A Masshole Goes Among The Thugs

AFTER THE GAME I returned to the Albert, feeling more camaraderie with the fans than I’d expected. Anfield didn’t have that Game 7–level fervor everybody kept telling me to expect, but for a battle between two cellar dwellers, the house was rocking. The bar was crowded when I walked in, and once again, I could hardly understand what anybody was saying.

Thankfully, I caught the attention of Rod the assistant manager. “Hi, lad,” he said, reeking of cigarettes and looking like he’d just woken up. (In fact he had just woken up — he’d slept through the game somehow.) He ushered me over to a table in back where seven or eight longtime regulars were engaged in a spirited discussion. Their leader, a bald guy bearing a bit of a resemblance to Jack Welch, was quite amused by the American journalist in his midst. “Are you a reporter?” he asked. “Peter Parker?” Later, as I returned to the table with a Guinness, he asked me another question: “You’re from Boston. So what do you think John Henry is going to do?”

If the past few days had taught me anything, it was that my dreams of turning Liverpool into a cash-cow colony for the Red Sox were probably just that — dreams. Henry would likely give Liverpool all the money it needed to compete, just as he’d done with the Sox. And more, my guess was that he’d run the team in a manner that respected the vaunted Liverpool Way. One of the keys to his success in Boston has been his ability to grasp our unique and bizarre psyche, and he seemed to have quickly done the same here. Of course, I wasn’t about to give old Jack Welch holding court in the Albert the satisfaction of hearing me say all that.

“I think he’s going to take all his money from Liverpool,” I said, “and sign a new outfielder for the Red Sox.”

The old man actually buried his face in his hands. “OOOooooh!!!” he cried. Finally he looked back up at me, anguished. I told him again and again that I was just kidding. It didn’t help. He was inconsolable. You see, his happiness was now dependent on the decisions of some unknown outsider named John Henry. I sympathized. 

  • Scott

    This was a great read! It’s great to see an outsider experience the climate and culture of Anfield and Liverpool. I’m hopeful (call it cautiously optimistic) that John Henry & Co will lead the Reds back to their rightful place among the game’s (and the world’s) elite!

  • sc

    Excellent article. I’m not sure if anyone mentioned this to you while on your vist, but just for reference, we’re not English, we’re Scouse!

  • Dougal

    Awful.Do they always send clueless,boring baseball dweebs to the most classic derbies to report back on?.Next time,send someone who knows more than what they see on NESN.

  • Robbie

    Love the article. Great honesty throughout. Hope that trip to Anfield won’t be your last.

  • Tony

    Hillsborough wasn’t caused by hysteria, it was caused by Police error (and issues with the stadium). It’s important the author recognises that.

    Other than that, and the few sweeping, insulting comments that were supposed to be off-hand, it wasn’t a bad piece.

  • John

    1st get it right. T he police caused Hill’s. T he Kop got it’s name from the large number of scousers at the Spoin Kop. This artical is so typical of yanks who play rounders and rugger…… O sorry Baseball and american football.

  • jOHN

    Thugs!!!!!??????? WTF THUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!