The Longest Shortest Day
But off we set in the coach, 7am on a foggy December morning. When we did the 'first goalscorer' competition, I did suggest that Distin might be due to score, but what did happen wasn't what I meant.
Like many grounds, I had been to Anfield once before, but it was about 20 years ago when we had that year in the top flight under Bally, and didn't remember it very well. As a stadium I felt it was more impressive than Stamford Bridge, but less so than Old Trafford, but at Old Trafford we were so high up I wasn't sure if our goal had been scored by Kanu or Mendes - at least at Anfield we were nice and near the action.
I thought Anfield was supposed to have a fantastic atmosphere. They only got their fans to sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' by playing a record at the beginning to prompt them to sing along. After that they were pathetic - almost nothing until a chorus of 'Rafa Benitez' at the end. And we told them as much repeatedly.
There was a commendable announcement at the beginning about how no abuse would be accepted, whether it was racist, homophobic or on the basis of religion. I guess the Spurs fans may as well not bother turning up then! Some of the Liverpool fans above us should have left the ground on that basis for a couple of chants aimed at our captain!
Before the match I said I would be happy with a point, but have to admit I had a little hope that for once, Pompey would win away at one of the Big 4. It has to happen sometime, and you always hope its going to be this time, especially following the unprecedented away run we had been enjoying. Obviously it wasn't to be. Liverpool are a fantastic side on their day, and this was one of those days, they played very well. We didn't, we can do better than that. Our defence can be rock solid, but it wasn't this time.
We were a defender down when Liverpool scored their first, Johnno had been clattered by the man mountain that is Jamo and was still recovering off pitch when they got their first after just 12 minutes. Your heart sinks. When the unfortunate accident happened that caused the ball to go into our net off the hapless Distin, we were really in trouble. We didn't play well first half at all, but came out in the second much improved. Benji pulled it back and we had something to celebrate. At 2-1 we all thought we were back in it, but 2 later strikes from Torres put paid to that.
But the Pompey fans were not to be silenced, except perhaps for a short time after Liverpool's third. At 2-1 we were going to win 3-2, at 4-1 we were going to win 5-4 etc, you get the picture.
It seems silly, but I felt so much better that we had a goal to celebrate. And I loved the Pompey fan sat in the top front row of the Liverpool fans, near the Pompey fans that unfurled a 'Play Up Pompey' sign that he had hidden from the Red's fans under his coat - as he beamed like a Cheshire cat, trying to restrain his celebrations. And excellent news that Benji has started scoring again, because it means his confidence might be up again and he will hopefully start firing them in for fun the next few weeks.
It was a long day, we lost, so was I disappointed? Of course, but not downhearted and not sorry I went - it was still a good day out.
Written by tracyc.
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