We’re past that stage now aren’t we? That fear? That suspension of belief? We only sang “We’re gonna win the league” with gusto after we beat United at Anfield back in January.
Was it really only six months ago? It seems like an age seems like 30 years. Liverpool are going to win the league and soon. I’m writing this just hours before the resumption of the English Premier League. Manchester City play Arsenal tonight in a vacuum; Liverpool poised to hoover up the title.
We won’t be English Champions. We’re Not English….. but we will be Champions of the English League, resident of our station on the North West coast accessible from Ireland and Norway and the Americas; the place where our pin drops on Google maps. You’ll be able to hear a pin drop all over the league, at all 20 grounds for the remaining games. At the Emirates, King Power, Goodison and Anfield.
We’re getting the crown soon but where? If City lose tonight, it might be at an empty Goodison, not an unfamiliar sight at derbies during the last ten minutes of the family feud while Rafa was our Don, while Kenny reigned, while Houllier laughed his kite off. Gary McCallister, Dirk Kuyt, Fernando Torres and even Andy Carroll emptied Goodison and socially distanced Blues in seconds.
We lauded it and lorded it behind enemy lines; me in the upper section of their Bullends Road wooden monument. A monument that thankfully still stands in these ages. Want to win it at The Pit? If we were there and the Blues too, yes absolutely! But in a deserted Goodison no thanks, not for me. Take the points as usual by all means but instead let’s clinch it at the Etihad at the seat of our latter-day rivals, Manchester’s City. Cottonopis Riche Nouveau. Or before that, just like in ’88 and the last time we fell in love – 1990 – back home; back at the Shrine where the ashes lie that Shankly sprinkled, back at the Coliseum where Souness waved red rags to the bulls of Division One. Where Ron Yeats and Shankly clapped along with the crowd and Shankly wore a red silk shirt and picked up scarves, spat invective at police and collected “someone’s life” in those red and white scarves thrown to players as garlands of triumph.
Anfield; where the roses commemorated our lost sons and daughters in 1989 and where one year later, Dalglish and Hansen raised it high into the night sky under the lights. Crystal Palace at home next week will do me for the Coronation. City, it is time to abdicate your throne. But not quite, yet. Please take a point tonight so when we end 30 years, not of hurt but of longing, it is won amid the spirits, and the trophy is raised on the Fields of Anfield Road.
Line up the presentation ceremony. Yes, to the ticker tape. We’ll do the pyro in our gardens and Liverpool FC, please invite Messrs Dalglish, Souness and Hansen to present to Herrs Klopp, Henderson and Robertson. Let the old guys pass on the baton, their laps done ages ago and pass over to the new breed. Hand it over, Hand it over…
Mike NEVIN is host of Retro Reds – a weekly podcast exploring the ricked of Liverpool’s past and enduring history-making. Always on the ball – back and forth to the past through to the future.
Mike also is a weekly regular on Scouser Tommies with the erudite Jim Boardman getting the take on the local Liverpool scene; in the terraces, back gardens, kitchens, and even the field of play.