Friday, May 27, 2005

My Adventure of Seeing Liverpool Clinching the European Champions League Cup

The ancients believed that the heavenly bodies were set in crystalline spheres that made music as they moved, and that if we hear the sound, it would be the most celestial experience of all. But the sound which was heard in the Atartuk Stadium on Wednesday evening was even sweeter. More moving than the songs David sang for Solomon, or deeply affecting than all the galaxies singing in concert.

It was the sound of 20,000 Scousers singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' in joyous merriment.

The odds had stood against them and none gave them a decent chance in emerging victorious from Istanbul. Some had even voiced out their disgust of the idea of having them in the final in the first place. They were a team living in the shadows of greatness, clinging to their once-illustrious history. The glory days of Liverpool was no more.

"Milan were to technically superior in quality," they had said. "and Ancelloti is a master tactician".

Typical stubborn Scousers.

Never was one to conform to what was expected of them. ...and how they responded in the second half and proving why Football is called the beautiful game. What the lads inRred did that night shall be remembered as one of the best comebacks in the annals of football history.

People forget.. and all shall be forgotten but for the fans who were there, they will strongly remember for many years to come, what feats were achieved that day.. and shall their names be familiar in our minds, freshly remembered.

The Captain, Steven Gerrard. The tenacious Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyppia and the insipiring Dietmar Hamman, amongst others. But for many, they will also remember that the final climatic moment of that day, did not rest upon the shoulders of the captain or any of the others.

It had rested upon a tall, lanky lad from the town of Rybnik in Poland. This impudent son of a miner, had the cheek to deny the reigning European Player of the Year from the penalty spot.

And thus, the trophy returns home to Anfield after a long wait. 5 times European cup champions means that they get to keep 'old big ears'.

Welcome home. We had missed you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

My Adventure of Supporting Liverpool Through the Champions League Final


Straddling the Bosphorus, its skyline studded with domes and minarets, Istanbul is one of the truly great romantic cities. Its history tracks back from Byzantium to Constantinople to its place at the head of the Ottoman Empire. Today it hums as Turkey's cultural heart and good-time capital.

In this sprawling, continent-spanning city you can tramp the streets where crusaders and janissaries once marched; admire mosques that are the most sublime architectural expressions of Islamic piety; peer into the sultan's harem; and hunt for bargains in the Kapalý Çarþý (Grand Bazaar). Side by side with Old Istanbul you'll find hip bars and clubs, flashy executives, malls and haute cuisine. And then there is a rich arts culture - opera, music, cinema - which nods its head to the Ottoman and Byzantine ways while taking cues from Europe.

All this history, hustle and bustle coexists around the spine of the Bosphorus, a constantly busy, heaving mass, dotted with ships and ferries, which provides the link between Europe and Asia. Whatever your interest - architecture, art, nightlife, cuisine, history, religion, shopping - Istanbul has more than enough of it, at prices which are among the lowest in Europe.

Whatever...On 25 May 2005, Liverpool, deemed to be lacking in quality, guile and overall strength-in-depth of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Real Madrid, and the technical brilliance of Barcelona, will be travelling to the plush Ataturk Olympic Stadium for the European Champions League Final.

The others look on, green with envy.