I received the following email from Ilias Tsetsekos, he is Liverpool supporter from Greece.
Hi there Antoine,
I suppose you remember me. I’ve sent you my thoughts about the transfer of Kyrgiakos and a couple of links with Nemeth’s efforts in AEK Athens. I’ll be visiting Anfield this week for the Fiorentina game and I’ll be staying for the Arsenal game. I’ve been reading here and there about how meaningless is this Wednesday’s game and here are my thoughts.
When I was making plans for the Fiorentina game – just a couple of days after the Champ.League draw for the group stage – I certainly didn’t expect that this match would mean nothing in terms of qualifying to the last-16. To be honest, the worst scenario that came into my mind back then, was the fact that this game might have been the decisive one for the top spot of the group. But is this game meaningless as the strong majority of our fans say so? I wouldn’t say so.
I’ve been supporting Liverpool since the Ian Rush era. Back then, I was begging my father to let the telly on a couple of minutes more, just to see the “tall guy with the moustache” (these were my exact words) put the ball into the back of the net. Back then I was only 6 years old and barely had any idea of what points meant, I didn’t know who was the champion of England. The only thing I knew was Rushie with the red shirt (I could barely pronounce the word Liverpool in Greek).
My favourite motto is this: “if you want to do something in your life, do it with passion, or else don’t do it at all”. Same thing goes for love. But passion has its pros and cons. It drives you crazy or makes you cry (in nights such as in Istanbul or Dortmund) but sometimes it blinds you and doesn’t let you see obvious things.
Bobby is like a lost uncle to me. We’ve known each other for about 5 years. He’s from Liverpool and has been to all the European finals that Liverpool has participated. His ideas about football are a bit raw, but he’s simple and rarely is wrong. When I first put my foot at Liverpool, he insisted to show me the Hillsborough Memorial first. “If you wanna TRULY be one of us, you gotta see this first and understand what it means”. Since then and every time I visit Liverpool, the first place I visit is the Hillsborough Memorial. I say a little prayer, keep a minute of silence, then scream inside of me and hope that the players know there are 96 souls up there watching them. But when he told me these words I couldn’t believe it… “Don’t waste your time Ilias, the atmosphere won’t be like before”. “Hey old man, do I look like a glory hunter? I’d follow Liverpool even if they played in Conference”. I couldn’t see him, but I’m sure he smiled.
Why I’m saying all these someone may ask… There’s no meaningless match in football. In fact, there’s nothing better in the world playing/fighting for your honor. When points don’t matter, the power of the jersey you wear must drive you and motivate you. When Benitez picks the starting-11 for the Fiorentina game, the first thing he must take into consideration is which of the players have the mentality to win this game. Pragmatists will say to rest the good players, don’t risk any injuries and keep them fresh for the Arsenal game and probably this is what Rafa is going to do, but better wait and see what happens. Either way, whoever starts on Wednesday, must have the fire in his eye, or else don’t bother going past the “This is Anfield” sign.