I hope you don’t mind my informality. But welcome to Manchester, I hope you enjoy your stay. Help yourself to the complimentary Champions League games and please ignore the 20,000 empty seats.
I don’t mind telling you, it’s been emotional. For a while I wondered if you were coming, and that little tummy bug you had certainly didn’t help. I’m glad you’re over it now though. So off you go, from the North West’s second most deluded set of fans to the north west’s smallest, most facially hairy set. Take the money out of it, go on, try – and you’ve basically joined Manchester’s Tranmere.
However, we’re one big family here in Beswick. Not like the Liverpool one perhaps. Our flags aren’t as big, our fans don’t suck the ball into the net, we haven’t had many famous European nights yet, and we don’t possess their famous sense of humour, much of which has been in evidence on social media sites in recent days.
But nevertheless, we do alright. No death threats from us, unless you don a toupee and run the club into the ground. No doubt there’ll be a new breed of fan infiltrating the old guard at City, as happens at any club with new found success, those who are only there for the trophies and won’t be there to help fight for more if they show any signs of drying up. This of course wasn’t a problem you had to face during your time at Liverpool. But they’ll always have more fans, which makes you wonder why you moved. I mean, being booed in an England shirt in Ireland is surely just part of growing up? We won’t boo you anyway – you could go and play golf in Argentina for 6 months, we don’t care.
I guess the team you’ve just left are like a Liverpool version of United. It’s all about the history, which your old team had more of than anyone else despite being founded after City (well the old City anyway), winning your first European trophy three years after City, and your first FA Cup a mere 61 years after the plucky Citizens. Oh and the League Cup 11 years after City, but let’s not be petty now.
That’s not important though, it’s what happened in the 1970’s & 1980’s that matters. Still, when you’ve won the Joan Gamper trophy, we’ll talk.
Have no doubt though, you’re leaving a lot behind. Liverpool fans have not forgotten the heights of the best three weeks you had with them, during the second half of the 2013-14 season. They’ll never forget it, mostly due to the endless books released after the season ended. They’ll never forget lining Anfield Road as the team bus drove slowly down it through banners dripping with references to the club’s great history and thick smoke from all the pyro as fans sang their hearts out and showed everyone on that team bus exactly what the club is all about. Banners and pyro – do you really want to swap that just for a lot more money and endless silverware? Anyway, Jordan Ibe is better than you, and Liverpool are going to loan him out to Crystal Palace to prove that.
You see, Liverpool football club, and I’m welling up just typing those words, is all about its fans, unlike any other club in world football, which is not about its fans at all. These fans fought for the club when you were still at school, on the beaches, on the landing grounds and in the fields, though mostly on internet message boards, and they chipped in to help you with your CSA payments and everything.
Be wary that you are giving up the backing of the cabal of Liverpool “legends” that control the national media. I just hope they don’t start being nasty to you now, or start claiming you’re not very good, but I doubt they’d stoop that low. Just remember that City don’t have this backing in the press – even Niall Quinn hates us, after we nicked his disco pants for the club museum. And as for Danny Mills…
But that Liverpool lot will be on your back – Jamie Carragher now says you ain’t all that, well at least I think he did, it was mostly phlegm and the noise of a dolphin mating, but Mark Lawrenson definitely thinks you’ve made a mistake, though I fell asleep 30 seconds after he started talking. John Barnes has changed his tune more than the world’s most indecisive DJ, and I’ve heard Cilla Black ain’t too happy either. Let’s hope Gerry’s pacemaker holds out.
But you should be thankful that you have helped your old club out. Yes a bit of your transfer fee will go to QPR, but that still leaves a sizeable chunk that I just know Brendan Rodgers will spend wisely. I’ve already heard about possible big money swoops for Tom Cleverley, Chris Smalling and Niklas Bendtner. Exciting times.
Owners, managers, coaches and players come and go, some leave on better terms than others, some leave more of a mark than others. In five years’ time will Liverpool fans have much they remember you for in a Red shirt? Nothing you’d like to be remembered for anyway. You know, like winning stuff, competing for major honours, or being brain-washed into thinking that leaving the club is always a backwards step. Besides, by then Liverpool will have its own heroes, like Devran Lovren, whose old club cruelly tried to hamper his career, forcing him to go on strike, or Jon Flanagan. And they’ll always have Stevie G, who was wise enough not to ignore the death threats and thus stayed where he was.
So good luck at your new home. Sorry it isn’t falling apart like your old one, but the council look after their tenants over at the Etihad. You’ll never walk alone, but you may stand alone, without a dream in your heart.