1990. I was 17. Apparently we beat Derby in our last home game, then went to batter Coventry away for the last game. Honestly? I don’t remember much about it. I was a season ticket holder, but it was an emotional season for all the wrong reasons.
Back then, we won the league. It was our thing. We might not win it every year, but we’d be there or there about. I’d have laughed if you’d said we’d wait 30 years for the next one.
And then things changed.
False dawns, dark days, but we’d been through worse. But we never thought it would be quite so long…
The treble year was epic. 2005 was, well, immense. We were the team for the big occasion. The team who always participated in the match that was wonderful for casual observers, painful for fans.
Gerrard, Carragher, Torres…great players, great times. That game at Anfield in 2009 against Real Madrid – how could you not love us? Then came Suárez, Sturridge…everyone talks about the slip, but no-one talks about the fact that, for a moment, we thought we could do it. It was ace.
And then he arrived. Jürgen Norbert Klopp. With his heavy metal football and his commitment to turn us from doubters to believers. He was never just the best press conferences you ever saw. He was never just a giver of huge hugs. He was thoughtful, intelligent, ruthless…
And he got us. Hewn from the same stone as Shanks, he understood his responsibility, and made sure the players did too. And those players worked. They became faster, harder, fitter, better. They became a team that oppositions didn’t want to face. And they started winning.
Last year in Madrid, we did media interviews and always got asked if Klopp could really win trophies with Liverpool. Great at getting to finals, not great at finishing.
And then we did.
And then we went to Istanbul, and Doha, and virtually everywhere else and did the same.
Those 30 years were long, and they’ve been hard at times. You can fill your version of the blanks: we have Virgil, but we’ve also had ____________. We have Mo, but we’ve also had ___________. We have Klopp, but we’ve also had _______________. (As an aside, it genuinely surprises me at times to remember that Sterling was a Red at one time).
But this team. This manager.
And also these fans. The ones who are always present, home and away, near and far, all around the world. This is the fruit of our efforts too, cheering the team on, making our presence felt. They can call us unbearable as much as they want, this is our victory.
I love this club. Always have, always will. And in the coming days and weeks, I’ll raise a glass to the people who have raised me in this tradition: my Dad for taking me to the game, the people I met there, the ones I have cheered and cried with, the friends I made back then and also in recent times. We will celebrate together, when we’re able to.
And I’ll raise a glass to Jürgen and his band of fucking warriors.
Thank you. For everything.
You’ll Never Walk Alone.