I HAVEN’T written anything on here for a couple of weeks. I’d love to think you’ve missed me but my ego’s not quite that rampant. My ego is, in fact, non-rampant enough to have looked at the stuff on the site and gone, ‘yeah, was going to say that but he’s said it better than me, she’s said it better than me’ and so on.
But I feel wrong if I don’t see my little picture and byline every so often so I need to pop in and say something. I’ve just thrown on Terence Trent D’Arby’s quite magnificently bonkers Neither Fish Nor Flesh in the background so this could all get a little bit odd. (I remember asking the local CBS rep what the new album was like just before it came out, just at the point that Terry looked like becoming the biggest pop star on the planet. He sighed, looked weary and said, ‘Sergeant Pepper five bloody years too early’. Cheer over but we’re not here to talk about him are we?)
Let’s do it then. Bit of the usual nonsense to start and then see if it all links up to some kind of point at the end. Hint: Of course it does, I don’t just make this shit up as I go along. Not all of it. Most of it, not all of it. Takes intense planning to go full on random. Like Les Dawson on the piano. I am, officially the Les Dawson of Liverpool comment. Might put that on my Twitter bio.
Oh yeah, Twitter. An aside that isn’t really an aside: got called a cunt on Twitter last week. He even attempted to upbraid me slightly when I sanitised the word. Didn’t like my use of a colon in the tweet either. Obviously an issue with grammar and polite society. Why did he decide to go all C-bomb on my ass? Because I dared, dared, DARED to say that the lad who decided to stand in a square in Dortmund and ask the Dortmund stadium announcer, on film while everyone’s in the middle of a fair bit of mutual respect, “What’s your opinion on Munich 58?” (feel disgusting and disgusted just typing the sodding words) should be banned from Anfield.
@EyeOfTheTiler I'm the type who thinks there's no excuse for that kind of behaviour from anyone at any point.
— Ian Salmon (@IanRSalmon) April 8, 2016
‘Who are you mate?’ he asked, ‘Type of a cunt who wants someone banned for saying something soft whilst he’s fucked on deusche bier?’
Yeah. Pretty much. That’s who I am. While I enjoy his usage of the formal ‘whilst’ in opposition to the more conversational ‘while’ he did seem to have borrowed the ‘t’ from Deutsche in order to employ this. I decided not to mention this. (Wonder if his will be the first comments below? Not getting into conversation with him again, done that once.)
I decided that I should explain my viewpoint; that viewpoint being that there is no place in modern society, in modern football, in modern life, for any comment that insults and mocks those that died in a tragedy. We know this. Pointed out that this one moron making this one comment weakens our argument against the idiots in United’s fanbase who chant and hang flags, that we lose the right to accuse them if idiots like the lad in Dortmund are doing that.
So he asked me, in capital letters, the Twitter equivalent of writing in green crayon, after calling me THE INTERNET’s MORAL COMPASS how I felt about A SINGLE MOTHER WORKING ON THE SIDE. Because that’s relevant, isn’t it?
He pointed out that I reeked ‘of Social Justice Warrior’ (capitals indicating that it’s a name, possibly that of a minor character in the next Avengers film?) which was inaccurate, don’t know how he could smell me across the internet but I’m fairly sure it was Hugo Boss that I was wearing. Not to everybody’s tastes, I know, but…
He then pointed out that nobody was going to have sex with me because of my opinions. Think my wife is fairly okay with that situation to be honest and it wasn’t actually something that I’d expected at any point although Adam Smith of this parish was nice enough to point out that he has found some of my opinions strangely attractive.
The argument went round in circles and then he asked an Evertonian to join in who advised me not to ‘have a strabipe’. That’s the point that I thought ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about’ and left the conversation. Haven’t blocked him yet. Just delighted to know that we both support the same football club. Honest.
And that’s part of the key. That’s part of the point. Feels like a lengthy aside but isn’t. We’re all different people. Forty-odd thousand of us in a ground and God knows how many millions sitting behind keyboards just waiting to call someone they disagree with a cunt, all of us different.
For instance, I’m a decent, well-balanced individual who thinks there are morals that apply in life and that other lad thinks Munich comments are okay if you’re drunk and thick. Hint: (I know he doesn’t like colons, he said so in capital letters) they’re not. They’re not okay, they’re never okay.
We were talking on Sunday afternoon. Talking about seats. Seats are a big deal in the main stand at the moment. We’ve all (I think all, possibly only most) had chance to try to figure out how the new stand relates to the old one and decide where we want to sit and to try to get that seat, whether it’s close to/the same as our current seat or whether we’ve decided we fancy a new spec.
I’m in roughly the same spot. The guy next to me is somewhere near the middle, the guy next to him has moved off to my right, the guy in front of me is now to the left and further down. There are a couple of people that I don’t know but I honestly hope (don’t feel good about this, feel lousy saying it but it’s got to be said and even if it hasn’t ‘got’ to be said, sod it, I’m saying it) have moved off to one side. I don’t know them, I don’t know their faces, I just know their voices. I think I’ve mentioned them before, I’m sure I’ve mentioned them before, I KNOW I’ve mentioned them before. They’re angry. All the time. ALL THE TIME.
