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  • Read: Balls.ie Speaks To Editors Of A Liverpool Fanzine And Man United Fanzine Ahead Of Sunday's Match

Read: Balls.ie Speaks To Editors Of A Liverpool Fanzine And Man United Fanzine Ahead Of Sunday's Match

Read: Balls.ie Speaks To Editors Of A Liverpool Fanzine And Man United Fanzine Ahead Of Sunday's Match
By Paul Ring Updated

We got in touch with Daniel Nicholson, editor of the Liverpool BOSS fanzine and Barney Chilton, editor of the Man United Red News fanzine and asked them about the burning issues facing their clubs on the eve of their clash tomorrow.

Daniel, you edit the Liverpool BOSS fanzine, describe Manchester United the club and Manchester United currently, as a team.

From my personal travels I'd say Manchester United are comfortably one of the world's two only truly global sports teams. Alongside Liverpool. No matter where I've been in the world it's us and United that dominate.

We seem to have got there through success in the 70s/80s and more latterly the Istanbul effect. United have got there through an absolute juggernaut of commercialisation. Part of me feels uneasy at this. Another part is slightly jealous thinking just where we could have been should our then custodians in the inaugural years of the Premiership been a little more savvy.

As a team I think it's too early to see what effect losing the league in such dramatic fashion (quiet at the back) has on them but the capture of Van Persie was the most significant transfer of the summer for me.

Barney, describe Liverpool the club, and Liverpool currently as a team.

You'd be foolish not to recognise the significance of Liverpool and their achievements. And it's because of those, and how poor United were during the heyday, which probably gave United fans a focus that was too lopsided. Too often we'd look to Liverpool as THE fixture, and of course it's important, it sums up the tribal nature and essence of what we love about the game, but we should have dealt equally with the other 36/40 games a season. We got carried away and over egged it.

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It's only when we started to achieve our success that you realised how we'd over exaggerated the importance of our enjoyable moral victories (singing 'You'll never beat United" after the Strachan cigar chomp). It's too trite to say we need each other, from a position of such passionate dislike, but this is still the fixture we eye. And want to win.

Liverpool as a team? People will probably think I'm deliberately saying this and it's balls but I can say no more about our success and Liverpool's decline than for much of the 70s and 80s we'd know who Liverpool were playing, etc, that over-egged jealousy, etc - people would shout out their score during games (another penalty at the Kop!), now I don't know who they are playing unless it's an impending over hyped Sky fixture. Not really on our immediate radar. I have a couple of friends who go to Anfield - we can co-exist see - and they blame it all on Graeme Souness' madness after Kenny Dalglish's first reign started to rip with those odd signings (Jimmy Carter, Speedie). I always predict than when it's the start of United's decline - sadly it will happen - it'll be when we start buying those kind of players all the time rather than the odd Bebe thrown in. Just as I never thought we'd win one trophy, I dared not dream 19 were possible. But our dividing fortunes make me always wary that we must never rest on our laurels - sure they didn't see it coming. Always got to be on our guard to swap over again. But at times now being over taken by sides that don't have the unfortunate American owners that we both have had (and still have here).

Daniel, what is your take on Sir Alex Ferguson the man, and the manager?

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Ferguson is undoubtedly a great manager. I'm not sure he'll be revered in history as a great personality however, in the same way say someone like Shankly or Bill Nicholson may be. From the outside looking in it seems even United fans are a bit unsure. You barely hear them singing his name from the terraces and his courting and defence of the Glazers is unsettling for anyone who believes in "fit and proper" owners, no matter who they own.

On a positive note however his conduct over the past few weeks regarding the release of the Hillsborough documents has been admirable and impeccable, culminating in the letter that's to be given out to visiting fans at the match. Respect given for that.

Barney, what are your early impressions of Brendan Rodgers?

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I really don't know enough about him. Watched Swansea from afar and yes it was pretty football but is it still too early an age for him? He talks a good talk, a 300 page dossier that Alistair Campbell would be proud of, but Dalglish's second spell seemed to be barely treading water so there appears so much more to do - again, don't watch, don't know, but thought Andy Carroll, despite the jokes, could be a good man to have in the squad. It's a lot of wasted money, and ignoring our off field rows about Suarez, however important, can he score the 20-30 goals? Let's be honest, I don't really care.

