I don’t own any scales but if I did I might have recorded a loss that seasoned weight watchers would’ve been proud of on Wednesday evening.
The final twenty-minutes against Sunderland were as nerve wracking as any game I’ve been to or seen on TV, including Istanbul.
The reason for such nerve jangling fear? The ultimate prize everyone desires could be only a few games away. Also, I’m highly inexperienced in this area.
I was a year and eleven months old when Alan Hansen lifted the First Division title in 1990 so, technically, I’ve lived through a title winning season but, just like my first words and the 1994 World Cup, I have no recollection of it happening.
Our resounding win at Old Trafford cemented our place in the title race and with it my third experience of seeing Liverpool’s name next to the Premier League trophy during the league run-in on a Sky Sports News graphic.
When we came close in 1997 I was more concerned with the scores of each game than looking closely at the league table. In 2002, taking a more frequent look at Liverpool’s league standing by now, I watched as we fought it out with Arsenal and Man United for top spot, the Gunners ultimately taking the prize that season.
In between a few seasons of Channel 5 on a Thursday night kind of football, the 2008-09 season was the nearest I’ve come as a supporter to getting those gold ‘champion’ Premier League badges on my shirt (something I’d pestered my Dad for back in 1995 before fully understanding the rules of footballing attire).
It’s a season I still look back on with a mix of pride and missed opportunities. Doing the double over Chelsea and Man United yet dropping points v Hull and Fulham at home meant that we couldn’t quite make that step over the line.
So, five years on, will it be third time lucky? If it is, I’d like someone – preferably Marty McFly – to tell me it’s guaranteed so I could save myself from hours of pacing up and down, nail biting and possible heart attacks.
For seventy-minutes against Sunderland we were in complete control, getting the breakthrough in the first half that we knew would take time, but after slowing the game down and dropping deeper the nerves set in. The thing that frustrates me is that if this game had been near the start of the season I wouldn’t have been half as nervous.
You try to tell yourself to ‘calm down, just watch the game and whatever happens happens,’ but with everything so finely balanced you know that any slipup could be crucial, as well as affecting your mood for at least a few days.
On the other hand, you don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself in case your hopes are horrifically dashed. When Jamie Carragher said after the game that it could be our year I let out a nervous laughter that said, ‘I really hope so Jamie but I don’t want to dream just yet…la.’
It’s an almost impossible situation to be in and, much like Man City fans of my age, I wish I’d have had seen a few more title chases to put my mind at ease.
This weekend, and the one following, sees us play last out of those going for the title. Regardless of what happens elsewhere we’ll need to either catch up or take the opportunity to stretch out in front, either way I don’t think I’ll be able to handle it all well.
It seems like our initial aim of securing Champions League football may be in the bag but the hope of achieving so much more is what kills you.
Someone just tell me we’re going to beat Tottenham on Sunday and I’ll be alright. Marty?
By Michael Williams – @mikewilliams05