This first appeared on Surreal Football.
The English Premier League is full of Very Important Meaningful derbies, and the Merseyside Derby of Everton vs Liverpool is one of them. Personally I love a good derby. It takes dumb assholes and raises their rage, self-righteousness, and pomposity levels to feverish heights. I enjoy watching people lose their shit.
So! This time around the Toffees had a rough time of things, as I suspect is often the case, since Liverpool is a much more heavily marketed global brand.
Because I live in America, it’s Saturday, and I’m lazy, I didn’t wake up early enough to see the first twenty minutes or so. However, just as I tuned in, Everton’s Jack Rodwell was walking off the pitch. Moments ago he’d been shown a red card for a challenge against Liverpool’s Luis Suarez in which he’d gotten the ball as the Uruguayan flew majestically through the air. Suarez had conned referee Martin Atkinson, basically. He does that sort of thing a lot. Such a professional.
Twitter exploded with abuse for both the Uruguayan and the ref, and I didn’t really care either way, but I feel like that effectively killed the game as a competitive spectacle. Rodwell is maybe Everton’s best player and the guys in the blue shirts had no real center, or spine, or edge, or bite, or whatever you want to call it, without him. This on top of being down to ten.
It dragged on and on, and then Suarez cleverly extracted a penalty, that Dirk Kuyt, whose nickname is apparently Deadly Dirk even though Killer Kuyt is obviously much better, went to take. Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard wasn’t having it though, and decided to go America all over everybody’s ass. For Democracy. For Liberty.
The crowd at Goodison Park were chanting “USA! USA! USA!” just like I was! It was pretty cool. The UK really needs to get its acronym game together if it wants to make a crowd-scream slogan to compete with the best.
Anyway, just before half time Charlie Adam hit a lovely long range strike that beat Howard but hit the crossbar.
The commentators frequently–and I mean every few sentences–discussed Steven Gerrard of Liverpool of the English Premier League’s presence on the bench and how important he could be, how dangerous and game-changing, if/when he came on as a substitute.
In what I’m willing to call poetic justice, it was a different sub–Craig Bellamy–that made the difference, breaking the deadlock with an assist for 35-million pound Big Man Andy Carroll. [UPDATE: Actually it was left back Jose Enrique, my bad.] Confession: I often daydream about sneaking up behind Carroll and cutting off his stupid ponytail with a pair of comically large scissors.
Suarez scored Liverpool’s second goal when there were a few minutes left. To be honest, I wasn’t really paying attention anymore, as it was snack time.
At some point people in the crowd starting throwing things, which while a lot of fun is pretty dangerous and should probably be discouraged. One projectile hit assist-man Craig Bellamy, who just seemed to laugh it off. I like Craig Bellamy alright, seems an interesting enough guy.
Let’s play Good Day Bad Day: Good day for Dalglish. Bad day for Everton. Good day for Suarez. Bad day for Atkinson. Good day for gamesmanship and the sense of corporate fuckery (“cheat as much as you can get away with”) that gets more and more prevalent in professional sports each season. Bad day for sportsmanship and honor.