Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Ahead of Tomorow's Liverpool Man u game, here's an excellent read from thenfieldwrap / Karl Coppack

Ahead of Tomorow's Liverpool Man u game, here's an excellent read from thenfieldwrap / Karl Coppack
Our Friends in the North

WEDNESDAY night sees another Cup tie against ‘our friends from the other end of the M62′ (George Sephton, under P.R duress, April 1988) and the continuation of the Scouse-Manc bunfight. It’s the League Cup so no one should be ‘that’ arsed but if this were a testimonial for the oldest Old Trafford car park attendant we’d still fill our allocation and act like it’s St Etienne. These games matter even when they don’t.
In the pre-match ramble before the Manchester derby, Carra accepted the League significance of that game but still considered the Liverpool/United game to be the biggest game in the country. He’s right. Sorry Chelsea but they’re our rivals, not you. True, the derby is still up there and that march from the Albert across the park, usually in the rain, forms a pleasing high of the season, but the United game edges it. There can’t be many rivals who would swap an Anfield win for an Etihad one and similarly Goodison and Old Trafford wins are two very different things.
It’s not the fact that we’re now underdogs since their Sky age dominance, we never won there when we were hammering the giants of Europe, it’s more that it’s historical. We’ve hated each other for decades now and we’ve hated each other for purely fantastical reasons of little significance. Our mutual annoyance at each other’s existence is a start but there’s the accents, the fashion, the haircuts and the larger game of which is the better city. This last dates back into pre-Victorian age when the pride of Manchester cotton industry was met with sniffs from the inhabitants of the world’s greatest port. The Mersey beats the Irlam. I’m putting that on a banner.
Of course it gets overly nasty, of course some of it is hard to fathom and of course it goes over the top but there’s something welcoming about it too. In April 1988 when relations between the clubs were still of 1985 standard i.e. pretty bad, a decision was made to extend the hand of friendship and unite the footballing North West. For one game only United would run out to the Kop instead of to their own fans at the Anfield Road end and would charitably kick training balls into our end to mark this newfound bond.
Every single ball came back on the pitch.
Every single one.
I love that.

The Kop boisterously sang about Bryan Robson’s supposed susceptibility to certain venereal diseases. He waved a nonchalant hand in a gesture that fooled no one. He was to have his revenge two minutes into the game by which time we’d moved onto their other players. No one wanted a chummy relationship. We like hating them and they like hating us. If United didn’t exist we’d have to create them to make the match more interesting. After that game the two managers went for each other when Kenny told the press that they would get more sense out of his baby daughter Lauren than his ranting rival. We were then eleven points clear and were about to wrap up a title that Ferguson could only dream about at that point but we never let a second’s polemics pass without comment. Winning isn’t enough for those games. You have to craw about it for ages afterwards too.
If the main reason for the rivalry is geographical in nature why don’t we do the same for City? They had a decent side when the Liverpool/United thing first kicked off so why aren’t we ascribing STDs to Vincent Kompany? Well, it’s just not the same. United were glamorous back then. Best, Charlton and Law, nightclubs, massive crowds and media darlings. Liverpool were a ‘pint of mild and a bag of chips side’ by comparison and each was mistrustful of the other. ‘You can keep your image; we’d rather have the trophies’ was the credo and the ‘Glams’, despite relegation and the Tommy Doc scandal, were still the club the press wanted to talk about. Readers of a certain age will remember Gerald Sinstadt and later Elton Welsby effusing endless praise to them on ‘Kick Off’ despite the fact that they never came close to a League title.  They weren’t true rivals in the footballing sense – just an irritating side we couldn’t beat. The party’s over, Gerald? Back then United weren’t even invited. You wouldn’t think it though. Lengthy discourses of Peter Barnes and Dennis Tueart ate into valuable Liverpool time each week.
City were never that annoying. They still aren’t in a way and if any such rivalry springs from their current success it will be on a par with Forest, Leeds and Chelsea.

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1 comment:

  1. Liverpool face the enemy. Unlike this year's Manchester City. Manchester City are invincible. Liverpool is not ideal, but the score is not great. It is also one of his advantage, Liverpool still have to refuel. He also told Manchester United Red Army Faction. Come on! Liverpool: