22 April ~ These are difficult times to be a Liverpool fan. After narrowly missing out on our first league title since 1990 last season, there were high expectations that this season would bring the title drought to an end. How wrong we were. With Champions League qualification now a distant possibility, with Spurs five points ahead in the race for fourth, a possible Europa League triumph in May presents the only form of salvation. And the only reason this is possible is because we were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages.
All football fans will be put through misery by their club at some stage, but Liverpool supporters are unlikely to suffer as badly as my friend Alex Irani, a Crewe fan living in Harrow, who spent £55 travelling to Morecambe to watch his team play on Good Friday. This was his Facebook status following the game: "Alex Irani has seen Crewe get relegated twice, has travelled to Sheffield to see us not have a shot on target, have seen us lose 4-0 at home, 5-0, 5-1, 4-0, 4-1 and some more away, but seeing us lose when 3-1 up with three minutes to go against a side with ten men and having missed a penalty is my lowest ebb as a Crewe fan."
There are of course any number of hard-luck stories involving football fans who end up making huge sacrifices for very little reward. There was the Bradford City fan whose car broke down and had to be towed up the M1 to the Valley Parade, where his team went on to lose 5-0 that day. Australian Will Keegan paid $1400 for a plane ticket to watch his beloved Blackburn take on Fulham, only for his train to break down in Rugby. He later discovered on Teletext that Rovers had won. Then there's Newcastle supporter Robert Nesbitt, who got a tattoo of Andy Cole in the team's kit on his thigh, only to see him join Manchester United two days later. Not to mention the Spurs fan who bet his entire mortgage on his side to beat United when they led 3-0 at half-time in 2001. They lost 5-3.
So the next time you feel the need to chastise your team, just remember, it could be worse - you could be Alex Irani. Neal Widdows