‘Justice is done’, writes my mate, a Manchester United supporter, reacting to the news that Luis Suarez was handed an eight match ban. And I flinch. And it’s not just the flinch of the eye. It’s an instantaneous shudder of my own existence.
Justice from well over two decades remains to be served. The 96 people that died in Hillsborough still wait to be heard. Their lives and their deaths still wait to be given meaning. Football fans aren’t selfish beings. They do not make money out of it. They go to watch football, because it’s a communal experience. It’s the joy of experiencing and sharing, but yet when 96 people had their days cut short, nobody but themselves were blamed. The perpetrators walked away free. The PR exercise of the self-proclaimed-righteous on the top was put into place.
And as my mate celebrated the nineteenth title last season with much aplomb and status update bombs, he doesn’t note that the turning point in Liverpool’s and in fact even in his own team’s history was that fateful day. The following season would be the last time a league title would be etched with the Liverpool name.
The wrong done ensured that the club grew in spirit, and became larger than life to the ones who supported it. And I say for the right reason, because anyone who is a fan of LFC, is not one because of the shifting allegiance to a more victorious team, but to the communion, almost holy, that takes place when the fans get together. The human spirit of sticking through, of overcoming adversity, the qualities what Liverpool Football Club embodies day in and day out.
John Terry might walk away; hold on to his armband, irrespective of what was concrete proof. Luis Suarez will get game lynched based on one man’s word and what he himself had to say. Context will be taken out of the fray.
But I promise you this, we will grow, maybe not on tally points, but as a club, because what makes Liverpool Football Club, the greatest club in the world, is the fans, and to use the idea of Bill Shankly, one part of the Trinity keeps getting stronger irrespective of the other.