Influenced by my uncles, I started noticing Liverpool Football Club in the mid-80s. At the time they were kings of English football and watching them rule the roost in Anfield, with the vociferous Kop egging them on, that was something special. But, the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Johnny Barnes, Ray Houghton, Ronnie Whelan, Peter Beardsley et al conquering England and Europe didn't make a large impact on me.
What did get to me was Liverpool's style of play, the "pass-and-move" philosophy. Every game was always about attack, and goals. No boring chess matches it was all or nothing. Swashbuckling wing-play, defenders overlapping to score, thunderbolts from outside the D, intricate passes that unlocked the defence the more I watched them play, the more I enjoyed football. And of course, it was at that moment I started actually kicking the ball about with my classmates.
Strangely, I only made them my team when the club was entering an era of uncertainty. The Hillsborough tragedy was still fresh and Kenny Dalglish had quit the team, citing stress. I decided I had to be there for the club that had taught me all about the beautiful game. I officially pledged allegiance to Liverpool.
It hasn't been easy doing so in a family where both my father and brother support United (my bro used to support Arsenal till Henry left) and my mum naturally supports whoever we support but I suspect she's leaning way too much to the Manchester side.
I went through a phase where I also supported Inter Milan but I soon realised I'll never ever support anyone else. My S-League hometown club Tanjong Pagar FC no longer exists. I have no reason, or enough passion, to support any other team. I don't understand how people can say they support two clubs or a different club in different leagues. That, my friend, simply means you're not a true fan.
It would have been easy to pick another club, especially as the last 20 years have not been too kind to us. Graeme Sounness destroyed everything which Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier tried their best to rebuild and the new economy saw us lapse behind two or three others in the game. It's been frustrating to follow Liverpool, and yes, I've often been angry. That is part and parcel of following a team. Amid the heartbreaks, there are always sweet moments of glory to savour. Whether it's beating our fierce rivals or our victorious Cup exploits, it wasn't just about winning, but playing with pride and whole-hearted commitment to the club and the people who love the club so much. Watching Vladimir Smicer kiss his badge in the Istanbul final, in what was his last game for us, that brought tears to my eyes and the only instance where I believed badge-kissing actually carried value.
I think Kenny Dalglish described it best when he said recently, "Liverpool is a family."And when it comes to family, we may argue and fight and swear at one another occasionally but we'll always be there for each other, through thick or thin, win or lose. While it's yet another season without the trophy but it's been one heck of a season nonetheless. Thank you for never giving up.
You'll Never Walk Alone.
Courtesy - kazitoshi.wordpress.com/2009/0…