Fan Diary – 15 August, 2010: Avoiding The Result

It’s been a while since I’ve been unable to watch Liverpool’s opening day match live. The last time was 2007 against Aston Villa. It went like this: George (A Mancunian; a regular at the brewery where I bartended; a City diehard; a Setanta subscriber) plopped the tape of the match on the bar top. I filled his half-gallon growler with fresh India Pale Ale. He nodded in thanks: poker-faced. He’d watched the match but would never give away the ending. There’s an unspoken pact with the diaspora of football fanatics. You don’t give away the result until you know the other guy knows. 

Hours later, Tim (the other bartender; my fellow, burgeoning Liverpool fanatic; my brother-for-life) would lock the doors and dim the lights. Meanwhile, I rolled the vcr and projector out from the storage closet, threw the image on the wall and connected the sound to the house speakers. We poured ourselves fresh pints and sank into the deep couches in the corner by the fireplace. We took in the match with virgin eyes. We knew nothing. It was as if it was happening fresh. It was a good ten hours after the fact. 

And when Stevie G blasted that 86th minute free kick in from distance, we launched into the air as if the moment was current and alive. We hugged and shouted and jumped and spilled beer all over those leather couches. Our joy rattled against the empty corners of the pub as the Reds took all three points.

It remains my greatest Liverpool memory involving tape-delay.

Since then I’ve caught the openers (and most of the league fixtures) live. I’ve managed to keep all those Saturday and Sunday mornings and all those Monday afternoons (and other odd weekdays) in the clear from my various restaurant jobs.

But today was different. I’ve taken too many days off this summer for various commitments. I couldn’t rightly ask for today off without seeming to ask for too much in my first summer at a new job, nor could I afford to miss out on the income.

So I missed the live broadcast of Liverpool’s opener. And it was at home against Arsenal of all things.

So here I am. Ten o’clock at night. Eleven hours after kick off. Unaware. You, the reader, have likely tuned into this post to read the thoughts of an informed supporter. But, alas: you know more than I.

If Red hopes soared or sanked, I have no idea. I’ll put a drawing of Steven Gerrard up with this article in hopefullness that the captain made his mark on the outing, but I can’t know if he managed another moment of pure glory to echo that kick against Villa, or if he hung his head at the final whistle, dismayed by two or three points dropped. And it’s an old drawing. It actually comes from a photograph of him in a celebration of an England moment. But I like the drawing and I can’t risk googling a fresher image to model for a fresh illustration. The search could give away today’s result.

I made it most of today without even a chance of spoiling my late-night viewing of the match. I finished my shift and sat down to dine, ignorant, when a bar-goer wandered in in a distinctive red shirt. It was an early 90s Liverpool kit. Occasionally in Boston one runs into a casual fan in a Liverpool shirt, who vaguely likes the side but doesn’t keep up with the results. Red doesn’t mean dead when avoiding the result. But this dude couldn’t fall into that category. Not in a pristine kit from the days of Robbie Fowler. This man knew what was on today. He knew what happened.

I avoided him at first, afraid that even commenting on his jersey would bring on more information than I wanted on the match I’d yet to watch. But when I went to use the restroom some twenty minutes later, he was emerging. I couldn’t stop myself: Great kit, man!

Then – quick – before he could respond: Ihaven’tseenthematchyetdudepleasedon’ttellmeanything!!!!

He smirked.

Without disclosing any telling details, he talked about the side. Our hopes. Our concerns. All long term of course. I asked him where he liked to watch the matches. He reeled off a list of pubs that included my local. We agreed we’d bump into each other at the Phoenix Landing in Cambridge sometime soon.

But then… as he turned away… He said it: Take care. I think you’ll enjoy the match: it’s a good one.


A good one? A good one how? We destroy Arsenal? Or at least win by a goal to nil? Or there’s late drama, no matter the result? Or it’s simply a good footballing contest?? What what what????



Collect thyself.

You know nothing.

In about an hour, I’m going to sit down, crack a beer and watch the match on Fox Soccer Channel when it is rebroadcast at 11pm EST. (Yes: I am the last football fan in America who doesn’t have DVR. I’m over it.)

Our starting XI are going to march out. I’m going to get chills. The match will commence and I (the blank slate) will take it in like it’s a live event.

This is not my favorite way. I’d rather be in the pub watching it live with my people.

But tonight: this is what I’ve got. C’mon, you Redmen.

I plan to start another article later this evening. I’ll write half of it during halftime. I’ll write the rest after the final whistle and post my thoughts in the morning. I may recycle the Stevie G drawing (if I’m too tired to whip up a more current, more relevant one), but at least my thoughts will be caught up to what you, the informed reader, already knows. The final result.

So it goes.

C’mon, you Redmen.

As far as I’m concerned you’ve yet to run out tonight.

And my hope for the event is still intact.

11 thoughts on “Fan Diary – 15 August, 2010: Avoiding The Result”

  1. Great article!!! I have also been in the same situations were I was only able to watch a recorded version of a match but unfortunately a friend let the results slip before I got to view it for myself. His life was almost taken.

