AS I walked down Gwladys Street turning into Bullens Road, I saw something for the first time.
Maybe they were always there and I’d been in my own little world. Visiting Goodison does make you keep your head down and wish you were somewhere, anywhere else.
They’ve tarted the old shack up with billboards illustrating Everton’s history. Normally I’d rather some old Nazi dentist asked me is it safe than be caught praising the blues but they’ve done a neat job there.
Two hours later I was schlepping off home, our backsides soundly spanked and one place closer to absolute humiliation. Passion and passing were at an all-time low. It was repugnant, and the manager sounded cracked afterwards.
Nothing could disturb me as much as it ought to. For a start there were the court victories and the decimation of Thomas Ollis Hicks to savour and lighten the load considerably.
As a ‘glass empty’ sort of chap it was tempting to regard RBS as the real victors in all this and keep the ‘yanks out’ banners in storage, just in case.
But it was difficult to suppress a feeling of jubilation as my fellow munchkins danced outside the lawyers’ offices singing “hey ho the witch is dead” on Friday. Lord knows what John Henry thought of it all; “if this is what they’re like when I arrive…”
There are bigger fears than your team losing. €40m a year debt repayment without Champions League money was pushing us to the precipice already, and this season’s poor start brought greater urgency to our protests.
Or should that be “terrorism”, Mr Hicks? He really is a cheeky meff. That interview was equal parts hilarity, mendacity and barefaced audacity. The Dr Evil law-suit makes the temporary injunction in Dead Man’s Fang, Nebraska seem lucid by comparison, the big billion dollar baby.
The slenderest semblance of a zinger — Rafa did buy a few clunkers in fairness — was automatically buried underneath a net spend calculation that would make Purslow blush.
Sky’s acquiescence was a disgrace, but nothing we’re not used to.
So what now? Some mutter darkly about frying pans and fires. One has to admit nobody pays that kind of money without looking for a serious return.
Hicks’ biggest mistake, with LFC and Texas Rangers, was relying so heavily on Brand Loyalty. We victimise ourselves with the supporter ‘code’; never walk away from your team when they need you most. Yet the sheer hatred our ex-owners generated, the loss of a much-loved manager (not by all but by more than enough) and the dizzying rapidity of decline meant his theory that the saps would still flock to his wallet-emptying super-stadium was to be sorely tested.
We have had a heart transplant, and when the doctors send you back into the world they insist you never make the same mistakes that put you in jeopardy in the first place.
This club never really “struggled” did it? It still amuses me that there was so much clamour for takeover at a time we’d won six cups in five years. That’s why that otherwise painful visit across the park provided more than scant consolation. If we copied their banners there would be plenty of lulls in our 118 years, and who knows this may be the beginning of another one.
But Liverpool Football Club, thank the Lord, goes on. That’s why they’re dancing in the streets, Mr Henry. One day we’ll do it again.
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