Wednesday, January 29, 2014

You'll Never Walk Alone

My friend Grogs said told me that whether Liverpool win or lose when your actually in Liverpool you win. I know hundreds of people who have spent many a weekend watching football, drinking swill, dancing at clubs, hitting the seedy streets on stags and hens, and everything in between In Liverpool. I however have not. Living in America most of my adult live has meant I’ve sacrificed doing things that my mates take for granted. Things like going to Liverpool for the weekend.

We celebrated like kids on Christmas when Stevie G calmly tucked home a peno (that shouldn’t have been given) to equalize against an organized and very up for it Aston Villa. We were going to win 3-2, maybe 4-2. We danced in the stands and sang with the Kop. But as the clock quickly approached 90 minutes it became apparent that a draw was going to be a goof result for us. Suarez was getting the crap kicked out of him. Sturridge slowed – lack of game time catching up. Steve G was off his game, and our full backs looked hungover. No super last minute thumper from Steve G. In its place, some golf claps and a slow exit.

My first Anfield experience in 20 years ended in a 2-2 draw. It was a game we were supposed to win at least 3-0. Myself and Grog did the shuffle out of the stadium onto Anfield road, heading toward the boarded up houses like something out of the wire. They call it the Anfield Regeneration Project. It was after a little bit of crowd bumping that we made the democratic decision to have a pint in the nearest pub we could find. This happened to be The Arkles and was indeed a pub for “home fans only”. You don’t get this in the USA. And it’s a shame it has to be like this in the UK but alas some things never change.
‘Order 2 each Kel’, shouted a buoyant Grogzer as he discussed the game in depth with a bloke from Cork.  “Johnsons shite”, and “what was your man Cissokho like? He was running all over the place doing nothing” The post game discussion was happening behind me while I waited for shoddy Guinness  served straight up in plastic glasses. And when I arrived back with the swill in hand and a couple of packets of crisps in each pocket it suddenly dawned on me that we were in Liverpool and despite the draw we were both in great form. Onward.

We took a cab with a bunch of Swedes and headed for a night in the city. Liverpool is friendly and they embrace the Irish as their own. Scoucers are pretty much a nationality themselves. And years of immigration by Irish, and the hoards that travel each weekend for Liverpool games have meant we are adopted. Myself and Grog embraced the welcome and had an amazing night which was part reliving youth and nostalgia. Nothings changed in the 30+ years I’ve known Grog. And while returning to the hotel, fairly steaming, after a great night, I thought it could have been 1994, 2004, or as it was 2014. This is why I like to think I have the best friends in the world. And this is why growing up doesn’t have to mean growing lame. If its too loud, then you’re too old. And believe me, its not even close to loud. 

Peace and Love

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