Why a South African Grows Up Supporting Liverpool FC

Why a South African Grows Up Supporting Liverpool FC
November 25, 2019 Chris Rowland
In Global Reds, Subscribers Only


Written by TTT Subscriber Saul Burman.

Warning to non-football fans: I’ve tried to minimise the football content in this post about football. My wife says I have failed dismally. She is right. I am not sorry.

I consider myself a rational being. My wife thinks that I’m too rational. Naturally, if you were perfectly rational, you would know that she could never be right about that. To labour a point, as one often needs to do, rationally speaking, it’s impossible to be too rational.

Not that I’m perfectly rational, of course. Not by a long way. My list of irrationalities is lengthy. Here are just a few:

Despite not being a practising Jew, I refused to eat pork, ham and chorizo for decades (not faintly rational and sadly, I lost decades of eating bliss that I’ll never recover).

I once made an error of logic in the early 2000s (yes, uncharacteristic, but an error is an error).

I support the Springboks at rugby despite their often dire style of rugby merely because I was born in the country they represent (although I’ve yet to hear them, I suspect there are some good arguments in favour of nationalism. Yes, we get to celebrate winning the World Cup every 12 years, but does that really warrant watching and supporting endless box-kicking, incohesive once-off runners and Faf de Klerk in his underwear?)

I despise self-help books unless they involve some sort of sport or game (why should I think a book can help you polish your skiing technique, your declarer play at bridge, your backgammon game or your golf swing, but not help you be a habitually highly effective person, get rich, win friends or steal cheese?)

Still, as egregious as all of the above examples are of my failures in rationality, none comes close to my four decades of support and love for Liverpool Football Club.

I have supported Liverpool for as long as I can remember and I can’t tell you why. What plausible, rational reason could there be for a South African, with no known links to Liverpool, faithfully and slavishly devoting his time and emotional energy over a period of decades to a team he’s never seen play in the flesh and from a city he’s never visited? Sure, I have my theories – I look good in red and always have (but then again, I look deceptively good in cartoon shirts and luminous orange tights too). Or perhaps I am somehow related to Bill Shankly – I love the phrase “bastion of invincibility” almost as if I had invented it myself (look it up, football ignoramuses). And if you don’t know who Bill Shankly is, maybe it’s best that you stop reading now…

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