Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Why walk alone?

I used to be hardcore Liverpool fan. And then i grew up. I'm just another Liverpool fan now. Someone who doesn't pretend to be a scouser without even knowing the origin of that word. Someone who doesn't bother to call Man City fan shitty or a Chelsea loyal, chelshit. Someone who is calm as fock. This transformation happened during the early part of this decade thanks to Internet. In the online world, people exaggerate everything. Even their loyalty towards a football club. In their spree to be noted, irrationality becomes a favourite pastime. They pull down rival clubs' achievements. All of a sudden, Henry isn't an Arsenal legend or Mourinho, a terrible manager. This blind hatred has always been an integral part of the club football culture. Just that platforms like Twitter and Reddit highlight it brighter than ever before. If you observe from a safe distance, you can see through the hypocrisy. Just because you're a Chelsea fan, you don't have to deny that Diego Costa is an utter disgrace to football. Just like Suarez was before he mended his ways. This blind hatred also operates the other way around. Blind love makes you criticize LVG's philosophy but not raise a voice against his assistant as if he's just a puppet with no role whatsoever in the game stratagem. My question is, why be blind when there are cameras everywhere? Why be stupid when football means so much more than clubs that don't even care about you? In fact, they don't even care about their native supporters anymore. Families, who for generations, supported the local clubs but are now finding themselves in a position that they can't afford tickets. It's twisted. As for us Indians, i guess i'm too old to fake anything anymore. I'll neither call you a Gooner or a Mancunian nor will i nod to your Scousie. That's bullshit of the highest order. I can't even locate Liverpool on the map and chances are i'll never visit Anfield. Why be delusional? Better late than never. I was introduced to club football when i was in school by a cousin. He happened to support Liverpool and i followed suit. The fact that my adopted club was winning on a regular basis helped my case. It's always nice to see your team win. I simply enjoyed watching Liverpool play. I loved Hyypiä, Gerrard, Riise, Carragher and Owen. I admired Beckham for his no-nonsense attitude and disliked Keane for his freakish behaviour. Still do. I was particularly fond of Riise's left foot and magnificent celebration. In fact, he was one of the first in the color TV era to try that sliding-on-the-grass corner thingie with his glorious abs in full display. Every Monday morning, it felt great to know stuff my classmates didn't. They weren't into football as much as they were into cricket or WWE. I was soaked in Liverpool's past glories. Maybe that's why what happened in Istanbul in 2005 remains etched in my memory. When your club don't lift a lot of trophies, you end up vividly remembering the few they do! I was always big on reading so i researched on Liverpool's history and stuff during my early days. The more i read, the more fascinated i was. [Did you know Liverpool players used to wear the same red-white uniform that Manchester United don today? In 1964, the legendary manager, Shankly, decided to go all red.] The fascination continues to this day. Only the anger has subsided. I don't get into arguments that A is bigger than B or Y is better than Z. There's no more anguish on losing a crucial match. I don't feel the need to live-tweet anymore either. Of course, i feel better whenever Liverpool wins and bitter when decisions go against you. But neither lasts long. With Klopp at the helm, things are indeed improving despite the ever-increasing injury list. The point being i'm content being quiet. On Sunday, Liverpool lost to Manchester United despite attempting 19 shots while United had just one. It'd be naïve to state that i'm more interested in stats than bragging rights but thanks to the rise of data-centric accounts, i'm forced to believe that numbers are congruent to great football. Not very long ago, someone like Özil wouldn't have been appreciated as much as he is today. In fact, not just assists, other parameters like pass accuracy, interceptions, chances created, tackles won, etc are also taken into proper consideration. If now ain't the time to rise above petty clubgiri to enjoy what football as a whole has to offer, i'm not sure when is? And i feel this way in spite of having YNWA tattooed on my wrist. 

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