The Simple Things in Life

Every now and then something happens in our lives that make's us feel very unique within ourselves, in my case this was watching a football match. This was a very important game for me to watch as it was the team that I have supported for so long! In fact all my life I have been a Liverpool FC supporter, I have seen some great times and not so great times especially in the last few years. Yes! We won three trophies in one particular season and that was great but even then there was still something missing. With the history of this great football club Liverpool FC has the best record when it comes to winning the English League. They have won the European Cup more times than any other British Football team and on this day May 25th 2005 they would find themselves with another golden opportunity of clinching this wonderful Cup with the big ears, now called the Champions League trophy.

So there I was anticipating this match which had the elements of being a classic football spectacular. In one corner you had the mighty team from Italy, AC MILAN. With a star studied team of great soccer professionals from Paolo Maldini, Andriy Shevchenko and the talented new Brazilian play maker Kaka. In the other corner you had my team Liverpool, who somehow with an awful Premiership league campaign behind them where they could only finish fifth behind their city rivals Everton and miss out on an Automatic Champions League place for the following season but Inspired by two scousers, club captain Steven Gerrard and the irrepressible Jamie Carragher through out the season, found themselves in the most lucrative football match in world football. It was a dream not only for the players but for all the Liverpool fans all around the world to see this great football club back where it belonged, at the top of the ladder in world football. So on this night two great teams steeped in history battled for a place in history.

Going back to my day I rang a very good friend of mine and asked her if she wanted to watch the game with me at a local bar.she said, yes! It was to be her first time watching a game like this and she was very excited by it all because everyone was talking about it?so we met up the and walked down to the bar. As we entered we could see that the place was streaming with Liverpool fans but you did have the odd Milan fan or two hiding and keeping a low profile in the corner of the bar.So we found a nice spot to get a good view of the game and ordered some beers. You could feel the Anticipation of it all by the look of the Liverpool fans in the bar, some where very cheerful!.Others looked just happy to be there.

I was calm from the outside but on the inside I was a mess. The big screens on the walls which seemed bigger than they actually were had everyone's attention, even some of the bar staff would have a little peak at the screens, the place was buzzing.My friend took out her cigarettes and lit up one, she was lucky to have that comfort, all I wanted at that moment was my beer to arrive and the game to start. Then as we watched the Players came out, there was a loud cheer from the bar crowd and one set of lads starting to sing 'You'll never walk alone'.

I started to feel a little better and starting to sing along with them but only in my head. Then the game started and all I was thinking was that we must try to put as much pressure on the Milan players from the get go. Then we gave away an early free-kick but at that moment our beers arrived and the girl who brought it to us took my attention for a second or two and in that moment Milan had scored a goal?There was a hush of silence now from the bar and as I looked around I could see people in total shock at what had just happened. Me I was thinking that stupid left back of ours Djimi Traore is an awful player and not fit to wear the Liverpool shirt but he would later prove me and everyone wrong. My friend tried to give me some moral support by smiling and saying, don't worry I still think Liverpool will win?I just looked sternly towards the screen with distain.

The game was all Milan's; they were winning all the tackles, getting free-kicks in dangerous places. The Liverpool players look tired, unsure and beaten almost, it was not a pretty sight; they were chasing shadows it seemed. I just kept looking around the bar trying to ignore just what was happening and then it got worst.

What looked like a penalty to Liverpool was denied and within seconds Milan broke away and scored. Then just before the half time break Milan broke away once more and scored a third, by now everyone in the bar was silent and stunned but the odd Milan fans I mentioned earlier were singing away happily in the corner. I was gutted! I look at my friend and said, lets go? She looked at me and said, Ok! And as we walked out I looked back and glanced at my fellow supporters and hoped that Liverpool would not be embarrassed and come out in the second half and show some heart. As we walked home to my house I told my friend that I would cook for her and that we could watch the rest of the game at my place.We arrived at my home just as the second half was about to start, I turned on the TV and then took out a bottle of red wine, opened it and poured two large glasses and gave one to my friend.

She sat down and suddenly said, you know what Mark, 'It's never over until the fat lady sings'.I think Liverpool can still make a come back and win she added. I just looked at her again thinking this girl knows nothing about football because if she did she would know that Milan would never give away three goals to a team that they have just outplayed for 45 minutes and with their defensive nature it would be totally impossible for Liverpool to make a comeback. So I smiled at her and told her to drink her wine while I prepared the dinner. As I was cutting vegetables in my kitchen, I could hear her shouting at the TV, which was strange because she did not do this in the Bar. So I took a little peak for myself and noticed that Liverpool had made some changes, The German midfielder Dietmar Hamann was now on the pitch and this gave me some hope that Liverpool could keep the score decent at least.

