨FC首爾打入決賽,最後不敵廣州恆大屈居亞軍,他個人歷來在亞冠盃攻入36球,在賽事歷史射手榜名列次席,僅落後第一位的李同國1球。

傑志足球總監朱志光對丹恩奴域加盟表示欣喜,認為他豐富的亞洲賽經驗是對球隊有極大幫助。今屆亞協盃和亞冠盃將於1月27日抽籤,相關賽制和賽期屆時亦將更明朗化。

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Feeling the New Year Blues

THE PREMIER LEAGUE IS NOT GOING THE WAY I THOUGHT IT WOULD

I do not support Chelsea, but I am feeling blue.

Roman Abramovich, showing no sign of fatigue, had let his oligarch millions flow in the summer and a box of delights duly arrived at Stamford Bridge.

The building blocks for a serious title assault were in place: I was sure Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz would score a sack of goals. At the back, England's Ben Chilwell looked a shrewd signing alongside the wise old head of Thiago Silva, while in Edouard Mendy they had found a safe pair of hands after their prolonged problems with Kepa.

As far as I could see, those purchases, added to their existing arsenal of Tammy Abraham, Billy Gilmour, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic, all led by a local hero in Frank Lampard, meant the West Londoners were if not a racing cert for the title then a good bet at least.

I also thought Liverpool would stay hungover from last year's glory, Manchester City needed an injection of new ideas and signings and Arsenal and Manchester United would continue their travails under newish managers to recapture their prowess. If anyone could challenge Chelsea I thought it would be in the form of a gallant run by Tottenham, as there is life in the old dog Mourinho.

But I was wrong again, which is why I never bet on football. After 16 matches, Chelsea lie sixth in the league seven points short of the points leaders Liverpool and Man United. 

Losses at Everton, Wolves and a surprisingly rampant Arsenal have shown a weakness away from home and they certainly do not look title material.

They have come undone, or at least failed to fire on all their undoubtedly capable cylinders. Lampard has been at pains to dampen expectations, insisting his collective are short on the experience needed to land the big prize.

Chelsea
Chelsea feeling blue

But to blame it on their youth? Wasn't Alan Hansen's notorious phrase 'You can't win anything with kids' disproved by Ajax's 1995 Champions League win (average age under 24)?

What is noticeable looking at the table as a whole as we enter 2021 is how many games the champions and league leaders have drawn - Liverpool have tied six compared to United's three. 

It is also clear that no side is consistent; Man U's four wins out of the last five and Sheffield United's four losses are the exceptions.

Spurs are third but with only one win in five. Everton had a flying start thanks to some great summer buys but then went on a run of only one win in seven before recovering to fifth as the new year began, before losing again. It is impossible to find a horse that will maintain an even gallop right now. 

Maybe I got them confused with the blue shirts of Everton and Leicester, both above Chelsea in the table. Every year the season's serpentine twists and turns convince me, even more, I should never be a betting man.

Who foresaw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team's resurgence or indeed Arsenal's recent renewal only a few games ago? The Gunners looked down for the count in the bottom half of the table. 

How did these men change losing streaks into winning runs? How did they inject all-round confidence into dressing rooms apparently losing hope? One game they are slow to react and second to the ball, the next they are raring to go and first to the fight. What are they doing that Lampard is not?

It was a mixture of motivation and new faces in both sides which saw them turn their corners. Solskjaer and Mikel Arteta found new armaments in their managerial toolboxes, as all good coaches do. They made changes because repeating the same process expecting a different result is the classic definition of madness. All managers need time to bear fruit, but only deserve it if they use those hours wisely.

Once again, the importance of psychology rears its head, particularly at this stage of the season when impatient or nervous directors tend to go for the nuclear option and fire their beleaguered managers instead of relying on them to pull an iron out of the fire.

Can it be taught? If education in mental skills, as opposed to physical ones, counts for anything, then Graham Potter of Brighton should be a much-coveted manager.

Potter has a degree in social sciences and a master's in leadership and emotional intelligence. His methods at Ostersund were legendary. We could all do with a mental health boost right now amid this pandemic and positive thinking is useful in all walks of life.

