Thirty-Two Years Following Liverpool - A Chronology

Thirty-Two Years Following Liverpool - A Chronology

1988 – Red shirt with Candy splayed across the front, a seven-year old is hooked.

1989 – Hillsborough in April and Michael Thomas in May, it is all too much for a kid to take.

1990 – My favourite player, John Barnes, lights up the league and King Kenny tosses the tracksuit aside for a final appearance as Liverpool win Number Eighteen. I could get used to this.

1991 – Kenny stuns by leaving midseason and club legend, Graeme Souness, takes over. Sacchi’s Milan and Maradona’s Napoli vie for my attention too, but Liverpool remain my true love.

1992 – Steve McManaman and Dean Saunders provide the weekly doses of excitement. Their hair has something to do with it. The football isn’t great and sixth place beckons. Liverpool are not in the top two for the first time since the year of my birth.

1993 – David James in for Bruce Grobbelaar. Yikes! One error-strewn keeper for another. Sixth again but at least Ian Rush is scoring goals again.

1994 – Souness is out and Roy Evans is in. Eighth this time but hello, this kid Robbie Fowler looks decent.

1995 – Phew! Fourth and the slide is arrested.

1996 – Third. We’re onto something here. My friends at school cannot get enough of Manchester United though.

1997 – The season in which the Reds’ Premier League ‘near-misses’ first makes an appearance. The methods of the Frenchman who has just joined a London club expose the Spice Boys at Liverpool, who should really be doing better.

1998 – Boy wonder, Michael Owen, emerges as a regular starter. Liverpool off the pace but hey, we’ll always have his goal against Argentina.

1999 – I’m in university now and discover that there aren’t any Liverpool fans around. One can’t come in seventh and expect many, to be fair. This new academy starlet, Steven Gerrard, looks shaky on the right wing.

2000 – Gérard Houllier in charge these days and he delivers on fourth place, which I am grateful for. No title in a decade though.

2001 – Stop the presses! A treble! Do not ask me to name the trophies.

2002 – I’m more optimistic about the team and it’s nice to be back in the now rebranded Champions League after 16 years.

2003 – We’re really killing it at this League Cup business. Who needs the Premier League if we keep winning this trophy every year? Fifth again.

2004 – I’ve thankfully graduated by now and do not have any Arsenal fans in my ear. They’ve apparently gone and done something big.

2005 – Istanbul

2006 – In college again and two Reds jerseys disappear off a clothesline. Are Liverpool in vogue again? THAT Gerrard goal wins Liverpool the FA Cup in Cardiff.

2007 – This guy Benitez really knows how to set up a side for Europe, doesn’t he? Twenty-one points behind Manchester United though.

2008 – Torres, Mascherano, Škrtel, Lucas and more. Are we finally getting quality in?

2009 – This is going really well. Seven points clear of United in January and Rafa has just called a press conference. The ‘fact’ is we finish second.

2010 – What a miserable campaign. Xabi leaves for Real Madrid and we end up in seventh place. Back to square one. Benitez goes too. It’s been twenty years.

2011 – New manager Roy Hodgson announces that we should prepare ourselves for a relegation dogfight. Says it with a straight face too. He’s out and King Kenny’s return inspires me to pen down my first blogpost ever.

2012 – He doesn’t quite cut it but at least delivers on the League Cup. Yeah, it’s been nine years since we stopped winning that one too.

2013 – An earnest, young man named Brendan Rodgers in charge now with some talent to work with in Suarez, Coutinho and Sturridge. He duly guides us to seventh which is what we’ve averaged over four seasons. I do not expect more at this point. Carragher has had enough and retires after 737 appearances.

2014 – It’s my birthday and United supporting friends converge on my house to catch the Chelsea game at Anfield with dinner after. We may not have done dinner.

2015 – My nephew is looking for a team to support and I inform him that Liverpool are a huge club. He looks suitably amused and declines. Losing 1-6 to Stoke doesn’t help. What a way for your best player in a generation to go.

2016 – A German turns up at Anfield and asks me to turn from a doubter to a believer. I do not need convincing.

2017 – It must be the age, but results do not matter anymore. We may not have all the pieces yet but something special is brewing. A final day win against Middlesbrough secures a place in the Champions League.

2018 – Oh, the football! Sumptuous, attacking football. Only Manchester City score more in the league. An all-time Champions League record of forty-seven goals in a season. I will never enjoy another season more. Nephew pines for Barcelona but Liverpool are his favourite English club now.

2019 – Ninety-seven points, the third highest in history and we’re still not champions. It doesn’t matter. Nephew a bit annoyed with the Reds before Madrid puts a smile on his face, and mine. There are four Liverpool players in the Ballon d’or top seven.

2020 – I travel to Qatar to watch Liverpool win the Club World Cup, a couple of kilometers away from where I first laid eyes on them. As Jürgen Klopp and his players make the celebratory rounds, my brother and I chuckle about the fact that the title race is almost over. On June 25th, it is. Thirty years. I wouldn’t have it any other way.