RAWK Advent Calender - Day 15 - Southampton 0-3 Liverpool 1/3/14

Posted by Welshred on December 15, 2015, 11:56:37 AM

I hadn’t been to many aways in the past, the excitement of it was still fairly new to me. I’d managed to get on the away ladder in the previous season’s League Cup with the West Brom game going to general sale. That got me a ticket to United away the following September, again in the League Cup. It wasn’t until January 2014 that I managed to fit in my first away game, the 3-5 victory over Stoke with thanks to Harinder, where I learnt what it was like to be stood next to the formidable ABJ and his famous England Cricket jacket. I was also starting to learn what you needed to do to get tickets for Premier League away days also, make contacts! These contacts helped me pad up my away day resume to 4 with Arsenal in the FA Cup a few weeks after we’d put 5 past them at Anfield.

Saturday 1st March 2014. The contacts also helped here as I had got a ticket through ABJ and his mates for Southampton away. I lived in rural mid-Wales at the time, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, and had to find a route to Southampton with the train looking likely. I’d been talking to Stevenash several times before through RAWK and with both of us going the match. “Come with me mate.” Stevie said, “It’ll only cost you 6 quid return on the train!” That was sorted then. 6 quid return…bargain! Turns out Stevie worked for First Great Western once or twice a year and because of that got full staff privileges including a certain amount of cheap train travel for friends and family travelling with him at the time. The away day thread was full of people telling us to sign up for the Yates Southampton newsletter to get their free burger and chips deal with a drink. So I did. Voucher printed off and I was sorted…ticket, train ticket and meal for under £50 – who said modern football was expensive?!

I arrived at Cardiff Central Station at 10am ready for the 10.30am to Southampton but had a problem – I had no ale for the train. Quickly sorted by a local friendly off license and I was ready to wait for Stevie. Whilst I was there I also bought a small can of deodorant, it was going to be a long day and I didn’t want to stink. He’d text – “will be there in 10” – great! 10 minutes went by – no sign. 15 minutes went by – no sign. 20 minutes went by – no sign. ‘Where the fuck is he?’ I thought. Then I had another thought ‘What the fuck does he look like?!’ I had a flash back to my teens to a scrawny Welshred with braces awaiting the girl I’d arranged to meet off the internet feeling nervous that I was meeting up with a psychopathic man. None of them were men, although some were close to looking like men, and all of them were psychos! I gave him a call “Where are you mate?” “By the statue outside the train station mate with Paul” FOR FUCK SAKE. The two guys who’d arrived 10 minutes earlier and were standing around waiting awkwardly for someone they’d never met were the same two guys I’d shared awkward glances with for 10 minutes whilst waiting for them. Anyway, introductions were had and we went for our train. The journey had begun.

Myself and Paul opened up our first tins of the day as the train pulled out of Cardiff Central. Stevie’s remained untouched, “I’ve got a rule that I don’t drink before midday, I get too fucked if I start drinking before midday!” Wise words, I thought, as I supped some more Carling. The train journey progressed. We’d talked about our run so far, the demolition of Arsenal and Everton at Anfield, the late win against Fulham, putting 5 past Stoke, beating Swansea 4-3 at Anfield in our last game before this one, scoring 17 goals in 4 matches before Christmas. In the league we’d only lost to Man City and Chelsea since losing to Hull at the start of December. We’d drawn twice against Villa and West Brom. We were on a fine run of form and looking extremely dangerous when going forward with Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling running rampant over the league. We were 4th in the league, 7 points behind leaders Chelsea. There’d been quiet murmurings of us being able to win the league. A short discussion and we’d dismissed it. We weren’t ready to go yet, we didn’t quite have the team. A Champions League place was enough success for this season.

