Sunday, 17 October 2010

I almost forgot. Football

Two weeks ago, Liverpool were beaten by Blackpool. It was a deserved victory for the Seasiders and it marked a new low in my football supporting life, at least as far as on the pitch action was concerned. Yes I had watched us being knocked out of the League Cup by Grimsby and Northampton to name but two. I even remember being beaten by Burnley by a fantastic piece of skill by Djimi Traore. And every cup final loss or defeat at the hands of one of the big three or Everton was always a body blow. But defeat to Blackpool said to me that footballing wise we couldn't get much lower. It hit home that we were genuinely struggling to even stay in the Premier League this season.

Of course, the start of the season was all hope and optimism. We had a new manager who had persuaded our two star players to stay with the club and even tempted the best free signing of the window to abandon his roots and move up north to us. But by 3rd October 2010 we were 3rd from bottom and knowing that our next game was against the team just one place above us, our neighbours across the park and the ones most happy to see us where we are.

It was also a two weeks gap that would see the most amazing events unfold at our club. The clock was ticking on the repayment of the owners loan from RBS. That clock would stop ticking on the 15th October with the potential of a bloody big bomb going off at Anfield and the realistic possibility that we would start today's game 3 wins away from today's opponents and points adrift from where we started the season.

But here we are. A bright but crisp day on Merseyside. The old regime has gone thanks to protracted court room proceedings. We've won more court cases than Premier League games this season. Maybe we should bring Lord Grabiner QC off the bench. A visit to the modern, even futuristic ground a mile away from home is scheduled for lunch time and once again our optimism is returning. Only this time it is a question of once bitten, twice shy. we are not prepared to be as optimistic as we had been at the start of the season. we know that the same players are still available to be picked. But hopefully there will be a weight off their shoulders that was adding an extra couple of pounds to every attempted pass or darting run.

We've also been here before with new American owners. This time the quote that has resonated with me is one from Thomas Werner. "I think one message I'd like to give is I'd rather under promise and over deliver." While that sounds all well and good, at least promise us something so that we can measure that statement in the future. Hicks and Gillette promised a "spade in the ground within 60 days". We measured that promise and it was found wanting. And unfortunately it is going to be at least two and  half months before we can see any benefit of being debt free, with it's impact in the transfer market.

Don't get me wrong. I am delighted that Waldorf and Stadtler have gone. I also like what NESV have done to Boston Red Sox If that philosophy is translated into success at Anfield then I will be delighted, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

One thing the last two weeks has done for me is reignited my passion for Liverpool Football Club. Under the previous tenure, I had started to lose my faith and even gone shopping during a match time. Not any more. I will be watching every game live, either at the stadium, at the pub, or where that's not possible ... well, where there's a will. I can't believe I was as nervous about the result of a court case as I was about watching a penalty shoot out out in Istanbul.

As in 1989, when we played Everton in the post Hilsborough FA Cup Final, I feel that the future starts here against our oldest rivals. Let's hope for a similar outcome.

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