Why should I walk alone when I always have hope in my heart?
It all began – not walking – when I was just a tiny little spec swimming in the puddles of my fathers’ loins. I am my fathers’ child and it was inevitable to be apart of the supporting team. From the puddle I was conceived as a pure Liverpudlian. I wonder what happened to my siblings then? Their minds twisted and warped by societal pressures, following other mindless sheep to the slaughter, believing rivals Manchester United was the way to go. I was born in 1989, a full century after the formation of Liverpool Football Club and ironically it was also the last time they won the coveted Premier League trophy. It was the clubs 18th league title and at the time a record amongst the English playing field.
So why am I a Liverpool supporter?
It has been a long winter of 24 years. A very cold and empty winter. The once madness of Liverpool rule over the best game in the world was dethroned from its iron clad hold on supremacy. We the supporters, like the Targaryens in Game Of Thrones, were banished into exile. The Premier League trophy has never been seen again. Over the years I have crawled with Liverpool – still not walking yet – watching how my father plummeted into heartache and depression. How he swore at the TV set, banged his fists on the table, and shouted at the players that were not doing what they were supposed to. It was like he was pitch side. Like he coached them. During the 24-year cold drought we did manage to find some glory, some embers to keep the belief warm and alive, by winning everything else but the one we really wanted. FA Cup winners in 1991-92, 2000-01 and 2005-06 seasons, League Cup winners in 1994-95, 2000-01, 02-03 and 11-12 seasons, UEFA Cup winners in 2000-01 season and lastly the major spectacle that unfolded before my eyes on the screen in Istanbul was when we were crowned UEFA Champions League winners in the 2004-05 season. The one match my father nearly died of anxiety and stress. Luckily for him by now I was strong enough to walk – finally. Liverpool was down three to nothing going into the half. My father was fuming. Then what came in the second half was nothing short of a miracle. Three goals in ten minutes. Liverpool firing on all cylinders. Took the game to extra time. Then penalties. As Shevchenko from the AC Milan outfit stepped up to take the deciding penalty my father went weak. I held him up. We watched as then keeper Dudek saved it. Stopped dead in its tracks. Killing Milan to claim it. Celebrations! Millions of Liverpool supporters marching together. No one walking alone. And I, with my father singing loudly, was walking proudly amongst the crowd.
Still that doesn’t answer my question of why I am a Liverpool supporter. I can list their accolades, their triumphs, and the good things about what make them the best but then I would be no good then those damn United Devils. Like any Manchester United supporter all they do is praise their team when they are up but turn on their heels, show the disgust on their backs and abandon their team when they are down. United are like the Baratheon’s – bigheaded drunks, always fighting each other with inside political drama and are more divided than they are united. They toppled the Liverpool rule and started racking up trophies. Claiming the throne for years, surpassing us by two more league titles. They were the fury. Yet our belief and hope, the dedication and support never floundered. This is what makes a Liverpool supporter. Any die hard supporter actually. No matter how hard it gets your team is your team. I have the team crest tattooed to my ankle. I own every kit they had. I watch every match win or lose. You are bound to them. By fire and blood!
It can’t just be a two-house race can it?
There are other teams that have successfully managed to claim the throne whilst Liverpool sat back and watched. What these teams had though that made it more possible was cash. Similar to the Lannister’s the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City boasted their pompous pockets filled with huge amounts of money. Having wealthy, well that’s an understatement – stinking rich sounds more apt – owners allowed these teams to obtain world-class players to do their bidding. They sucked the life out of the league by making it a money sport where passion for the game dwindled away. Although Liverpool was not the richest they played with a heart and soul that is football. Rightfully money talks and saw these teams scoop up the rewards without even batting an eye. The world heard them roar. We reds just put on our earmuffs and continued to do what we do best.
Teams can make it or lose it all in this league. No 90 minutes of playing is the same in every match. Favorites fall. Underdogs rise up. Shock upsets. Walk in the parks. Nothing is given in football. That’s what makes it an exciting and thrilling game to watch. Arsenal Football Club reminds me of the Starks. Every season they prepare for winter. They seem to be winning. They always seem to have their hands firmly set to grab the title but in the blink of an eye the whole team is murdered by injury, the title falls out of reach and they succumb to fourth place. A recurring pattern that has been seen over the years. One can’t help but feel sorry for them. They try so hard. They seem so good. Have a pure religious footballing style that has been rooted in their foundations but killed off by the other teams ready to take the throne.
How does this season look?
The current season has been one all Liverpudlians have been waiting for. Liverpool has enjoyed their best season in many years. They have transformed Anfield back into the most dangerous place in the league. Teams are scared to come play here again as the reds tear them apart with their flowing goal scoring straight out of the blocks. THIS IS ANFIELD! The attack force has been on of the best the league has seen since the glory days. Three fire breathing dragons in the form of Luis Suarez – first South American PFA winner with 30 goals this season destined for the golden boot award too – Daniel Sturridge – England’s home grown rising star with 20 goals this season – and Raheem Sterling – another England starlet at the age of 19 and playing like a man well beyond his years – the formidable SSS, have brought a newly revitalized team to the forefront of battle. Finally we believe that they will reclaim their rightful place on the iron throne. Yet it is not quite in the bag as yet. Both Chelsea and City are close and Liverpool desperately needs them to slip up in order to take home the title. To lose it on goal difference would be devastating yet what any reds fan can take away from this season is the rejoining of Champions League next season. This was the primary goal set out by manager Brendan Rogers. It has been accomplished but winning the damn thing would just be a dream come true for both players and fans.
Football is a passion of mine and as much as I watch the game I also enjoy playing it. Everyone has his or her favorite position. Yet I am different. Like an all-rounder, term used in cricket for someone who bats and bowls equally well, I can play any position and love it all. Football is just the best game in the world. Kicking a ball, even by myself, in the backyard brings me so much happiness its unreal. From keeper with a solid grasp on the ball to defender with my sublime strength in tackling and holding the line. Striker is a position I can play well with my burst of speed and finishing yet at times my touch lets me down. Midfield is where I truly shine. I am able to swing in long pinpoint crosses and dictate play. I derive my inspiration from whom else but Captain Fantastic – Steven Gerrard – the Liverpool talisman has been the teams’ inspirational captain for many seasons to date. He is the ultimate complete footballer. Power, pace, touch and a never-say-die attitude are just the tip of the iceberg in skills he possesses for the game. He is my hero. No one can come close to fill his boots. He will be Liverpool’s legend long into the future and take the mighty Reds, I hope, to clinch their 19th title come final match day on the 11th of May 2014. Liverpool take on Newcastle at home, Anfield, where the mighty Kop will be in full voice cheering on the boys to bring home the cup. To restore the iron throne where it rightfully belongs. To be the team we know we can be. The Barclays Premier League has been my companion every weekend. I actually suffer depression when the season ends as my weekends become lack luster and boring. Thank god for Game Of Thrones, season four, which started about a month ago. It will keep me entertained until the new football season. I hold my LFC scarf above my head. I sing loudly:
“When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm, there’s a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone”