Liverpool Echo - Echo Editor's Blog

night at the museum 2

By Alastair Machray on Jun 29, 09 10:25 AM

What a load of tosh. Even my six-year-old struggled to maintain her focus on this one. I fell asleep twice. Same old, same old.
What a shame to see Steve Coogan and Ricky Gervaise - two talented Brits - chucking their careers away on this tripe. Surely they can't be that desperate for the money?

GCSE examinations stress

By Alastair Machray on Jun 10, 09 01:13 PM

Who suffers most from GCSE stress? Parents or kids? I'd be interested in your views.
I wonder if there's a helpline for parents struggling to cope.
We are in the throes of GCSE hell right now.
We try to force our 16-year-old to study and he dutifully goes into a room and shuts the door.
But we can't control what he's doing when he's in there.
We can only hope he's grafting away and that come the end of August we'll be sorry we ever doubted him.
Does the school say he needs to 'buckle down to some hard work' because it's the right thing to say, or do they say it because he's in serious danger of cocking up his future?
Not sure.
Does he realise the importance of these few weeks in his life and career?
Not sure.
Is it fair that so much is at stake at such an early age?
Probably not.
All I know for certain is that I'll be glad when it's all over.Anyone got any tips for coping?

It's a bad day for Britain and Europe. The BNP have representatives at the European Parliament.
I put the blame squarely at the door of our Westminster politicians. Their shameful behaviour over expenses meant not so much a protest vote as no vote at all at the Euros,
The result? The dangerous extremists of the BNP are not drowned in the deluge of the mainstream.
They kick their nasty little heels and on a tide of bewildering proportional representation they sneak up the pipe to Brussels.
And we are stuck with them. Gordon Brown, hang your head in shame.

I went to Stratford upon Avon at the weekend. It rained. Incessantly. Hour after hour.
Fortunately the lovely spa facilities at the Welcombe Hotel meant Morgan and I could swim while Lynne became yet more beautiful.
I had a golf lesson amid the torrent. I've cracked it. Watch this space.

I have to see this show tonight.

I promised my six-year-old daughter I would take her.

Seemed like a good idea at the time.

I will somehow get through it.

I cannot though, say the same about Aston Villa v Newcastle United on Sunday. That will be too harrowing. My beloved Newcastle are on the brink.

I have had open heart surgery.

This may be my last post.


I got over my blind terror to play at Anfield last night.

I managed most of one half and managed not to make a complete fool of myself as the Echo beat Radio City 5-2.

It was an absolute privilege - to go into the players' lounge, to shower in the dressing rooms, to walk down and out of that famous tunnel under the This is Anfield sign.

I realise most diehard reds will never have the opportunity to do what I did last night and it makes me very humble.

What strikes you most is the sheer size of the pitch - so wide. And the quality of the playing surface where every ball runs true. A far cry from the cratered mudbaths of the Consett Sunday League (Second Division).

It was a night I shall never, ever, forget.

I am playing football tonight.

My last competitve match (not 5-a-side) was for Dipton in the Consett Sunday League (Second Division) 19 years ago.

Tionight I am playing at Anfield. Yes Anfield. For the Echo against Radio City in a curtain raiser to the Kenny Dalglish-organised Hillsborough memorial game to raise money for wife Marina's cancer appeal.

I am terrified.

I am fat, old, slow. People will see. People will laugh.

They are coming to watch Dalglish, Shearer, Rush, Lawrenson in the main attraction.

Hopefully they will arrive near kick-off when our liitle match has ended. I cannot eat. I am truly terrified.

My boots are lost. My sons have aluminium studs and you can't wear those at Anfield, I'm told. I have bought new ones. Aged 47. (Me, not the boots), I will never wear them again. If I get on for the last five minutes, even at Sports Direct's knockdown £18 they will have cost me £3.60 for every minute I wear them in action.

I asked for the cheapest boots in the shop. They had a pair at £10 but they were size 5. Should have got them anyway and put up with the pain.

