It’s been far too long.
365 days make up a full year, yet it feels like it’s a lot longer when it comes to football. It felt like forever since I’ve started watching football, learning the game from all aspects whilst sitting on the floor beside my dad as we watch the game on weekend nights; a cup of coffee for him, a cup of Milo for me, and a night of entertaining football. It felt like I’ve been doing so all my life when in fact, it’s only really been eight years.
I was lucky in that I picked up watching the sport and started learning and researching about Liverpool FC just before what was a photo-finish in the Premier League in 2008/09, with the team that I newly-supported getting ousted by their biggest rivals, Manchester United. It was then when I realised just how emotionally involved football is for a fan – I get pumped up when we win, yet I get sick to my stomach for the whole week whenever we don’t. Each Gerrard thunderbolt left my jaw well-dropped, each through-ball being met by a speedy Fernando Torres and nicely tucked away into the net would get fist-pumps from me, and every horrendous defending gets me genuinely agitated.
That 2008/09 season made me support Liverpool more than I ever have in my life, but then 2013/14 happened. We were closer than ever to the club’s first Premier League title, and we had a monster of a player that no one else had in Luis Suarez. Rafa Benitez had one of the most complete Liverpool squads any of us have seen in recent years for sure, but there was something about that feisty Uruguayan that I absolutely loved and as a Liverpool supporter, it sucked when he left; he was undoubtedly one of the best players to ever grace the club. Up until the 2013/14 season, I’ve groaned and moaned after every loss, so one could imagine how the loss to Crystal Palace and Chelsea that season sucked everything out of me that I loved about the beautiful game.
Since then, from politics, to owner-manager disharmony, to player mistreatment and the pre-announced loss of Steven Gerrard, I’ve felt absolutely nothing about Liverpool FC. Sure, I’ve cheered for Philippe Coutinho’s wonder goals and the signing of Roberto Firmino, but for the most part, I’m sure many share the same frustrations as me – feeling gutted and having the week ruined thanks to Liverpool FC – but imagine going from that, to feeling nothing. I’ve gone from having sleepless weekend nights after a loss, to emptiness.
Here I’ve been, in that same scenario from eight years ago: sitting on the floor beside my dad in my parents’ room – a cup of coffee for him, a cup of something for me – but in a whole different setting. My phone would be by my side now as I prepare to tweet my frustrations when eight years back, I would’ve tweeted my enjoyment. Instead of my dad going on about what a beautiful pass Gerrard made and how magnificent we played, he now goes “what have I been saying about Liverpool’s horrible defence?” From ending the night with a fuzzy feeling, it became “sighhh, goodnight Dad”. This is what the Liverpool of today has done to football nights with my dad, a memory which I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Now, for the first time in a year (which equates to something like four years in footballing years, plus-minus), as I am typing this piece up, my heart is racing and it’s full of hope and excitement once again. The last time I felt like this about Liverpool FC, was the potential signing of Luis Suarez back then to partner up with Fernando Torres up-top, being supported by Steven Gerrard playing just behind the two. It’s a weird, unfamiliar feeling but quite frankly, I’m enjoying it.
I can only feel for Brendan Rodgers, having to survive as the manager of Liverpool on a match-to-match basis, but I’m truly happy for Liverpool FC that he is no longer the man responsible for taking us forward anymore. The prospect of bringing in a fresh face at the helm, with fresh ideas to be implemented and hopefully, an exciting brand of football that can not only produce spectacular performances and results on the pitch, but also unite fans off it is one to behold. It’s one that makes me feel genuinely excited about the club again; it’s one that makes the clock turn back to eight years ago.
The new manager, whoever it may be – Klopp, Ancelotti, de Boer, whoever – is at risk of failing at Liverpool FC; it’s definitely a possibility. However, I finally feel like wins will be celebrated once again, and losses will leave a sick feeling in my stomach, make the next Monday-to-Friday feel like crap, and just break my heart, but you know what? That was my story – my story of being a young, but a passionate and excited Liverpool supporter from eight years ago, and I’m glad to finally be able to feel anything at all once again.
It’s been far too long.