Señor Benitez - meet the Twelfth Man
Posted by Roddysul on December 9, 2004, 12:38:02 AM
Well - looks like the latest player to return from a long spell of absence has finally made an appearance at Anfield for Rafa the Gaffa. Having made a cameo appearance for the last 10 minutes against Arsenal, the Twelfth Man was on from the start tonight.
From an impressive pre-kick-off rendition of YNWA, a healthier than usual display of banners and flags, and a fans instigated mosaic remembering the fans of both clubs killed in tragic accidents at games, it looked from the off that this was going to be a game when he might play a part.
It had all the hallmarks of a classic Anfield Euro night - a must win game - effectively it was as if we were in the good old knockout competition of the old European Cup, having lost the away leg 1-0 in Greece. There was more than just a hint of St Etienne about the game even before it started. As the game kicked off all four sides of Anfield were belting their lungs out - yes even the blanket and flask carriers in the Paddock!
Then Rivaldo (enjoy the UEFA cup, fella) did his thing and we were behind. Ah bugger. I'd be lying if I wasn't thinking to myself where I might be visiting in the UEFA Cup - but I carried on singing and so did the Twelfth Man.
Half time gave us the news that the score in Spain wasn't good (monaco already 3-0 up at Deportivo) so we really needed three goals - bit of a mountain to climb but I've seen it done before.
The Twelfth man chipped in with a rousing rendition of YNWA at the end of half time - if ever there was a time we needed it, this was it. The rest as they say is already written into the legends archive.
The Twelfth man stayed on its feet all night (in perfect safety) and after the game the delirium could be heard in the streets around Anfield for an hour after the final whistle had been blown. The Twelfth man had truly returned.
This will have been the first time that not only Rafa but a large contingent of the players will have witnessed a night like this at Anfield. They will have seen first hand exactly what these nights mean to us and I'm sure tonights game will make them hungry for more of the same. Anybody visiting Anfield for the first time tonight (Greek fans included) could not fail to have been impressed.
Welcome back twelfth man - hope you don't leave it so long next time.© Roddysul 2004
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