  2. Ethan: You are a better man than I! Back before the days of smart phones, facebook and twitter I would often tape matches on the ol vcr and watch later. I also worked in the restuarant biz and remember watching the famous Fowler “no penalty” match at Highbury starting at about 1am. He is my favorite player of all time, so when the incident happened I was bouncing off the walls. Thankfully I didn’t wake anyone up. Nowadays though I just can’t wait. If I am unable to watch the match I just follow with the various apps I have on my phone, knowing that someone will text me and blow the result. I typically will DVR the matches anyway expecting to watch the entire match later, but I am a terrible viewer when I already know the score. I end up fast forwarding to the action moments and watch the entire thing in like 20 minutes. As a fellow Red, I too think you will “enjoy the match.”

  3. Hopefully, you’ve seen the match before looking at the comments here.

    “But then… as he turned away… He said it: Take care. I think you’ll enjoy the match: it’s a good one.”

    This man, apparently, is a sadist.

    Under the circumstances, I suppose we did well.

    However, a red card to our new signing and an own goal. Not exactly what I would call a “good one”.

    Best news of that match was the outstanding goal by the striker. N’Gog is putting a little pressure on Torres. Not much pressure – but enough, I think.

    1. Like a lot of people have said, if you’re told at halftime that Liverpool draws, you’re ecstatic. I think the draw is deserved, even though we played really well down a man in the 2nd half.

      But good or bad, the red card overshadows a fairly nondescript performance from Cole. In fact, he might have been the worst player in a red shirt today.

      Magnificent article, Ethan. It’s tough having to watch recorded games these days.

    2. I’m a brand new EPL fan in the states (picked Everton to follow because of Howard- way to go yesterday big guy!!).

      In spite of Everton being “my team”, the Liverpool/Arsenal game was the game I anticipated watching most all weekend. That said, when I tuned it to watch I was bummed to see both Cesc and Torres wouldn’t be playing. After the initial disapointment, I thoroughly enjoyed the game. I think the result was very good for both teams, which I doubt can usually be said about a draw. Liverpool, while obviously wanting to win a game they led into the 90th minute, get a point in a game where they played 50 minutes with 10 men (heck 10 minutes they played with 9 men!). Against Arsenal, no less. And Arsenal salvaged a point on the road againt a fellow Big4 team in a game they really deserved to come away with a goose egg.

      By the way, one of the things I’m already enjoying about following from the states and having exaclty zero friends who follow the sport, is that I can DVR games and wait hours, days, whatever before watching- with absolutely no fear of knowing anything about the outcome. That’s obviously not something I could do with my beloved Eagles, Phillies or Flyers. Heck, it dawned on me after week one, that I could actually DVR all televised games (I had 9 available via FSC, FS+, and ESPN2 this week) and watch them over the course of the week- best I could tell there are no in-game updates of the other games being played when you’re watching any of these games. While I admit the day will probably never come when I will watch 9 EPL games in a week, I can certainly imagine a week where 4-6 are interesting enough to watch “live”.

      1. @ Ethan…great article, great sentiments. Gah! I was, and still am, so hurt for Pepe…he’s such a great keeper and he didn’t deserve that. But, all in all it was a good game and we played exceptionally well in the 2nd half being a man down. YNWA.

        @Jim…be careful being too nonchalant regarding not finding out results. I’ve been thwarted by facebook, the espn ticker during non-footy action, and other things. If you truly don’t want to find out a result it’s best to avoid all media just in case. YNWA

        1. @soonerscotty- I’m sure you’re right, avoiding results is not 100% assured. Truth be told, after having DVR’d the Chelsea game, I went to the food store, and lo and behold there was someone there wearing a Lamphard jersey. Now, being someone with no soccer friends, my first reaction was to approach the guy and chat him up about his team, Cole leaving, etc. Then I decided against it for fear of finding out what happened in the game.

      2. Jim: The best thing about the international feeds is that they purposely do not give results of other matches. They realize that the feed is going out to many different outlets and that other games may be shown later in the day/week. One slight negative to ESPN’s increased coverage for guys like us is that they have started to put the results in the regular ticker. That has only happened for the last 12 months or so, so it is a little easier to get tripped up.

        I became a die hard in 1994 and it was fantastic. Sportschannel in NY would show the 2 hour highlight package on the Friday and I would sit and watch all the condensed action without knowing any of the results. It was great in a way, but times have changed. Technology has gone through the roof, interest in America is at an all time high, and my love of the premier league has caused me to gain friends who follow just as religiously as I do. Enjoy being the only one of your friends that follows the sport…..cause soon you will have them converted and they will text you results you don’t want to know!!

  4. It was a good showing, LFC can hold their own and the only goal Arsenal got was from LFC’s own hand. And not to play down Arsenal any, they had tons of great shots on goal what I drunkenly remember. Clean up some, get rid of the jitters and trying to prove anything and you’ve got a top 4 team here.

    Then you have Cole. What the hell mate. It was a poor call, but he seemed to be out to prove something.

  5. This is what I’m dreading in a week – as a newly minted LFC fan myself, today was my first opportunity to watch my chosen ones play and I enjoyed it, but now I can’t wait until the 23rd to watch them hopefully handle Man City…except that it kicks off at 3pm my time…on the first day of school (I’m a middle school teacher) so there’s no chance of seeing it live. I work with a longtime diehard LFC fan, so I can foresee us heading to our respective homes (he lives N of the school, I live S) desperately wanting to watch the match, only to be foiled by the need to maintain a calm house by letting my 2 year old daughter watch “her shows” and avoiding a huge tantrum. Seriously, it may be 9pm before I can watch, and then I have to avoid the internet, texts, etc…CRAP!

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