38 Bentley Road. That was the address of our residence during our stay in the city of Liverpool. I was 8 years old. It was the autumn of 1985 and it was a one year hiatus that I would never forget.
Mum had decided to pursue her Masters Degree and dad (who, ironically is a Spurs fan) persuaded her that the University of Liverpool was the best place to do her Masters. He forgot to mention one important fact about Liverpool to my mum though… it was the home of the best football team in the bloody world, Liverpool FC.
In preparation of the trip to a foreign country, mum had sent me on a crash-course in English, in the hope that I won’t embarrass myself too much in trying to communicate with the local habitat. Much good those lessons did for me as ‘Scouse’ is another language altogether.
Tiber Street School. This is where the constant interaction with the local under-12 population went under way. Interestingly enough, my friends were not only ethnic white, they were Sikhs, Indians, Pakistanis, Chinese. If I wasn’t any wiser, I could’ve swore I was back in Malaysia. Well, the majority of white kids there constantly reminded me that I was far from home.
It was bleeding cold most of the time anyway. Regardless of the color of your skin, we all spoke in one common voice. We spoke in Scouse.
Now, this is a footie-mad people, from the dinner ladies to the teachers. If u didn’t play football or had no interest in it, then u were frowned upon. Even the girls played. When it came to football teams, there were only two worth mentioning. Liverpool and Everton. The city itself was split between the red-half and blue-half. They supported no other.
Tiber Street School was no different. We had school hours of 9am to 3pm. We had school dinners and cool uniforms. We had ‘rehat’ 3 times a day. Yup! 3 bloody times a day and what do you think we played during rehat? That’s right, Football. There was a point where I could’ve been an Evertonian. God forbid. Even My best mate was a Blue.
I never knew exactly what swayed my decision but I chose Liverpool. I was in the CITY of Liverpool and RED was a cool color. Everton was leading the pack at the head of the league then, Liverpool was second. I had always a soft spot for underdogs. I had known nothing about football or Liverpool F.C.’s domestic and european dominance. I just chose.
In a way, you could say that Liverpool F.C. chose me. That is the reason why my allegiance runs deeps as I was a part of that community. This loyalty had taken me through some of the club’s most turbulent times and had allowed me to savour with greatest pleasure, their victories.