Saturday, October 28, 2006

The sound of silence

I've just come back from watching Aston Villa play Liverpool at the Liverpool Central Library. This is not sour grapes. We are no strangers to defeat by a comfortable three goal margin up there. For years during the seventies and eighties it seemed that we were invited along as the support act when Liverpool were presented with the Championship trophy, and for desert they rattled up three quick goals before declaring and playing an exhibition match for their fans.

What was different today though, (apart from the fact that their slightly better than average team are a million miles away from winning the title) was that those games used to be played at Anfield. A roaring atmosphere, full of screaming demented scousers, intimidating to away teams and fans alike. Today's game was played in front of what Roy Keane once described as the prawn sandwich brigade. 3-0 up, with five minutes to go in the first half, ripping your opponents to shreds, a whole squad of stewards wouldn't have been able to drag me out of my seat until the break. But no, this passive bunch of muppets, who came alive briefly with each goal before returning to their slumbers, were off down the steps queuing for their half-time scampi. After the break, they patted their stomachs, and fell gently to sleep, interrupted only briefly for the ovation to the immense Steven Gerrard as he left the pitch, job done. When we got back to the M6, where we merged with the fake scousers and Mancs on their way back to London from Bolton, I wondered where all the old Liverpool fans who used to go to the match from their Liverpool homes, go now on a Saturday.