And yet Brighton are hovering right above the drop zone. Perhaps Potter's wizardry is not potent enough to make up for his club's financial weaknesses.

Despite all the joy of the unpredictable Premier League, one imagines the end of season table will tell a familiar story of the richest clubs at the top and the poorest at the bottom. 

But it looks like the winners will be wearing red.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Football's Fallen of 2020

THE BEAUTIFUL GAME LOST SOME BIG NAMES THIS YEAR

It was the year of Covid-19 and the world's greatest sport was not immune.

Amid all the madness of a pandemic which saw the European Championship, the Copa America, the African Cup of Nations, the AFC Cup and the Club World Cup, as well as several domestic league and cup competitions, wiped from the diary, football also lost some of its heroes.

Top of the list in 2020's In Memoriam section of course is Diego Armando Maradona. The little Argentine pibe from the Villa Fiorito barrio was not only head and shoulders above his contemporaries but probably the most skilled player of all time. His death leaves a most massive mark.

Maradona
Maradona

El Pibe's rags to riches life story, his dark excesses matched with a swashbuckling capture of the ultimate prize and conversion into a demi-god in Naples makes him wholly worthy of those overused terms legend and messiah. Songs and statues, films, and folklore have commemorated his years. In centuries past he would have been canonised. On the field and beyond he certainly transcended the surly bonds of earth to touch the hand of God (apologies to the poet John Gillespie Magee).

January 2020 had started with the news that Hans Tillkowski, best-known as the West German goalkeeper in the 1966 World Cup, had passed away. Although he never accepted Geoff Hurst's crossbar-hitting third strike, he saw the funny side enough in 2009 to unveil a statue in Azerbaijan of Tofiq Bahramov, the 'Russian linesman' who confirmed the goal. 

Before the 1962 finals he smashed up his hotel room a la Paul Gascoigne upon discovering he would be dropped as first-choice custodian. Tillkowski won 39 German caps, played for Westfalia Herne, Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt and later managed Nurnberg and Werder Bremen.

The same month Dutch legend Rob Rensenbrink died aged 72. He played mostly in Belgium, most notably for Anderlecht between 1971 and 1980 where he twice won the league championship and European Cup Winners' Cup but also for the Netherlands' magical total football side of 1974. Substituted at half-time in the '74 final, the attacking midfielder would go on to net five at the 1978 World Cup, profiting from the absence of Johann Cruyff. In the final, Rensenbrink struck the Argentine post in the last minute of normal time. Had he found the net he would surely have been Holland's hero forever.

 

In February, Harry Gregg, a survivor of the infamous Munich air crash where his selfless heroism in the aftermath of the event saved a number of lives, died in his native Northern Ireland aged 87. Voted the best goalkeeper of the 1958 World Cup, Gregg made 210 appearances for Manchester United and managed four clubs between 1968 and 1987.

March saw French legend Michel Hidalgo pass away. A successful player and later manager with Monaco, Hidalgo will forever be remembered for guiding France to their first trophy, Euro '84 with the flamboyant 'three musketeers' midfield of Alain Giresse, Michel Platini and Jean Tigana.

In April, goalkeeper Peter Bonetti died aged 78. The son of Swiss immigrants, 'the cat' played an amazing 600 times for Chelsea and seven times for England. In the heat of Mexico '70, Bonetti replaced the suspiciously-poisoned Gordon Banks for his country's ill-fated quarter-final versus West Germany.

Another former England man Norman Hunter also died in April aged 76, this time a victim of Covid-19. With Jack Charlton, 'Bite Yer Legs' Hunter formed a rock hard centre back pairing in Don Revie's 'Damned United' and was the PFA player of the year in 1974. Like Bonetti, he was a non-playing member of the England '66 squad and played briefly at Mexico '70. Leeds have renamed an Elland Road stand after him.

Michael Robinson
Michael Robinson

Later that month Michael Robinson died aged only 61. Despite 24 caps for Eire, a dozen years in England and a hat-trick of trophies for Liverpool in 1984, Robinson came into his own after retiring in Spain where he ended up becoming the nation's premier TV football presenter. Footballers can rise to the top on the field in another country but no-one has managed to do it in football journalism like Robinson did.

Also in Spain in April another successful immigrant, Raddy Antic, died aged 71. A defender for clubs in his native Serbia, Spain and Turkey, he is idolised by fans of Luton Town for scoring a last-gasp goal to keep them up in 1983, prompting a famous on-field invasion by manager David Pleat. He later coached his country at the 2010 World Cup and remains the only man to have managed Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

 

July saw the death at 85 of Jack Charlton, as beloved in England for being part of the 1966 World Cup winning side as he was in Ireland, where he took the Republic to their first European Championship and World Cup finals. Big Jack & Saint Jack, his bluff, no-nonsense style of play and management won him fans on both sides of the Irish Sea so much so that when Eire beat England at Euro '88, English fans still wanted him and his team to advance. Underrated tactically, he was actually ahead of his time in using gegenpressing so successfully with Eire. He was also a one-club man, playing 629 times for Leeds United.

October saw the death at 78 of Nobby Stiles, best-known for his merry dance on the Wembley turf after  the 1966 World Cup. Employed as a midfield disruptor, his nullifying of the great Eusebio in the semi-final was key to England's success that year. He made 311 appearances for Manchester United, with whom he won the European Cup in 1968. His death left only four members of England's '66 eleven living.

In November Ray Clemence left us aged 72. Liverpool's goalkeeper in their golden age had a trophy cabinet stacked with silverware - five league championships, three European Cups, two UEFA Cups, an FA Cup, a League Cup and a Super Cup with the Reds. He then went on to win the FA Cup and UEFA Cup with Tottenham. He would have won far more than 61 caps with England had Peter Shilton not been his contemporary. Off-field, Clemence was universally praised as a most kind and decent colleague.

The same month, Senegal star Papa Bouba Diop died of motor neurone disease aged only 42. Nicknamed the wardrobe for his almost 2 metre height and muscular physique, Diop played for four English sides as well as in France, Greece and Switzerland and is best known for scoring the winner for Senegal at the 2002 World Cup which beat holders France in their opening match.

Maradona's death overshadowed all others, but news of another World Cup great passing in early December came as a hammer blow. Paolo Rossi, Italian hero of Espana '82, died aged 64. That summer in Spain belonged to him, winning the World Cup, Golden Ball and Golden Boot in one go. Rossi was the world's costliest player when he signed for Juventus in 1976 but was banned from football in 1980 as part of the Totonero betting scandal, only returning to action just before the World Cup, where he arrived less than fully fit. After three sluggish group games, Rossi then exploded. His hat-trick against Brazil in one of the tournament's greatest ever games will live long in the memory. Like Toto Schillaci in Italia '90, his Azzurro star burned short and bright.

 

Then eleven days before Christmas, another former coach of Les Bleus, Gerard Houllier died aged 73. Enthused by a gap year in Liverpool in 1970, the Frenchman returned as manager of the Reds in 1998 and won them their first European trophy in years, the 2001 UEFA Cup. That year Liverpool also won the FA Cup, League Cup, Charity Shield, and Super Cup, confirming his Wenger-esque overhaul of the club's practices. He nurtured the talents of Steven Gerrard, Thierry Henry, and Michael Owen, won the Ligue 1 title with Lyon and PSG yet failed to make it to USA '94 with France in calamitous fashion, losing their last two home games in the last minute when only needing a point. Houllier famously blamed David Ginola for crossing instead of holding onto the ball.

It has been a sad year for everyone and as we can see, football has had its fair share of tears too. The brightest stars will shine the longest and we should look to them for inspiration. 

Let us salute our fallen heroes therefore and hope for a return to footballing normality and a happier 2021 across the world.

We are a global family after all.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Premier League continues campaign against piracy in Hong Kong

Premier League v Piracy

The Premier League has launched the second phase of its anti-piracy campaign in Hong Kong. The 'Boot Out Piracy' campaign will continue to highlight the dangers that illegal streams pose to fans, from data theft to malicious malware, as well as emphasizing the poor viewing experience through broken links and delays.

No Pop Up Ads

Launching today, 16 December, the campaign will feature images of fan favourites such as Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, Leicester City's Jamie Vardy, Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min and Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, as the Premier League urges consumers to "Go for the Best" and "Bring on the Best Quality" when watching games. 

