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Author Topic: Rogan Taylor
Otto Katz
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This guy is mentioned on the AFC Liverpool thread but I thought I'd start a new thread to avoid derailing the other one.

Last year I posted some translated excerpts from Henning Berg's biography. When I got in touch with the author he was kind enough to send me a copy of another book he's published. Basically it tells the story of him and his mate Egon (both Liverpool supporters) who travel around Germany in a caravan during the World Cup in 2006, going to as many games as they can.

The chapter where they meet Rogan Taylor starts, as do all the chapters, with Egon performing his shtick of expressing his hatred of a player. In this case it's Ashley Cole and seeing as a lot of posters share Egon's feelings I thought I'd include it as well.

Taylor is bonkers, isn’t he? Wyatt Earp probably shouldn't read this or hell have a bad science induced heart attack.

*******

Unfaithful players who sell themselves to the enemy is not a new phenomenon in football, but just as with famine, loud reggae music or neo-Nazism it doesn't mean we should accept it. Sol Campbell who left Tottenham for Arsenal after saying that it would never happen, has until now been the most famous player in England who has to live with shouts of "Judas" from the stands. But he has now got a worthy successor in Arsenal player Ashley Cole, and the circle is complete.

Already last year he opened illegal talks with Chelsea, and both him and the West London Rubel syndicate were fined sums that Abramovich has probably laughed callously about every day since. Rather than being embarrassed and humble, Cole manages to become properly sulky and indignant over the fact that Arsenal didn’t like him going behind their back. Moreover, he felt badly treated and of course had to write about this in a book, which means that Cole almost certainly is on his way out of Arsenal and straight into Jose Mourinho’s freshly shaved armpits.

If you’re unfaithful and get affronted when your girlfriend doesn’t like it you’re, apart from being fascinatingly unintelligent, a thoroughly rotten human being. That’s Ashley Cole. In addition to being an unusually enthusiastic diver on the pitch, for an English player that is, he is incredibly grumpy and sulky, and has some of the same traits as Didier Drogba. They should get on fine at Chelsea.

And try this though experiment: Ashley Cole’s woman, the not exactly lightening intelligent Cheryl Tweedy from the girl group Girls Aloud (who by the way make the Spice Girls sound like the saviours of pop) is ill and laying on the couch. Try to imagine that the faithful, generous and attentive Ashley walks over to the sofa, gets down on his knees, gently strokes her hair and says, tenderly ”How are you doing dear? Do you want me to make you a cup of tea with honey, and get a cold piece of cloth to put on your forehead?" You can't do it? Exactly.

*********’

I hear his cackling laugh before he turns the corner. Professor Rogan Taylor is no ordinary academic. He is a hippie and a supporter. His untidy moustache is whiter now than the last time I saw him, and the yellow teeth and those wild dark eyes don’t exactly give a professorial impression. He sits down and starts wailing about the England team (this is the day after the Trinidad & Tobago game). ”What are they doing? It’s painful to watch. It’s terrible. People sing ”I’m English till I die", I sing ”I’m English till I commit suicide!”

Professor Taylor is here as a pundit for a newspaper from Vancouver an one from South-Korea, as well as for BBC World. I’ve met Rogan before, in connection with a game at Anfield, and later in his own back garden just outside Liverpool, where his wife served tea and Rogan told stories from the old days, before he started studying, when he travelled England and Europe watching Liverpool.

Through a series of coincidences, Rogan Taylor ended up as a professor at Liverpool University Football Research Unit. He had studied psychology, and he had founded and led the football supporters’ own union. The clubs are living off us, he had thought. We spend all our money on them. Surely we should have some rights? And when 39 supporters were squeezed to death at Heysel in 1985 and the Liverpool supporters got all the blame, Rogan Taylor spoke on every channel. It’s too easy to blame the supporters, he said. Where were the police? Where were UEFA? Where were the match organizers? Liverpool’s and Juventus’ supporters were placed next to each other, and when trouble arose, as was inevitable, deaths were unavoidable. A fence broke down, a wall collapsed and suddenly 38 Italians and a Belgian were killed. And English supporters are blamed for it. Is that fair?, Rogan asked.

Thousands of English supporters joined the supporters’ union, Taylor became one of the first authorities in the new academic field *supporter culture*, and these days he’s travelling the world talking about the nature of football supporters.