Question for the two of you - do you feel that tensions have risen even more between both sets of supporters in recent years and why do you feel that happened?

Daniel: Within the media, yes. But don't forget for once in recent history the fans were mere bystanders in the Suarez row. It was the players and clubs who were at the centre of things.

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They sing about us a lot even when they're not playing us. That invokes pity more than being irksome. It teeters on the weird side of obsession.

I'm sure stuff we've done/do winds them up as well but I've got to say it's been a few years since I felt tense going into Old Trafford.

Obviously a small section of their support seemed to take a swipe at the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel at a match last week but it's worth noting that some of the most sensible pieces of writing with regards to the report have come from United fans.

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I do genuinely believe - and hope - recent events will make people on both sides think twice about some of the more unsavoury parts of this rivalry and we'll see an end to what someone on an LFC forum this week crudely yet correctly termed "death banter".

Let's not forget some of United's most ardent cultural icons, The Stone Roses and Eric Cantona, got involved in the Justice Campaign this summer. Cantona even got up on stage in Lyon to sing a song with the Justice Tonight band.

Barney: Not really, there are always spikes. It only takes a few idiots on either side and the press have a story, and don't put it all into context of how small the numbers can be, but let's be honest, the ambulance with Alan Smith attack and throwing cups of turds was a new low. Red News has continually come out against any Hillsborough chants from the very small minority of United fans (and it is a minority), and we have highlighted the lies from the authorities about events in 1989 since 1989.

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I am disappointed with the reporting of the Wigan chants - they weren't about Hillsborough, and worse still I think good journalists should be asking 'how high did the cover up go, who knew what?', instead the story gets relegated back or ignored again and this story that has stoked tensions is suddenly all some journos are asking. It's poor, it didn't help for the game, I hope which passes off fine from both sides, but certainly I hope they don't forget what is the real story here. I'm not saying we're going to group hug but look at the fanzines, and the real forums and there is over whelming support for the justice, and it's suddenly been distorted onto United fans which was wrong and diverting from what really matters.

Daniel, how would you rank the Manchester United away support compared to other clubs at Anfield?

It's decent. Probably the best in the league from my viewpoint.

Some of them look scruffy. Some of them wear ear rings. And I'm not too fond of the Mancunian accent. But I'd rather have 3,000 lads working class lads, dressed in black, standing up, singing for 90 minutes than a half arsed show from some no mark club where the ones that do turn up are dressed like Christmas trees. Their hardcore is probably not too dissimilar to ours.

I still hate them though. And they'll hate me. The way it should be.

Barney, how would you rank the Liverpool away support compared to other clubs?

The acoustics at OT are that bad, you don't really hear a loud away crowd unless it's a Euro away following or they get given the upper tier of K. The games now are nothing like what they once were - for noise, etc. I'd say United's away following despite the infiltration of the modern supporter ills is still the most witty and noisiest - and I am sure ABUs will go I would say that.

What is your favourite ever moment in a game between the two clubs?

Daniel: The 4-1 at Old Trafford a few years ago. It was great to turn them over like that after going one nil down and in doing so gain a glimmer of hope in our best effort for the title in a generation.

Barney: Think Strachan's cigar, or Eric for the FA Cup Final against the cream suits in '96 - it was the day I really knew fortunes were changing. Ole's winner in '99 too for that late winner.

If you had to choose one player from the other side to play for your own from the last twenty years who would that be and why?

Daniel: Cantona would have been nice. Part ability of course but part of everything that surrounds him. Football needs characters. But for overall football prowess it would be Paul Scholes. A footballer who I think it's safe to say transcends rivalry.

Barney: Gerrard, obviously. He is Liverpool's Robbo, deserving of more, but loyally admirable.

Predict the score of the game.

Daniel: 1-0 Liverpool. Suarez. Who'll inevitably celebrate in front of the United fans and we'll move on to an entirely new chapter in this story of two clubs from a small part of England.

Barney: I hope United go for it. Too often we've been too negative in recent years. I always am wary of this game, let alone when they haven't won so that omen of a first win could loom. But today I think we may see a different United. Dull first half, 1-0 United 2nd.

Follow Daniel Nicolson on twitter here. You can subscribe to BOSS fanzine here.

Follow Barney Chilton on twitter here. You can subscribe to Red News here.

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