Neutral's View On Liverpool:
On my regular patrol on various footie forums and found this really interesting article from this American sportswriter who's new to football and knows nothing about the Premiership. And then by viewing various fan mails and research, he sort of lined the teams up from 20th (not likeable) to 1st (most likeable). So he made a report out of it by showing various points on why he thinks they're worth liking or not and also comparison with some of the American sports team (i.e Arsenal = Red Sox). Here's what he thought about Liverpool (he placed us second on the list) :
*American Comparison: The Boston Celtics, only if it were 1986 and Lenny Bias made the decision, "I'm never doing drugs."
*In a Nutshell: On paper, this seemed like the most appealing team -- a perennial contender with a ton of history, great fans, snazzy uniforms, the best player in the league (midfielder Steven Gerrard, described by multiple readers as the "Big Papi of the EPL") and even their own show on channel 613 ("Liverpool Classics"), as well as an English city that everyone compares to Boston (port city, tons of Irish immigrants and blue-collar people, rivalry with London that mirrors Boston/New York, sports means a little TOO much, etc.). Reading the e-mails about Liverpool almost made me feel like I was reading about a Boston team, actually -- and that's even before finding out that Bob Kraft tried to buy an ownership stake last year. I liked them the most out of anyone.
(Note: Continuing with the Red Sox parallel, they staged the most famous comeback in recent soccer history last year, rallying back from a 3-0 deficit in the second half to win the Champions League. It's hard to say whether this was more or less incredible than the Red Sox rallying back from three games to zero against the Yankees. And if you thought this was a thinly-veiled excuse to mention the 2004 ALCS again, well, you know me too well.)
*Bandwagon Potential: Sadly, a little too high -- especially because of the Big Four thing and Gerrard (who seems like the most likable star in the league, hands down).
*Celebrity Fans: Sporty Spice, Chris DeBurgh, Darren Clarke and Dr. Dre. I think I'd sacrifice a kidney to be in the same room as those four people discussed Liverpool soccer for an hour.
*Colors/Jerseys: Blood-red, absolutely fantastic. I would wear this jersey pretty much all the time.
*Signature Player: Praise for Gerrard from the readers included "the definition of a true leader, last year's MVP, and England's most complete midfielder of his generation" … "the backbone of the current Liverpool team (think: Tony C. times 10)" … "when it comes to clutch, Big Papi is the Steven Gerrard of baseball" … "ROUTINELY goes out to bars after games because he's an average scouser (he was much criticized for this earlier in his career)" … "the Ortiz of English soccer, an inspirational player who has a knack for coming up with a big goal whenever they need it most (he is also likely to be appointed England's new captain now that Beckham has stepped down)" … "a local boy who turned down the chance for millions more from Chelsea and Real Madrid to play for his childhood heroes."
(And if that's not enough, check out his top 10 goals on YouTube, including his famous extra-time goal in the Champions League last year. Imagine if Tom Brady grew up in South Boston before becoming the Pats' QB, then turned down an extra $20 million from the Jets to remain with them. That's what Gerrard means to Liverpool.)
Unintentional Comedy: Not only do they have a goofy-looking, 6-foot-7 striker named Peter Crouch who's nicknamed "Bambi on Ice" and does the "Robot" after goals, but longtime striker Robbie Fowler was (A) nicknamed "God," and (B) once celebrated after a goal by pretending to sniff the end line.
*Sponsor: Carlsberg Beer. I consider this a major negative. Carlsberg sucks.
*Stadium: Anfield was originally built in 1884 and also received some Fenway Park comparisons from readers, mostly because of the Kop (a banked stand on one side) that's a little Green Monster-esque. Although I wonder if the fans of various teams were buttering me up by describing their stadiums as "a lot like Fenway Park." If so, you succeeded.
*Vacation Destination: Only if you've been kidnapped.
*Most Hated Rival: Any of the London teams.
*Random Depressing Fact: According to a reader, "Back in 1989, 96 Liverpool supporters died in the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster, an event immortalized by the twin flames on the official club shield. Liverpool fans vowed never to forget their fallen comrades, and to this day carry on their memories in banners, scarves, songs and poems. It was an event that actually brought an end to Liverpool's reign of success."
*Bonus reason to pick them: They have the best song: "You'll Never Walk Alone," which sounds eerie when they're belting it out before games and absolutely electric after big victories. It's so good, Pink Floyd even found a way to work it into a song ("Fearless"). I've said it before, I'll say it again: We need to figure out a way to come up with team songs for American sports. How much better would Knicks games be if the fans sang Tom Petty's "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" after every game?
*Another bonus reason to pick them: The Beatles.
*Single Best Reason NOT To Pick Them: Too much history, too personal, too easy, too obvious. Someone from America can't casually become a Liverpool fan, just like someone from England couldn't have casually become a Red Sox fan before 2004. I just wouldn't have felt right about it.
Drogballs: A pretty neutral view on Liverpool. Summed up pretty well really, that Liverpool is actually quite a likeable team compared to those 'new-age' football teams like ManYoo and L'Arse, who sold their soul to the commercialising world and lacked heritage. Here are some points that I wish to add:
- I don't watch NBA, but can Boston Celtics be compared to Liverpool? They seemed to be a little sh*t now IF I'm not wrong. Afterall, Lakers was my team :p
- I don't drink and I don't really know if Carlsberg sucks, but I thought they owed us a little something after we endorsed them for so many years. Teams like ManYoo and Chelski have already signed deals that are really huge, yet Carlsberg always seemed to hand us some rip-off deals. It's disappointing, but we'll still need to see out the contract for the next 3-4 years.
- Our most hated rivals are not really from all over London, but RIGHT ACROSS THE BLOODY STANLEY PARK. And of course ManYoo.
- If you've been a Liverpool fan before 2001 (like me), you know it sucked big time supporting them. It's not really bandwagon-jumping from people that supported the Reds between 1990-2000 because in that very decade, Liverpool went from the giants to a sleeping one. But we're pretty much awake now, just need some practice and we'll topple the evil Russian empire, ANYWAY.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Neutral's View On Liverpool: