Sunday, February 27, 2005

Liverpool lose more than the final

I have just been listening to the Radio Five Live phone-in after the Carling Cup Final. Thanks to some of the Liverpool fans, it was one of the most depressing programmes I have ever heard.

It was not that they were moaning about the referee - that was the England coach Andy Robinson's reaction today, accelerating the rate at which rugby union is coming to resemble soccer.

No, their target was their club's best target Steven Gerrard. He wasn't trying. He scored an own goal on purpose because he has already agreed to join Chelsea. He should never be picked for Liverpool again. It was ridiculous.

One of the laws of football phone-ins is that Manchester United fans are always young, sharp and arrogant, and that Liverpool fans are funny, generous and philosophical. Not any more.

Their performance reminded me of this article in the Guardian from their football writer Will Buckley:

There was a time when I loved football - when I was six. I was introduced to the game by my father, and we spent many happy years watching Chelsea together. I took a childish delight in my team. Ossie, Hutch and Charlie Cooke were my heroes. Their performances affected my weekend. For my father the results were unimportant. He went to the game to have a laugh with his friends and enjoy his son's innocent pleasure.

Now I am the age that my father was when he first took me to a football match, I am perplexed that so many of my contemparies (sic.) react to the game as I did as a six-year-old, rather than as my father did as a 40-year-old.

On today's evidence, that is fair comment.

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