No More Hero's Any More? Someone forgot to tell Ray Osbourne 'Shanklyboy'.

Posted by The 92A on February 3, 2011, 03:36:52 PM

I wrote this before Ray Osbourne 'Shanklboy' passed away I'm posting it in tears as a tribute.
Walking down a shabby corridor that has seen better days, you come to a turn and suddenly you are confronted with a sign ‘Critical Care Unit’. A surreal, sterile world, where patients are attached to machines that takeover the fundamentals of life. Here you’ll find Ray, a Liverpool fan relying on these machines and the dedicated staff to help him recover from a bout of Swine flu. Ray an old school fan is sedated and isn’t aware of the recent transfer goings on, for him Fernando Torres is still ‘Liverpool’s Number 9’.

When the Kop unfurl the banner bearing the taunt ‘We’ve seen things, you’ll never see’ this could be written for fans like Ray who’ve seen  the beauty and glory but have also witnessed the tragedy and pain associated with following Liverpool FC the past forty years. Fans like Ray are the antithesis of the kneejerk fan reared on a diet of Sky News cliché. They intuitively embody ‘The Liverpool way’ without consciously realising or claiming to. If you were to try to tell them this, you’d be confronted with ridicule, which quickly would make you want to retract.
As football fans we put our hopes into players but Liverpool’s not about Torres,  Carroll or Gerrard, it’s about us the fans. At the end of the day we’re the ones that stay loyal to the club, for most players football is merely a well paid job, earning as much in a month as an intensive care nurse will earn in a lifetime. We try to hide this reality from ourselves in a quest for heroes but every so often an event comes and punches a hole in our complacency. One such event is the behaviour of Fernando Torres in the past week.

Torres left his boyhood club for medals after Rafa Benitez had taken us to two European cup finals in a three year period. He did this with honesty and dignity that endeared him to both sets of supporters. Here was someone different, someone who married loyalty with an ambitious quest to prove himself at the highest level. He fell in love with Liverpool and Liverpool fell in love with him. Like the breakup of any relationship it is easy to redefine the past with the bitterness of the present but make no mistake our love was both real and mutual but by his actions, he is the one who will lose out the most.

Hicks, Gillette and Purslow,’s  custodianship was to divide and poison our club, no doubt Torres was on the end of false promises and the dressing room reflected their mess. It’s understandable, that a breakdown of trust has a way of festering long after the cause has been removed.  As fans we could accept his departure but it is the way he left us that will destroy his legacy not his departure. If he’d gone at the end of the season, explaining our rebuilding would come too late for his desire for medals, we’d have been upset but his legacy would be intact. He’d have been welcomed back like a hero for the rest of his life.

In his disillusionment with people at the club and his position, he forgot that what made his time special was his relationship with the fans and when he retires and reflects on his medals, there will be a gap he can’t fill because his time with us has been a waste because he forgot what many footballers never experience the true respect of the fans.

Whatever happens on Sunday, Liverpool have turned a corner. Dalglish knows how he wants us to play and we have new owners. John Henry might be new to football but he is proving to be a classy fella, he has just sent a get well message to Ray and his family. In doing that he gives me hope for the future because Liverpool’s true hero’s are not fickle idols but true hero's like Ray.

Over 4 years RIP Ray you're missed mate!

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