by Ben McCausland

Drink, bevy, booze, consume, dissipate, down, drain, gargle, gulp, guzzle, hit the bottle, imbibe, indulge, inhale, irrigate, lap, liquor up, nip, partake of, put away, quaff, sip, slosh, slurp, soak up, sop, sponge, suck, sup, swallow, swig, swill, tank up, thirst, tipple, toast, toss off, wash down, wet whistle.

Everyone loves a beer at the match, but sometimes, to quote Lenny Woods, one just isn’t enough – here is my Top 5 drunkest games

1. Newcastle, 2-1, 24th January 2004, 4th Round FA Cup. 5.30pm KO.

Oooooh this was messy. Anfield always crackles for F.A Cup ties, and this one – kicking off at half five, crackled indeed. Football fans are a strange breed, if a normal person had an appointment moved back 2.5hrs, they might think “oh splendid, I can paint that back fence i’ve been meaning to get done”, or, “I can shoot down the shops, walk the dog and then I’ll go to that meeting”. Upon hearing that a football match has been moved back to a later time, a football fan (or certainly the type of football fan I associate with) thinks “is fucking right, i’m getting out early for that one, wethies brekkie lads?”

Late kick-offs weren’t a particularly new thing by this time, but something about this one felt special – I think a combination of the magic of the F.A Cup (it’s still got it), the large travelling contingent we knew would be there, and the dark January nights meaning that this would be played under the floodlights all went into the mixing pot to create that intoxicating atmosphere, the kind of intoxicating atmosphere that, well, makes you want to get seriously intoxicated.

A few things about this game stand out for me as to why it will always be fondly remembered as a great drunken game;

Firstly, you know Newcastle fans? Everyones best mates yeah? Deffo my 2nd team, great craic with them, loveable Geordies the lot of them, who DOESN’T like Newcastle fans?

Well this game, before and after, they took a hiding. From those loveable scamps singing “in your Liverpool slums” in the Stanley before the match and getting bottles rained upon them and a kick up the arse to boot, to hundreds of black and white stripes getting scattered across the Sandon car park and down Skerries, Liverpool were capital D drunk and in no mood for Sky’s best mates coming here and taking liberties.

For a game that traditionally has zero bad blood and considering we won pretty easily, I have never seen scenes like it after the match. Newcastle fans were being chased out of every pub, Geordie zebras being scattered across the Stanley Park Serengeti by free-running wild Scouse predators.

Secondly, you know the old “rolled up Echo piss on the Kop” trick that apparently used to be so popular (Stan Boardman tells a great version of this story on the essential The Kop video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9rw5G_zUA)?
Well this happened on The Kop at this match. I say this happened, there was no 20,000+ swaying mob moving as one as Callaghan sent Hunt clear, there was no rolled up Echo, there was no craftily aiming rolled up Echo into friends pocket with hilarious consequences – there was just some fella so shitfaced that he got his cock out and pissed all over the back of the lad stood in front of him. Obviously, the lad in front was also quite inebriated, and now also quite fucking furious. Cue hilarious drunken piss-stained punch up.

Thirdly, and finally, a testament to how drunk this game was – until I researched it to write this, I thought we had won 2-0.

The Newcastle defence must have been pissed too, they let Cheyrou score twice.

2. Everton, 2-3, 16th April 2001, Premier League, 6.00pm KO

Someone must have got a bollocking for this. The day after the most emotional, sensitive day in our clubs history, on Easter Monday, we’ll send Liverpool to play Everton.

At 6pm.

Well that worked out well didn’t it?

Town was absolutely bouncing early on, it being Bank Holiday Monday most people had seemingly been out the night before then woke up still pissed and gone back out to get back on it.

Similar to what happens at most European aways, town began to empty as the match-goers made their way to the ground and the once jovial atmosphere was replaced by something altogether more sinister. Strains of ‘murderers’ could be heard as we walked to the ground, a rumour went round that Everton had hung a flag out of the Baa Bar, might have been about Heysel, might have been Hillsborough, might not of even existed – it didn’t matter. Once the footy rumour sweeps round, the damage is done.