Genuine aside, if you’re reading this and thinking, ‘that’s me, that cunt means me’, I’m sure it’s not you, it’s the other blokes, I’m sure you’re every bit as reasonable and correct as you think you are.
We’ve all got someone near us who we spend 90 minutes wondering ‘why are you here?’ about. The ones who are demanding that Alberto Moreno dive in and put in a tackle when it’s very clear that the gaffer’s told him not to, the ones who don’t realise that pressing and closing is more effective than tackling when you’re looking at elite athletes. (If in doubt on this point, listen to The Tuesday Review, we cover this sort of thing in some depth and I’m making no claims for myself here, I just hang on, try not too sound too stupid and ask Sean Rogers lots of questions because he really, really knows his stuff.)
We weren’t talking about that though. We weren’t talking about the voices we’d kind of like to edge away from if possible, we were talking about seats. To be precise, we were talking about whether it would be possible for us to buy our seat, our current seat, the one we actually sit in, just the seat and the back as there’s no physical way to get the struts that hold the row up, I mean who would have which bit?
We were talking about the history and the heritage that comes with each seat, talking about the fact that there are seats that have been passed down through the ages, that have importance and memory and resonance attached to them; talking about the way the back of mine, which has now been mine for a year and a bit and was my dad’s for decades before, is worn down, chipped, grooved, fading and all that wear and chipping and grooving and fading carries stories with it. We were talking heritage.
And THAT is what we’re talking about here. That’s the point, that’s where I was always going. Heritage.
The things that we’ve inherited and how we live with them. It doesn’t matter that we’re all different, it doesn’t matter that we won’t agree on things all the time (behaving like a knobhead matters though, behaving like a knobhead always matters), it doesn’t matter that the guy somewhere behind me is wound up by tackling not existing as he would like in a world of gegenpressing; that’s his opinion, his perception, his reading of the game.
The joy of what we do every week is that it’s about perceptions and opinions and readings and that we all see everything differently and we can debate the whole thing (not the lad in Dortmund though, that’s not an opinion or a view, that’s rank idiocy). The joy is the shared heritage. The joy is the heritage that we saw in the 13-14 season, the heritage that sees glory as something to be shared.
There’s the key. In times of glory we unite, we celebrate, we support. After 13-14 we started arguing again, we started splitting into factions again, we set ourselves against each other in the Twitter bear pit. But it’s receding, it’s vanishing, it’s improving. Results improve and support improves. You can see it happening. You may not necessarily agree with the way that it’s happening but you can’t deny that it’s happening. Sunday showed that it was happening.
You might not have agreed with the decision to wheel out the ‘Team of Carraghers’ song (seemed a bit odd to me) but it was a symptom of the desire of a set of lads to be seen to be enjoying themselves. You might not agree with the idea of getting down to the ground early on Thursday, as has been mooted on Twitter, but I didn’t agree with it the first time that we did it in 13/14 and I was wrong. It could be glorious, it could presage glory, it could presage unity. It could add to the heritage.
I’ll tell you what adds to the heritage though, I’ll tell you what shows us coming together again. Three things from Sunday afternoon. Four really, four incidents, but three points.
The Sturridge song. The Sturridge song sung simply, sung loudly. Sung to show that we actually DO appreciate the lad. Sung loudest when he took that knock and got up. Sung to show that we actually understand what he’s gone through, that we get it, that we’re with him. No criticism, no carping, no ‘sell him now, cash in’ just utter support of a player who has probably more innate, natural, talent than any other player in our squad (including Phil) and was showing everything that he was capable of across 90 minutes.
The Origi song. The lad’s becoming a hero, we’re behind him, he knows we’re behind his, he’s working his arse off and he knows that he’s appreciated. He’s included — he’s not an expensive sub who had a bad season in France, he’s a Liverpool player and he’ll grow because of this. There won’t be a shirt big enough to hold him — we’ll be walking around him for the next decade, marvelling at the colossus. He’s being built by the crowd in the way that we’ve built so many. Built on belief.
The response to the subs. The way that we greeted not our subs but theirs. The way that we applauded Shaqiri and Bojan from the pitch.
That Shaqiri may be the oddest shape that any footballer has ever been but he’s one hell of a player. And we let him know that we felt that way. When was the last time that we did that? To a lad who had nothing to do with us? If Crouch had been subbed then he’d have obviously got the response but Shaqiri? Bojan? It’s a throwback to the days when we were the most knowledgable fans on earth. It’s an appreciation of ability. It’s what we are always about and it’s edging back. It’s heritage. Simple as that. It’s heritage.
There are days when I despair of individuals. Twitter has a habit of making you despair as it drags the worst out of the invisible warriors, but then there are days when I love everything that we can all be.
Sunday, I loved us. Let’s be those people again on Thursday.