Strange Times for Football

What an extraordinary couple of weeks it has been. I still am struggling to fully grasp what has taken place. It has been situation the likes of which I certainly have never experienced before.

Only two weeks ago Liverpool faced Atletico Madrid in what was despite the result, one of the most engaging games of the season. Little did we know at the time that it would be the last game in front of the raucous Anfield crowd for quite some time.

In one sense, the acceptance of the gravity of the situation has been startling. The European Championships were postponed a year to 2021 almost immediately and many other sporting events around the world have followed suit. The Premier League quickly released a statement saying that no football will be played until at least April 30th and if we’re being realistic there isn’t much chance of games taking place that soon either.

What hasn’t been as impressive is the reaction of the small portions of the general public. Social isolation isn’t some cruel joke that is being imposed on us out of spite or as a mere suggestion, it is a genuine health measure, a way of flattening the curve, and most importantly ensuring that the spread of this virus is curtailed as best we can. The behavior of some at moment is quite frankly unacceptable.

If you’re anything like me, sports of all kinds take over my life on a daily basis. While football is the one I miss the most, I can usually adapt to lack of football by watching another sport. Even when Liverpool take a break, I know that there will be internationals to watch, League of Ireland games to attend or watch Major League Soccer contests on television etc… That option is essentially out of the question in the current climate.

While this is a mild irritant to me, it is important to consider the lives of those who are involved in sport as a living. It is those who have nothing to fall back on at the moment. Many clubs and their staff will be struggling at this time and it is important to show support where possible.

Many top flight clubs are leading from the front in covering the wages of support staff for the next while. That is a massive gesture. There are also many players looking to give back to communities including the always humble left sided stalwarts at Anfield: Sadio Mané and Andy Robertson. James McClean and Seamus Coleman have also made notable donations in the past week and I imagine many other elite players will be doing the same in the coming days and weeks if they haven’t done so already.

There are countless examples of people giving back but it should never be enough. Smaller clubs will have a difficult few months ahead and any sort of creativity of fundraising should be encouraged. In Dublin for example, St Patrick’s Athletic are auctioning off vintage playing equipment to raise funds in a way which is also engaging and rewarding to their supporters.

I love Liverpool FC more than any team in the world but I have always tried to show support to local teams in my area whether that be Oud Heverlee Leuven and KV Mechelen in Belgium or teams like St Pats or Bohemians in Ireland. My motivation used to simply be my love of football but the cause has become even greater now.&

Whether the support shown is by ordering some merchandise from the club shop or waiting for the seasons to begin and finally attending some matches please do not hesitate. It is at times like these that the wider football community is hit the hardest. Every little bit truly helps.

In a more light hearted way of making up for the lack of live football, I suggest making the most of YouTube and take a look back at some of the great games/players we have seen over the years. I have recently looked back at videos of three of my favourite strikers of all time in Robbie Fowler, Daniel Sturridge and Fernando Torres and I can assure that you will not be disappointed.

Lastly, let’s all try our best to follow the rules set out by our respective governments so we can some sort of normalcy back in our lives as soon as possible…

After all…we still have a league to win!

YNWA

Ronan O'Rourke

Irish/Belgian. Lifelong Liverpool fan and eternal optimist. Always been a firm believer in the Kloppolution.

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