The anti-piracy message is set to be displayed across digital platforms, with PCCW Group also broadcasting the campaign on Now TV.

The Premier League is committed to tackling piracy and continues to work closely with its official broadcast partner Now TV to educate consumers on the dangers they face when watching illegal streams. 

According to a representative survey of more than 1,000 people in Hong Kong, more than a quarter (26%) of those who had watched pirated material had stopped due to getting a virus or malware on their device.

Across the Southeast Asia region, the Premier League has also been targeting those responsible for operating illegal streams and bringing them to justice through the courts. In addition to successfully blocking multitudes of illegal sites and apps across the region, this also includes criminal actions against the suppliers of illicit streaming devices, which not only provide poor quality content but also create opportunities for cybercriminals to target Premier League fans.

Premier League Director of Legal Services Kevin Plumb said: "This campaign is an important part of our education to fans. We will continue working with Now TV to fight piracy and disrupt illegal streams. However, we want to ensure supporters really understand that piracy is not only illegal but also brings with it many risks.

"Illegal streaming also means missing out on watching high-definition games in real-time with expert commentary and insights from players and managers. We want fans to enjoy the best Premier League viewing experience possible via official broadcast channels, not via broken and delayed illegal sources which also bring with them a great risk of malicious malware and ransomware."

Mr. Derek Choi, Head of Pay TV of PCCW Media Limited, said, "With the 2020/21 season already showing such an energetic and exciting start, we want fans across the city to be entertained by their favourite players and teams on matchday without risking their security. Fans can catch all 380 matches for the 2020/21 season live in HD and selected matches in 4K quality on Now TV and Now E."

With millions of football fans in Hong Kong, the Premier League is a member of Asia's Coalition Against Piracy and continues to collaborate with industry organisations to tackle the new challenges faced by broadcasters in wider region.

The campaign was developed with creative agency DDB Worldwide.

Friday, December 25, 2020

LFC and Cadbury team up for Secret Santa campaign

LFC and Cadbury Team Up

Liverpool FC has teamed up with Cadbury to bring Christmas cheer to local residents in Liverpool as part of its Secret Santa campaign.

LFC and Cadbury Team Up

Alongside Red Neighbours and LFC Foundation, Cadbury will be raising awareness for the Trussell Trust - and providing little bit of extra magic for more than 150,000 people supported by its network of foodbanks - by adding a chocolate treat to food parcels this Christmas.

Red Neighbours and LFC Foundation have partnered with Cadbury to help promote the initiative and to provide an additional donation to the North Liverpool and South Liverpool Foodbanks.

Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and LFC legends John Barnes and Kenny Dalglish have all taken part in Cadbury Secret Santa, and John Barnes recently visited the North Liverpool Foodbank to learn more about the important work the Trussell Trust does.

Reds can get involved by sending a Cadbury Secret Santa bar to a loved one this Christmas through the Cadbury online Postal Service.

For every bar sent, Cadbury will also donate a second bar to a foodbank in the Trussell Trust's network to provide a little festive treat to people who might appreciate it. The activity with Cadbury forms part of the Club's Operation Christmas Magic, which sees Liverpool FC's players, partners, staff and community teams come together this Christmas to support their local communities.

As part of Operation Christmas Magic, 1500 food hampers containing Cadbury Secret Santa bars will be sent to families in Liverpool and Knowsley.

Children from local schools will also be provided with 400 Cadbury bars to send to care homes in the L4 area, alongside a personalised, hand-drawn picture from the children to wish the residents a Merry Christmas.

Forbes Duff, Red Neighbours senior manager, said: "This year has been a real challenge for everyone, and Christmas in particular could be a very difficult time for many families in our local area. "We're really pleased to be teaming up with Cadbury to continue our support of the Trussell Trust network, and hopefully bring a little festive cheer to families across the Liverpool City Region this Christmas.

"Sadly, social isolation and food poverty are ongoing issues in our local community - even more so at this time of year - so we're really grateful for Cadbury's valuable support in helping to bring a little bit of extra Christmas magic for people who need to use food banks at this time of year."

