Pride is something I’ve always had an issue with on a personal level. Maybe it’s a lack of self-confidence, a fear of letting down others, especially those closest to me, but I’ve rarely felt proud of what I’ve done.
Most of my pride has been set aside for a best mate, a family member, my city, my teaching colleagues as we go on strike to defend a cause (hey, its France, it’s a national pastime!) and, of course, my Club.
Shame is something that comes easier to me. Usually it’s in myself, for a hurtful comment, a(nother) failed relationship, a rush to judgement.
For ‘pride’ and ‘shame’ to coincide is pretty rare, but that’s what happened this week. As much as the shame ate away at me all week, as the Club treated us with disdain and disrespect in what has all the hallmarks of a smear campaign, pride seeped through every pore of my body as I watched fellow Reds from afar on a dodgy internet stream. As the clock ticked towards the 77th minute and as many in the Ground gave voice to their feelings, I was literally shaking in anticipation of the Walkout.
What followed made me burst with pride. Pride at being part of this family. Pride at the Courage shown by fellow Reds. Pride in the quest for Justice. Pride in the fight for Equity. Pride in the search of the most basic thing that we are all due, Respect.
I miss going the game. Life has got in the way, unfortunately. Distance. Finances. Mates moving on. The game has never just been about the 90 minutes though. It was always about meeting up beforehand. Going for an ale. Or just catching up with old faces on Walton Breck Road. The walk-up to the Ground. Seeing The Kop. So, at 4.40pm today, as the game was still going on (for Sunderland, anyway), when the first photos and videos of those Reds on Walton Breck Road started filtering through on Twitter, I felt ten foot tall. And there was no place in the world I would rather have been at that moment.
It’s not easy to walk out of the Ground. But it is easier when you know that what you are doing is right and just. And that you have 10000 mates watching your back.
What happened today could well be a turning-point in how supporters are treated. And should things change, it will be thanks to the Courage of those who made a stand today. Whatever the cons of social media (and there are many), one of its great advantages is the speed at which a groundswell of opinion can be harnessed. This ticket price announcement came on Tuesday, the 2nd of February. Four days later, through what is essentially word-of-mouth, 10000 people (25% of our home support) stood up and sang “Enough is enough”.
As a frequent striker (five in the last twelve months, which is more than Sturridge), those kind of figures are staggering. As somebody said after the game, “two points dropped, but a huge point made”. We’ve seen how much fanpower can go towards changing things and if the early stages of this latest battle are anything to go by, then we are going to witness it again.
Liverpool Football Club’s attitude this week has been shameful. Ian Ayre has batted away any concerns with untold arrogance, seemingly safe in the knowledge that the Club can do without the 10000 who walked out today. He needs to be careful, as do FSG. It’s all well and good adding an extra 10000 seats, but as I’ve said before, it’s far from certain that they will be filled.
We’ve had enough. You want to treat it like “entertainment”, (arf!) do you? Then so will we! You want to price us out of the Ground, do you? Ok, so we’ll come when we can. You want to trade on the “unique” atmosphere, do you? It’s a big enough lie as things stand; try doing it with 15000 empty seats.
You’re interested in money. We get that. But 2,000,000 measly fucking pounds a season extra? How fucking dare you, you pricks. A quid to me, to those Reds who walked out today is worth a lot more to us than it is to you. Don’t you fucking get that? It’s not all about the bottom line. It should be about more than that. Loyalty. Respect. Concepts as foreign to you as you are to us.
I can save you money. Millions, in fact. Which would far outweigh the £2,000,000 you’re piling on us for next season. Since August, we have paid out £400,000 in wages to MARIO BALOTELLI! We paid £16,000,000 for him. He scored four goals. Each goal he scored cost us FOUR MILLION POUNDS. Which is good value compared to Lazar Markovic who cost us £20,000,000 and scored THREE goals, which works out and SIX MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSANDS POUNDS a goal!!! And you have the cheek to bleed us dry?
10000 mobilised in the space of four days? The revolution always starts from the bottom. If you take us on, we’ll win. Remember that.