THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

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

Comments (4)
Comment by The Exploding Vole 2010-04-22 12:51:38

Feeling sorry for someone who makes a long fruitless journey is one thing. But feeling sorry for someone who wants a tattoo of a certain player? Or gambles away his mortgage? Are we meant to take pity on their foolishness?

Comment by kbmac 2010-04-22 13:36:00

Losing from being 3-1 up with three minutes to play must take some beating for a low ebb. I wonder did the Crewe fans ever feel it was won? I recall once travelling south to a friends stag-do listening to the fading Radio Scotland signal evaporate as I listened to the commentary of Celtic v Partick Thistle. Thistle were 1-0 up with two minutes to play but I didn't think it was won. Even when we scored a second in tha last minute the thought that went through my head was not "We've won it now" but rather "I can't see us losing now". Lowest ebb as a Thistle fan was probably 1996 when we were 40 seconds from retaining our SPL status before Dundee Utd equalised and went on to win in extra time. I was in the United end as I had agreed to take my United supporting nephew. Still doesn't match Alex Irani though.

Comment by owlzat? 2010-04-22 17:31:43

Being a fan is basically an unfulfilling occupation. If your team's struggling you're miserable, if they're doing well you want them to be doing a little bit better. I think the only time a fan is completely satisfied is in the immediate aftermath of a victory.

Comment by ian.64 2010-04-23 08:27:57

"Feeling sorry for someone who makes a long fruitless journey is one thing. But feeling sorry for someone who wants a tattoo of a certain player? Or gambles away his mortgage? Are we meant to take pity on their foolishness?"

They deserve nothing but hilarity of the most sour kind. I remember that bloke's tattoo and it was a large and very detailed design, if I recall (good enough for it to be featured on one of those telly specials telling bad-luck stories) and it was a safe bet that its owner was looking forward to endless beery, cheery displays of boorish physical exhibitionism in pubs and stadia up and down the land, season after season. Lookatme, lookatme, Igotthistattooonmythigh!. The sap. Like the bloke who threw away his money on the Spurs game, they seem to be examples of those gits who make some cavalier attempt to prove that football is far more important than other, much more vital concerns.

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