SATURDAY is a fresh start after an early night Friday night after the races on Thursday, which made Friday a day very much one to just get through. But an early night rewarded me with a clear head and glorious sunshine. Go ‘ed, the world.
It was a small mob this, with the group decimated by Aintree Antics, spring trips away and not really wanting to go to Stoke. So it was just me, Kev Walsh and Jack who works in The Glenbuck.
Nice story about that actually. Me and Kev, mainly Kev, were drunk after the Goodison derby and went to The Glenbuck to celebrate. That night I got talking to Jack for the first time besides “three Peroni please, mate” and obviously really got on with him because we were all off our heads on Sadio Mane. I asked him if he’d been to Goodison and he said “No, I’ve never been to an away game, wouldn’t know how”. So I drunkenly proclaimed “I’LL GET YOU TO AN AWAY, LAD, GIVE US YOUR NUMBER!”
I didn’t text him obviously. He’s only 18 and I felt a bit like I’d tried to groom him. But we were laughing about it after Everton at home a few weeks ago and Kev said “You’ve never been to away? Come to Stoke with us, no one is coming so we’ve got spares.” So he did. And people say nothing good happens after midnight in The Glenbuck.
Now I don’t want to tell tales about Jack on his first trip, but I’ll just say he’s been out for “one” the night before and ending up getting in at a time that rhymes with ‘wine AM’. But he’s not going to miss his first away trip, so he’s armed with two cans of own brand energy drink when Kev picks him up, and off we go.
After a slight detour because no one was paying any attention to the M6 turn off, we were in Stoke just before 2pm and parked up in no time. There isn’t loads to do around the ground in Stoke, but there is a Harvester with a decent outdoor area. So we enjoy being early for an away game for once and have a couple of lagers in the sun. I even see James Cutler, whose summer wardrobe is a thing of wonder.
It is there where the team news comes in. Bloody hell. There was talk one of the young lads might play, but I don’t think anyone was expecting two, with a return for the three at the back that had gone so well at Bournemouth. Ah well, sure Jürgen knows what he’s doing. We all lash a fiver on Trent first goal.
Outside the ground I meet Wayne Scholes from Red Touch Media who we share lots of things with, including our office. We add pies to the list of things we share and head up to our seats for the main event.
Yeah. It’s not happening for Liverpool. The young lads are getting pushed off it, Divock Origi isn’t getting into it at all and the backline looks ropey as ever. The crowd are trying to get behind the team, but are getting agitated. The fella behind me joins in with “we love you Liverpool, we do,” then brilliantly shouts “actually I don’t love you, I fucking hate you, you useless cunts.” It’s very tormented being a Red.
It looks like we’ll at least get to half-time at 0-0, before that stupid Evertonian Tory Jonathan Walters scores and ruins everything. He must have equalled Ian Rush’s tally against Everton by now. I’m sure he’s scored against us for teams he hasn’t even played for. How on earth does this keep happening? When he retires Stoke should just wheel him out for games against us.
Half-time and lots of lads in the concourse are saying “look I love Klopp, but…” However the two Brazilian lads are warming up and luckily Stoke look a bit rubbish too. Although nowhere near as rubbish as us. Maybe we can turn this round. I start thinking about Swansea away when we were crap for ages and won 2-1.
Second half it is different right away. The crowd are roaring Liverpool on. Dejan Lovren hits the bar. Good attacking passes go slightly astray. Phil and Bobby act like a Caipirinha, giving everyone a mad energetic rush. Well that’s the effect they have on me, anyway. Then we get Sturridge too. My, my.
Soon it is one and then, like it always felt it would be, it is two. Limbs, screams, pyro, oh my! I’m hugging rows behind and marveling at the torso of Bobby Firmino, who is going to be the first person ever to go to prison for cumulative excessive celebration yellow cards. If he was taking his driving test he’d get no majors and 17 minors for whipping his shirt off after every correct turn.
We hold on, partly thanks to a wonderful Simon Mignolet save from a shot that everyone is just waiting to drop in. We don’t look entirely convincing to me, but the Stoke ends are half empty by the time the fourth official holds the board up. Always a decent sign that the home team aren’t coming back.
It takes ages for us to get out the car park, but you don’t mind after a win. We listen to the Grand National on the radio and shout on horses who let us down. Soon on our way, we talk plans for later. I think about throwing out a “anyone out?” Whatsapp. I see videos of Atko and co on rooftop gardens which tempts me even further, but I decide better of it. Sensible for once. Gotta build a BBQ in the morning.
Up the rooftop Reds.