I WOKE up this morning and I’d had enough. Not of life — life’s cool thanks; it wasn’t a general non-specific malaise: I’d had enough of football.
We spoke on Monday’s podcast about the way that nobody seems to know when the season ends/if it had ended/if it will ever end or if football now just rolls on day to day, season to season, decade to decade with no break. I woke up today and I needed a break. But the radio was talking about the Under-21 World Cup and I wondered if we had any players in it. I genuinely didn’t know and honestly didn’t care. The last thing on Earth that I wanted or needed was an Under-21 World Cup. I needed escape; time with no football whatsoever. Just for a few minutes at least.
I didn’t need the ongoing transfer fume. I didn’t need to get wound up about the fact that while we’re trying to figure out where the goals are coming from we’re signing an 18-year-old centre back from Charlton. One for the future. To sit alongside that Ilori lad — still only 22, folks — that we signed for the future and haven’t seen at all and possibly never will. And the rational side of my brain’s going, ‘yeah, but look at what Everton got in John Stones, this could be a John Stones signing’ but the irrational side is going, ‘yeah, but he cost them 30 quid and a set of Sunday league kits and this lad’s £6m or £3m or whatever figure you believe’ and the bored side is going, ‘I’m bored, can we just get this over with now?’
Part of me seriously wants the summer over now. Which is stupid because I’ve got two really nice holidays coming up and I’d like to enjoy them. I just want the speculation done with. I’m bored with the speculation, bored with the links, bored with Kovacic is done/will never be done/was never moving/we weren’t interested anyway and Firmino’s name being thrown in the mix and all the swap deals that will never — hold on, let’s capitalise that for effect shall we? — NEVER happen. And I’m bored of City’s ‘here’s another 50 quid, NOW can we have Raheem?’ Seriously lads? Which part of £50m are you not getting here? Me personally? Every time they come in with a low offer, I’d put another 10 mill on the lad. Just for the sheer hell of it. For shits and giggles basically. Give me Ian Ayre’s job, I’ll get the cash in and we’ll all have a laugh — a very public laugh, I’ll happily brief any bugger — while I do it.
But all that aside, I want the speculation to stop. I’m pretty sure — based on nothing but gut instinct — that I’m hitting first of September with a slightly underwhelmed air so let’s get it all settled and see how these lads that we’ve spent very little on settle in and start playing.
What I didn’t need was fixtures. I’ll be honest, there was a slight frisson as the 9am embargo approached — and God knows, I like a nice frisson as much as the next person — but then I couldn’t be overly bothered listening any further than ‘Stoke Away’.
But Twitter kicked in and Twitter was full of fume. As Twitter tends to be. Season over now. We’ll never recover, we’ll be in a relegation battle by Christmas. The more positive went with gallows humour; photos of a grinning Jurgen Klopp attached to the comment ‘man investigated over Liverpool fixture rigging allegations’ (liked that one), ‘well at least there’s an easy run in for whoever takes over from Brendan’, ‘Kenny in charge by April’.
Seven aways. All anyone was talking about was seven aways. The first seven aways. Stoke. Arsenal. United. That lot across the park. Spurs. Chelsea. City. Sod it, let’s throw in the Newcastle game the week after for good effect.
And I thought, ‘cool’. Suddenly I’m awake, suddenly the disinterest is gone. I still want to fast forward to August but for completely different reasons now. I want a crack at this. I want glory. I want the proof that any doubt that I ever had about Brendan Rodgers was/is/always will be totally unfounded. I want every lad that we sign, no matter how cheap, how unheralded, how unknown, how (supposedly) underwhelming to show me that they get this, that they’re up for this. Basically I think I want to be whelmed. If that’s a thing. I want to be blown away by a storm or red shirts, of black shirts, of whatever colour the other away kit is.
I want to see Danny Ings destroying the United defence to announce himself as a Red. I want to see the Gomez lad fending off Falcao, I want to see Lovren put Aguero in his pocket, I want to see Raheem rejuvenated, convinced, converted, compelled by the lads in front of him. I want to see Origi dazzling us, Lallana twisting and turning, Markovic weaving through packed penalty areas, I want to see every complaint that any of us have ever made thrown back at us. I want to see Brendan smiling knowingly. I want him to be smug in his rightness.
If I’m Brendan — I’m not, but if I am — I’m sitting at home looking at this and it’s exactly what I want the start of the season to be.
I’ve got the fixture list and I’m going ‘come on, fucking bring it on’ and I know that the plans that I’ve got, the plans that I haven’t shared with the lads who follow the game because they’re my secret plans and they’ll be far more fun if I don’t talk about them and if I just show them to people when the time’s right. And I’m going to start by twatting Stoke all over the place.
Me personally? I want the madness back. I want it now. I want ridiculous optimism based on absolutely nothing at all. And I can feel it coming.
An hour. It took me an hour to go from ‘no more football, please’ to ‘all the football now, let’s get started.’
Let’s get started, let’s have a laugh again.
Pics: PA Images/David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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