LIKE MANY OTHER Liverpool fans I have greeted the recent up-turn of the team’s fortunes with genuine boyhood delight.
Perhaps intoxicated by joy, I feel Liverpool may be the neutral man’s team this year. The Premier League probably hasn’t seen such a dark horse challenge for the title since its creation. Nobody really thought Liverpool had a prayer this year. And yet here they are at the top with three games to go.
On the other hand, despite the recent sacking of David Moyes, Manchester United’s fate remains uncertain. Whichever way you see it, one must admit, there is at least the hint of desperation on the cards. United do not want to consolidate their bad season, they do not like to hear the word ‘decline.’
Ah decline. Yes Liverpool fans, of my age, will know that feeling all too well. Our formative years were, for the most part, a gently skipping era of uninterrupted, trophy-laden, bliss.
Dalglish to Rush, goal! Barnes to Beardsley, goal! Again and again.
The Irish lads were there, Houghton, Aldridge, Whelan and Staunton. Crowne Paints were there too. Our teenage years would not be so kind.
Towards the end of that spell of domination, referred to above, I remember a relatively scrappy Manchester United team winning the FA Cup. I remember feeling fairly neutral about the whole thing. In fact I wished them well, glad to see one of the more prestigious clubs in England put themselves out of some misery. My brother was a fan and I was happy for him. At last he had something to cheer about.
There are probably many United fans who recognise the parallels between these clubs as positive things. Traditionally working class clubs from big Industrial cities outside of London, both have, of course, endured particularly tragic moments in the recent past. There is even more in common between these two especially when compared with the new kids on the block Manchester City and Chelsea. The recent improvement in these clubs’ fortunes owes more to money than Liverpool or United’s ever did.
So with these to choose from, would the United fan, like my brother, dare to wish Liverpool well these coming weeks? They will probably keep it to themselves and who would blame them.