|The Winning Team - YNWA|
Well, 2010-11 season hasn’t (or should I say wasn’t) a good for a team down the Anfield road. Actually, the last two seasons haven’t produced anything to celebrate for the loyal Liverpool football club enthusiasts. Last season, the Merseysiders finished a disappointing, very disappointing seventh, and any hopes of improving on that this season were dashed courtesy of a tumultuous start to the season under the tutelage of one face-rubbing manager, Roy Hodgson.
But as the famous You’ll Never Walk Alone song goes – at the end of the storm, there’s a golden sky - club legend King Kenny was installed as the manager in January and the transformation the L4 club underwent can only be best described by Captain Fantastic Stevie G himself: “A new manager comes in, he puts a load of belief and confidence into the players, he brings a different coach and training changes, the players enjoy the sessions and the fans are delighted with Kenny coming back.”
Most players will only say that when they want to be seen as loyal to the club, even if they are not. But the captain meant every single word he mated into a sentence there. The dark side however was that the King’s short reign during the season ended without a silverware.
Worse still, a certain club from the red side of Manchester won the premier league title for a record 19th time. Then there was all that talk from the Mancunians about knocking Liverpool off their perch. Then there was that Champions league final which United lost having fielded 11 fans on the pitch who were duly taught a football lesson by the Catalan giants Barcelona. Then they all went silent.
But before Barca disciplined Sir Alex Fergusson’s men, my friends and I organized a football match pitying Liverpool and Manchester United. The game played at an imaginary dusty Emirates Stadium kicked off at exactly 1600 hours EAT on the 21st of May – that day the world was to come to an end.
Because we were only eleven players in total and the referee was Howard Webb, Liverpool had to play the first half with five players with Manchester having six. The Reds, (captained by Stevie himself – Me) started brightly as they harangued the United’s defence into making mistakes but they could not capitalize. However, the numerical advantage paid off for the Red Devils (who were dressed in all manner of colours not red) as they took the lead just 15 minutes into the game through a goalmouth scramble. The ball seemed not to have crossed the line but hey, remember who the referee was.
Undettered by the setback, Liverpool, dubbed The Winning Team, tried to fight for the equalizer but all their valiant efforts ended at the foot of Man United’s goalkeeping captain Zaimunda.
Howard Webb’s, sorry, Sir Alex Fergusson’s men and women doubled their lead ten minutes later through another goalmouth scramble which went in this time round – according to Howard Webb.
The hard-fighting Reds were clearly vexed by the many decisions that were going against them but onwards onwards they played before the impressive Webb called for half time.
Onto the second half, United made one change bringing in the goalkeeper captain into the field of play while centerback Lilian (a Chelsea fan) took up the gloves. Liverpool were however unchanged. Determined not to lose, because they don’t against United, they came back with fire blazing off their feet. They pressed on for the earlier minutes of the second half and their efforts were rewarded just five minutes inside the 45-minute period when who else but the born-red and blood-red captain collected a sublime pass from Monny Kelly (an Arsenal fan), whizzed his way through the United defence and drilled a low shot past the onrushing United custodian.
Instead of celebrating, the Reds kept it cool. A moment of see-saw football then followed as the Reds searched for the equalizer while United looked to extend or defend their lead – whichever came first. With five minutes remaining on the clock, the relentless Reds found the equalizer. Again, it was Monny Kelly who started the move. She dispossessed one of United’s attacking players (a Chelsea fan), provided a through ball to El Capitan who showed mind-boggling and jaw-dropping control, nutmegged two United players at a go before squeezing the ball between the legs of the United keeper. 2-2.
Game on. Really? Not when you have Howard Webb. The Manchester United, I mean English referee blew the final whistle immediately as it looked like the Reds were determined to win it. Never mind there were three minutes still on the clock without considering additional time.
Webb even ruled out extra time so the teams went to post-match penalties. King Kenny’s men scored all their first five penalties but one, and so did United. To settle the stalemate, Howard Webb decided that only the players who lost their spot kicks get to settle the score. The Kopite scored his while United Captain hit hers against the stone post as the Reds won the match 5-4.
Another trophy added to the illustrious trophy-sagging cabinet at Anfield while red-faced United wait to play another day. It may not be worth thousands of dollars but the psychological contentment is mammoth, almost incomparable, definitely satiating. The fact that we beat the Howard Babes for the umpteenth time is even more satisfying.
And That's thesteifmastertake!!