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Soup of This Day #138: Loving You Isn’t The Right Thing To Do

February 16, 2012

Confluence of River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal Cropped
The confluence of the River Mersey with the Manchester Ship Canal – Photo: Parrot of Doom, 2008. Parrot of Doom is not affiliated with Longworth72. He/She does have a cool pseudonym though. Image cropped by Longworth72.

I like music. I have an iPhone and it has somewhere north of 2,500 songs on it. Everyday as I drive to work and home again I listen to that music. That’s around 2 hours out of each day and next to being home with my family it’s about as at peace as I can be in this modern world.

I have a 3.5 year old toddler and a pregnant wife – At peace is a relative term.

I sing in the car.

I never used to but then The Noah came along and I found myself singing his songs. I learned the words to the Pixar classics like, ‘You Gotta Friend In Me’ from Toy Story and this was fine for a while. But now the dude has decided to listen to Daddy music. Because Daddy does and we’re in that narrow band where Daddy is cool.

And Daddy’s a boy. The Noah is a boy too and he has declared that he should listen to boy music, not that girl stuff that Mummy listens to. So now I find myself singing Aerosmith to a toddler. And Springsteen. And Bobby Darin, Counting Crows, Weezer, Dire Straits, etc.

The other day I sang Billie Jean and then had to explain what the song was about. It’s about a guy who likes dancing. There’s a girl and a kid and they like dancing too. None of these people are related. They met on the dance floor, busted some platonic moves and then went home. The guy was so pleased with his dancing that he then sang a song about it.

Talk about working without a rope.

I know most of the words to these songs. I listen to them all on a reasonably regular basis and for the most part I’ve lived with them for a few years at least. A little while after the G-rated version of Billie Jean I idly flicked to some Fleetwood Mac. The song was ‘Go Your Own Way’, off of 1977’s Rumours. As it played it occurred to me that I hadn’t really listened to it for some time. The thing was though that even with that gap I knew every word and pretty much every note. I couldn’t write them down now but I reckon if put the song on I’d be able to sing along with no problems.

This familiarity is because I grew up with that sound. Mum and Dad had it on tape when I was a little tacker and when CD’s came out, well they got it in that format too. It got played on car trips and on the home stereo all of the time. It is part of my musical DNA.

Not all of the music ingrained in my soul is good – I think the Cocktail soundtrack is ok and that Andrew Loyd Webber did write some decent stuff when clearly he didn’t.

It’s a musical about cats, people. There’s 1 staring at me now. He’s not at all musical. He’s lazy and passive aggressive – Make that into a stage show Webber.

As a Liverpool fan it’s part of my sporting DNA that I just don’t like Manchester United.

Liverpool and Manchester are both Lancashire cities, residing in the north-west of England, just above Wales. Liverpool, sits on the coast and as such had been a centre of trade and power for some time. Manchester lies 40 miles inland and for a while looked to be a stagnant backwater. Then the industrial revolution kicked in and someone dug a canal that bypassed the Liverpudlian merchants and hey presto Manchester became an inland seaport of note in 1894. That surely went down well on Merseyside.

Football-wise and the story in Longworth72’s lifetime has been a very similar. Liverpool dominated English football through late 70s and the 80s. Across that time the Reds won 10 League titles, 3 FA Cups and 4 League Cups. It wasn’t just in England that they made a mark either – They also reeled off 4 European Cups and a UEFA Cup. There was nobody in England and few across the Channel who could rival that record.

Certainly not Manchester United – Across the same stretch they won no League titles, 4 FA Cups and no League Cups. In Europe they may have won something – It just wasn’t a football contest.

At this point I didn’t actively dislike Man U – Mostly because they just didn’t register on the radar. They were mosquitoes. I don’t like mosquitoes but when they are not around I’m not thinking about them.

And then the 90s kicked in – In 1992 the Premier League was born and money flowed into the competition in unprecedented levels via supercharged TV deals. Manchester United chose the moment to surge – They have won 12 League titles in the Premiership era, with 4 FA Cups and 4 League Cups. In Europe they found some mojo too – 2 European Cups added some continental gloss to England’s new most-dominant club.

