Thursday, April 3, 2008

Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a season

I had a text message from a friend after the game last night. It read: "As we say in the Netherlands: even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a season."

I don't think that's really a Dutch proverb, but it was a good night for me. Did you hear how quiet the stadium went after I scored? I don't think anyone could quite believe what they had seen (I call it The Barnsley Effect) and - before you ask - yes: I did get the last touch; and no: it definitely wasn't a penalty.

Pieter Vink is the best referee in the Netherlands. He is from Noordwijkerhout, only a few miles from Katwijk and was a policeman there for many years. I have great respect for him. He started refereeing when I joined Quick Boys as a school boy and our careers have followed the same upward path ever since. I met him several times while playing in the Eredivisie.

The fans, cruelly, call him 'Blinde' Vink. You need a great mentality to be a referee and to overcome these taunts from fans and players. I thought Pieter showed that he has this strong mentality by not awarding the penalty. I'm sure it had nothing to do with our acquaintance...

...but I will ask my mother to take him round some home baking just in case. Dank u Pieter!

Tot de volgende keer

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The drop that floods the bucket

"De druppel die de emmer doet overlopen," as we say in the Netherlands.

A great sadness overcame me after the Manchester trip. I had built up such high hopes that this season could be the one where we might cause an upset. Instead, we lose our heads and the match in humiliating fashion.

I felt I took Harry's strategy to new levels against United, but it did not pay dividends as I had hoped it might. Stevie had clearly tired of giving me as many opportunities as he did against Inter and opted instead to pass the ball straight to the opposition. I'm not sure if the chance of them losing possession in dangerous areas was any greater than the chance of me doing something useful in dangerous areas, but I took the hint and Stevie and I have not spoken since.

It is not within my nature to give up like this, but the dark nights are getting to me. The gaffer talks about the "dark mondays"; I have dark Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays too. Sometimes I cry. I'm not ashamed to admit it: real men, cry. Every missed opportunity brings a tear, which annoys Gertrude because she constantly has to change the pillow cases in the middle of the night.

So it was a big effort to raise my head for the derby. And I'm not sure what to say about the game: we controlled it absolutely; we won; my Katwijian ball control provided Fernando with an assist; and yet...

...when I got home from the match, Gertrude had left me a whole new set of pillow cases.


Tot de volgende keer

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hope springs eternal

"Hoop doet leven," as we say in the Netherlands

We have just arrived in Manchester and I am sneaking this opportunity to let you know my feelings before today's big game. The gaffer has not named the team yet, but I am hopeful. Against the big teams, like United, he likes hard-workers running around all afternoon and no one, I think, can criticise me for a lack of that!

Darren Bent and Michael Chopra (both enthusiastic applauders of the fans - they've read my handbook) scored yesterday, which has really put the pressure on. They are two of the worst strikers I have ever seen and I frequently rely on the incompetence of them and others to make my mishaps less noteworthy (I was devestated, for instance, when Samaras left Man City).

So there is much to prove today and much that could prove my undoing. A big game, as they say.

Tot de volgende keer

PS. Chopra also has this bottom that's totally out of proportion with the rest of his body. Look at it next time you see him: it's huge!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Even a fisherman drops an eel once a while

"Ook een visser ontglipt wel eens een aal," as we say in the Netherlands.

I am the linch-pin of this team. "Dirk," I hear you cry, "that's simply ridiculous." I know how it sounds but using simple economic theory, I can prove it. Here's how...

As the supply of quality football from me dries up, the demand for it from my teammates rises. I am therefore directly responsible for the continual improvement of the players around me. As you'll have noticed, the results of the team vary inversely to my own personal performance. Take Barnsley, for example, I score my first goal in months and the team crashes out the cup.

Fernando has just become the first Liverpool player for over a decade to score twenty league goals in a season: it's because I've been playing alongside him!

So it was to everyone's benefit and no-one's surprise that I missed that header yesterday. Had I done the easiest thing - score - we would, in all likeliness, have lost the game. Instead, with an effort that I couldn't repeat if I tried, I have saved us the ignomony of a Reading double.

Tot de volgende keer

Thursday, March 13, 2008

To fish behind the net

"Achter het net vissen," as we say in the Netherlands.

