I have mentioned this before, but for those of you that don’t know, I am a huge sports fan. (For more info see I like Sportz and I don’t care who knows) My favourite sports by a country marathon is football and favourite team, in case you haven’t realised from previous posts, is Liverpool. I have followed Liverpool for as long as I have followed football, and sport in general, and many of my happiest moments are tied to momentous occasions in Liverpool’s history. Yes that may be pathetic, but that is how it is.
I can remember my first ever Liverpool football match as clear as anything. My earliest footballing memories were of Michael Owen scoring against Wimbledon, and against Argentina in the world Cup (I know, they are pretty good footballing memories to have as your first) and from then, I just wanted to watch Owen, play for Liverpool, at Anfield. It came on December 28th 1998, my Mum’s birthday, against Newcastle United. I can remember us going 2-0 down and being upset, and then watching Michael Owen score, standing on my chair and being completely drowned out as my little girl screams were lost in the crowd. A player called Riedle, who for the life of me I can’t remember except for this game, scored one, then Owen scored what turned out to be the winner and Riedle completed his brace not long before the final whistle. From then I knew I would never tire of watching Liverpool play. For a long time, I never saw Liverpool lose, or draw, not until I went to see Lazio play with my brothers.
I can remember the first European night I was allowed to stay up and watch past half-time, which was then my bed-time. It was the 2001 UEFA cup final in Dortmund against Alavés, which was nothing short of a goal-fest, when a last in Extra-time cross by the legendary Gary McAllister was headed in my a defender, and we won thanks to the golden goal rule. I love that rule. I felt a bit sick as it got near the end, and I was very tired in school the next day, but it was an awesome feeling. I had been at my Gran’s house a few days earlier while my parents travelled to Cardiff to watch the Arsenal FA cup final where Michael Owen saved us and beat the Gunners; these two moments are the first time when I can really remember thinking that football will never be far away from my thoughts, and will always be part of my life.
Nothing can quite compare to the glorious feeling of being completely irrelevant, along with 45,000 other people of different colours, nationalities, gender, sexual orientation, anything, you just scream you head off, chant in unison, and over-invest emotionally and financially in a game that you can’t control and has no real affect on your life. It pathetically glorious, stupidly wonderful, ridiculously brilliant. I really can’t explain what makes grown men cry and makes people so passionate about supporting their team. Part of me knows my unwavering support is probably a little crazy, but it’s just the way it is. It is an integral point when thinking about potential partners, it influences my love for red and hatred for the colour blue, and it completely affects my mood, positively or negatively, throughout the season, not to mention my routines and bank balance on match days.
Despite the loss of money, time, sanity, voice, I would not change supporting Liverpool for the world. I felt true elation, absolute happiness, on May 25th 2005. That final, when everything felt lost, and despair and pain were the only emotions experienced by literally millions of reds, was so fantastic when we completed mission impossible. I have the DVD’s, and the documentaries recorded, I know the significant bits of commentary relating to the final, can remember going with my brothers and my Dad to watch them parade the trophy the night after in the sun thinking it just doesn’t get better than this.
The first (and only) time I got to see Liverpool in a final was in 2012. It remains the 3rd favourite match I have ever attended as a Liverpool fan (the first being the 2006 FA cup semi-final vs Chelsea at Old Trafford – I still maintain that is the loudest You’ll Never Walk Alone I have been a part of – and the 2008 Champions League quarter-final defeat of Arsenal at Anfield, where hugging a random stranger was absolutely the correct reaction to the 4th goal going in) I got my ticket and travel free courtesy of the club (i was employed as a bar supervisor at the time) and the whole event was absolutely unforgettable. I say that, I don’t think I have forgotten any of the momentous occasions that I have witnessed involving Liverpool throughout my lifetime.
And so, as I enter a new chapter in my life, where things seem to be ending left, right, and centre, Liverpool seem to be the thing that is remaining constant. I may be moving out, travelling round the world, finishing education, but no matter what happens, Liverpool, and my love for them remains the same. I was hanging my signed shirt on my wall, and going to my final match in 12 months the other day, and I realised that no matter where I am in the world, no matter what I am doing, no matter who I am with, I will always have these memories, and I will always strive to listen to or watch Liverpool play. I have a Liverpool tattoo for Pete’s sake, they are staying with me.
Until we win the league, and another thing is crossed off my bucket list, I will hold Istanbul as my favourite footballing, and life memory, as nothing, in any field, has ever made me feel the level of hysteric happiness. Do you have any footballing, sporting, or just life memory like that? I’d love to hear from you about your supporting experiences.