'Tragedy of every season ending in failure made me love my Liverpool even more'

5 months ago 27
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My love for Liverpool Football Club has always been tied to the idea that winning isn’t everything.

When you spend two decades of your life living with false dawn syndrome, you’re not really prepared for when fortunes turn. So, while I came to terms that there was a chance that Liverpool could finally win the Premier League (sometime during their era-defining run this season), I never planned for what will happen next.

How will I celebrate? How will I express how I feel? How will I react to friends and family who’ve watched me lose every single season of my football-watching life? Two days after the club won their first league title in 30 years, I’m still searching for answers.

The Kop has taught me everything I know about resilience, pain and hope. We don’t lose; we go again. And again. And again. Whether it’s with John Barnes, Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard or even Loris Karius—we play again, we lose again and we go again.

The point of being a Liverpool fan isn’t to win; it’s to defy. As if to say, you can’t get rid of us. The tragedy of every season ending in failure made me love the club even more. And that’s the problem I’m facing right now. What now? We’ve won. But the top of the perch is not what I expected it to be. I’m too used to looking up and raging. Raging against the snide chants flowing down from the terraces of Old Trafford, Goodison Park and Stamford Bridge. Raging against managers who loved twisting verbal knives into our already bleeding hearts. Raging against those who love having a pop at us fans. Raging against goal line technology. Raging against the entire Premier League machine that seemed rigged in favour of everyone else. Raging against life.

So, there I was, not expecting Chelsea to beat City. Not expecting to regret not subscribing to BT Sport and listening to the game on BBC 5 Live Radio instead. Not expecting to respond to congratulatory messages. And surely not expecting to be thinking, ‘Where do we go from here?’

I work in advertising, so here’s how I’d articulate the way I’m feeling right now. In the 60s, Avis, a car rental company, was always second in sales numbers to Hertz. So, their ad agency came up with a stonking tagline: ‘We’re No. 2, so we try harder’. That idea won people’s hearts. And you wonder why. It’s because people often hate obnoxious winners.

Wait, that doesn’t sound right. We’re not all winners. Certainly not Liverpool or their fans for the last 30 years.

The story of doing everything you can but still losing the game of life is a universal one. So is the art of eclipsing lost dreams with undying hope, undying love and undying rage. That’s why I bound myself to Liverpool.

That fundamental connection with my club has now changed. That golden sky is no longer a dream for Jurgen Klopp and his boys; it’s a reality. My life, however, remains a perennial storm.

At what should be a time of great celebration, I find myself burdened with the quiet sadness of knowing that I will never be able to relate to Liverpool FC ever again.

(Abhinav Ullal is a senior copywriter in an advertising agency in London.)

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