I COULDN’T really be arsed going to Southampton.
This was the hardest one yet. I think about the players. It’s easy for fans really, you pick and choose a bit and if you don’t fancy it, you don’t go. You still watch of course, but in the warm and comfort of your own home. You swerve the 10-hour round trip.
The players do get paid, of course. A lot. But money doesn’t really change how you feel. It doesn’t truly motivate you, once you are used to it. I’m sure some days they can’t really be arsed going to work either. I really hoped Wednesday wasn’t one of them. Even if it was for me.
We met at The Railway pub aka “Bennos” in Seaforth at 1pm. Well that’s when I got there, it looked like a few of the lads had been bedded in for a while. After a quick drink we were on our way, via a stop at Tesco where Mick Clarke did loads of titting about.
The booze, as ever, was a curious mix of what was left last time, what had been bought and what people had lying round the house. Adam Wright had a bottle of vodka and a bottle of Prosecco. We all laughed at the Prosecco then very quickly all wanted some. Semi-final, init.
The Prosecco livened me up. Made me realise semi-finals don’t come round every week. From then on everything was semi-final related. “Anyone fancy a semi-final Smirnoff?” “Pass one of them semi final sarnies, la”. We were on the march with Jürgen’s army.
Incidentally, I was thinking about that song yesterday and I’ve decided ‘we’re on the march with Kenny’s army’ sounds the best. I don’t know if that’s because it is the first one I knew, or if I just love Kenny, or if it just rolls off the tongue the best. But, in my opinion, it is the definitive version. I’ve just had a chat with Neil in the office and he agrees. In fact, he thinks we should just sing Kenny’s army regardless of who the manager is. It works, I think. He still goes the match. He was at Southampton. So we’re always on the march with Kenny’s army, in a way. Let me know what you think.
Anyway, Chris Piercy was making great time down the M6 and there were rumours we might even have time for a drink when we got there. Imagine the pint. Mick Clarke was on tunes. There was a bit too much Courteeners for my liking — as in fucking loads — but apart from that he was doing a solid job. He played Laid by James and we all did air drums, because it’s the law, and tried to bully Hogan into driving to Plymouth next week. “It’s not even that far, mate. We’re most of the way already!”
We arrived an hour before kick-off, an hour! We’d eaten all the semi-final sausage rolls and were raring to go. We did indeed get into the ground in time for a pint. I met a fella who had driven on a motorbike from quite far away. He had his helmet and his leathers on. It seemed strange but I couldn’t decide why. He says he drives up to Anfield from the South all the time. Says it’s great getting away. I thought back to spending an hour in the Stanley Park car park the week before and decided he’s probably onto something.
The footie. Liverpool seemed to start alright but then conceded and their heads fell off. I don’t know what’s up with The Reds at the moment. They just lack a bit of zip. I’m not sure where you summon zip from. Can zip be bought? Trained? Is it even a fucking word?
The crowd were odd down there. I understand they don’t like us much — we do keep taking all their players — but they are still odd. About half an hour in, their fans on the partition (always the worst lads) sung ‘always the victims, it’s never your fault’ which understandably annoyed people. It’s becoming far too common with opposition we have no strong rivalry with.
Liverpool sung a number of songs back including the wonderful, and underused, ‘who the fucking hell are you’. We then sung ‘Justice For The 96’, to which the same Southampton fans who had just been singing about victims applaud. Now, I hate it when people say “how can fans do this, and then do that,” like all football fans are the same people. Most of the time it is different fans with different values. But this was LITERALLY THE SAME PEOPLE. I could see it with my own eyes.
My head fell off a bit, to be honest. I can only conclude that ‘always the victims’ has become such an expected part of ‘footy bantz’ that people don’t think about what they are actually singing. It’s just become what you sing at Liverpool fans. Along with the Steve Gerrard song and ‘sign on’.
These Southampton fans were literally applauding justice one minute after singing about Liverpool fans always being the victims. I’d like to point out to any away fans that you don’t get to decide what this song is about. If you sing it Liverpool fans will not unreasonably think about the most famous time we were the victims and they said it was our fault. It was front page news. So sing it, or don’t. Your call. But, to us, it’s about Hillsborough.
Anyway, Liverpool were rubbish and got beat. People were pretty positive coming out, though. The general consensus seems to be “we’ll batter them at Anfield.” I’m not so sure. I don’t really remember ever battering Southampton at home. In fact they’ve got a few wins and draws since coming back up. Admittedly, their goals were mostly scored by players who now play for us, but still. They’ll be tough. We just need to be tougher.
I was a bit down on the way back but the lads cheered me up. Mates are good like that. They sung about being on the march. Maybe we’ve just fell in a ditch or something. Doesn’t mean you can’t still get back up and win the war. Anyway, Anfield is going to be bouncing.
I tried to get my head down on the way back but it didn’t work. The car was too lively. Ronan, who had said he would be sleeping because he was in work at 6am the next day, was predictably leading the singing. Mick was doing his best impersonation of Absolute 90s from his iPhone. We’ll see things they’ll never see.
Due to traffic and a few too many piss stops, including a very bizarre one when we accidentally ended up on an anti-fracking campsite, we got home about 2.30am. I went to bed thinking about a busy January ahead. Manchester and Plymouth in the next week. We all need some zip from somewhere. Maybe it’s Adam Wright.
Up the Prosecco Reds.