The train journey progressed, the cans progressively thinning, the seats slowly filling the closer we got to Southampton. It was around 12.30 and Stevie had downed 3 cans in that time – apparently leaving the final can to last for the rest of the journey. From further down the carriage we heard to girls shout “SAINTS!!” at the top of their voices. “What did they say?” asked Stevie. “I think they shouted seats mate, to point out there’s seats around” I replied. “SEATS, SEATS EVERYWHERE, SEATS!!!!!” Stevie was fucked – despite his earlier promise. We arrived at Southampton Central shortly after 1pm which was great as I was hungry and needed another drink. It was still 4 and a half hours until kick off!

The few hours we spent in Yates were spent meeting up with people I’d met up with at previous aways and making new friends of course. ABJ was there, Stevie had gone to find weebroalan who was also in Yates. I ordered my burger and waited for it to come. A few more pints were had, a search of the pub conducted after I was tipped off John Barnes was in but was called off when I ran out of ale and needed another one. Songs were sung and talk of the match completed and we were off to the ground. Arsenal had lost to Stoke – GET IN! Win today and we can go second!!! St Marys is only a short walk from the bar but enough of a walk for Stevie to get a ciggie in. He tried a few times but failed to light it, the wind was too strong or it was too wet I can't remember. He needed help. In my pissed up state of mind I knew I could help, but he didn’t need to know I was going to help. He kept trying as I slowly removed the small deodorant can from my pocket, removed the cap and proceeded to spray as he tried to light it again. “ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! YOU FUCKING DICK, WHAT DID YOU DO THAT FOR?!” “Was only trying to help. Look, your fags lit now, it worked!” Which was true. What was also true was that his eyebrows were on fire a little also. Oops. A quick spray for myself and the can was put in the bin and we carried on to the ground. Stevie’s eyebrows had just finished smouldering when we got in the queue for the away end. A quick search off the stewards, a quick “If only your Mrs knew you were touching me like this” and we were in. It was Paul’s round, Stevie went to assess the damage and I waited, taking in my surroundings on the concourse and enjoying the prematch songs. This was disrupted by a small lad pointing at me saying “Dad, look!” over and over. Why was he pointing at me? What had I done?! What the fuck had Stevie done to me in revenge?! Turned out to be nothing, it was just because he recognised me and I knew him. “Alright John, Daniel, how was your journey up?” I had a little chat with hoppy_lfc before he made his way to his spec. Myself, Stevie and Paul waited for ABJ and the others to arrive before making our way to our spec, which was right by the Southampton fans.

The game kicked off. The reds were playing the midfield diamond that had worked so well for them since December. Mignolet was in goal, Flanagan at right back, Skrtel and Agger the central defenders with Johnson at left back. The midfield quarter was Gerrard at the base of the diamond, Henderson and Allen in the middle of it and Coutinho at the top. Suarez and Sturridge rounded it off. The travelling Kop was in fine voice. Mates stood with mates creating a massive amount of noise. I used the knowledge of my previous encounter with ABJ to ensure there were 4 or 5 bodies between me and him if we scored. 16 minutes in and the Reds had a chance. A throw in on the left to Suarez, he feeds Sturridge who loses it however it bounces around a little and Jose Fonte knocking the ball to Suarez who only had the keeper to beat. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!! The Uruguayan had put the Reds in the lead. There was pandemonium in the stands, my shins had taken a battering from the chair in front when jumping up and down and all off a sudden I’d been dragged to the ground. “YESSSSS, FUCKING GET IN!!!!!!!!” screamed ABJ whilst wailing his arms about ferociously, hitting several people in the face, legs, back. How the fuck had he got to where I was? Who cares? It’s 1-0!!!!!! Come on Redmen!!!

The rest of the first half turned out to be quite tense. Southampton had the majority of the possession with Adam Lallana hitting the post on 32 minutes. Morgan Schneiderlin saw an effort rise over the bar and Jay Rodriguez forced Mignolet into making a good change before the half time whistle went. The reds were 1-0 going into the break and it was time for another pint.