The next 2hrs or so can be summed up as follows;

Walk into ground, drunken verbal sparring and physical scuffles break out sporadically, police look fed up.

1 minute silence in remembrance of Hillsborough victims lasts about 20 seconds before the Park End Faithful pipe up, upper and lower bullens explodes, foaming at the mouth, police look fed up.

A typical mental derby draws to a close, keenly contested, blood and thunder 2-2 draw, police start to think about what’s on the telly later.

Gary Mac pops one in from a million yards, both sets of fans go absolutely BESERK for completely different reasons, police ring home and ask partner to tape Corrie as they will be working a lot of overtime tonight and begin to plot revenge against whoever organises Premier League fixtures.

3. Celtic, 1-1, 13th March 2003, UEFA Cup, 7.45pm KO

Leaving on our coach at some ungodly hour for the not-as-far-as-everyone-thinks trip to Glasgow, there was a definite feeling that it was our duty to out-bevy the notoriously drunken Glaswegians.

This was reflected in the truly outrageous amounts of ale being loaded onto coach after coach for the journey (less than 4hrs). Everyone was up for a big one today, and we didn’t let ourselves down.

For the entire journey up there, a friend of mine was waxing lyrical about his love for everything Celtic.

“Great fans, just great” he would say (sluuurp) “I love Larsson, top pro, love to see him play for us one day (sluuuuurp)” “And Dalglishh ash well, dhont you furrrget about Dalgleeeshh, ee came from Sheltic” (sluuuuuuurp) “They are, without kwesthun, my shecond team” (sluuuuuuuuurp).

Whilst boring his coach with his love for The Hoops for the entire journey, he was also, like the rest of us travelling North, imbibing generous quantities of lager, and in his case, brandy as well.

Unfortunately for our wannabe Jock Stein, the brandy doesn’t agree with him and as he stepped (fell) off the coach he suddenly forgot about his Glaswegian love affair and called an old lady with a green and white scarf a “slag” and began to pick a fight with anything that might look like it once professed it might be a fan of Celtic.

His mood did pick up when he got into Parkhead, wrapped in a 8ft Tricolour singing both pro and anti IRA songs, when he spied Paul Dalglish.

Gripping the former Liverpool reserve striker in a headlock, he began to jump up and down singing songs in honour of Pauls father. He then told him very graphically how he would like to partake in anal sex with Dalglish Snr, and made Jnr promise to tell his Dad this. Im not exaggerating when I say he had poor Paul Dalglish in a headlock for 5 minutes.

Walking around outside, it struck me that Celtic fans are basically the same as Geordies – they think everyone loves them, they all wear stripes and they seem to think they can do as they please when they travel away, yet go up there and it’s a different story altogether. They are both all scruffy, replica top wearing bellends. But in saying that, hats off to the Celtic fans, because they were as drunk as we were but they didn’t even have the excuse of travel.

I can vaguely remember Gerry Marsden wailing YNWA, arguing with lots of Celtic fans over who sang it first (us, obv), neither goal, none of the Diouf business and certainly none of the trip home. Id wager that if you asked our whole end from that night, you would get a similar in-depth analysis of the night.

4. Chelsea Away , 4-4, April 16th 2008, Champions League Quarter Final, 7.45pm K.O

One of the most entertaining games in recent history (WHY ALWAYS US, Mario might ask), and without doubt one of the most interesting journeys I have undertaken to a game. This night was always going to be special – as fans we are always best when we have our backs against the wall, and some slack defending in the first leg at Anfield had left us with a mountain to climb, but with an away goal and a mountain of lager, there is always hope.

The day started off as any London trip with the Irregulars do; piling on the bus at the Rocket (SOUTH END RULES OK), loaded with Stella’s, and at a time my boss wishes I would get up at to go to work. The trip was fairly uneventful until we pulled into Warwick Services – an unplanned stop – and word filtered up to us that we had broken down.

