Why supporters can’t ever really switch off from football, even during the monotony of international breaks…


SCRATCHING around for content on the international break is a tedious endeavour at the best of times.

What do you want from me here? A 600-odd word ode to Andy Robertson’s shoulder and a collective apathy towards Kostas Tsimikas’ incoming stint at left-back, I assume.

You’re well within your rights to decide football during the international hiatus isn’t for you. I was mocked recently for turning down an offer to watch Leyton Orient. My reasoning, forever justifiable, is that Liverpool takes up more than enough of my time and energy.

Try being arsed about the travails of a League One side when I’ve got endless Review agendas to prep and I need to find something, anything to write about this Friday.

A world without football can be perceived as respite, however you take it. Living it makes you feel intoxicated and infatuated. It’s lustful and consuming. You need to win. You need to feel fulfilment.

You spit apathy at Gary Neville’s groaning and bemoan the use of Alexis Mac Allister. But it’s pulsating.

Winning has had costs, notably that the other cheek has been turned to what that has done to overall integrity.

Looming threats of state influence, officiating agendas and the circumventing of rules pertaining to an equal and fair footing have become far more influential than anyone should want.

We want the best players. We want the football bit to be as high octane as possible. Yet we now spend every other waking hour fighting the ramifications of a desire to scale such heights.

English football currently feels like a vicious circle that hugely reflects society. Downtime should be spent on improving the wider issues which make the experience richer. Instead, it’s trying to pick up the pieces of its latest fuck up.

The stakes are always higher for supporters. Football offers us a sense of purpose, structure and routine. We need its purity and reliability to maintain our sanity at times.

Today is the anniversary of Liverpool 1 Leeds United 1 in 2001-02. In other words, it’s the day Gerard Houllier was taken ill and would undergo life-saving heart surgery at Broadgreen Hospital.

It’s also the day a high court ruled that Tom Hicks couldn’t enforce a temporary restraining order on a forced sale which resulted in Fenway Sports Group (then New England Sports Ventures) acquiring the club in 2010.

Two massive events in Liverpool history which exist away from the pitch. Things which ask questions of what this means to you and why.

Things that remind you that football becomes your politics, your values and emotion set. Things which plot the chapters of your life because you felt so desperate and invested.

Ultimately, it’s a reminder that football never really goes away. It swims close to the surface during the monotony of international football.

There really is no point investing in this enterprise any further than I already do. You might feel a case of idle hands, but how many times already today have you thought about Robertson, the Anfield Road stand or Howard Webb?

This is your downtime, remember? Leyton Orient can wait another day.

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