So often we ascribe deeper meaning to the things in life that we care about. A song with just the right lyrics comes on at just the right time; a conversation is overheard regarding the same topic you just spoke about to a friend; the phone ringing at the precise moment you pick it up to dial the very person who’s ringing: all signs. I suppose I believe that things happen for a reason even if I hesitate to call that fate. And, as a Liverpool fan, I often weave what’s happening with the club into what’s happening in my life.
Limbo? Purgatory? What karmic harm have I done to deserve this? What are we supposed to be learning from this, the worst start in 57 years combined with the ownership woes? My past two years, like Liverpool’s last two seasons, could have been better. It wouldn’t take much to improve upon our performance. When I look at the probable new owners, I think they must be a slight upgrade compared to the two we have now. Again, it doesn’t take much to be an improvement. So, are we just desperate for change right now?
If my emotional tides run parallel to those of Liverpool, then we’re all nursing a dully broken heart. It’s a breaking that has happened so often that we’re numb or turned to zombies from the steady stream of bad news. We’ve become so used to it that we carry on in spite of the broken bits and shards that stab us, fresh, every few days. My own broken heart has been slowly splintered over the course of a year or more, a heart broken on terms not my own; another’s time frame, another’s wishes—me the stand-by, waiting to see what happens. No control. Just like how I feel watching my team struggle on the pitch and off.
It’s the lingering, bad break up, if I can compare our club’s troubles with such a thing. We have owners who will never love or understand us; for some fans, they are foreigners but for all fans they are foreign to the sport we love. Yet, we can’t shake them. They are jeopardizing our future but we can’t get rid of them. They’ve controlled the situation long enough to make a go of it. They’re selfish: it’s greed and hubris standing in the way in the now. It’s standing in the way of real fans’ love. I’m not that naive, every relationship has a dynamic, a contract of behaviors—precedents set and accepted or rejected. What about when you love—really love—and you can’t walk away?
We’re stuck. As Liverpool fans in love with our team, we’re stuck. If the court rules the sale valid and we’re sold to NESV, then we will see how it goes. If, god forbid, the ruling is in favor of Hicks and Gillett, then I will still be in Liverpool next year at Championship matches as much in love with my team as ever. Yet I am still looking for a happier ending. When you believe in something, or someone, you want the good outcome. You search for the positive result. Have I done enough? Have I expressed how I feel? Was I understood? Did it matter?
I’m impressed with how different groups and people have attempted to apply their talents or bring insight to the matter: Spirit of Shankly, Mike Jefferies, Des Kelly (a man and a cigar—a perspective I appreciate even if I don’t exactly agree) and every fan who agonizes day in and day out. I’d be lost if not for my own friend with whom I text and trade reports; the connection is invaluable. We are lucky to have community. This year I’ve met more wonderful Liverpool fans and witnessed the Carragher testimonial which was one of the best times of my life. That’s the glimmer for me. If you’ve read my other essays, you know hope does not come easy to me. But I still rise early on weekend mornings, even if, lately, I watch the matches alone, avoiding some harsh realities outside my door.
My heart is broken right now. In so many ways. And, maybe naively, I still believe in the person who broke it…or the team who needs to show up no matter the odds. Right now, we’re facing some seriously harsh realities and we lack passion on the pitch. I miss that passion which has always defined Liverpool and will trump any of the hard truths and legal rulings in the days ahead. I believe that passion will return and I’ll never give up on it.