07 February 2010

Liverpool FC and I: Mamak Knows Best

It wasn’t an all-important game or anything, from Liverpool’s point of view. It was already May and as best as I can recall, Liverpool never stood a chance that season with the mess that followed Gerard Houllier’s appointment as joint-manager with Roy Evans. The club’s season was all over but we were still determined to cause as much nuisance as possible to United’s chances of winning the title (they won it anyway-damn it!).

The match itself was a blur but all I remember was that the game was played in Anfield in the evening so, it must have been in the small hours of the morning in Malaysia. That might have explained why my flatmates and I were kicked out of the nearby Mamak stall. It was either that or the fact that none of us, being skint students, were actually buying anything from the stall that night other than Ais Kosong and a Teh Tarik shared between 10 of us!

Anyway, robbed of our chance to watch the game in proper Mamak stall surroundings (big screen TV, red plastic chairs, greasy tables, etc.-everything a young man would ever want), we watched it in our flat instead. The living room was cleared of any form of furniture so that most of the 50-odd students could fit in and get a clear view of the tiny 14” mono-sound TV. One side of the room was filled with those disgusting, no-good-for-nothing, glory-hunting, prawn-sandwich-eating poseurs while the other half was filled by Liverpool fans, a sprinkle of Arsenal fans and the odd Chelsea fan (the latter two clubs were still in the title race at the time).

I don’t really remember who scored first but towards the end of the game, United had a 2-1 lead. The United fans in the flat were jumping up and down with joy while goading the rest of the room. I remember sitting there, red-faced and staring at the telly hoping for a miracle of sorts.

As with most of the game, I don’t actually remember the details but what I do remember clearly were the last few minutes of the game. Paul Ince celebrating like a madman, running into the crowd in the stands after he’d scored the equaliser. The telly was a sea of red and boomed with the sound of the Anfield crowd. There was a split-second silence in the flat. Then, as if the Kop itself stretched its arms out halfway across the world, the flat erupted with joy (personally, it think was more relief than anything else).

That was THE moment. I have been a Liverpool fan ever since.

No, it wasn’t Ince’s goal that impressed me nor was it Liverpool’s history, rich as it may be. It definitely wasn’t Houllier’s brand of park-the-bus-pump-it-to-Owen football either.

It was more the fans’ passion and commitment to the club, no matter what the situation was. I’ve never seen anything close to it at any other club around the world. So really, I’m a fan of Liverpool FC’s fans, if that makes sense. I wanted to be a part of that and if the fans are considered the physical embodiment of Liverpool FC then, I suppose, I am a proper fan of the club.

Anybody have a clip of THAT goal and Ince's celebration, can you post a link here. Thanks!
PS: Fantastic result against our neighbours yesterday!

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