MONDAY night’s are no time for football. I spent the weekend decorating. Decorating! And people ask why I watch so much football. If that’s the alternative I’ll swap a scraper for a rattle and go to the match until I’m 100.
It does liven up the start of the week rather, though. Normally my phone on a Monday is quiet, save for the odd “drank too much again, such a divvy” and “FML la”. However, on this Monday, my phone is a hive of activity. Although really it’s only two questions being asked. “When are we out then?” and “Where are we going?” Oh with the odd “are we gonna win, then?” thrown in for good measure.
For us the answer is 5pm and Newington. Myself and Neil first record episodes of Coach Home and The Rider, with top Evertonian Stephanie Heneghan kindly moving the latter forward a few hours to accommodate our drinking. And they say blues are bitter. Then we literally skip to the pub.
Newington is a swarm of sound. Ben Johnson is there with a film crew ’cause he’s a massive deal. Although they quickly see Paul Cope and understandably navigate to him instead. Have you seen him lately? Homelessness never looked so sexy. Jacko is firmly bedded in too, gaining the benefits of the fact that teachers only work until 3pm (jokes!).
Craig Hannan is there with other friends which I instantly disapprove of. One of them says he met me at Chelsea. Yeah…sorry about that mate. Phil Blundell is there with his mates too. He’s booked a hotel because he can’t be bothered trying to get a taxi back to Hightown only to come back for an early train. Flash bastard. James Cutler is there too. He’s driven up from Essex but seems to have half an eye on Phil’s room. Should everything go to plan…
Tony Evans comes in with Andy Heaton which pleases me greatly. Although he has the nerve to moan about having to work at the game. Think these late rambles write themselves, Tony? We’re all working mate. Sutty arrives late on with Dave Ricketts, a brilliant Red who was known to drive us to away games when we were young and skint.
My nerves are gone. Sky are showing classic Liverpool-Manchester United games and we don’t seem to be winning any of them. The “leaked teams” are all over the place and seem to include Alberto Moreno. I’m worried about all their massive lads. I attempt to drown my worries in Moretti.
After a couple of false starts we get a taxi up to the ground, expertly hailed by Andy Heaton who disappeared up a hill and came back with a black cab. The traffic is rubbish. Night games and an extra 8,000 people will do that. But even after a bit of ticket jiggery we are well in for kick-off.
You’ll Never Walk Alone is great but after that the atmosphere isn’t what was expected. It’s been criticised by a few of our lads as part of Ten From the Terrace. I’ll stick up for the crowd a bit. I think everyone was too tense. The game is big. Everyone knows how big a win is and we’d been talking about nothing else for a fortnight. When all of your energy is going into worrying it can be hard to sing.
In theory, the crowd should always respond to the occasion. The bigger the game, the more they should give. In reality though we have a crowd who want to win more than anything. They can see it is not going well, so they start wondering what is going wrong. They talk to their mates about what they would do. They shout for more effort. At that particular moment they aren’t that bothered about some scouser called Tommy in a war in Libya. Or Arabia. Depending on which side of the argument you fall. They are more concerned with a German called Loris and whether he can catch a ball. This becomes the atmosphere.
I know because I am sat by Social Media Shaun and, rather than singing, I’m casing his head. “We’ll be alright, won’t we mate? Get to half time, Jürgen will sort it. They’ll tire I reckon, and we’ll kick on.” Shaun nods a lot back and tries to watch the game.
We aren’t alright. Well I suppose 0-0 is alright. It’s just not great. League’s could have been topped. Nights out could have happened. I could have persuaded Cutler to dump the car. I could have lifted Craig Hannan on my shoulders down Seel Street. We could have ordered champagne to Phil Blundell’s hotel room and left him with the bill.
Instead, I rang Tim Smith and he gave me a lift home. Small margins. Ninety more points to win.
Up the in bed by 11 Reds.