AFTER we played Tottenham at home I wrote an article with the following introduction:
“Oh, the Reds. Where do we start with the Reds? The unplayable, unstoppable, aggressive, run your legs off, schizophrenic, frustrating, we will beat anyone apart from if they are shite (blue aside) Reds.”
It is now accepted fact that we are a gang of weirdos, the opposite of the norm, able to beat the best and unable to beat the worst. Infuriating, isn’t it? From the sublime to the ridiculous. Saturday was further evidence of our brilliance. Arsenal, while being a bit of a gang of shitbags, are a good side; the Reds made a show of them. Daft Punk wrote a song about us: bigger, harder, faster, stronger, or words to that effect. The Reds were always going to win, from the minute Roberto Firmino gets the ball in their box the result was never in doubt.
What we can’t get away from is the underlying accepted rhetoric that these lads will now, after showing the world how good they are, commit an act of complete irreparable self-harm at home to Burnley on Sunday. The equivalent of shooting yourself right in the foot with a massive big gun, or perhaps, I don’t know, chopping your own finger off in your own car door.
Anyone who listened to The Pink on Saturday night will have heard me mention my fellow Anfield Wrap head, centre-half and offside expert Paul Johnson doing a massive imitation of the Reds. He didn’t shoot himself in the foot; he chopped his fucking finger off in his own car door. I know what you are thinking, how the frigging hell did he manage that? Well, brace yourself.
“So, lads, I’ve been the Aldi. Done a normal Aldi shop, haven’t I. Took the baby out of the trolley, put the shopping in the boot, fastens him into the car seat, and goes to shut the door. Except, I don’t shut it like a normal person, I lean across myself and use my wrong hand and shut it as I’m walking away round the back. Feel a pain in my finger and think, you divvy, I’ll have a black nail there. Turnaround, look at my hand and realise I’ve got no finger.
“Alright Johno, don’t panic. Stay calm. Lads, I’m as calm as can be here, I’m not someone to panic. I think, OK, where is my finger? No sign of it on the floor and it deffo isn’t attached to my hand, so I open the door and it’s wedged in the frame, winking at me. I prise it out of the frame and drop it into my pocket. Don’t panic. 999. The phone rings, a woman answers and I say: ‘Hiya hun, I’ve had a bit of an accident here, I’ve chopped off the top of my finger’.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m ever phoning 999, I’m deffo not starting the conversation with ‘hiya hun’. Imagine the poor girl on the phone, her head must have been absolutely kettled. “Hiya hun. Mute. We have got a lunatic on our hands here.”
After a bit of admin about location and that, the conversation continues:
“So, before you go, is there anything I should do to preserve the tip? I’m by the Aldi.”
“Don’t put it in ice, it might get frostbite. You need to put it in a clear plastic bag.”
“So, I’m stood outside the Aldi, holding what is left of my finger, but it’s not really bleeding and there is no real evidence of what I have done. I’m hoping someone will stop to help but no one does, so I accost this innocent bystander, and say to him: ‘Eh mate, I’ve had a bit of an accident, is there any chance you could go back in the Aldi and get me a banana bag please?’”
Put yourself in this fella’s position. What the fucking hell is a banana bag for a kick off? Then ask yourself this question: if someone asked you to go into a supermarket and get them a banana bag because they have had a bit of an accident and were unable to move from their car, what would you think the rationale behind the request was out of the following options:
- They had shit themselves
- They had pissed themselves
- They had chopped their finger off and needed the banana bag to keep the finger as sterile as possible in the vain hope that it could be re-attached to their hand once they got to hospital
So this fella. This working class hero. This one-of-a-kind good samaritan, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the bible, goes into the Aldi, somehow manages to figure out what a banana bag is, acquires said banana bag and brings it out to the car park and hands it to Johno, probably filled with relief at the successful completion of this mental mission, but filled with dread as to what is coming next.
“You couldn’t do me a favour could you, mate? Can you hold it open it for me? You might want to turn your head away – it could be grim this.”
Imagine this fella’s state of mind. What on earth would be going through your head here? If it’s me I’m convinced I’m either going to witness a grown man empty his own soiled undies into a banana bag, or rob me blind, take my car, and possibly kidnap me in some kind of depraved game not dissimilar to that of when the Human Centipede first got pitched.
This saint, the Saint of Gateacre Park Aldi, holds the bag open, unaware of what is coming next. Imagine his surprise when the crazed fella who had almost certainly shit his kecks, takes a severed finger out of his pocket and plonks it into the banana bag.
Mad story that, isn’t it? You are probably wondering what the frigging hell this has got to do with the Reds, aren’t you? Well since Johno chopped his finger off, we are all convinced that it has happened for a reason. You hear stories all the time of people banging their head and waking up able to speak fluent Spanish, or jumping in a shallow pool and crowning themselves only to get out with an overwhelming urge to play the piano and discover that they are now better than Elton John when they couldn’t play a single chord prior to the accident. They show programmes on Channel Five about this. What happens if Johno, less a good third of his middle finger on his left hand, is now, by some mad quirk of fate, the greatest golfer on the planet, his grip so slightly modified that he is better than Happy Gilmore when he wins everything. What happens if he is somehow boss at darts?
What happens if the Reds needed their continual acts of self-harm to become so apparent and so impossible to ignore that they had to evolve, to develop, to concentrate and find a way to be so brilliant at disposing of these little jarg sides that turn up and somehow beat us without even having a shot. What happens if the Reds, by being so infuriatingly negligent against lesser sides are able to finally focus on being able to put them to bed? What happens if the Reds, aware that they keep on chopping their own fucking finger off every other week, realise that they have got no fingers left to spare and find a way to shut their car door without incident.
This issue of beating the top sides and losing against shite isn’t a new phenomenon, it has been around for years. It is magnified this year but we have been unable to consistently beat poor sides since Gerard Houllier was knocking about. In fact, the only time we haven’t really suffered from this was under Brenno Rodgers when we were whacking all and sundry for five months. What happens if the Reds, by exposing themselves to such calamitous bouts of self-harm have finally flagged up the need to aggressively rectify this issue.
My money is on Paul Johno never losing another digit. My money is also on the Reds being able to flat-track their heads off next season, battering every team of cart horses, safe in the knowledge that the remainder of their fingers are as safe as houses.
When that happens, we will all be able to look to the Upper Main Stand, at the man unable to clap, think fondly of the Saint of Gateacre and the many sacrifices he made, and thank our lucky stars for the turning point in Liverpool’s history.
Up the fingerless Reds.