Another day, another nail
I've not been the most assiduous of posters of late, and make no apologies for using this photo that is not mine, but comes from Twitter. I am a little pissed off and haven't got time to think, let alone be creative, says he in a flurry of vast understatements of majestic proportions.
Here's another understatement of majestic proportions: whoever thought this Super League would fly is a frigging idiot.
I've been sitting at my computer for the past six weeks slogging my guts out at various contracts, ignoring my family and stifling all contact with friends. Even worse, I've been tuning myself out of "football". I've been completely and utterly mad about the sport since I was a kid. I have played on several continents (nothing of note), coached on two, and only really stopped playing and coaching because I could no longer move (osteoarthritis, the footballer's curse).
Over the past 15 months, I have been increasingly disenchanted with watching my hometown club play. It's not their fault - there are no fans allowed in the stadia, so no atmosphere. They thrive off the atmosphere do my team, it turns them into super-humans. Without it, they are mortals - consigned to losing games to Everton and, gulps in dismay, Burnley. As the cleverly co-opted slogan reads, "we are Liverpool, this means more." Other fans might scoff, but it actually does get to the heart of what is and has been for at least two generations, a one industry town. Liverpool is football.
Which is why when the club's owners decided to try and cream some more money out of their investment by signing up for a Super League, it was never going to work. Leaving aside the practical issues, the threats of banning players from all FIFA and UEFA tournaments (who'd sign for clubs knowing that), and the sheer lack of interest of playing against Italian teams six times a season, what is there to interest the fan?
My love for Liverpool is generations deep. I love Liverpool because I have no choice. My gran made sure of that by sending me to a match for my seventh birthday. My dad encouraged it by sending me to the Boy's Pen, then the Kop, then the Kemlyn Road Stand, then the Main Stand every year until I left university and left the country. When I went to matches, I went with my family; even now many of them are dead and buried, I still commune with them during matches. I think how happy my gran would be to see a player of Virgil Van Dijk's quality; how pleased my dad would be that Klopp worked out so well and proved to be a good socialist. It brings it all back. It brings them back.
Liverpool Football Club is my community, even though I live in Ottawa.
So why the idea of removing all of the club's history and tradition and passion from future matches by enrolling in a bland and soulless competition, with manufactured rivalries, no away fans, and scheduled to fit in with Sky or Bein's antisocial timetables should be thought a good idea left me speechless. Then livid. Then sad.
The club has died. It is like my connections to family long gone have disappeared all over again.