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Interview with Arnie in Liverpool Echo

The Complete Record author Arnie Baldursson happy to see Kenny Dalglish back in charge

HE may hail from Iceland (the island in the North Atlantic, not the frozen food store!) but Arnie Baldursson seems to understand the psyche of the Liverpool FC fan as if he had stood on The Kop for years.

Like so many Liverpool supporters from both near and far, the author of Liverpool: The Complete Record is delighted to see Kenny Dalglish back in the Anfield hot seat.

He said: “After Roy Evans left there were the French and Spanish revolutions and the club seem to lose their way somewhat.

“It was really worrying but they had to get back to basics and Kenny Dalglish has done that this year since his return.

“Seeing him smile when Liverpool score, it’s like the old days and everything is perfect.”

Baldursson, the online editor of www.LFChistory.net, may be a man of facts and figures but he possesses the beating heart of football passion like any other fan.

Chronicling every single competitive Liverpool result and match line-up since the club were created 119 years ago, Liverpool: The Complete Record, which follows on from deCoubertin Books’ similar publication for Everton last year, is a seemingly bottomless pit of information.

On top of all the painstaking detail though, Baldursson has embellished his statistical mammoth with a written report on every one of those campaigns since 1892 to add substantial flesh on to the bones of hard facts.

He said: “I didn’t want the book to be just statistics, facts and figures, I wanted there to be a narrative with real content.

“Looking back through all the archives there are some terrific stories and fascinating characters.”

As well as the great creative forces who have graced Anfield over the years, some of the most colourful players have been the club’s hard men and one individual Baldursson finds fascinating is Walter Wadsworth, a ferocious Bootle-born competitor from the 1920s .

He said: “Walter makes even Jamie Carragher and Tommy Smith look like kittens in comparison.

“In 1923, over 70 years before Eric Cantona’s infamous kung-fu kick on a fan at Selhurst Park, Wadsworth took matters into his own hands at Sheffield United and did not regret it.”

An unrepentant Wadsworth declared: “Let me state here and now that I hit a spectator, I admit it. I think I was justified because a spectator called me something that I will allow no man to call me.

“It must not be imagined that because a spectator has paid his bob that he can, willy-nilly, help himself in the epithets department...

“'I hope the action I took will lead to the offenders realising that they cannot lean over the railings and offer vile insults at footballers.”

Unfortunately Wadsworth’s Anfield playing days came to a close two years later when, following a match against Newcastle on St Valentine’s Day at Anfield, he was banned for the remainder of the season for punching opposition player Urwin in the face after he threw mud at him.

Although Baldursson’s latest project is complete with the publication of his book, he acknowledges that when it comes to an all-encompassing record of the club’s games, gaps continually have to be filled.

He said: “You need to be painstaking with the detail as you don’t want to misreport things so I often triple-check sources to check they are correct.

“There will be more projects in the future and more books because people will always want more detail.

“Our aim is to try and be as comprehensive as possible, offering more and more details.

“We’ve just received some missing information on line-ups from Liverpool’s 1935 tour of the Canary Islands.

“We’ve tried to be helpful to others, we’re not in competition. We just want to have as accurate a portrayal of the club’s history as possible.”

THERE will be a signing of Liverpool: The Complete Record at Waterstone's, Liverpool One, featuring the author and Liverpool legends Ron Yeats and Tommy Smith at 11am on Saturday, October 22.

The book is out now priced £25 and is available online from the website www.decoubertin.co.uk

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