WE all have to get up and go to work. Later we will go to Anfield for the fourth time 11 days hoping for much, much better. But for now we have to pretend to be normal human beings. With jobs and to-do lists and all that.
I get through a surprising amount of mine. Although luckily, a lot of mine are writing and talking about the game ahead. Which is a good job really as it’s what I’d be doing in an accountant’s. I still do a fair bit extra via WhatsApp and text.
My mate Josh texts me moaning that “the naysayers have got him shitting himself.” I’ve got nothing to help him. I’m saying nays myself, lad. The WhatsApp group is more positive. The lads are predicting wins and Tizzer is after a lift. Things rarely change in there, regardless of how the Reds are doing.
I must be actually doing a bit because before I know it it’s 4pm and I was meant to be in The Lion at 3:30. I check my phone and see Paul Senior has got the Lion and found it’s closed for refurbishment. Aims are in concrete, plans are in sand. We need a new venue. We go for Hus. Because it’s nice and pretty much next door.
Everyone ends up coming to Hus, which is great. I like it when everyone comes to me with minimal effort on my behalf. Robbo, Neil and Shaun from the office are quickly joined by Chris Maguire and Johnny Milburn, then James Cutler and Anna Walsh. Adam Melia is back from Australia too, what a delight. But the guest of honour is Craig Hannan. It is his birthday, after all. He’s 12 or something. I’ve bought him a present.
— Craig Hannan (@C_Hannan7) January 31, 2017
Some Anfield Wrap listeners are in and say hello. I think they are slightly startled by how many of us there are all together. They must think we all travel round in a bus together. Drinking and chatting wham about footy. Maybe we should? They are nice people so I go back to the office and get them some TAW badges. Because I’m generous, but frugal.
Cutler offers to drive us up to the ground. Well I say offers, I tell him too. He parks at The Derry Club because he is meeting someone for a ticket. We go The Stanley because Robbo is meeting his mates and I need to see Sub-Editor Josh to get tickets from him.
Considering I am selling two tickets for SE Josh he isn’t very helpful. He arrives late, gives me the tickets, but doesn’t know where the seats are for. I need to go and meet the fella I’m selling the tickets to so he says he’ll text me on the way. I get there and he hasn’t text. Nice one, Josh.
The fella is with his son. The poor kid can’t wait to get in and doesn’t understand why he is stood in the pub with a load of fellas he doesn’t know instead. I ring Josh but can’t get through, I send him pictures of the sad kid. Eventually he messages through saying he sent them straight away and moaning about signal. Likely story. Don’t worry, Josh, I’m sure the kid got in just in time for Gini Wjinaldum’s goal.
The footy starts and Liverpool are at it. Then Chelsea score because Eden Hazard fell over and Simon Mignolet was looking at planes. I assume that wasn’t in the plan. Liverpool remain lively but now Chelsea are up they have something to defend and they defend it well. Worrying.
This Chelsea team is a bit mad, isn’t it? They don’t scare you like a team nine points clear at the top of the Premier League should. They don’t look like coming to Anfield and beating us 4-1 like they did in 2005. But they are very solid, tough and gnarly and they play on the edge. And they’ve got a couple of lads who can kick it in. That will be enough for this league this year, you sense.
Fair play to their fans for refusing to enjoy it, though. They all looked bored. If we were nine points clear I’d be watching away games with my undies on my head. Maybe they were all trying to work out if they do, indeed, have any history yet? I think we need to retire that song now. In fact we probably should have done it when they won the Champions League. Besides, making history is much better than banging on about it. Not really arsed about that league we won in 1901 if I’m honest, I want to win this one.
The atmosphere is very good though, all in. It’s positively booming in the Upper Cenny and the Main Stand looks to be having a go too. Gini scores and I don’t really go mad. I think it caught me that much by surprise I didn’t really know what to do. I just sort of clap a bit and then shake hands with the fella next to me like Stanley Matthews.
The last 15 is end to end. Like a school game with lads running everywhere and no-one able to put their foot on it. People have questioned Jürgen Klopp not making subs earlier but I understood watching it. How on earth are you meant to get to grips with that coming on? I couldn’t get to grips with it watching it. Mad.
Full-time comes and I wonder whether to go home or stay out. I’ve got to go to the pub to meet the fella and get Josh’s tickets back, though. So going the pub means a drink, doesn’t it? And that means missing your lift. And once you are out…
I go to town to meet the lads after The Pink. An American guy called Dan is with them. He opens with the line: “We’ve met before, you sang Summer Lovin’ with my ex-girlfriend on karaoke in New York.”
I immediately start wondering just how quickly she became an ex after this moment. Were my sultry tones the cause of discomfort? Were my “wella wella wella”‘s too much to handle? Did life become just too dull for her afterwards? I hope not. Still though. Wonder what she’s doing now?
Dan lives over here now. He’s on a 2am bus to work in London which is fantastic commitment. There is a singer on and me and Craig have a dance when she does Outkast. Craig just wants to spin me round like I’m his fucking bird. He loves a turn.
People start to drift off. Suddenly it is just me and Craig. An irish lad comes over and asks me if I am from Redmen TV. Fuck off lad, we’re the boys from The Wrap. We’re loyal and we’re true. But it turns out he does know me from Redmen. He subscribes and he has seen me when I’ve been on. So he’s technically correct.
We go to another bar so I can continue telling my new friends why they should subscribe to The Anfield Wrap instead. Everywhere is closing. Either that or they are just telling us that because we’re a mess. So without much option we end up in that MAD Tiki Joe’s on Slater Street. You know the one you walk past and think “who on earth drinks there?”
Well me and Craig Hannan and two Irish lads who think I’m on Redmen at 2:30am on a Wednesday morning. That’s who.
Up the Redmen Reds!