Growing up I heard my friend’s stories of how their dad remembers standing in the Shed at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea beat Fulham in 1970 something blah, blah, blah…… BLAH.
I was born in Kingston-upon-Thames, some 200 miles away from the team I support now, Liverpool. Amongst my friends, people have their reasons for supporting their clubs - one supports Arsenal because she is a 4th generation Gooner; another supports Villa because he is from Birmingham. My reason for supporting Liverpool was as something as trivial as picking them out from the sticker book, because they had Robbie Fowler.
I wasn’t a Liverpool fan at first - I was actually a West Ham fan. From the ages of 4 to 7, I was a Hammer. My older brother told me that we had to support different teams, therefore he told me to be a Hammer, while my two other brothers were Chelsea and Arsenal respectively. I still remember my times as a West Ham fan - my auntie screaming at me ‘Don’t speak to strangers’ for asking a random man for the West Ham score. My tenure as a West Ham fan came to an abrupt end when my eldest brother told me that West Ham were going to get relegated and were going to sell my favourite players Trevor Morley and John Moncur. From that day onwards, I have been a red.
I am not a Scouser and I never make out I am. I am happy to realise that I am a Londoner Liverpool fan, but to me this is no deficiency, nor does it make me any less of a supporter. If I had the choice of either Everton or Chelsea to go down, I’d pick Chelsea, just because I know more Chelsea fans than Everton - that’s me being honest. I am a proud Londoner and at the same time proud Liverpool fan. It seems people are happy to realise that I am a Liverpool fan when things are going wrong, yet any time success come our way, they are quick to come out with things like ‘Glory Hunter’ or ‘You should support a London team’. In reply to those two quotes, I was supporting Liverpool through the nineties when we won two trophies, moreover, I have no moral obligation to support a London team.
Most people’s parents tell their kids whom to support, yet mine didn’t. My dad isn’t a sports fan, he thinks every player is David Beckham and a team should score when they are inside their own half. I go to football matches on my own accord, I could never expect my dad to drive me all the way to Liverpool, because he doesn’t see the fuss in football. He recently decided to make Fulham his team, however I doubt we will be having lengthy discussions about Brian McBride. I have never been to Anfield - I’ve only seen Liverpool twice, against Crystal Palace and Southampton. If that’s what you call a ‘prawn sandwich’ fan, then that’s fine but I am a passionate one.
I write this piece before the Champions League final and I know the deal. If we lose, text messages from people who are happy to see us lose: if we win, a whole load of gloating and then I am accused of non-patriotism towards the big London! I don’t feel the need to justify my position as a Liverpool fan, yet I know I will have to time and time again. On May 25th 2005 sometime between 10.30 – 10.40, I fought back the tears, as Liverpool were crowned European champions. I wasn’t in Istanbul, I was at home in my Liverpool top, and, at that moment, I felt I had more right than anyone to be a Liverpool fan.