What an evening I had on Tuesday! A deft touch here, forty-yard pass there, control, defending from the front, leading from the front. Yes, it seems there is nothing Steven Gerrard cannot do.

As for me; well...I have found the fatal flaw in Harry's strategy of not playing any significant part in the game: it's if the rest of the lads aren't in on the plan! Hugging the touchline and trying not to cock up anything for anyone, I inadvertantly found myself in acres of space.

Time after time Stevie picked me out with raking forty-yard cross-field passes. I waited in desperation for someone to come tearing down the inside channel offering me an overlap or the chance of an easy short pass. With Carra as my wing-man, however...

Skipping past players to the byline has never been my forte and my evening quickly unravelled. The less said about the quality of my crossing the better. Even by the standards of a difficult season, this was a shocker! I hardly had the heart to applaud any of the fans as I left the field.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sitting down beside the boxes

Harry and I finished breakfast and headed for the table-tennis table at the far end of the canteen. I have been most discouraged this weekend: "Bij de pakken neerzitten," as we say in The Netherlands. Harry always has good advice: he knows the pressure over under-achievement.

"Twenty-spot a set?" He always wants to play for money.

"Ten", I said, conscious of Gertrude's disapproval of gambling and my increasingly desperate attempts to explain away the shortfall in my wages.

When I first moved to Utrecht from Katwijk, I was astonished to find that players moved in with and had children with their partners before they were married. How ungodly, I thought at the time. My father would always counsel me during those moments of doubt. Now look at me: throwing money away on table-tennis games that I stood no chance of winning.

"I'd get better odds of me scoring a hat-trick tomorrow," I protested. Someone standing by the toaster sniggered.

I have grown to love table tennis, although I'm not very good at it. Harry uses me as his whipping boy when he's got a big match looming against ‘Ginge’. He says it gets his confidence up and it's one of the few games he can play without injuring himself.

"I can't understand the gaffer," I said. "How am I expected to score if he only plays one striker?"


"You have to look at it positively. If you aren't playing and missing sitters, then no one can question your ability," he explained. "Your games to goals ratio doesn't suffer and you can use all kind of excuses about only being used as a substitute and being played in the wrong position to cover the cracks...


...or as many of them as possible," he said with a wink.


"I've been dodging bullets like that all season!" I said, completely losing control of the bat and almost taking Yossi and his tea right out of commission.


"The less you're exposed the better," he continued. "I've been really impressed with the way you've ducked the criticism. It's only in the last few weeks you've drawn attention to yourself by scoring two goals. If you can avoid playing any significant part in a game, then you keep yourself out of the papers. Just look like you're working hard and release the odd press statement about your level of fitness. And keep up the applauding: that was a stroke of genius."


"And don't give the ball away too much. The fans hate it"

The ball flew past me, bounced off Carra's head and rolled under the vending machine. It's the second time in as many weeks he's thrown me that look.


Crouchie's the only one who can get the ball back when it goes under the vending machine and he was talking to the gaffer. We gave up on the game and made our way out to the pitches.

"I am starting to understand how Crouchie must have felt for so long," I whispered, nodding in his direction.

"Yeah, if there's one thing worse than cocking it up completely on the pitch, it’s having to sit on the sidelines watching someone else cock it up and knowing you could do it ten times better."

I hope he wasn't referring to me there. That wasn't really what I meant. Talk about kicking a man when he's down.

"At least he has a song though,” I sighed. "Did you hear Fernando's new song at the weekend?"

"Don't worry about the songs. Some of the best players are often the ones that get ignored. Michael Owen never really had a song and he scored hundreds of goals."

If he scored "hundreds" what chance do I have, I thought. By way of making me feel better Harry told me a story about Gary Neville:

Gary Neville, apparently, has always had a thing about being under-appreciated. One weekend he played an absolute blinder. After the game he was the first one out of the ground and rushed into Manchester to pick up a copy of the Evening News. Stopping at the first vendor he found, he grabbed a newspaper and went straight to the pink sports pages. Looking down the match review Neville suddenly ripped up the paper, threw it down and marched back to his car. "What’s the problem with you?" shouted the vendor. "It doesn't matter how well I play," Neville yelled back, "They always give me a f*cking 6."

