by Sachin Nakrani
MY NAME is Sachin Nakrani and I am a Liverpool supporter. That may appear an unusual and rather pointless statement for someone to make on a Liverpool supporters’ website, but in light of recent events I feel it necessary to make clear my allegiances.
Let me explain. My day job consists of working as a sports journalist for the Guardian and last weekend I was asked by the paper to cover Liverpool’s match at Stoke. As you can imagine I was delighted to be given the assignment, but given what followed there is a large part of me that wishes I had stayed at home. Never before has seeing the Reds led to such personal distress.
The reason for this is that in the report I wrote on Liverpool’s subsequent 1-0 loss, I made a reference to Kenny Dalglish’s rather explosive post-match attack on referees which led to a Twitter shitstorm scooping me up and spitting me out in tiny, mangled bits.
Commenting on how odd and worrying Kenny’s general’s attack had been, I suggested that for “the second time in two decades the task of managing Liverpool may be proving too great a responsibilty for the club’s greatest player”.
The piece was posted on the Guardian’s website at 11pm on Sunday [a good few hours before the print version hit the shops] and was met by immediate outrage.
When I woke up at just before 6am on Monday, there was at least 20 comments on Twitter calling me everything from a“disgrace” to a “back-stabber” to a “Man United supporter”.
Working as a reporter in the era of Twitter, online blogs and forums means you have to become pretty immune to this type of stuff – far better writers than me get far worse abuse – but this still took me back, partly because it came from fellow Reds, and partly because I could see their point.
In hindsight I know I should not have written what I did; linking Kenny’s angry reaction to a slender defeat at Stoke with his decision to leave Anfield in the aftermath of Hillsborough was crass.
It genuinely was not my intention to link the two – of course there is no comparison – instead the comment was an attempt on my part to reflect just how stunning Kenny’s post-match attack had appeared to those gathered in the Britannia Stadium press room and how, to me anyway, it appeared worrying given it was out of a character for a man who is normally so respectful of others.
I was trying to say that for the second time in two decades, there could be concern for Kenny’s state of mind, but not that Saturday’s incident in any way, shape or form, compared to the trauma he must have felt when he resigned as the Liverpool manager in 1991.
My attempt was clumsily done and, as I say, crass in how it came across. I should have left well alone.
I did not go back on Twitter following my early-morning shock at what was being said about me so have no idea how bad the abuse got. What I will say in my defence is that I still feel it was worth focusing on Kenny’s attack in my piece, particularly as it was rather unfounded.
From what I can tell, Liverpool have not had decisions go against them in each of their four league games and the penalty Stoke were awarded at the weekend was a fair one.
A real challenge of the job I do is balancing supporting a club with remaining balanced when reporting on them and often that can lead to over compensating – i.e. being too critical in order to not come across as a fan with a laptop.
Looking back on the comment I made about Dalglish, I do wonder if I was guilty of that and, if so, I need to learn from that and make sure it doesn’t happen again. All I can do now is move on and strive to improve as a journalist.
In the meantime, I ask that you believe me when I say I regret the reference I made in my article and that I remain fully behind Kenny Dalglish and the team.
I was in the away end at Old Trafford when he returned to manage Liverpool in January and sang his name with as much gusto as the next Red there. The moment the King emerged into the daylight of a cold Manchester afternoon will forever remain a golden memory.
I plan to be at the derby in October, too. If you recognise me and feel the urge to come over and give me a thump then, fair enough, go ahead. I’ll take it on the chin.