The second half kicked off approximately 15 minutes later. Brendan Rodgers was making a change. Raheem Sterling was replacing Philippe Coutinho at the top of the diamond. Somehow the person next to me had been replaced by ABJ, a little half time substitution of our own! ‘My poor shins and ribs’ I thought! I worked out a theory in my mind. 80 seconds later I got to put it to work. Gerrard works the ball in to Suarez who turns Lovren with the utmost of ease, his ball slid across the penalty area for Sterling to slide it into the net to make it 2-0! I jumped up flailing my arms out wildly, punching ABJ has he landed one on me. I shifted my body weight to jump into him, ‘If I’m going to go down I’ll make sure I’ve got a soft landing’ I thought pushing his wailing arms into those on the other side of him. Andy goes with it, falling in the opposite direction, taking 3 down with him and screaming wildly in their faces. I had managed to stay on my feet somehow. The plan had worked. Although my shins hurt more and my knees had joined in with them. Fucking seats!

Something magical was beginning to happen in front of our eyes. Slowly and quietly the chant started going “we’re guna win the league” but it got drowned out by other songs. Another go “we’re guna win the league” drowned out again. People didn’t want to tempt fate. Soon after we were singing Poetry in Motion for a good 10 minutes non-stop, the travelling Kop was in a joyous mood. Amidst all this someone tried again and it grew and it grew and it grew into a giant “WE’RE GUNA WIN THE LEAGUE, WE’RE GUNA WIN THE LEAGUE, AND NOW YER GUNA BELIEVE US, AND NOW YER GUNA BELIEVE US, AND NOW YER GUNA BELIEVE USSSSSSSSSSS, WE’RE GUNA WIN THE LEAGUE!!!” followed by “WE SHALL NOT WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED, WE SHALL NOT WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED, JUST LIKE THE TEAM THAT’S GUNA WIN THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE (AGAIN), WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED!!!!” Some say it happened to them after the Fulham game but I’d like to think a lot of people really started to believe that night. I know I did. I know when I thought ‘fuck it’ and started singing along. It was the first time I’d thought it. A quick look to my right and for some reason this had seriously pissed off the Southampton fans. I don’t know why but they really objected to us believing that our side was going to win the league. How dare we dream as our club was wrapping up its 8th win in 10 games to take us second in the league and 4 points behind the leaders? Utter muppets and further trips to the St Marys hasn’t proven me wrong. Anyway, back to the game.

I don’t really remember much about the rest of the match. I was having too much fun singing and bouncing around. A little into stoppage time and Suarez is given the ball with only Jose Fonte between him and the goalkeeper. He runs at him, he feints to go right but goes left, Fonte tugs him  as he enters the penalty area and he goes down. Penalty to Liverpool. Steven Gerrard steps up to score Liverpool’s third of the night. Operation Beat Up Andy Before He Beats Me Up had failed as I didn’t think he’d go so mental on a penalty to make it 3-0 in a match we’d already won. He did. Who cares? We were guna win the league!

The final whistle went and we made our way to the train station to get home. With some more ale. The train was full but soon emptied. Stevie and Paul thought this would be a good moment to play fight with each other. At some point Stevie was straddling Paul, yup you read that right, and his boxer shorts were in ripe wedgie position. This was too good an opportunity to miss. I snuck up on him, I grabbed the elastic of his boxers and I pulled up…riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip went the boxers as half of them came off in my hand. “WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!” shouted Stevie as he turned to see a great big tear in his boxers. Things settle down quickly though after that and the rest of the journey was rather uneventful. I had to make a choice of getting a taxi to my mums or getting my mum to come pick me up. I chose the latter. For some reason so did Stevie, as he scabbed a lift back to his off my mum saying “You fucking owe me!” I guess I did. We dropped Stevie off a little after midnight, he thanked me by saying “Thanks you fucking dickhead!” In front of my mum. Cheers mate. I guess he was still fucked! What a day!

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