By Pierre-André DEVOILLE
Thursday turned out to be this year’s Champions League draw. It’s now been two years in a row since Liverpool haven’t been in it, and it made me remember the day I actually discovered the team.
I’m French, therefore you have to understand that English football is not really broadcast(ed) here, except on encrypted channels, which are quite expensive. That means, back on a certain May 25th, at the age of 13, I had, how impossible it may seem, never heard of the Liverpool Football Club. I was interested in football, sure, but I essentially used to see French games which, are not the same kind of football as England’s. The only clubs you heard of here in France are Arsenal, because of Wenger’s “French touch”, and Manchester United because well, you have to admit it, they have won a lot of titles in the 2000s.
Heading back to the game. The first 45 minutes were a complete demonstration from the A.C. Milan side, and, seeing it through my teenage eye, it seemed totally impossible to see the cup heading to the sides of the Mersey. I mean, 3/0 half time, Champions League Final, game over. And, you know, when you’re a little kid who’s not as much into football as he will be a few years later, you tend to “support” the team which is leading, because let’s face it, you can’t tell anyone yesterday you supported the team that lost 3/0. I’m not going to relate once again what happened then, it is everyone’s knowledge. But, as a circumstantial Milan “fan” (the way a 13 year-old kid is, obviously), the way Liverpool reacted in this second half totally changed the view I had of football.
Indeed, when Stevie G. scored the first goal (I remember seeing the offside a few seconds before Riise’s cross and telling it to the referee through the TV) I couldn’t possibly imagine a comeback. And then 2 – 3. And then 3 – 3. In fifteen minutes, Liverpool had shown me some things, some values I couldn’t think of at this age : courage, mental strength, and pride. And started of this day, I joined the wonderful L.F.C family, and never looked back. Liverpool is an institution, and I am thankful for everything that it brought to me.
As a conclusion, of course the way I am into football has changed a lot since 2005. But a few days ago, when I saw rumours saying Liverpool might get Fenerbahce’s Champions League spot, I didn’t feel it was the right thing. The team won in Istanbul because they deserved it. It is the same today. I don’t want a unfair spot to this cup, and, as much as I would love to bring back the European nights to Anfield, I’d rather wait the end of this year than sneaking in it the day before the draw. Never forget where you’re from, YNWA.