Paola Cassinelli, Senior Brand Manager from Cadbury, said: We're delighted to be partnering with LFC to help raise awareness of the important work the Trussell Trust do through our Secret Santa activation. "LFC is a longtime supporter of the Trussell Trust, so they were the perfect fit to help promote the important work the charity does.

Christmas is a time when everyone appreciates a little festive treat - that's why for every Secret Santa bar sent through our online Postal Service, we'll match that with a bar for a food bank in the Trussell Trust's network.

Who better to encourage the nation to get involved than some of Liverpool's best current and past players?"

Fans can get involved in the campaign and send a Secret Santa bar to a loved one here: postalservice.cadbury.co.uk

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The Reds bring Christmas home with its final festive video

The Reds bring Christmas home with its final festive video

 

Liverpool FC has today revealed its third and final Christmas video, which focuses on tackling the important issue of social isolation during the festive season and bringing the magic of Christmas home to local communities. 
 The story begins just outside Anfield Stadium and follows an elderly gentleman as he reminisces on some of the greatest moments he's enjoyed throughout his life while supporting his favourite team.

Sprinkled with magic throughout, a few famous faces greet the elderly supporter, with Milner giving a gentle nod from a billboard and a Shankly figure coming to life in his house to recite one of his famous speeches. 

However, the video also carries a very important message as Christmas can be a difficult time for some people who may feel isolated or alone - particularly during what has been a difficult year for many - and the importance of looking after our loved ones and neighbours, especially those who may be vulnerable or in need.

The video comes as part of the club's Christmas campaign message 'Bring the magic home' – highlighting the closeness and togetherness of the club and its supporters, particularly at Christmas. LFC hopes the 'magic' in the videos will bring a smile to everyone's face and help make this Christmas a really magical one.

To help tackle the issue of social isolation and food poverty in the build-up to Christmas, the club has launched 'Operation Christmas Magic' - a club-wide community campaign, which is focused on supporting local people in need.

LFC's Red Neighbours team will donate and deliver 1,500 Christmas food hampers to local residents in Anfield and Kirkby. 

The hampers will include fresh food to prepare a turkey roast dinner and a host of festive treats.

LFC Retail has also stepped in and donated 1,000 LFC gifts to Radio City's 'Cash for Kids' Mission Christmas toy appeal so no child wakes up on Christmas morning without a present.

 If you would like to show your support, you can donate to Radio City's 'Cash for Kids' Mission Christmas campaign here. Fans can also support by donating new and unwrapped gifts and dropping them off at collection points located at any Liverpool FC Store in Liverpool, Chester or Ireland.

Alternatively, you can text the word CITY to 70910 to donate £10, or CITY to 70920 to donate £20. 
If you have been affected by any of the themes or issues in this video, or would like to know more about the work that Liverpool Football Club does in the community or to get involved yourself, please visit https://www.liverpoolfc.com/christmas-support

Each Christmas video has been revealed separately over the Christmas period, with all three instalments available to view now at www.liverpoolfc.com/christmas.
Christmas can be a difficult time for many people.
If you or someone you know needs specialist support, please contact:

Age UK - 0800 678 1602
Samaritans - 116 123
MIND - www.mind.org.uk
Childline - 0800 1111

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Christmas magic continues with LFC's second festive video

The Christmas magic continues with LFC's second festive video

The Reds are keeping the festive spirit going in the lead up to Christmas, with the launch of their second of three Christmas videos.

The Reds
Focusing on the younger generation of fans, this story shows what it means to be a Red to one young schoolgirl. 


After finishing her usual school day and arriving home to greet her father, the girl spots some unexpected familiar faces around her house. As she goes about her normal evening routine after school, the magic of Christmas brings Mane subtly to life on the back of a newspaper and fans will catch a flash of that famous smile from Firmino as the girl glances up at a poster on her wall.

The video comes as part of the club’s Christmas campaign message ‘Bring the magic home’ – highlighting the closeness and togetherness of the club and its supporters, particularly at Christmas and during what has been a difficult year for many. LFC hopes the ‘magic’ in the videos will bring a smile to everyone’s face and help make this Christmas a really magical one. 

Each Christmas video will be revealed separately over the Christmas period, with the first and second installments available to view now at www.liverpoolfc.com/christmas.