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By WAYNE SAVAGE, entertainment writer
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
LIVERPOOL may’ve enjoyed better days, but ex-player turned world-renowned psychic Derek Acorah sees glory in their future.
The club’s recent crisis has left him broken-hearted.
“As long as he gets support, Kenny Dalglish will turn it around; but he has to buy. The club has never had such a bunch of mediocre players playing at the same time in the same team.
“I can count the players who are good enough for Liverpool on my right hand; people like Gerrard and Carragher. I thought Hodgson was wrong to come, it’s been proven; and certain managers before him like Houllier and of course Benitiz.
“I firmly believe next year will be the building blocks to bring Liverpool back as a fighting force.”
Spotted playing for his school and county, Derek was with the club from around 13-18, getting as far as the reserves.
“Dad was horrified; he and all my uncles were all Everton supporters. He used to take me all over the country to watch them.
“He was really excited for me but wanted Everton not Liverpool. Lo and behold, I signed for Liverpool after a lot of discussions and five days later Everton’s chief scout asked me to sign.
“Well, my dad fell on his knees. Unknown to mum and I he had the terrible cheek to phone Bill Shankly -not telling him about Everton’s interest - to say I decided maybe I shouldn’t be attached to Liverpool and could he get the papers scrapped.
But the papers had been sent and he told him “He’s a Liverpool player now, you’ve just got to get used to that”.
Derek loved his football days, which included a number of clubs after his spell with the Reds. His career was cut cruelly short by a knee injury while working as a player-coach in Australia.
Aged 26 he returned to England and soon started having vivid dreams of his grandmother, telling him it was his chance to start the work he really should be doing.
“That’s when I embraced it. I placed an ad - how I had the guts to do it I don’t know - in the local paper offering my services as a spiritual psychic medium, to do readings in people’s homes. That’s how I started.”
Those days Derek conducted one-to-one sittings in Liverpool, never dreaming one day he would be on television.
Those days Derek conducted one-to-one sittings in Liverpool, never dreaming one day he would be on television in shows such as Most Haunted and Real Lives.
He and his parents were living with his grandmother when he had his first experience of the other side.
“I saw a man very clearly, very tangibly. He had grey/white hair and was quite big; but I was only six so big was how you determined big. By the time I got down the stairs running, nearly falling over to tell gran and mum there was a strange man in one of the bedrooms and they raced me to the bedroom he wasn’t there anymore.
“And I just looked with what I suppose was a bit of fright and gran calmed me down. At that time I didn’t know she was also a practicing medium.
“The door knocker went every single day at a certain time. I often had a look down the hallway when gran opened the door and there was always at least four or six women, sometimes the odd man, who would be invited in as if they were great friends and then ushered quietly in to the parlour.
“The door was closed and you wouldn’t see gran for a couple of hours. I used to think my gosh my gran hasn’t half got a load of friends,” he laughs. “Little did I know they were all people coming round for readings.”
What he also didn’t know was the man he saw was his seafaring grandfather, who died two-and-a-half years before Derek was born after an accident onboard a ship in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
His gran knew he had the gift after he picked the “strange man” from a series of photographs of different people.
Gran told mum to stay quiet until I got a bit older, until I could understand it and that’s exactly what she did. She sat me down when I was nine and my first reaction was ‘oh my God, he wasn’t a stranger he was a spirit, a ghost. I don’t want to see these people, all I wanted since I was little was become a footballer. I told gran I don’t want to be like her and she said ’you don’t have to, but you will have experiences throughout your life‘.”
Derek remembers warning new club-mate Emlyn Hughes over coffee about driving to training in his new car; confessing he had psychic abilities and had seen it smashed up.
“Come Monday we’re warming up and one of the coaches shouted me over and said the boss wants to see me at the pavilion.
“I thought ‘is he going to say I’m in the first team next week‘? So I ran to the pavilion, took me boots off because it’s all wood and went into his office.
“Standing next to him was Emlyn with his head bowed and Bob Paisley so the boss - that’s what we called Shanks - said ‘what have you been saying to Emlyn son‘?
“I went ‘oh my God no’ and looked at Emlyn. He wouldn’t look at me. I said ‘did it happen‘? He just nodded. A lorry smashed in to him, wrote the car off but he and Bob got out of it with a few scratches.
“He sent Emlyn and Bob out to join training and got stuck into me. He said ‘son remember what you are; you’re a footballer playing for the greatest football side in the world. Be very proud for playing in the Reds son. Don’t come in here talking about these things you’ve seen;. you promise me that.
“I did, I think I was tearful actually. He then told me his wife Nessie’s mother experienced the same type of things so was used to being told about these stuff. But he said ‘you’re a footballer son, be one or the other‘. I spoke to Emlyn afterwards and we became even closer.”
The two remained great friends and Derek was broken-hearted when Hughes passed before he could see him one last time.
“He’s since come back to me a few times to say hello. It surprised me a bit but I know he’s fine; he’s fit as a fiddle and watching Liverpool intently at the moment.”
An integral part of Derek’s show, his life, is spirit guide Sam.
His gran told him everybody has a spirit guide and his was from the Ethiopian region of Africa who would first come to him in his sleep, coming through stronger when Derek was ready.
“He approached me on a couple of occasions in my teenage years and then he backed off, knowing about the football and so on. It was only when I came back to England... I had these nights when it was so bad I didn’t want to go to sleep.”
Working as a full-time spirit medium yet to develop the gift of clairaudience Sam finally spoke to him.
“I was in my home alone. I had just completed my evening meditation and was listening to some music. Suddenly I heard a voice say ‘hello Derek‘. This was repeated four times. The voice then said ‘hello Derek, I’m Sam‘. Even though I was aware that I was alone, I looked round expecting to see somebody. There was nobody there.”
He explained the impressions and images Derek had been getting over all the years of his development regarding his past life in Ethiopia were flashbacks to when they had travelled together after the loss of Derek’s family in a village feud.
Sam said he was fulfilling the promise he made 2000 years ago when he said he would be his guiding influence from the heavenly side; that he would never forsake that young boy who had given his life in order that Masumai - as Sam was known then - might eat.
Giving comfort and healing to those who’ve lost loved ones keeps Derek going. He always stays behind after shows to sit and talk with audience members, knowing full well the emotional impact his shows can have.
“If you’re coming along for the first time come with an open mind and I hope they will all gain something. It’s not morbid, people will laugh at anecdotes and things like that. There’s healing, elation and an uplifting night of mediumship and entertainment.”
Derek Acorah is at Ipswich’s Corn Exchange this Saturday.