A KICK-OFF time of 5:30pm means a much more reasonable pick up time of 10:30 for this away, but even this wasn’t quite early enough for some. The night before was our friend Adam Murt’s wedding. The night before that was the seemingly traditional “let’s get more drunk than we all planned, even if the groom slopes off” event, that is definitely ‘staying local’ and definitely ends up in town.
Uncharacteristically, I was relatively sensible for both. Others, not so much. My friend Ben Mac has a very annoying habit of always looking the same. When he is smashed he looks fine. When he is hungover he looks handsome as ever. Normally. This Saturday morning was an exception to the rule.
I knock for him just before the car rolls into Wavertree and he looks like the only place he wants to be is his sofa and the only thing he wants to drink is Lucozade. But what can you do? The roles have been reversed many times and Ben’s advice for me has largely been based around changing sanitary products. He might want a day of dressing gowns and Strictly Come Dancing but he’s getting on the mini bus.
Kev Walsh had decided to top off the wedding night, for reasons only he can tell you, with a film and a bottle of Rose. Like a lovely night in, except after a heavy night out. He seems fresh as a daisy though, which only annoys Ben more. Can’t all have boyish good looks that just won’t quit, can we Kev?
Spirits are high. The driver has set the speakers to rave and we’re dancing down the M6 and towards London and not even masses of toilet stops and dreadful capital city traffic can stop us arriving on time.
We arrive to find a disco on the concourse too. I’m not sure who was DJing at Selhurst Park on Saturday but it felt like Paul Oakenfold in the Courtyard. Everyone looked devoed when they had to stop for the football.
The Liverpool players soon get us going again. They are really good at footy. They haven’t nailed it all like, no one seems massively keen on stopping the ball going in our goal more, but when they turn it on they are breathtaking.
Our end is great too. Normally some parts of the away section are better than others and you spend a bit of time looking longingly at where the action is. Not today. The front is as rowdy as ever, the back are getting the songs booming and the middle are getting swept up by it all. I think a noisy home ground eggs us on. That and the Reds and all the goals. Well in everyone.
The lads from the bus are dotted around the ground but at half-time we all reconvene. Some of us have had more eventful times than others. One of our group claims that someone has pissed all down his pants and so he had to go and buy some more. Now I’m not casting aspersions, but the same thing happened to the same lad at Arsenal. Twice in one season? He’s either very unlucky or a liar who needs help going the toilet. Either way he’s now in the worst trackie bottoms seen at Selhurst Park since Gabor Kiraly.
The second half is nervy until Bobby Firmino chips the goalie and takes his top off in one movement. Then they all come over for a dance and I just want the DJ to come on from before the game so we can all just have a party and I can swing Phil Coutinho round my head. However the referee insists on playing out the rest of the game. Spoilsport.
Clapping them off at the end felt great. What also felt great was the fact that as we leave our driver is somehow right outside the away entrance with everyone else on the bus and we just need to jump on and speed away. I have no idea how that was all so well timed but well in, to all concerned.
The way home is a bit mad. All the roads seem to be closed and we spend an extraordinary amount of time at roundabouts just off motorways wondering what to do next. Nevertheless, we are having fun. The driver has found a CD called Club Mix 2006 and we’re changing all the words to Liverpool players.
This is how the Nathaniel Clyne song came about, that is now Nathaniel Clyne approved. Andy Heaton filmed this one because it actually sounded decent. What you didn’t see was 12 different failed attempts to sing about Joel Matip. Sorry Joel, maybe another CD will work better for you.
As we finally get towards home Walshy realises he doesn’t have any house keys and has no way of getting in his house, while I find out my wife is in town for Sam Brockle’s birthday. This means neither of us get to bed any time close to when we were planning. But days likes this, they make it all worthwhile.
Up the emergency pants Reds.