The last few days of Champions League play have seen some of the most exciting football I can remember in a long time.
But, perhaps the thing that will stay with me the longest is Klopp’s pregame statement. With his team facing a seemingly insurmountable three goal deficit to the mighty Barcelona, he promised that Liverpool would win or “fail in the most beautiful way”.
I am no fan of Liverpool or Tottenham, my default attitude towards both teams is to cheer for a loss. But, as the comebacks seemed possible I could not help but get swept up in the emotion of the moment and find myself rooting against my instincts and hoping for the comebacks to be complete.
These two teams, teams that I don’t like, won me over to their side thanks to their fighting spirit and refusal to accept defeat. Like a Russian rooting for Rocky Balboa, I couldn’t help myself and applauded my enemies.
the most shocking thing of all is that I don’t feel at all guilty about it. Nor
should anyone else who found themselves swept up in the wave of excitement.
Because, this is ultimately what football is all about, it’s about the passion.
At least that’s what it’s about to me. This doesn’t seem to be true of all fans though. I’ve heard many times from Palace fans that we should be happy with this season because our point total will be one of our highest ever. Or because we’ve created a lot of attempts. Or because we’ve won a lot of headers.
But a successful season isn’t just about the points on the board or even the position on the table. If it was only a matter of statistical accumulation I’d follow the stock market instead. Making it only about numbers makes the badge on the front meaningless. I would follow City if I was just a fan of big numbers.
But I follow Palace because there’s something about the club that stirs a passion inside of me. It’s not something I can quantify or analyze, but everyone who has ever felt it knows what it is. And this is what I want when I watch the team. I want to see some of that passion and desire reflected on the field. This means far more to me than anything that can ever be seen in a box score or on a heat map.
when someone tells me that I should be satisfied because of the stats we’ve
achieved I honestly have no idea what they’re talking about.