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FEAR AND SUPERSTITION

by Karl Coppack // 1 April 2014 // 17 Comments

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THE chippy was shut.

That wasn’t good. Everything had to be right and in its place. I’d met my mates, we’d shook hands and we’d discussed who would miss out in the midfield. I was a bit worried about the lack of Allen and felt that Coutinho should be rested. No way should Sterling make way. Sterling plays forever now.

Sterling played

But the chippy was shut and it got to me. Why was it shut? Why did I have to find a new one? This was new ground and I wasn’t ready for new ground. Not then. I wanted, needed, the tried and tested. I wanted undercooked chips and a fishcake which contained very little fish and was coloured nuclear orange. Nothing new. Not then. I wanted routine.

Superstition and football go hand in hand be it a sub touching the grass as he comes on or running out of the tunnel in a certain order. Look at Pepe’s garage routine. He must have been panicking during the fuel crisis a few years back. Look at him kicking the shit out of the posts before kick off in a certain order. He actually thinks that matters to the outcome of the game.

I’m not usually that bad. I like to use the same chippy but that’s about it. Oh, and I never look at the pitch until I’m in my seat. I also never sing the first verse of You’ll Never Walk Alone, although that could be something to do with waiting until everyone’s worked out what key we’re trying this week but none of this is especially peculiar. My mates have got some superstition going on about tins of tuna which I won’t even bother to explain as I’m not sure I could. It defies logic but so does the eight straight wins that have taken place since they started doing it so I’m on board. Jesus, am I on board.

Here’s the thing though. Superstitions are based on fear. If we dont do x we won’t win, like there’s something astrological about all this. It doesn’t matter to Liverpool though. Liverpool don’t care about that stuff.  Liverpool aren’t arsed about superstition. Liverpool aren’t arsed about fear. Liverpool were supposed to be scared of Tottenham. They were our rivals for fourth place after all. Liverpool were supposed to be scared of Arsenal, United and Everton. The aggregate scores for those games being 9-0, 5-3, 4-0 and 7-3. Not much fear there.

The pre-match routine

Pre-match routine

The greatest element of Sunday wasn’t the score or Raheem’s cartoon running or the swagger which saw us romp away. It was the focus. Ordinarily, you go a goal ahead and sit for a bit while you let the opposition react to your lead. We didn’t do that. We celebrate the second more than the first these days as it means more to the result than a mere lead. No, we were like surgeons, dispassionately picking at them until they yielded ground. Two wasn’t enough even when it was. Three was good but we had time for another. The fourth became comedy and even then we wanted Sterling, the man who deserved the goal bonus more than any of them, to get one too.

What didn’t matter was Tottenham. They were an afterthought. Alright, they’re not the team they were and are now managed by a man who looks like he goes to the pub with his own pool cue in its own case but they’ve still got names. We didn’t so much as not show them respect as not show them anything at all. They became an irrelevance. Going for a top four spot, are you? Well you’ve got ninety minutes but you won’t want the last eighty eight of them. We’re going for the League now and teams going for the League do that to teams going for a Europa League place. That’s not arrogance on our part. That’s not cockiness. That’s a ninety minute statement of Liverpool 2014.

So often the crowd’s nerves alter the behaviour of the team. Jitters beget jitters but on Sunday it went the other way as their confidence led to an easy afternoon. Liverpool are happy to go toe to toe now and unless you’ve planned as Sunderland did it’s only going to go one way. You need three or four ways of playing to get past Liverpool and the only team capable of that level of variety is ourselves.

Superstitions are funny things. I’m glad my choice of rank chippy (and it really was) didn’t affect the result. I’m relying on the eleven stoical Reds on the pitch from now on and not bothering with avoiding the cracks on the pavement. I’m going back to logic and six more no fuss wins.

Fingers crossed.

Not all the chippies were shut

Not all the chippies were shut

Pics: David Rawcliffe / Propaganda

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17 Comments

  1. THAT’S THE WRONG CHIPPY!

  2. “Nuclear orange fishcakes.” Had more than a few of them myself. Why do they always have a vague undercurrent aroma of domestos, too?

  3. No offence, but the chippys (chippies?) in Liverpool sound rank. Whenever I go watch the game (nowhere near enough), my mates and I always go to Burger King first (for some reason) and we almost always win. Well, except for that boring 0-0 draw against Stoke a while back (we bloody scored), so I guess that’s my routine that usually works. Probably for the best, going by how bad you’re making your chip shops sound.

  4. Best fish and chips I’ve ever had was outside Anfield, possibly from that chippy with the girl pictured.

  5. I always go to that chippy, then sit on the wall of the petrol station opposite with my dad. Gotta have a routine on matchday.

  6. I would happily drink a tub of the curry sauce from the chippies by the ground. there is nothing better than a chip curry barm!!

  7. “Liverpool were supposed to be scared of Tottenham. They were our rivals for fourth place after all. Liverpool were supposed to be scared of Arsenal, United and Everton. The aggregate scores for those games being 9-0, 5-3, 4-0 and 7-3. Not much fear there.”

    25-6 overall. Wow.

    Good piece as always, Karl.

  8. Yes but what about Colin Pascoe’s shorts?

  9. Hahaha, I remember that chippy back last season when I came over from Aus. We lost 1-3 to aston villa…

  10. Hold on. Is that pic from the chippy opposite the garage wall next to the flag/scarf shop? If so, that’s the one I use.

  11. I crossed myself before every game from December 2000 to May 2001 and we won the treble. Just saying.

  12. Ah. Mine is the one on Oakfield Road opposite the garage on the corner.

  13. I have a liverpool mug, in which I drink a bit of black tea just before kick off. I’ve been doing that almost all season. Whenever there is a game, I put on the kettle and just start to brew. I know it doesn’t help the team but it sure helps to calm my nerves till the first goal…

  14. I have a pair of red boxers that I wear when we play. We have not lost when I wear them. Suffice to say, I am not ashamed that on Sunday when I realised that they were still in the wash, I fished them out and wore them over the top of a pair of clean pants. We won. They are now clean and ready to meet West Ham.

    Unfortunately, my lucky socks developed holes four weeks ago. The cosmic powers of luck they have channeled since have led to them becoming markedly more hole than sock, and even wearing the remnants over the top of pristine socks, I fear that they will not make it to the end of the season.

    Also, I wear the same shirt, and only wash it if we lose. We possibly need to win all six remaining games. If that is the case, my shirt may walk to Anfield to lift the cup BY ITSELF!

    Re-reading this post, I see that my personal hygiene may be questioned. I would say that I shower daily, and all my daily attire is clean and ironed – it is just my superstitious oddments that are slightly more fragrant!

  15. Great article and pic at the end says it all

  16. Reading this made me think, “thank God I’m not in the least bit superstitious”.

    I now live down south, so getting to a match isn’t easy, I was at Spurs though, and have a ticket for Man City, but mostly have to watch on Sky/BT Sport/dodgy internet feed (which have improved lately) anyhow…

    I remembered that I NEED to move from the sofa and at around 10mins in, if we’ve not scored, I have to sit on the corner edge of the table in the lounge if we’re not winning.
    I have to close the door too, so the kids can’t hear the foul language, only football does this to me

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