As it is Easter Sunday today, I thought it apt that I write an article with religious connections.
Now, I'm not exactly a religious guy, but I couldn't think of anything to write about that was connected with the real meaning of Easter (those delicious chocolate eggs), so you'll have to make do with the next best thing!
So here it is: The Parable of Liverpool Football Club.
The Book of Houlding
In the beginning, darkness ruled the land. Even the spiritual home of Anfield wasn't free from the reach of that darkness. As the darkness lingered on, misery began to spread and rifts began to form.
Suddenly, the owner of Anfield, John Houlding, decided to create something great. He said "Let there be light," and there was light. Houlding saw the light and that it was good. He decided to separate the light from the darkness.
He named the light Liverpool and the darkness, which had previously occupied Anfield, Everton. The light would go on to outshine the darkness for eternity.
This is the start of the Liverpool Bible. The Book of Houlding. It charters the beginnings of the greatest English football club of all time.
From the beginning of that book to the latest chapter in the book of Benitez, Liverpool have built up a magnificent story. Through the books of Shankly, Paisley, Fagan, and Dalglish there were many high points, and many lows.
The Book of Dalglish - Hillsborough
One such low occurred on April 15, 1989. It is an event simply known as "Hillsborough." People died in the public eye. The authorities were largely to blame. It bore similarities to the death of Jesus almost 2000 years before.
Unlike Jesus' death, however, it didn't take just one "Messiah" to save everyone, it took the lives of 96 heroes. Their deaths, although tragic, led to regulations that could potentially save hundreds of lives in the future.
Without knowing it, they had made the ultimate sacrifice.
A few years after that fateful day, the son Liverpool had loved for so long left them—the league title. That prodigal son is yet to return, but it has now lost all of its friends (Blackburn, Arsenal, and Chelsea), and is left working with the pigs (Manchester United). How long before it returns home?
Sooner rather than later, surely.
The Book of Houllier
Along the way, many have tried and failed to help return the prodigal son. St. Michael (Owen) had a go, but was unsuccessful. He gave us some great moments in trying, however.
He was almost solely responsible for the greatest comeback since Lazarus in the 2001 FA Cup final, and played a key role in the Holy Trinity (2001 Treble), alongside Steven Gerrard and God himself (Robbie Fowler).
The Book of Benitez
A miracle that eclipses even that occurred just four years later, however, as people lined the streets of Istanbul and even climbed to the tree-tops to see Steven Gerrard lift the holy grail (the Champions League).
Thousands more followers welcomed the triumphant heroes home.
This was followed a year later by another amazing event—Steven Gerrard the saviour again as Liverpool lifted the FA Cup.
To this day, the 12 Liverpool disciples (the 11 on the pitch and the manager) give everything they have for the club. And each and every one of the Liverpool fans support the team, even when they seem to be down and out. When a player is struggling, injured, or in need of help, the Liverpool crowd helps them.
They are the Good Samaritans.
They always remind everyone from John Houlding to Rafael Benitez, from Robbie Fowler to Michael Owen, from the 39 who died at Heysel to the 96 that died at Hillsborough, the moral of the story:
You'll Never Walk Alone.