For all the Liverpool fans dislike Gary Neville, I kind of got Harry's point. He might be an object of national ridicule; awkward-looking and never really achieving anything of noticeable significance on the pitch; but to the United fans who really know, he is a legend.

Tot de volgende keer

Monday, March 3, 2008

Like a snail on a barrel of tar

I am overwhelmed with your messages of support; they mean a lot this week because I have had another run-in with Doyle at The Gaurdian: my nemesis! Last week he could not hide his surprise at my great strike against Inter. This week he is confounded by the noticeable drop in quality after my substitution. He mocks Carra and me for being "the slowest wing-combination in Europe": Als een slak op een teerton, as we say in the Netherlands. Our wing combination has the biggest heart in Europe, Paul Doyle of The Manchester Guraidan, and that means everything to our fans.,,2261506,00.html

For sure, it is more difficult to get among the goals when the gaffer keeps me on the right wing. Marco has always preferred me playing on the right wing when I turn out for my country and Rafa seems to want to do the same. I am happy with that if it helps the team and the gaffer's tactics yesterday were spot on. I did have a difficult chance to score and struck the post, but the ball fell kindly for Ryan and I don't begrudge my countryman his goal. He had a terrific game and I got an assist for my dream team; everyone wins!

The Reebok is not an easy place to visit and I have never had the experience of winning there. Bolton are a very physical team: players like Davies are "all elbows and knees", as I heard a commentator once say, and as a striker you also have to listen to Jussi Jaaskelainen complaining all afternoon. So it was great to go there this weekend and win so easily. I did feel sorry for Jussi after his calamitous own goal: I mis-control the ball like that dozens of times every game, but fortunately I am a striker and not a goalkeeper so no-one notices as long as I keep appluading all four stands at Anfield each week.

The lads had a great game all round. We looked a bit shaky at set pieces but the midfield were so dynamic going forward down the left that it was only a matter of time before someone scored. I am also starting to think that Javier Mascherano might not be human.

West Ham on Wednesday. I hope to show Paul Doyle what my game is all about.

To de volgende keer

PS. If "lol" means "laugh out loud" what did Alex from Manchester mean?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The balls of it

Tuesday February 19th, 2008

"Hij snapt er de ballen van," as we say in the Netherlands.

I have been catching up on the reviews of our Champions League fixture. I thought that scoring two goals in two games might win back support; that my fans would flock to my cause and realise that every top goalscorer has dry spells and then comes good, but instead I get the kind of treatment usually reserved for players like Titus Bramble.

I recorded the ITV coverage and Andy Townsend has really taken the gloss off my interview with Gabriel. He might well think the goal was a "fortunate, skiddy deflection", but it was my fortunate, skiddy deflection and any time he scores against Inter he can come back and talk to me about it.

Paul Doyle in The Guaridan seemed to think that I scored despite myself. He called my display "wretched", which I thought was very unkind. I do try very hard and how anyone could fail to be moved by my emotional applauding of all four stands last night is a mystery to me.

Someone has even emailed me suggesting that I was at fault for losing to Barnsley in the cup. "Is it possible," he asks, "that scoring your goal stunned the rest of the Liverpool players into inaction for the rest of the game? Lol." Well, Alex from Manchester, thank you for your kind words but I don't think it was that good a goal!

What does "lol" mean?

Tot de volgende keer

As happy as a circus bird

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

"Ik ben zo blij als een kermisvogel," as we say in the Netherlands.

Two goals in two games! Amazing! Credit to the gaffer for his patience with me. When Crouchie came on I thought I'd had my chance…not a goalscoring chance, obviously…just a chance to impress, but the boss stuck with me and it paid off. An amazing night at Anfield. We were definitely the better team before and after Materazzi got sent off. All the fans were chanting rude words at him as he went down the tunnel. It must not have been enjoyable for him but it did make us all laugh. Ex-Toffees don't go down well here:

I had to laugh at the gaffer too. He was off the bench like a jack-in-the-box and his little two finger wave at the referee must go down as one of his best. Have you seen magic Rafa? Heel grappig!

