“where once we watched King Kenny play (and could he play!)”

Oh, crap.

Well, we had to lose some time, and taking the pressure of being undefeated away might actually help the team not to lose the head altogether.  The minute I saw Redknapp had been appointed, I knew the ‘bounce’ factor would kick Liverpool in the arse.

So what about this title race then?  Like so many Reds, I’m scared to even think about it properly for fear of jinxing everything.  Our squad is as strong as it’s been in five years, and yet we’re playing some of our worst football.  Then you look at the Chelsea game where we made one of the best teams in the world right now look average and stunted.

Of course, if you turn on a TV or pick up a paper today the grumblings about how our season is pretty much over have no doubt started in earnest.  I’ll be honest, I look at the squads and worry we don’t measure up sometimes, but give us a bloody chance.  I mean, it’s not like Chelsea and Man U haven’t already dropped points unexpectedly.  As for Arsenal, they’ve lost to Hull, Fulham and now Stoke – we’re surely still in with a better shout than them?

It feels like we *have* to win it this year, we can’t rely on Chavski to stop Man U equalling our record, and while Man U have nyaffs like slimy Ronaldo in their team it’s even less palatable. It would be particularly satisfying to knock Fergie off HIS fucking perch for a change.

Not to mention that April is the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, and while we don’t deserve anything for sentiment, the timing would be appropriately bittersweet.  I can’t be arsed with anyone (including my beloved Boris) who throw out claims about wallowing in victimhood.  I may not be a Scouser by birth, but it is a big part of my heritage.  I didn’t lose anyone I loved that day, but only thanks to a trick of fate and their tickets being in another stand.  If it had happened to any other team, it would still be a horrible tragedy and I can’t stand supporters of other teams sneering at it.  So don’t mock me for still refusing to buy the Sun, or getting choked up every so often when You’ll Never Walk Alone is being belted out.

Why does it matter so much to me these days?  I don’t know really.  I’ve always supported Liverpool, even during the season I pretended to support Man U in order to wind my dad up (grievously would him would be more accurate). The past couple of seasons I’ve felt it step up a gear – I can’t bear to miss a game, I have rituals about rituals to keep the superstitious ju-ju working in our favour.  It’s an established fact that all the lesbianism in the world can’t stop me from being a little bit in love with Fernando Torres, no matter how much it makes my girlfriend pout.

Liverpool is a way of life, clichéd though that may sound.  For someone like me, far from my original home and with only loose connections to concepts like family, it’s actually really comforting that there are tens of thousands of people all over the place who understand the significance of a good ‘BOUNCE!’.  It’s a currency, a common language even with those I find it hard to communicate with.  Sometimes I think it’s all my dad and I have left as a bond between us, and for that alone it’s worth the heartbreak of last-minute winners and the stress of penalty shoot-outs.

They’re my team, and that’s all it comes down to in the end.  If we can pull it off this year, if we can win the Premier League, I don’t think I can tell you just how happy it would make me.  But for now, as is the Liverpool Way, I’ll go back to living and dying with every kick of every match, not daring to think beyond each final whistle.  After all, nobody ever won anything in the autumn.

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