But what it also did as well was make Steven Gerrard free to roam and move forward. Then there was another scream from my living room, my friend was jumping around I came in quietly and Liverpool had scored. It was Steven Gerrard, the change in tactic had worked, Liverpool seemed more up for this game now and the players looked different somehow but Milan remained confident then two minutes later the game turned on its head, the ball was played to Vladimir Smicer and he drilled the ball home from 20 yards and Liverpool where back in the game, I came running into the room screaming with joy at what had just happen. The air was electric once more, I could not leave the living room and all of a sudden the game changed again. The Milan players looked shell shocked because within a few minutes Liverpool was on level terms. Gerrard dashed into the Milan's penalty box and was fouled.

It was a certain penalty, at this point I was on my knees yelling at the ceiling. I am sure my neighbours could hear everything. Even my friend was jumping for joy shouting, I told you, I told you!!!.

She was right! She proved one thing to me and that was all the Soccer Pundits and I knew nothing about Football! Could they do it, could they actually win this match? No team had ever come back from three goals down to win a Champions League Final. I had to stop cooking at that point and told her that dinner will just have to wait and so we drank more wine and watched the rest of the match with our hearts in our mouths. It seemed that both of us had turns in screaming at the TV and this would continue right up until that now famous Jerzy Dudek 'Hand of God' save which denied Shevchenko the winner for Milan in the dying seconds of extra time.

We were both quiet and I had my head in my hands at that moment?The referee blew for full time and the game was over. At that point I had to get up and walk around the house, nervous like hell! I walked back into the living room, listening to the commentator remarking about how Liverpool had won on a penalty shoot out against Roma in 1984 and our goalkeeper at the time Bruce Grobballar saved two penalties by putting off the Roma players as much as he could and now it had almost seemed like deja vous.Who would be the villain and who would be the hero, it was now a lottery! I needed more wine so I opened up another bottle, my friend could not drink no more she was just adamant that Liverpool would win. She remarked, look at the Milan Players they don't look happy!.I had a look and noticed the same thing! They seem beaten before the first spot kick.She was right, our goalkeeper did everything he could to put off Milan's first spot kick taker Serginho and it worked! He missed, blazing the ball high over the bar.

It was our turn next and I was not worried because it was our Germany International Dietmar Hamann and as predicted he scored. I was calm but still nervous, it was their turn once more, surely they would score but once again Jerzy Dudek's antics on the goal line did the job and he saved very easily. We would be now 2-0 up if French International Striker Djibril Cisse would score and after suffering a broken Leg and missing most of the season he shows his class and calmly placed the ball to the right of Milan's Goalkeeper Dida's goal giving him no chance. It was in our hands now, just two more spots kicks and we would be Champions of Europe.

Kaka would score from his spot kick.then our hearts were in our mouths when our left mid-fielder John Arne Riise missed his spot kick, it was now 2-1 but still in our favour and before we knew it, Danish international Jon Dahl Tomasson made it 2-2.So up stepped the Czech Striker Vladimir Smicer, playing probably his last game for Liverpool FC and his best game ever in my mind for the team, he calmly slotted the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 3-2 to us?My friend and I was so tense, the room was silent apart from the TV. Then Milan's leading goal scorer stepped up to the plate, Andriy Shevchenko, the man who was denied the winner before the end of extra time.

As he approached Dudek threw him the ball, he look anxious and nervous and did not look confident. Somehow I knew he would miss and he did?For a split second my heart had stopped and I sanked to my knees and just started to scream with ecstasy, my dream had come true, the Players dreams were for filled! My football team had won. Life could not be any better?I was emotionally drained by it all and was sure all the people in the stadium, the viewers and all the millions of people around the world were too. My friend and I were just hugging each other and kissing. I kept saying, that its time to get drunk and forgetting that I was suppose to be cooking dinner for the both of us! So we continued to watch the rest of the coverage on the box and as Steven Gerrard lifted the trophy and the commentator shouted out 'Liverpool Are Kings of Europe' a tear came to my eyes. In that moment I was in wonderland just like those players.

As far as I was concerned they were Legends now no matter what they did for the rest of their lives, from this moment on they would always remember and treasure.I started to also think about all those who had lost their lives going to see Liverpool play, all the disasters that had occurred during football matches. My heart went out to them?its moments like this that makes it possible to see just why football is so important to the man and woman on the street. We relate to it in so many ways.

We support our teams because we choose to and win, lose or draw all the emotions that this sport and all the other sports may muster are worth it for moments like these. So when it was all over and as I tried to figure out what had just happened, one thing dawned on me and that was it's the Simple things in Life that I cherish the most and watching my team play is one of them.2005-06-04
By Mark J Stevensİ.

.28 years old Singer/Songwriter Mark.J.Stevens is slowly making a name for himself as one of the best new music talents coming out of the UK! Mark is currently putting the final touches to his debut recording Album. But in his spare time he writes articles and is also currently writing a play.

Mark says, 'Writing is a great way to release your emotions, sitting down at my PC and writing is one of my favourite things I like to do'. Watch out for this New Music Artist, we think he has a great future as a writer.

By: Mark J. Stevens

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