”I’ve turned 60, did you know that?”
Rogan laughs so hard his unkempt tasche wheezes.
”And do you know how I celebrated? I had put on a nice shirt and was having lunch with my closest family, and do you know what my daughters had done? They had invited the great Liverpool captains too. Tommy Smith from the 70s, Phil Thompson from the 80s, Alan Hansen from the 90s (sic!). And Steven Gerrard! And there they came. In through the door. A whisper went through the restaurant of course, but there they came. To me! Stevie asked if it was OK that he had brought a mate. I turned round and there was Jamie Carragher as well. It was the greatest day of my life. They had come to celebrate me! And I told my daughters: You’ve got it! When I said I just wanted to celebrate with my family, you invited the family! The whole family!”
”Oh my god! Cheers to that!” says Egon.
”Cheers!” says Rogan Taylor.

Egon’s general scepticism towards the mixing of football and academia evaporated when Rogan Taylor opened his mouth, and now they’re sitting there chatting about the behaviour of English fans in Germany. Egon expresses a certain regret at having spent the most part of the previous night singing songs about shot-down German pilots. Taylor assures us that the Germans understand the irony of that song, and that they also are relieved that people are joking about the war.

”Did you notice how many Liverpudlians are here" he asks. ”You here them everywhere, and do you know why? They’re here to make money. There are two thousand ticket touts in Germany and everyone is a Scouser.”
I can tell that Egon appreciates the professor’s unacademical and deliberate use of the word "everyone”. Of course they’re not all from Liverpool.
”Being successful in Liverpool is all about being clever. About getting one over the rich, make a quick buck. When Liverpool supporters are in Europe, they steal bread to eat, they steal T-shirts to wear, and they sneak into games. Apart from this they don't do anything criminal. When some princess or other was opening a sports centre in Liverpool a while ago the organizers had rolled a red carpet in front of the entrance. A few seconds before the princess arrived, two blokes popped up, rolled the carpet together and took off. There's Scousers for you!"

”There are five Everton supporters at my hotel” professor Taylor says. ”They’ve bet their way through Germany. Bet and sold tickets. They’re on the holiday of their lives! Their pockets are bulging, they’re full of bills. This morning one of them, Ted I think his name is, I remember him from my youth, told me that he had had seven hookers in two days! I couldn’t do seven hookers if the hookers paid *me* Hahahahaha!”
We laugh a very masculine laughter.
”Seven in two days. That’s what I call stamina! I take it for granted that he has a short index finger!”
It goes quiet around the table. We're unsure of what he's talking about. Rogan Taylor looks at me.
”I have told you about my analysis of the relationship between the length of the index finger and the ring finger of English footballers? No? OK, I’ll be brief.”

He’s not brief. Professor Taylor talks at length about fingers. Some time ago he was contacted by one professor John Manning from the institute of biology. Manning wanted to measure the fingers of English footballers, he said. Why? asked Taylor. Because the relationship between the index finger and the ring finger indicates how much testosterone a person has been exposed to as a foetus, and this will influence abilities you need as a footballer: stamina, the ability to recuperate after exertions, spatial awareness, sense of direction, stuff like that, said Manning. The ring finger should be longest, and the greater the difference, the better the player.

Rogan Taylor bought a portable photocopier and visited clubs in the two highest divisions in England. He also went to an anniversary dinner at the FA where hundreds of old legends were invited. They all had to put their hands on Taylor’s copier, everyone had their fingers measured. He sent his results to professor Manning, and the next day he got a phone call. Manning told him that the average difference was significantly larger at the Premier League clubs than at the clubs in the division below. At one of these the difference was also much smaller than at the other teams.
”Manning asked me if this could be due to some mistake. No, I said, it’s quite correct. The team you mention are at the bottom of the league, they’re already relegated!”
Rogan Taylor laughs like a little kid.
”You might not believe me, but it’s true! You can tell if a newborn child will become a good footballer! The relationship between the fingers is constant from you’re born until you die. Scouts will have to visit maternity wards rather than going from ground to ground”.

