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THE NEW SEASON
LFC:IT’S NOT THE SAME ANYMORE
THE WORLD CUP WAS CRAP BECAUSE OF IT, PEOPLE DOUBT THE MANAGER BECAUSE OF IT, AND I CAN’T BUY THE KIT BECAUSE OF IT...
THIS year’s World Cup was the worst one I’ve ever watched.
It had nothing to do with the japes of the Jabulani ball, Luis Suarez’s divine digits or many sides’ insistence to not only park the bus but clamp the wheels and swallow the keys.
In fact, the outcry of South Africa hosting the worst tournament in history after a solitary round of games was a consummate media overreaction. I actually enjoyed the World Cup, but there was a vital component missing which usually makes it that extra special; and because it was missing, it’s automatically the worst for me.
BY KRISTIAN WALSH
(Mr Glass Half-Empty)
nostalgic about World Cups, though – probably because it is something we’ve all experienced as a child, be it Mexico ’70, Espana ’82 or USA ’94.
I’m a firm believer that football is the purest form of escapism. For 90 minutes, your travails are forgotten watching Torres, a player who makes defenders look old and supporters feel young. It’s that childlike innocence that makes the World Cup special. The thrill of needing
Sergio Batista to complete your Italia ‘90 Panini sticker book; the thrill of seeing the Adidas Tango ripple the net for the first time; the thrill of imagining, for just a month, Roberto Baggio linking up with Robbie Fowler for Liverpool.
But there’s no chance Wesley Sneijder will be playing off Fernando Torres next season.
There’s no chance of Bastian Schweinsteiger forming a defensive blockade with Javier Mascherano and no chance of Jesus Navas playing a quick one-two with Steven Gerrard.
In fact, there’s no chance the aforementioned trio who currently belong to us will all line up against Arsenal on the opening weekend.
Cast your minds back to World Cups gone by. Davor Suker putting Germany to the sword in 1998; the follicle-deprived Hasan Sas running riot for Turkey in 2002; Maxi Rodriguez’s wonder volley against Mexico four years ago.
None of these moments will be deposited in the average football fan’s memory bank, nor are they woven into the World Cup tapestry.
I remember them, though; I remember them because their actions were accompanied by my words. Seven simple words which we’ve all uttered at some stage at some World Cup:
“They could do a job for us.” That’s not to say we should sign players on their efforts at a World Cup alone. We did that with Phil Babb, and the only mark he left at Anfield was a spherical one on a goalpost at the Anfield Road end.
There’s something wonderfully
CLASS: But we’ve no chance of luring stars like Schweinsteiger
The problems Hicks, Gilett, Purslow and Broughton have bestowed upon us have ruined that innocence.
Two Texan snakes slithered into our Garden of Anfield and offered David Moores the fruit of his labours, and he greedily devoured it.
Now, Liverpool supporters have to suffer for his sin.
This isn’t about the World Cup though, although it does serve as a microcosm to how it feels being one of us right now. Nothing is how it used to be and it has nothing to do with happenings on the pitch.
Even when we were losing to Bristol City in the FA Cup, we could have a laugh with our mates on the Kop.
Now, there’s friction about where to channel our voices and energies at the match. Even when we were losing at home to Leicester City on the same night those across the M62 were reaching a European Cup final, OPINION
TWIT AND TW*T: Since this pair crawled into Anfield (below) things just haven’t been the same at the match our supporters were still treated with respect by those in charge of the football club.
Now, respected match-going reds in the journalism industry are spoken down to and treated with contempt at a press conference by a chairman who has a season ticket at Stamford Bridge.
Even when Everton were finishing above us in the league, the only financial worries we had were how to afford the next European away.
Now, the Solly might as well be the offices of the Salomon Brothers; the King Charles might as well be KMPG.
To outsiders, sitting down with a pint and discussing who you want to sign and why Djimi Traore is better at left-back than centreback is at best dull; at worst, lamentable.
For us, it was escapism, talking football with mates and immersing yourself in a world where things like the much-maligned Malian’s positioning mattered.
Now, it feels like you need a degree in accountancy to talk about a football club. It’s an oft-repeated phrase that football is being ruined by money, but never does it feel so real as it does now. It’s just not fun anymore. The four horsemen of the boardroom are even causing some fans to pass judgement on how to support the team and whether the famed ‘Liverpool Way’ even survives.
Having a laugh at the match, being treated with respect by our boardroom and having talks about football over a pint are three of the aspects that embody being a Liverpool supporter. We don’t do that anymore. Another stipulation is that we always back the manager. We don’t do that anymore?
Roy Hodgson’s appointment has been met with, what would seem to the outside world, an acute apathy.
The outside world don’t understand our internal problems though - not just in the boardroom, but within ourselves. It’s not apathy, it’s mistrust; mistrust at every level of the football club, mistrust which unfortunately extends to the new manager hired by those who are directly responsible.
People don’t know how strongly behind Roy they can get.
People don’t know how voiciferously they can support the team. People are betraying their own beliefs in the Liverpool Way and berate the manager of Liverpool Football Club.
It’s not their fault. We didn’t used to be like this. We used to unanimously back the manager and talk football. We used to buy replica shirts for our children and younger brothers, emblazon a player’s name on the back and allow them to emulate their heroes with their mates in a park like we once did without fear of lining unworthy and unscrupulous snakeskin pockets. I genuinely believe the question of what a Liverbird actually is will eventually be answered: a phoenix that rises from the ashes of the smoking carcasses of Hicks, Gillett, Broughton and Purslow. We’ll even own our club.
I’ll just be happy to enjoy our club again; I’ll just be happy to enjoy the World Cup. Kristian writes for The Telegraph.