“LET’S go and sing songs with our friends.”
My words to Marjo at the foot of the stairs outside the ground. I’ve spent too much of the last five years not singing songs with my friends. I intend to do it all night tonight.
I am amazed Liverpool haven’t won the league. I verged on a state of shock when I realised it hadn’t happened. How couldn’t it? Have you seen these Reds? Do I need to go through it again?
I’m not upset. Well, I’m not upset for myself. Or my friends. I’m upset for the footballers. We’re fine. It’s the footballers I worry about.
There’s something that happens to footballers when they become them. They become slightly other to the business of football support. Young lads who love the game suddenly become so embedded in it they struggle to see what’s happening outside the group. The idea.
I’m 33 years old and for the first time of practical drinking age I went to watch Liverpool play knowing they could win the league.
That’s the idea.
It’s the idea I was brought up on.
I saw Liverpool beat Birmingham City 5-0 in 1986. I saw them a fair bit 87/88. But this idea I was brought up on I’d not seen until today.
I’m far from alone. There are thousands of us, millions of us. The idea you’d been brought up on not realised. Imagine it. And those brought up on that idea who had saw it realised were even edgier.
Let me tell them what has happened outside the group:
We’ve brought hope back into town. We’ve reclaimed. Tra-la-la-la.
Next year will be saner. Maybe more points. But saner. Domestically.
In Europe? Let’s stay terrifying, upset every apple cart going. Thrilling, break neck stuff. Imagine screaming at them. Europe’s finest. Imagine the Reds pouring forwards. See you in Berlin.
Berlin tomorrow. Today edgy. Then two stunning deliveries from the captain. Two cast iron belters. Two cast iron belters to precede a night out which means something. Two deliveries that have saved a million nights out. Two deliveries that mean everything even if, in real terms, they mean nothing.
I hope he knows this. They are different from us the footballers. They have to be. I hope he knows he just saved a million nights out across the world. Someone tell him. This is the game, why it sustains. Why the B in B team should stand for Bellend. Why we are so, so, so lucky.
I was in a pub before the game and it was effervescent. It shimmered. This.
Let’s go and sing songs with our friends.
And thank you for reading and not hating these. You are good people. Sing songs.