I look at my fingers. Egon looks at his. Taylor asks us to hold them out in front of us. He says there’s a certain potential for both of us. We gave up too early, he says.
”What were the results among the legends?" Egon asks. ”Who scored highest?"
”I asked the same question. Professor Manning made me guess. First I suggested Sir Stanley Matthews, but he was second. I then guessed Sir Tom Finney, but he was fourth. Then I went for Kenny Dalglish, but he was seventh.”
”So who was it then?”
Egon is getting impatient now.
”Was it Keegan? Alan Hansen? Graeme Souness? Peter Beardsley?”
”No. I'm sorry to say, it wasn’t a Liverpool player. He was a Manchester United player. It was Bryan Robson. England captain for 9 years. He practically ran United on his own through the 80s. Bryan’s index finger looks amputated compared to his ring finger! The coefficient is 0,81 compared to the average of 0,98! It’s an insane number! But when I thought about it, the pieces started falling into place. I met Bryan in a hotel bar three weeks ago. He drank fifteen pints. Straight down. No problem. And at breakfast the next day he was totally unaffected. That’s the thing with these guys. They’re exceptional on the pitch, and exceptional at recuperating. They’re probably exceptional in bed too. Hahhhaahahahahaha!”

We laugh the same masculine laughter, toast in riesling and measure our fingers against each other. Then Egon goes quiet. He leans across the table.
”What about Stevie G?” he asks. ”Have you measured his fingers?”
Rogan Taylor nods. He’s measured Steven Gerrard. Exceptional stuff, that too. Truly exceptional stuff. Taylor grants himself a rhetorical pause. Egon looks at the 60 year old across the table, hope glimmering in his eyes.
”0,82” says professor Taylor.
”Bloody typical!” says Egon, slapping his hands on his thighs in a resigned manner. ”Beaten by one hundredth by that fucking United cock!”

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Rogin the Armchair fan
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Bonkers? I assume someone's index finger is longer than their ring finger ...
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blackdogbeak
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"When Liverpool supporters are in Europe, they steal bread to eat, they steal T-shirts to wear, and they sneak into games. Apart from this they don't do anything criminal."

Lovable, salt-of-the-earth stereotypes.

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Houdi Elbow
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That's got to be wingco, hasn't it?
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Belhaven
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Pedant note. Rogan Taylor is not a professor, only a doctor at the University of Liverpool.

He was also my supervisor for my master degree some ten years ago, and I am eternally grateful for the two minutes and twenty seconds he spent in total on supervising me that year.

To be fair to him, though, he has written some pretty enjoyable books, such as The Three Sides of the Mersey, Kicking and Screaming and Puskas on Puskas. He is good at oral history stuff. And an entertaining lecturer, although he had the habit of wandering spectacularly off topic.

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Bill Poster
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This is just brilliant Otto. Please, have you got any more?

This thing about the index finger, he doesn't say which hand? On my right my index finger is much shorter compared to ring finger than on my left.

Oh and erm, he's not wrong about the Scousers in Europe either...

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Rogin the Armchair fan
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It's the Scouser's way of life to get up of a morning, and go out in the world to see if you can get away with it. Lifting a paving slab here, waiting for the delivery driver to leave his doors open there, seeing how many people will buy a "genuine" DVD of Cloverfield in the pub, before getting it home and realising it's been filmed on a cellphone in a cinema in Korea.

You can't discriminate against people on the basis of their culture. That's the law, or something, isn't it?

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Spearmint Rhino
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Rogan and Egon? Do all his mates have names like Star Trek villains?
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blackdogbeak
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Oh, my use of the word 'stereotype' wasn't meant to imply stereotypes don't exist.

I have, swear to God, seen three scousers outside the Post Office in Manchester, arguing over who gets to look after the giro. The first time I went up to Newcastle, one of the first things I saw when we got into the city centre was a fella hoofing a woman's head in in a shop doorway.

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Alania Vladikavkaz Satie
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Mines smaller. So at least I can stop blaming Mr Davidson for playing me at LB instead of RW for the school team now.
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Rogin the Armchair fan
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And I've actually seen gangs of thick teenagers in hoodies stood on street corners smoking dope in Manchester.
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garcia en dolor
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cheers for the translation otto, i always enjoy these extracts.
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ursus arctos
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Indeed, many thanks to otto once again.

Sounds like just the sort of bloke one would want running a 500 million quid takeover effort.

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Otto Katz
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I guess this explains how your average Scouser is going to come up with the 5 grand to participate in RT's scheme.

Will Liverpool's signing policy be based on finger length after the takeover?

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Alania Vladikavkaz Satie
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Id got so wrapped up in the finger stuff that Id forgotten all about his justification of theft. A "right n proper persons test" awaits.
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