YOU see, the thing is, I haven’t seen a single second of Premier League football this weekend. In fact, why stop at the Premier League; I haven’t seen any football at all.
The closest I have come to footy this weekend is my lad throwing a bouncy ball at my head, quickly followed by me asking him to throw it to my feet to see if I have still got it only for me to miscontrol it from the kitchen to the living room.
I asked Robbo if he would be alright with me not mentioning footy at all this week but he sort of politely said that would be a bit of a no-go, given that The Anfield Wrap has got a bit of a football vibe on the go at the minute, whilst almost certainly simultaneously calling me a soft twat to anyone who would listen. Something along the lines of: “Who is this soft twat who wants to write about pizza dough and Skoda Octavias instead of the Mighty Reds”?
Robbo, it’s alright mate, I know I’m a tit. I can’t help it.
So what happened this weekend? Well I had one of them where you think the Reds are defo going to be on the telly only to find out they defo aren’t on the telly fairly late on in the week and then refuse to believe the facts that are as plain as the day is long. What’s that mate? We kick off at 3pm on Saturday? Sound, are we on BT then? No? Sky? Virgin?
Oh for fuck’s sake. So instead of watching the game I decided to spend the day trying to buy a car whilst listening to the radio.
When was the last time you listened to the Reds on the radio? I’ll be honest, I can’t remember. To all you people under the age of 25, the radio was how we used to get our away football news pre-Twitter, streaming, Sky Sports and the Internet. Some of the greatest times of my life have been as a consequence of me standing next to the radio listening to the Reds. Some of the worst times of my life mind you, but then you can’t have the highs without the lows can you.
My first and best Liverpool radio memory dates back to January 1991, FA Cup third round against Blackburn away. The Reds were still relatively boss, but went one down to Blackburn in a mad game on a shite pitch, with a mental referee, on the windiest of days and seemed set on a third round exit.
Bear in mind that in them days the FA Cup was a big deal, probably the biggest of deals seen as though we couldn’t play in Europe.
The Reds piled the pressure on but seemed destined to go out. In the Scousest thing ever our whole family was in my Nan’s for pea whack and bacon ribs. Me (aged 11), my dad and my uncle John were glued to the radio but my Granddad had given up hope and had lashed Catchphrase or Blockbusters or some other shite on the telly, to distract him from the impending doom of getting knocked out of the greatest cup competition in the world to some lower league lads.
All hope was pretty much lost. The Reds had tried everything but were having one of them days, when in stoppage time Ray Houghton lashed a ball into the box and some bellend of a genius shinned it into his own goal. It went off on the radio, you know. Absolutely went off.
Fast-forward to Saturday and I had convinced myself that I was happy to listen to the game; as part of some kind of nod to a bygone era, I was happy to spurn the jarg streams or going to a boozer to watch it on a jarg stream and had even convinced myself that it would be great listening to it again. That was until the game kicked off and I realised what it would entail.
The thing about listening to the game is that you basically haven’t got a clue what is going on. Not really. You have only got some bellend’s viewpoint. That bellend could be over egging the attacking custard or have a serious under egging game on the go. They might not even like custard for fuck’s sake. They could have woken up in a bad mood, had a bad experience in Liverpool in the past, be a Manc or a Bluenose, or just not be very good at their job.
It doesn’t matter either way, ultimately as without the verification process of your own eyes literally viewing the proceedings it leads to this big imaginary void of doubt, where half-truths come to life, good chances become sitters, half-chances for the opposition belie glaring defensive deficiencies and sane minds become clouded in the insanity of a football match hundreds of miles away whilst everyone else goes about their business with a zen-like calmness.
Have you tried buying a car whilst listening to the Reds? Don’t do it. It turns out you can be sold everything and nothing depending on the flow of the game.
“What’s that mate, you can sell me a Jaguar XK for £5,000? Fuck off for a minute there whilst the Reds defend this corner and I’ll give you a shout back in a bit”.
For the second half I was sat outside the Tesco in Litherland (it’s no Park Road, but then what is) and managed to scare the shit out of a woman next to me whose kid bumped against my car. As always there are two sides to every story.
Side one — a bald, frowning man is sat in his car and your four-year-old cherub of a child, who is pushing your shopping trolley, manages to lose control very slightly resulting in the said trolley gently brushing against his car. The baldy fucker goes mental, hitting his steering wheel repeatedly and holding his head in his hands. You grab your child, abandon your shopping and speed off into the night to contemplate filing a complaint with your local police force.
Side two — the Reds are pushing for the opener, that is surely coming. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Roberto Firmino is through on goal. This is it. Even this prick of a commentator is telling you how good a chance it is. He opens his body up, slots it and it’s gone wide. You scream “for fuck’s sake, Bobby” whilst knocking shit out of your wheel. A wry grin comes over your face. It will come. It probably wasn’t even a good chance. You see a nice lady and a cute child doing there shopping and smile as they go past and wonder why they are suddenly piling into their car. Perhaps, he needs a poo. Your thoughts return to the game and wonder what is happening, whilst 909 are literally discussing every other game in the country.
I can’t give any grand statements about the Reds being the greatest team in the league this week as I literally haven’t seen a single ball kicked in anger. That said, we are the greatest team in this league, no question. Southampton away, without one of our most influential players and we still produce a performance which results in their players calling us out as the greatest team they have ever faced. What I found most comforting was the manager’s response.
It was one of them, wasn’t it? Yes, we battered them. Yes we dropped points, but so what. We will win that game nine times out of 10. Come and see us in May and see where we are at. My Reds are going to take some beating, make no mistake. He is absolutely convinced about this team, convinced about this league. He could listen to us on the radio and not even be fazed.
These Reds are the real deal. These Reds are on the march.
Up the radio Reds.