I thought I started quite well but it was very difficult for Fernando and myself to impose ourselves on such a well-organised defence. It was really a game where Masher got to show why it's so important that we get him signed up for a long term deal. Watching him fight with his countryman, Zanetti, was very funny: Masher would scythe in with a lunging tackle - miss the ball and the man - and Zanetti would dive to the ground. Typical Argentines.

I tried to exchange shirts with Maicon at the end of the game but he was very rude and pushed me away! I don't think he was too pleased that I had blasted the ball in off his shins. Stevie asked me if I had learned the trick from Frank Lampard. Have I sunk that low?

I knew it was really my night, though, when Gabriel Clarke from ITV asked me to talk in the post-match interview. I was so thrilled. It was my first time with him.

I am so breathless. A great night.

To de volgende keer

One swallow doesn't make a summer

Monday, Febraury 18th, 2008

Het hallo!

What an exciting few days. I know it is selfish to talk so highly about the Barnsley result, but I scored! Yes, fans; I finally scored! For sure, my first goal this year was no oil painting: it was a school playground toe-poke; and who cares that I played the other 93 minutes like a turnip - as the ball rippled the back of the net I was overcome with the emotion of the 45,000 fans round the ground and I'm sure they could feel my joy as much as I felt theirs.

I felt liked I applauded every fan in the ground that day, although the Barnsley players looked a bit confused by my close personal bond with the Anfield faithful. It's all about the Dream Team, I told them afterwards. (I am in mine, by the way)

I must keep improving. "Eén zwaluw maakt nog geen zomer," as we say in the Netherlands.

Tot de volgende keer

What a disaster!

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

"Wat een ramp, ik begrijp niet hoe dat nou gebeurt is!" as we say in the Netherlands.

I have been very low now for some weeks. The manager clearly recognised my upset and rested me for the Sunderland game. It felt like the right thing at the time, but then the boys won so well I regretted having to watch it all from the bench. You would have thought then that I would have been pleased to play in the Chelsea game, but I can assure you it was as boring to play in as I am told it was to watch. As I went to applaud to fans at the end of the game, Carra gave me a tug at my collar and dragged me down the tunnel. I don't think he was too impressed.

This depression all started after the decision to produce my official Kuyt merchandise. I gave Gertrude the first package to take back to the children, but when she arrived in Amsterdam the package had not arrived with her. Three days later it turned up at Anfield, returned by a homeless man who found it in the rubbish at John Lennon Airport. Gertrude insisted that she had checked it in. I cannot explain this unfortunate occurance.

And why could this man not sell the merchandise for his own profit? All very strange.

Tot de volgende keer

Hello again

"Het Hallo, " as we say in the Netherlands.

I am so glad to be writing to you all again. The last few matches have brought such highs and lows and it has been frustrating not to be able to share them with you. I have changed broadband company recently and it has caused me real problems. Virgin Media seemed like a very big company and their broadband, television and phone package very good value.

Unfortunately, Virgin broadband only seems to work when all other electrical equipment in the house if turned off and the customer service people are from India! They do not understand my accent and I do not understand them! It is very tiring and now I cannot watch Lost, which they did not explain to me on the phone.

Anyway, I sat down in the dark to write my latest update, but Gertrude wanted to watch Wife Swap...en zij heeft de broek aan in dit huis! She wants us to take part in the next celebrity one with someone called Wentworth Miller and his girlfriend. I have never heard of him.

I am back in business now though - on the pitch and online. Please enjoy my thoughts on the last few weeks.

Tot de volgende keer

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Pause...

I have been moved today by the coverage of the fiftieth anniversary of the Munich disaster. Sir Bobby Charlton was on BBC4 on Tuesday night and I made a special effort to tune in. He seemed very emotional.

It reminded me that although football is not as important as life and death, during times such as the experience of the Munich disaster, football allows people to collectively grieve and celebrate their heroes.

All those who died should be respected by all four stands at the weekend.

Every pot has a fitting lid

Het hallo!

"Op elk potje past een dekseltje," as we say in The Netherlands.

I am very excited today. Last time, you'll remember, I had a "Eureka!" moment; I had found a way out of my current predicament...'Score more goals', you might be thinking. Well, easier said than done; I've been trying that one for over 1200 minutes and where has it got me?

No. I have a better idea: to remind people of better times. This will help me - and you - forget my current form and remind us both of the glory of scoring as many as twelve goals in a season!

