MY city, my people, my heart.
I was OK, I’d held it together last night until a certain point. It wasn’t the lift, Kenny or seeing them on The Kop.
It was when Jamie Webster’s latest single, This Place, played out in a special video from Sky. It made me stop, it made me emotional, it made me think.
What makes a football club? More often than not it’s the people. The people were locked out last night. It mattered not to those players, they’d done it for us regardless. Yet that video reminded me of something more profound – what makes a football club is the very place it’s situated.
This place – a melting pot of industrialism and honesty. Of problems worn for all to see but of unrelenting character. It’s a place of survival. This city constantly finds itself knocked to the floor, dazed as the count gets to eight. Miraculously, it always finds a way back up.
How unbelievably special, and perversely strange then, that a group of multicultural and wealthy young men can encapsulate a city like Liverpool so perfectly. I’ve said it before, that their endeavour, graft and penchant for making the best of their situation is beyond endearing to its people, but it’s become more than that.
They have given a city purpose, spotlight and the intrigue that carries through its sea air.
Webster’s video will show you docks, murals and statues. But it will also pan to inner urban streets and faces who have all set their watch of time on this planet by what this team has done in this city over two years. It happened in the 1970s and 80s and it’s happening again, right now.
I say this as someone who worked in Manchester for 10 years and felt the very same thing there. I saw the social struggles in places like Salford and Droylsden. I felt the outpouring of grief after the Manchester Arena bombing. Somewhere in all of that was the football – the place where all of these things come together. The place where people come together.
I miss Anfield for that very reason. It’s the place where we get to see the best representation of ourselves on a football pitch, but also a place of great education in recent years. We’ve collectively changed, grown out of a stagnate state of resentment and anger.
Anfield now is a place that is writing history. It’s smiles and laughter and unrelenting amounts of conversation which start with “fucking boss these lad, aren’t they?”.
And so to look forward, the champions of everything have completed the lot – most of us have been around to see it. It could be easy to see this as the moment to stop entirely, if you so desired. An unbelievable whirlwind, the greatest night of our lives spread over three years.
But there’s a score outstanding, being that they now have to do it when we’re there. That’s the deal, Jürgen, because you told us we’re all in this together and that there’s a role for each and every one of us.
Put the parade on hold, we’ll have a double one next May. Go do it again and hopefully see our faces this time. See how much it means to these people when we’re all collectively able to sing, to hug and to dance into the night.
In the meantime, take a walk around the city today. Feel the energy that this club has once again brought to it. This city is alive, and everybody in the world is once again looking at its beauty.
Liverpool is once again refusing to be kept down, and now you’re gonna believe us.
So raise a glass, to this place.
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“I’m made up for the footballers more than anything, I made up that they got their moment – I’m delighted for them.” 👏— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) July 23, 2020
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