Article published by me on http://www.live4liverpool.com
As the taxi sped away from the Flat Iron, it’s cargo of lager soaked Kopites slumped in the back, the driver rendered his verdict on the game.
“Hope and expectation before kick-off, realisation and resignation during the game, dejection and demoralisation afterwards.”
Only in my city do you find poets driving cabs. I should have let him write this column. Maybe, except I would have had to change the final verse. Yes for me there was sadness at full time, disappointment that the race was over with no medal to show for it, but dejection and demoralisation? I’m not having that.
We had started the day with hope in our hearts. Of course all the pre-match chatter was of needing an unlikely miracle. A flick of Andy Carroll’s pony tail, or a Kevin Nolan toe-poke and you never knew the title could be ours. Or, maybe City would draw and we would run up the necessary cricket score to clinch the prize. Of course each scenario we discussed ended with the words “you never know like, but it won’t happen.” None of us wanted to jinx it, but the dream was still alive, even if it was on life support.
Let’s just think about that for a minute. At kick off, on the final day of the season, the league title was a mathematical possibility. As Stevie himself said, if you had offered any of us that back in August, we would have bitten your hand off.
So the first verse rang true. As we walked along Anfield Road before the game, there was hope aplenty, and just a tiny bit of expectation. I sit in Block 109 under the scoreboard. It is really part of the centenary stand, but it’s Kop prices so no one is complaining. Here I get the best of both worlds, a decent view of the game and a fantastic view of the old stand in all its glory.
On Sunday she didn’t disappoint. Wave after wave of raw passion and pride crashed down onto the pitch. The You’ll Never Walk Alone was belted out just as it should be, slow and powerful, and rising to a crescendo. The players should have felt ten feet tall, because I did. Maybe there was a sense of anti climax among the squad, perhaps they just ran out of juice. Who knew, but within minutes of the opening it became obvious this would be no 13-0, and the mood became laced with anxiety and frustration.
Realisation began to kick in as Skrtel clipped the ball into his own net on twenty minutes, and to be honest at that point the match had “one of those games” written all over it. There was a brief flicker for me in the first half when some woman shouted from behind “City are losing.” I don’t know what the source of this was, a text from a blue on a wind up maybe? Whatever the source, it was quickly put into context by the lad next to me who pointed out “So are we love.” Laughter broke the tension.
At half time came the news that City were actually leading, and with it that sense resignation. I don’t know what was said in the dressing room at the interval. Maybe the message was about pride, finishing the job we started last August, or maybe Brendan just reminded our lads who they were playing for. Whatever he said they were better in the second half.
Thanks to Danny Agger, scoring possibly his last goal (hopefully not) for the club, and Danny Sturridge his 21st of the season we avoided the embarrassment of third place.
So it was on to the traditional lap of honour, and this is where I have to take issue with our bard on wheels. For me there was no sense of dejection, or demoralisation. The ground remained full. The crowd afforded the boys a hero’s ovation, and as Rodgers thumped his chest and saluted the Kop, they sang his name with more passion than at any time this season. There is genuine hope that we are witnessing a new Red Dawn, and we have him to thank.
If the photos doing the rounds on twitter and Facebook are anything to go by, we probably should have directed our cabbie into town instead of home. The city centre witnessed scenes reminiscent of title wins gone by on Sunday night. Not a hint dejection or demoralisation in sight.
Brendan spoke brilliantly in his post match press conference. He always does. “The players believe now,” he said. So do we Brendan, so do we.