I have invested some of my moderate salary in producing a range of memorabilia with snapshots of some of my Liverpool highlights: T-shirts, mugs, keyrings all emblazoned with my greatest moments in red!

Gertrude thinks it's a little crazy, but I told her, "hey, take some back to Katwijk for the children." She. Was. Speechless. But I think when she realised it was a way of helping with her great charity work, she couldn't say no!

There are three images: one of me executing a great tackle on Phil Neville. There's one of me scoring the second penalty (that was after my tackle, which seemed to cause the referee a lot of bother). And then I'm celebrating the win with John. It's a photo I really cherish, since neither of us have really had a lot to smile about this season.

Now, I know what you're thinking: they're all from the same game. That's true; there isn't a lot of material to choose from, but with the confidence boost I get from doing this, the goals are sure to come and then I can expand the range! If anyone has any photos of me applauding all four stands at Anfield, please send them in.

Tot de volgende keer

Friday, February 1, 2008

The best helmsmen stand on the shore

"De beste stuurlui staan aan wal," as we say in The Netherlands
Isn't it strange the way match-reports highlight the incidents that fit the story the reporter wants to tell? All the papers wanted to talk about was Liverpool in crisis, so that’s how they portrayed the match, yet playing against West Ham on Wednesday, it didn't ever feel like we would lose.

West Ham didn't create much: people talk about Boa Morte's chances, but Fernando, Yossi, Harry and Lucas - twice -could all have taken their chances. And no one blames Carra; it was just one of those things.

You'll notice my name is missing from that list. Well...thank you for all your emails of support, but I'm not so sure that not being mentioned at all in any of newspaper reviews is a step in the right direction.

I had hoped that this game might be a turning point in the season for me. If you remember this fixture last season, I scored probably my best goal for Liverpool. (Between you and me, I was trying to flick the ball wide to Stevie F with the outside of my boot, but caught it on the full and it flew into the top corner!) It was a stroke of good fortune and probably did more to endear me to the fans than all the applauding I've done before or since...



...That's it. I've got it. I know how to re-capture the hearts of the Liverpool faithful....

Tot de volgende keer

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sitting with my hands in my hair

"Met de handen in het haar zitten," as we say in The Netherlands.
The week started so well: thirty-eight minutes against Villa playing my best football of the season. And then it all fell apart. I had a horror miss from the edge of the penalty area and then in the second half shanked an easy one into the crowd. After that I just couldn't keep it together. Fortunately, the papers focused on my deft touch to Yossi to set up the first goal and the gaffer was still taking plenty of heat about the Americans, so I dodged the bullet back at Melwood.

I had a lot of time sitting on the bench at the weekend to ponder my future. Is it rotation or have I been found out? The gaffer seems to have finally had enough. When the binman came on to replace the plumber at 2-1 down, I got to thinking about what I would do if the dream ended tomorrow. It's fortunate that Andriy is now out for six weeks or I could have been down Breckfield Road Job Centre to find out. I thought the Kop overdid it a little with the standing ovation after the game, but it's great that the Havant players get a taste of the adoration I receive applauding all four stands after each game.

My sister called after the game. Apparently, Jan Molby said on Five Live that every time I touched the ball I looked "like a player who'd never score another goal." I don't need that kind of feedback. I took her off my Facebook friends as punishment.

Maybe Keegan would appreciate my work ethic....

Tot de volgende keer

Monday, January 21, 2008

There is just one big mast on a ship

"er is maar een grote mast op een schip," as we say in The Netherlands.

It's difficult to know what to make of these Americans. I've only met them once, early in the season after the Birmingham game, when the little one asked me for directions. He asked me if I knew where the goal was, which I thought was very strange. I said, "it's right over there and there's one at the other end too." He nodded: "just checking." Clearly, they still have a lot to learn about "soccer".

The big one seems like the one in charge. The gaffer doesn't like us talking about either of them, but he really doesn't like the big one. The new lad, Skrtel, got 15 laps at his first training session for asking Sami what Rafa's problem was with "long kicks"! I think the pressure might be affecting the gaffer's hearing.