Nay bother, the cooler boxes were doing their job and we had plenty of supplies. An hour passed, then two, and as we approached our third hour of sat in the car-park getting bevied we started to get a bit concerned. And drunk.

The coach company were doing us no favours in getting a replacement out to us, the time it would take to reach us and then complete the journey would mean arriving at Chelsea for half time if we were lucky. Well fuck that. We had a 2 goal deficit to turn around and with Rafa and Nando and 12 cold beers inside us we were all in bullish moods. But what to do? We were a 50 strong mob of drunks stuck at a motorway services – it would be a brave person to offer us a lift. As it turns out, it was a brave Polish lorry driver who offered us a lift.

I say offer – two of the lads bounced over and offered him a fiver a head for us to jump in the back of his HGV, half joking, half trying it on. The Sausage-Roll did a quick calculation of heads, converted that from Pounds into Zlotys and then the Zlotys into Tsykie, and quickly opened the back of his wagon for us. In the back was a few large pallets on aluminium which served as perfect bar-stools / tables, the cooler boxes were placed along one side, flags hung up along the curtain-side of the HGV, and one corner with a small hole in was designated as the toilet. We were set.

For the next two hours we (Torres) bounced our way down the motorway, like a band of well-dressed illegal immigrants, with the excitement of our adventure inspiring us to sink bevies at a rate of knots. I will never for as long as I live forget the looks on the faces of the people going about their business in North London as our new Eastern European friend opened the back door of the wagon and dozens of empty bottles and empty headed scousers literally rolled out onto the street.

Our end was absolutely fantastic that night. Loud, tribal, angry and drunk. Very, very drunk,

5. Rangers Away, 0-4, 2nd August 2009, Friendly, 3pm KO

What is it about Glasgow and alcohol? Rab C Nesbitt. Fergies nose. Tennents Super. Celtic Away at #3 in this list.

And this friendly.

Any awayday friendly is just an excuse for a piss-up, no-ones arsed about the match and by late July/early August all the lads are turkeying for some morning beers and the chance to catch up with match-mates.

Again, as is The Irregulars wont, we left Liverpool at something approaching 400 hours early for this game (well, I think we were by Leeds by 8am) and the coach was rocking.

Arrived at Glasgow and someone might have said something about knowing someone or some bar somewhere, I cant remember, I just know we went somewhere with purpose.

Kick-off came and went, and we were still sat in the pub, our £5 tickets not exactly burning a hole in our pockets. Come half-time we decided that we best jump a jobe up to the ground to at least be able to say that we’d been inside Ibrox. As we got in and made our way up to our seats, the pitch came into view – that lush, green vision that greets you at the top of the stairs on the concourse and never fails to excite any football fan – I drank it in, surveyed the 3 stands in front of me, then noticed Yossi had just popped in our 3rd and thought “fuck this, I could use a bevy”.

So after approximately 15 seconds of football we were making our way to the nearest bar. This turned out to be the less-than-welcoming Rangers Supporters Bar, but hey-ho, we were wellied and their bad moods were their problems.

The journey home involved a stop in a pub for a few hours somewhere in Scotland to wait for two lads who had decided to stay in Glasgow drinking with some mates from Celtic and some slapstick shoplifting of lager from the local supermarket (LEG IT!).

When we got back to Liverpool, some brave souls decided they hadn’t quite had enough so jumped a cab to town. One of the lads, resplendent in natty shirt and jumper combo, and who was seemingly on a promise, suddenly felt a touch “car sick” and spewed all over his lovely wool effort.

Now most people would decide that 18hrs drinking and then taking the knock in the cab would be time to go home, but not our hero.

No, this man wouldn’t be stopped by something as trivial as not being able to stand up, no, he just whipped his jumper off, threw it in a bin and staggered off into the night to meet his beau.

The lucky lady.

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