This week has been a remarkable week for English football. Sunday saw the climax of a Premier League season heralded as one of the best but its the week before that saw me as a Man Utd. fan watch the excitement from a distance.
You see, I live in Ireland where your age defines the team you support. 55+ you follow Leeds, a stage younger and you were brought up on the success of Liverpool in the 70’s & 80’s and you chose to never walk alone. Aside from the Arsenal cohort (due to Brady, O’Leary & Stapleton) and the odd Everton or Aston Villa, Manchester United was a chosen following for many. For me it wasn’t due to history of Best or Carey from Ireland, or the Busby Babes, it was a straight choice in 1979 of United or Southampton purely on basis of my brother having a full team set of Panini stickers for them. United had just lost the cup final so that’s how I leaned. The history of United I only came to learn about subsequently and the follower became a fan.
My brothers support Liverpool, (most of) my friends support Liverpool, my neighbours support Liverpool. I don’t, I can’t and I won’t – no matter who they face. A rivalry with Man City only really matters if you are from Manchester, to the rest of us it’s Liverpool that matters.
I get to Old Trafford every two or three months. Watching Liverpools remarkable come back against Barcelona last week made sit back and compare what they have that we don’t. It doesn’t matter that we did or achieved over the last 30 years, it’s the now that we all want.
I get to many sporting occasions and Anfield is one for any neutral to add to their bucket list. I don’t want to admire Anfield, I don’t want to sing along to You’ll Never Walk Alone, I don’t want to wish the Stretford End sounded like the Cop but when I watch a game from Anfield I cannot help admire what I see and hear. Its not on the field I watch with envy (my admiration has changed to envy) but it’s off it. Fans that believe they are the 12th man and that they will make a difference.
While I say well done to Liverpool fans my admiration not only turns to envy but to part bitterness which makes me ask or say
why did Man Utd. not buy Van Dyke,
Suarez was always a so and so,
Jordan Henderson can’t run,
Giggsy 13 Gerard nil
No bitterness at all.