Of course, it could all change next week. The little one seems to like the big one even less than he likes the gaffer. As for me, we'll see if I'm in the team tonight. All I can do is work hard, applaud each stand at Anfield harder than ever and hope for a break.

Tot de volgende keer

Friday, January 18, 2008

High Trees Catch a Lot of Wind

"Hoge bomen vangen veel wind," as we say in The Netherlands.

Tuesday night's replay against Luton was such a forgone conclusion that the media had nothing better to talk about than me.

Martin Tyler thinks if anyone needs a goal, I do. I'm sure there are plenty of players at Derby who would disagree. And Alan Green on Five Live can give it a rest; clearly he didn't see me applauding all four stands at Anfield after the game. (Note to self: applaud more vigorously). And he's meant to be a fan!

I've been told that it's been three months since anyone heard my name used in commentary without the words "loses control" immediately following it. Conor McNamara's developed this annoying habit of sighing when I get the ball and Jonathan Pearce tuts - loudly: as if he can talk about job performance!

They warned me back home that being such a prolific figure was bound to attract attention. Gertrude's away helping the children at the moment so I spent the night home alone. It was depressing to discover that even in my Champ Manager team, I've only scored nine goals this season.

Hopefully all this boardroom nonsense can take the heat off me.

Tot de volgende keer

As Boring as Onions

"Zo saai als een bos uien," as we say in The Netherlands.

The trip back from Boro was a long one. General feeling was that we got away with it. I've seen the Youtube clips - I know what Jeff Stelling says - but if you had to spend six hours in Middlesborough, you'd struggle to raise your game. It is the bleakest place i've ever visited.

When I got home some joker from the bank phoned to tell me that I had been a vicitim of identity fraud and that someone had hacked my computer and credit cards (hence why I've been offline for so long). We can't take these things lightly; not after what happened to Stevie's house last month.

So, after some investigation he got back to me yesterday to say that someone had indeed been using my card and had been spending like a top-flight Premier League goalscorer. I tried to explain that I was a top-flight Premier League goalscorer and that is how I liked to spend. Had he not seen me applauding all four stands at Anfield each week, i asked? Seemingly not.

After some embarrassing questions, we grudgingly agreed that his definition of top and goalscorer differed slightly from mine; he re-activated my account and apologised. I really need to get back among the goals.

Tot de volgende keer

Is it cold up there?

"Is het koud boven?" as we ask in The Netherlands.

I don't trust Peter Crouch. He's always got something on the go. I was in Germany at the World Cup (you may not have seen me) to witness that ridiculous dance. This season if he's not moaning to the press about the gaffer, he's getting sent-off for outrageous two-footed lunges and then, after a three match ban, he comes straight back against Luton and scores!

Did you see who set up the goal though? Yes. That's right. Andriy Voronin: missing a one-on-one. Had I been in the right place at the right time, I doubt that would have happened.

I don't complain though. I just keep applauding all four stands at Anfield each week and keeping out of trouble. All this moaning and kicking and scoring on Crouchie's part is actually very good news for me. Really, it is! It keeps the media writing about him leaving in the transfer window and off other matters…

Tot de volgende keer

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Happy New Year

'Gelukkig Nieuwjaar' as we say in The Netherlands.

A difficult week started at City. The gaffer's goatee was bristling more than usual, I can tell you. I had never heard of Richard Dunne until I came to England, but he does seem an impressive player. Still, I've said that about many of the centre-halves I've come up against since moving here: I am constantly surprised by the quality of defending in the Premier League! I got the better of him once, though, and my brave header was only stopped by a world class save. When someone told me the goalkeeper spent most of last year playing in League One, I couldn't believe it!

I was hoping the new year would start better. This season has felt like I've been running to stand still and no amount of applauding all four stands at Anfield each week can cover up for the fact that I'm having a bad time of it.

It was good of the gaffer to rest me against Wigan so that I'd be at my sharpest for the big game against Luton Town. On Sunday at least three stands at Kenilworth Road were cheering me as I left the pitch. They clearly appreciated the honest effort and application I showed out there. I got into the penalty area a couple of times; I didn't have the ball at the time but the gaffer's always pleased if you get into the right areas. He's such a great manager. Harry and I often talk of his loyalty to the top players. It really is admirable.

Tot de volgende keer