Larry Ryan: The great fear haunting everyone is that Liverpool will hang around for another reign of terror

How is it going for you so far, more than 24 hours into so many changed lives? Are you holding up okay? Is it as transformative as you hoped or as unbearable as you feared?
Larry Ryan: The great fear haunting everyone is that Liverpool will hang around for another reign of terror

Liverpool fans Beryl Meland and grandson Archie outside Anfield in Liverpool.  Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Liverpool fans Beryl Meland and grandson Archie outside Anfield in Liverpool.  Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

How is it going for you so far, more than 24 hours into so many changed lives? Are you holding up okay? Is it as transformative as you hoped or as unbearable as you feared?

I’m grand really, for the moment.

Maybe my transformative experience came in Croke Park in August, 2018. Unburdened by any natural urge to wish Limerick well, there was still something for everyone in that deliverance. We could all cleanse our petty rivalries in that flood of tears.

So even without personal investment in the Liverpool cause, I am able, on balance, to regard this outpouring of joy and emotion we have just witnessed as a good thing, just about.

At a time when the overall juju of the planet could do with a boost, it can’t do much harm to stir all this happiness and fulfilment into the mix.

We’ll let one Corkman on Twitter, Pádie O'Mahony, sum up the sense of delirium out there, in these heady days.

“The league was the Holy Grail. It was the lost city of Atlantis. It was the hologram flame. This is amazing. I never thought it would happen. I'm speechless and I keep welling up. What a fucking feeling. #LFC.”

Pádie playing it down a small bit, the Corkness in him, but you get the picture.

Lost in my own magnanimity, I almost took to Twitter to start congratulating the Reds of my acquaintance, but of course you’d never get round to them all. They have come out from under all the beds, in recent times.

In any case, RTÉ took care of that for us, dispatching official congratulations on behalf of the nation. The first football team to merit it, certainly in the last five years, judging by a search of the main RTÉ account’s tweets.

Katie Taylor got the nod once, but that honour is chiefly reserved for the Ireland rugby team. Since, as we know, every Six Nations fixture brings somebody to Atlantis at the final whistle.

But I think we can safely say that this is Liverpool Country now.

You’d worry about some of them. Just as we have heard from the odd Mayo supporter in the lead up to another final, a little concerned about the journey finally ending. About how it would feel and what they might do with the rest of their lives. The Mayo lads didn’t have to worry too much of course. But the concern stands.

Might there be a certain emptiness out there, on top of the mountain? And what about Limerick Reds? What sense of purpose can these good people possibly have left, now their two great quests have ended.

Incidentally, TJ Ryan was swiftly onto the Examiner WhatsApp to hail the new champions. But at least TJ can still yearn for another county for Garryspillane.

Where will others turn after the Holy Grail? Perhaps, free of this mission, their romantic destiny is out there, waiting in the wings, whispering the words of Prefab Sprout’s Paddy McAloon: “You'll never find Atlantis, ‘til you make that someone me.”

Another musical man, Ringo Starr, picked up the beat late Thursday night, sending his congratulations, as well as “peace and love”. And that has generally been the vibe, in fairness.

We have known them to be explosive enough, the Red faithful, in their hours of great jubilation. We have witnessed the venomous volley of rebukes for the naysayers in the moment another Champions League is lifted.

Maybe magnanimity has shut it out, but there hasn’t been too much of that yet, has there?

My good friend Vince departed from the habits of a lifetime of needless goading to point out his son was now just a year younger than he was the last time Pool lifted the title. Frankly, this reflectiveness didn’t suit him.

On Sky Sports, the mood was similar. Sure, Carra was a touch manic, roaring and bouncing and popping champagne with the slightly self-conscious air of a man who hadn’t quite reached Atlantis himself. Which was understandable too.

But Phil Thompson, the most Liverpool man on earth, had found true peace. There was a mild rebuke for people “who took the Michael out of Liverpool football club.” But in Thommo’s hour of blissful zen, he was able to say unthinkable things without recoiling. He was able to describe Virgil van Dijk as a catalyst, "like Cantona had been".

Of course Sky’s Dave Jones misread the room, and parked peace and love in search of banter. “Is there an important point here Jamie, that the bragging rights are now on Merseyside rather than Manchester?”

It probably wasn't the most important point, but then Sky had a ‘Where’s Gary?’ campaign ready to roll out, a carnival of bantz starring Gary Neville.

This is where they will lose the rest of us, those who don’t care where the bragging rights rest in Lancashire. Those who consider it their one small slice of good fortune that at least Manchester United and Liverpool have never been great at the same time, that they haven’t been carving it all up between them.

But there’s a place for rivalry too and there are seemingly worse things than even bantz, as politics was swiftly along to show us, in the shape of Micheál Martin.

“I might be a Man U fan, but it’s very hard not to enjoy the Liverpool success tonight. Congratulations to all my colleagues and friends who are celebrating! #LFC”

The responses suggested that’s the kind of thing we’ll eventually come to know as toxic magnanimity.

But amid the deluge of ‘content’ pouring onto the internet from journalism’s finest minds, a 76-second animation from the Bleacher Report website brought us back to the journey.

Man and boy, matchday comrades through the 30 years of hurt. Dad growing older and frailer then gone. The boy walks on alone, now a man, until a small girl appears at his side. In the final frame, he hoists her on his shoulders to see Atlantis, or at least Anfield with a Premier League trophy sticking out of it.

It’s as beautiful a sequence as the love story that begins Disney’s Up.

Of course, as TV critic Dana Schwartz recently noted, Up would have been 10 times the movie had it finished about half an hour in, when old man Carl landed at Paradise Falls via the thousands of balloons that carried his home to his Holy Grail.

But they prolonged it with that bird called Kevin and the evil explorer nonsense. And that’s the great fear haunting everyone with Liverpool too, that they will hang around too long for another reign of terror.

Of course the quest really began at Disney. When Kenny Dalglish burned out in the middle of the 90-91 campaign and quit his post, he headed for Orlando, brought the kids to Disney World.

He was recharged and ready to go again when a phone call told him Graeme Souness had got the job. And so it began, an odyssey that lurched from Spice Boys to Stevie’s slip.

They tried everything along the way, even two managers. And Kenny had as many cracks at it as he wanted.

More than 11,000 days later, Kenny looked suitably old on Sky Thursday night as his phone dinged furiously. But he looked happy, which nobody could begrudge.

Then Kloppo arrived, the man who has found the lost kingdom and a man who has contributed handsomely to the planet’s juju along the way.

And of course, Kloppo cried and washed away all our sins of envy with his tears.

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