Nostalgia is said to be a dangerous thing. Living in the past is not healthy. Life should be lived forwards not backwards.
I know, all that is true. I am aware of it. I am alive to it. I know that as a scouse Irishman I am prone to it and wide open to criticism for it. But it doesn’t stop me drifting, happily and warmly, into sentimentality for the past from time to time. Today is a case in point.
I went to my first game of football just before my sixth birthday; Liverpool v Benfica, European Cup (yes, there was a world before the Champions League!), third round, second leg, at Anfield in March 1984. My team – my new team – Liverpool, won 4-1 and I was hooked. It is over 33 years later and I am still going to Anfield, still watching football, still walking side by side with Dad into the ground in which we have laughed, hugged, smiled and cried together – and still part of that very special club and community from L4.
I don’t love football any more – it died many years ago – any football fan who has been around the game for more than a few years will understand why and how – but I do still love Liverpool and what the game can mean to people. It is still one of the few vehicles we have in the UK for large groups of people to come together, with a single goal and shared agenda, regardless of age, sex, race, class, sexual orientation, occupations, financial prowess, shoe size or hair colour. At its best, it is a unifier. It is a something that arouses great passions and immense pride for towns and cities up and down this land.
Today is one of football’s biggest and most important days of the year – the FA Cup Final. A day when the dreams of so many football fans come to fuition – a day which is the culmination of the efforts by hundreds and hundreds of teams – from wet Wednesdays in Whitby to sunny Saturdays in Wembley to get their hands on one of the most iconic trophies in sport.
It is a day when football fans remember the great FA Cup Finals of the past and the people and moments that have built its history. Matthews. Trauttman. Sunderland. Villa. Rush. Rush’s camera. Houchen. Sanchez. Gerard and the like. I am desperately sad that, following the death of football, which passed away at the hands of TV, advertisers, sponsors and greedy, greedy clubs, today’s final did not kick off at 3pm. There was no Cup Final Grandstand. No sign of Des Lynam. No Miami Vice music as the two teams were announced. No White Horse and no Twin Towers.
I happily concede that I am writing this whilst wearing my flower-based glasses and lens but surely we can all agree, FA Cup Final day isn’t what it used it be and the world is the worse for it. Nostalgia may be dangerous but it is powering YouTube and a culture of sharing on social media. Check out your own recently viewed clips on You Tube and you will see – by their very nature – clips from the past. Nostalgia may be dangerous, but its the only way to enjoy the FA Cup Final – the way it was meant to be.
By the way, for the interested reader, an update on my golf. Today (my 08:52 monthly medal moment) saw an improvement, with better golf (more consistent ball sticking, more fairways and greens and fewer putts) and an upturn in scoring from the last two painful outings. I had a couple of moments of very bad luck, including a few too many minutes at the seaside (in a bunker) on the 10h hole, where I caught a rotten spot with too much sand and not enough space to play my shot. I was able to exorcise some of my recent demons today although there is more to do. So, things are looking up if not there yet. My golfing glass ends the day half full.
Credit to the Coventry Telegraph for the iconic picture of Keith Houchen’s 1987 FA Cup Final goal – http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/sport/football/football-news/coventry-city-keith-houchens-header-3024987 – thank you