John Yates: Anfield of broken dreams

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I HAD to rub my eyes a couple of times to ensure I wasn’t seeing things when the TV cameras zoomed in on the crowd at the Anfield Road end of Liverpool’s jam-packed stadium during their Carling Cup semi-final second leg tie against Manchester City last Wednesday.

Bang in the centre of the screen was a face extremely familiar to me – Saints’ Australian forward Chris Flannery.

Like Paul Wellens, who accompanied him to the match, he is a massive City fan, and had been hoping the Sky Blues would have booked a date against Cardiff City on at Wembley later this month.

Liverpool also made it a miserable end to the week for club chairman Eamonn McManus – a self-confessed Manchester United fan.

He, too, was captured by TV in the crowd at Anfield on Saturday lunchtime.

Being a former Liverpool season ticket holder, I’ve no sympathy for them whatsoever!

n I JUST hope the RFL have not set a precedent by buying Odsal – the home of Super League club Bradford Bulls – and renting it back to the club to prevent what an official RFL statement described as ‘predatory approaches’ to build on the famous old stadium.

I know the RFL’s property portfolio includes Keighley’s Cougar Park and Rochdale’s Spotland Stadium, and one or two other amateur grounds, but it is the first move of its kind to ensure the future of one of the big guns of the 13-a-side code is safe.

No doubt they will have taken into account the quality of stadiums now operated by most Super League clubs, who are all on a sound financial footing and unlikely to get a further plea for help, but I wonder what would happen if the likes of Hull KR, Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity – still working in rather rundown stadiums at this moment in time – go cap in hand to HQ if victims of approaches from property speculators.

The outcome would be very interesting, indeed.