To play at Anfield is a dream, an honour, a privilege. So why is my stomach in knots?.

Our website took a major step forward this week.
We now have the facility for readers to comment on stories as they read them.
We're trialling it on different channels so please check it out and let me know what you think of it.
When I read a story online I like to express my views there and then rather than log onto a separate forum, perhaps going through password protection before I can do so.
Our new facility 'Pluck' allows this instant interaction.

So here I am on holiday in Portugal with Lynne and Morgan, my six-year-old. We are down by the pool and she says 'dad, I want to go to the toilet.' 'There's the ladies over there,' I reply.
'Dad, can you come with me,' she says, as she sometimes does.
'I can't love,' say I.
'Why not'?
'Because there might be ladies in there,' I explain.
'Dad'.... she says witheringly......'they won't find you attractive.'
Baffling. But probably a put-down nonetheless.

There appears to be a political momentum building towards release of the secret Hillsborough Files. Jacqui Smith made the right noises over the weekend, and clearly Andy Burnham has jogged a few elbows since his rough ride at Anfield last week.
This is a Government looking for friends amid the scandals over expenses and smear campaigns. It's a good time for them to deliver to a popular cause.
What is essential though, is that we can trust the content of the documents if the government demands they are produced.
Altering, sanitising, documents is easy. Losing stuff is easy.
It is vital that an independent scrutineer (and I mean independent) reviews the information and announces them to be free of tampering. Otherwise more frustration, disappointment, and resentment will be directed at the Government.

Had lunch in Liverpool One at the weekend, Glorious weather - people sitting at tables outside. Whole place looked great.
Also great was Wagamama - the noodle bar on the top level. Good service, good food, nice atmosphere, reasonable prices and my six-year-old found loads of stuff she would cheerfully eat.

There are some morons about. The low-life-scum-ometer must be off the scale today.
Just looked at a YouTube Video that features images of dead and dying at Hillsborough, overlaid with vile messages glorifying the deaths.
People capable of this stuff aren't worthy of a place on the planet. And yes - before you start - I think the same about Scousers who sing songs about Manchester United players dying in Munich.
These people are beyond sensible reproach - they are too stupid to reason with. What pisses me off far more is the corporate morons of YouTube who are refusing to remove this muck.
They hide behind policies and say it can't come down because it's not pornographic. The fact that's it's worse than any routine dirty movie seems to matter not a jot.
Get it down fellas. You shame yourself.

Horns of a dilemma: Was the Hillsborough memorial crowd at Anfield wrong or right to barrack Government minister Andy Burnham?
I was in the Kop and felt uncomfortable as he was shouted down; but I believe his response in going to the Cabinet to seek disclosure of information proved that the crowd's actions had merit.
My colleague - Paddy Shennan - a brilliant journalist and versed in this city way beyond what I can ever hope to live or learn - felt that in the end they had gone too far and had breached the sanctity of a religious ceremony.
Paddy believes the mass chanting at a key point was valid and should have been left at that. The subsequent catcalls and isolated shouts from around the stadium were unnecessary and unworthy of the occasion.The 'Justice for the 96' chant at Burnham's first pause on mentioning Gordon Brown's name was understandable, acceptable, and perhaps should have ended there.
Burnham is, I believe, a good bloke. A Labour high-flyer but a man who understands basic human sentiment. He knows more than most about The Truth.
He was placed - or placed himself - in a difficult position. Speaking was ill-judged on the face of it, but may be for the greater good ultimately.
The families of the 96 have been betrayed by the Establishment. Of that, both Paddy Shennan and I now have no doubt. More scrutiny is needed and Burnham's trip into the Lion's Den may bring it about.
He is a brave man. There are none braver than the families of the 96 and the empathy they discover may promote a satisfactory conclusion to 20 years of misery.

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Alastair Machray

Alastair Machray - Editor of the Liverpool Echo

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