ONE of these days this article won’t start with the morning after the night before. This is not one of those occasions. Although, to be fair, I don’t actually feel hungover — which is entirely because I’m still drunk.
It’s around 10am and I’m due at a friend’s house and then at the gym. These plans were certainly made with no regard for my will power. The night before had been Craig Hannan’s leaving party for his old job before he joined us. As he was leaving the Echo, and many of them are our mates, we decide to have a joint party. Actually, we just turned up. I have no idea if we were invited.
Me and Steve Graves DJ’d in Motel for a while until the proper DJs came on and then we went to Newington. That should have been that really, but a Mojo trip happened out of nowhere. Oh, and we were on a stag do as well! That’s right. Mark Keeley was over from Ireland with loads of mates. No wonder I got to bed so late. It’s a wonder I made it home at all.
So yeah, Saturday. Hangover kicks in about 11:30 in my mate’s house. The gym session feels more and more ambitious, but if I don’t go I’m just going to go straight to the pub and I want to feel like a respectable human being for at least half an hour this weekend. It’s a rule I give myself. A man’s got to have a code. So I stumble about on a treadmill until at least some of the vodka inside me sweats its way out. Then I have as shower and go the pub.
A big group are already in The Lion when I get there. Steve is celebrating his birthday. Anna Walsh is too. They are both doing a very good job of it. Anna has a friend from Boston, via Ireland, with the wildest accent you’ve ever heard. Stu Mather is up from London which pleases me immensely. He’s got one of those hipster jumpers on which look like they have been drawn by a child and probably cost £300. I talk about swinging until Rob takes his children away from me.
We are up at the ground early to try and do a ton of video. I understand lots of you can’t get to the ground for games, and my Home And Away articles only paint a small part of the picture. So hopefully you are enjoying the video we are trying to do. Let us know if you want something different. Happy to do more in the pub!
We do a ‘team news’ video and a ‘hope the Reds are boss’ video and grab a few journalists and I can actually talk at a normal pace on this one, which is nice for all concerned. I’m sat by Neil for the game, which is really nice. I don’t actually get to watch many games with Neil. He’s clever about the footy but laughs when I am silly too. He tells me about how what our wide players are doing off the ball is interesting. I tell him about how Ragnar Klavan’s a lovely fella. It all works.
We celebrate the goals. Big noises, big high fives, lots of things knocked over. Liverpool go in 2-0 but could be more. Alan Kennedy comes on and pretends to be rubbish at footy and then nails the crossbar challenge twice in a row. It’s funny with footballers, you forget how good they are. He was seen as a bit of a joke in that great Liverpool team and he’s about 60 and he looks like he might have had an Irish Coffee during the first half, yet he just steps up and pings it. Then, to prove it wasn’t a fluke, he does it again. The normal fan can’t live with him.
The second half is tougher, as Arsenal bring on their best player and remember they are a football team. A Danny Welbeck goal brings tension. Liverpool remain dangerous, but Arsenal are too. We need a win here. Then it comes. Stoppage time. Gini Wijnaldum slots. We riot. The fella behind me thinks he’s dislocated his thumb. He seems very cheery about it, though. Everyone is hugged. Nothing like that release, is there?
After the game me and Andy bounce down to The Glenbuck Hotel. All the boys from the away trips are in there. There are much bigger smiles than at Leicester. Soon taxis are ordered to town and I’m back in Newington 24 hours later and just as determined. Some boxing is on and I get far more behind Tony Bellew than I imagined. Maybe I was full of Scouse pride. Maybe I’ve got a natural inclination to stick up for the fat fella in sport. I don’t know, but he beats him anyway. Another crazy win.
Scenes are missing now, mates, I’ll be honest. I make it into Popworld but don’t last long, although I’ve got a vague memory of swinging on a pole. I try to stumble home but then bump into my mate Macca who drags me back out. Liquidation. EBGBs. Drinking lager I really don’t need far too late. Ah well. Never mind. I’ll take the hangover. We all have to make sacrifices for the team.
Up the alcoholic Reds.