Some of us have been fortunate enough to go and watch the team we support play football. Some can only dream of it, while following games unfold on television, radio, or live text updates.
None of us expect to die in the pursuit of the unique feeling of seeing your team win a match.
As a lifelong Manchester United fan, I don't particularly like Liverpool Football Club. And it's fair to say that, at times, I feel pure hatred for them.
But on these days, when the Hillsborough Disaster comes to the forefront of our minds, I'm reminded of how similar my club and that lot's club is.
United are the biggest club in the world. But there is a cigarette paper between us and them. And the two faces of that paper have two European Cups on one side, two league titles on the other.
United's 20 league titles. Their 5 European Cups. Our Roy Keane, their Steven Gerrard. Our Ferguson, their Shankly. Our Sir Bobby, their King Kenny. Our Stretford End, their Kop. The Holy Trinity statue, the "This Is Anfield" sign. Our Nev, their Carra.
Our Munich. Their Hillsborough.
The clubs are bound by a history of success, moments of inspiration, legends of the game and unspeakable tragedy.
There is no doubt that United and them are the two biggest clubs in Britain. It will take a century at least for any other club to get close to contending.
Both are in the top 10 biggest clubs in the world.
Both have an uncanny ability to create stories through unimaginable achievements. United finally getting our hands back on the European Cup on what would have been Sir Matt Busby's 90th birthday - the man who won our last European Cup 31 years before. Ryan Giggs breaking Sir Bobby Charlton's appearance record on the night he scored a penalty to win our 3rd European Cup 40 years on from the Munich air disaster.
It's why this title seems destined to end up in Steven Gerrard's hands. 25 years on from the atrocity that took the life of his cousin. A near-tragic career spent in pursuit of one title. A career seemingly fading away, but brought to life by a new manager and, finally for him, a few teammates who can play on his level. And a career that, in many ways, would bear striking resemblance to that of his hero Bryan Robson's.
I will hate it with every sinew of my being if I have to watch him lift our trophy. But given the way they have played this season, who could argue?
For Gerrard, it will be vindication for a career spent with a team on his shoulders. And for the 96, as justice continues to be slowly extracted by the families of the deceased, it would be a fitting tribute. One that not even the most die hard United fan could deny them as they swoop back down towards their perch.
Add a Comment