Football - FA Premier League - Liverpool FC v Sunderland AFC

LIVERPOOL 2 Sunderland 0: Black flags before kick off. A foreboding atmosphere around Anfield. Black flags waving, banners conspicuous by their absence and a large gathering of the disaffected.

Large groups congregated in a place is one of the things history is made of. There was a heavy psychic weight, black flags flapping, minds being made up about what to do on 77 minutes. That time looming on the horizon. For some there was a big decision on the horizon, for others there was a big decision already made and the desire to see the ramifications.

Just talk. It’s all I said to everyone before kick off. Just talk and do what you feel. In this congregation more than any other, we’re all Reds here.

We’re all Reds here. That’s the point of being at home. It is how home and away works. We get to all be together. We get to do our thing. Our thing has got weird. More later…

One minute to 77 minutes:

The Reds were smart and patient and broadly good. Not great. Not really close to great. But better at the football under the psychic cloud. They probed that bit more and it was pleasing to see.

They weren’t great but they were better. And they got not just the opener but the goal which puts the game beyond doubt. The relief on their faces was magic. Absolutely magic. There we go, the Reds. Is right, the Reds. It all felt good.

Football - FA Premier League - Liverpool FC v Sunderland AFC77 minute- plus I was thinking: I couldn’t believe the numbers. Couldn’t believe them. Crazy stuff. Huge numbers leaving that ground.

For two million pounds Liverpool Football Club has done this. Severed the last remaining tolerance. Not the good will because that ship has sailed. But the tolerance of what the game has become.

This is where I am. I am broadly fine with TV moves for kick offs. Because TV will mean ticket prices can be reduced. I am fine with sponsorships. Because sponsorships will mean ticket prices can be reduced. I am broadly fine with kits and all the ephemera. Because the ephemera will mean ticket prices can be reduced.

No, mate. We’re going to do all that and take two million quid more from the tickets. Swallow it.

Over 10,000 people decided they weren’t swallowing it and trust me that is an enormous underestimate. Where Liverpool is concerned. Where football is concerned. People have had enough. You’ve had all that. Now give us our bit. Now just be nice. Now just be respectful.

Liverpool 2 Sunderland 2.

I was walking along thinking all that and the Reds were conceding two goals. Great set of lads.

The marker is down. I’m happy so many clearly feel the same way. Sad it came to this. There has to be a better way and I want Liverpool Football Club to lead on that better way. I want Liverpool Football Club to say enough is enough and to acknowledge they can’t win an arms race. I want Liverpool Football Club to be an ambassador for this magnificent mess of a city in the world with its massive upsides and mortifying downsides.

Liverpool Football Club doesn’t want to do any of that. Instead it wants to break my heart. Instead I walk out with so many others and my heart is repaired with pride.

Instead.

No-one wants this. No-one. The marvellous McKenna and his many marvellous friends don’t want this to be their life. No-one does. They just want to have their 90 minutes. But what are you meant to do? Who do you get in touch with?

Liverpool, I love you. But you are bringing me down.

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