Liverpool meanwhile grew fat and lazy – Success would surely flow back to Merseyside and so the Anfield giants slumbered. And while they slept they have not won the League since 1990. They have, to be fair, added 3 FA Cups and 3 League Cups. In Europe they won 2 trophies, the 2001 UEFA Cup and the 2005 European Cup. Both were memorable, the 2001 effort was an astonishing 5-4 win over Spain’s Alavés, while the 2005 triumph was the ‘Miracle in Istanbul’, with Liverpool coming back from 0-3 down to topple Italian giants AC Milan on penalties.

Those latter 2 victories have not masked a significant shift in power. Last season saw Manchester United win their 19th League title, surpassing Liverpool’s long-held record of 18. For years the Anfield faithful had taunted Manchester United fans with banners inviting them to ‘come back when you’ve won 18’.

Guess what the Old Trafford regulars have on banners for visiting Liverpool fans now.

It’s not all about football on the pitch though – Much as the Mancunians out-witted the Liverpool business elite in 1894, the Red Devils hierarchy has edged their Merseyside rivals with economics – Old Trafford had a capacity of 44,000 in 1992, however successive renovations and re-developments have upped that to 75,811. Anfield can hold just 45,276, meaning that their rivals up the canal are pulling in a significant advantage in ticket-revenue.

So Manchester United can call on more disposable revenue and they have used it to decent effect – Although the Mancs are fond of proclaiming that they are a club that unearths talent rather than buying trophies their history of player acquisitions makes a mockery of that assertion. Dimitar Berbatov cost £30.75m in 2008. Juan Sebastián Verón set them back £28.1m in 2001. Rio Ferdinand rung up £27.55m on the till in 2002 and Wayne Rooney was a comparatively frugal £26.5m in 2004.

Liverpool’s top 4 purchases are in the same ballpark – In 2011, Andy Carroll made the move to Anfield for £35m. Fernando Torres arrived for £26.5m in 2007. They dropped £22.8m on Luis Suárez in 2011 and £18.6m on Javier Mascherano in 2008.

That’s £112.9 of expenditure out of Old Trafford as opposed to £102.9 from Anfield. There are 2 key differences masked by the sheer enormity of both figures – All of Liverpool’s big acquisitions have been recent as they have tried to play catch-up. And furthermore, Man U’s top 4 are still with them, bar Verón. Of Liverpool’s top 4 just 2 remain and both have clouds over them – Andy Carroll because he has been playing quite cack and Luis Suárez because he’s been behaving quite cack.

Suárez is indeed 1 of the prompts for this post – He was banned for 8 matches for racially abusing Manchester United captain Patrice Evra. Towards the end of that ban Liverpool hosted the Red Devils in an FA Cup round – Even without their Uruguyan talisman the Reds took the contest 2-1. 3 days earlier they had inflicted pain on the blue half of the City of Manchester, edging Man City 3-2 on aggregrate in the 2nd leg of the League Cup semis. 2 weeks later, with Suárez eligible, Liverpool travelled to Old Trafford for round 3 of the Lancashire rumble.

That last game was always going to be contentious – Suárez and Evra would have to shake hands before the match and whilst this would start the healing process the wound would surely still fester with the Old Trafford crowd. Still Suárez promised to grip hands and move on…

He didn’t.

Instead he snubbed Evra, embarrassing his Manager and his Club. The part where Liverpool lost the subsequent match 1-2 almost went unnoticed – It probably would have but for Evra’s over-the-top celebration in Suárez’ face at the final whistle. Liverpool, from their American owners, through to Dalglish and his team are allegedly seething at Suárez.

And this is where we come back to 1 of the Mac’s truly great tracks – It’s a break-up song, written at a time of great domestic turmoil within the band – Frontman Lindsey Buckingham and songstress Stevie Nicks had a disintegrating relationship and so he did what all great songwriters do and poured it into 3:38 of intense, driving pop. Brilliantly, you can hear Nicks on backing vocals and you just know she’s put some heart in too.

Luis Suárez and Liverpool FC might well be headed the same way.

Not with a pop song – I don’t see that working out for anyone. No, more in a summer transfer to a continental club that better understands the troubled South American star and perhaps can shield him from the searing gaze of the English press.

Go your own way indeed Luis. Just maybe avoid going up the Manchester Shipping Canal on your way out.

Loving You Isn’t The Right Thing To Do

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