THIS is the one we’ve waited for. Like a beacon at the end of the diary. The year ends with Manchester City at home. Big game, big day, big drink, big everything. There was a lot of talk of it making or breaking a night. I was more worried about starting 2017 depressed. We could break our own, admittedly modest, points record for the first 19 games of the season and go into January with genuine title-winning hope. Or…or.
My day was far too busy. We were having a party in the evening and we weren’t at all ready for it. We’ve just moved into the house. We didn’t have enough chairs, we didn’t have enough food and drink, or things with which to consume food and drink and, while my stereo was at the house, none of my music was.
This meant an early morning drive to Bootle to my in-laws to get the “emergency chairs” they borrowed off us for Christmas Day. We stood in the street talking about how little time we have and how we’d have to be quick in Asda. Then we stood round and talked about it some more.
Eventually, we got to The Asda and bought “things” and stopped in the cafe because it was all going a bit too well. We then went to the flat to grab CDs, bedding and whatever else we’d left behind that we were meant to have cleared out already. Then we got back to the house.
When I got to the house I realised I had to leave immediately as I was meeting my mates in half an hour to record. My wife kindly offered to take all the stuff in so I could get off. Sound, her. On the way to the train station Ben text me to say he was running an hour late, which put me in a moral dilemma. Do I go back and help my wife get all the bags in, maybe sort some stuff out for our party that night, or do I carry on to town? I text Mick to check we were still on for a pint and carried on. I’m not proud of myself, OK?
Lloydy was on my train having got on at Hunts Cross so we talked about rock and roll things like family, houses and pensions. When we got to town Mick was helpfully walking up Bold Street as soon as we got out so we headed up the road together. The plan was Pogues but we decided to stop in McCooley’s in Concert Square on the way up, and then stayed there because it turned out to be really rather good. I’m not sure I’d fancy it on a Saturday night but for a place to watch the footy in town it would do for us.
Celtic were kicking the ball at the goal a hell of a lot but not scoring. They eventually got the winner and the Irish men and women in the Irish pub were very happy indeed. Ben rocked up about 2pm, closely followed by a rather delicate Kevin Walsh and we went down to Motel to record Awaydays.
Have you heard Awaydays? It’s a discussion of away grounds and memorable trips by a few fans who have been everywhere watching the Reds and it normally tags onto the end of The Friday show. They needed a bit of talking into it, they aren’t as prone to show off as much as me, well maybe Kevin, but it’s been really good. So nice one, lads.
We recorded Sunderland, Manchester United and Hull helped by a few beers from the Thai restaurant Spice below. The lads weren’t very nice about any of them, to be honest, but they aren’t very nice people! Then we headed to The Liffey to meet everyone else, because apparently we could only drink in Irish Pubs. It’s a good one, though. And dangerously cheap. Ronan, Magga, Biggs, Kyle and plenty of others were all in there. I didn’t really want to leave, but this is the one.
We got a taxi up to Anfield and I met my dad. I was taking him in the posh seats that day as a sort of Christmas present. Swapping Callum from Preston for Elvis Costello. Elvis was sat by us and was an absolute gent. We talked Treme and his infamous gig in Norwich the night of Istanbul and of course footy. Lots and lots of footy. This is the one, after all. He lives in Vancouver now and misses talking about the Reds. I was happy to oblige.
The first goal was a Liverpool goal. Anfield erupted and didn’t really calm down until well after the final whistle. Reds were encouraged, Blues jeered. Those of us at Bournemouth, even those that watched it on the TV, couldn’t have predicted such a solid display so soon after, but there it was. Roberto Firmino and his mates not giving the defenders a minutes peace. Gini Wijnaldum and his mates tackling and harrying. Ragnar Klavan and his mates throwing everything on the line. And James Milner. Glorious James Milner.
The nerves were jangling like mad towards the end. I stared at the scoreboard praying the seconds and minutes move along. Good opportunities to counter fell apart. We were all willing the match away. Me, my dad and Elvis Costello. The final whistle finally went. This is the one.
Its nice to bounce from a game and into the party. The Pink was recorded and I sounded rather drunk. To be honest, I sounded a bit tipsy on Awaydays six hours earlier! Neil swore at the Macbook trying to put the show up and I put The Strokes on. What a lovely way to finish the year. We drunk a lot. We laughed a lot. We ate a lot. I spun Krista round my head.
The next day I slept until well into the afternoon. Only waking up occasionally to smile.
And now Sunderland. We have to go again! Never mind the players, who’s thinking about the fans? I’m not sure I’m ready, to be honest, but the fixture list waits for no man. Small wines for my men, we ride at dawn
So 19 gone, 19 to go. This is the one.
Here is our latest free show in the aftermath of the Reds 1-o win over Manchester City — just press play!