Football has been a part of my life since I was a baby. As with many things in life, its importance has waned and blossomed as I have grown, but has remained a constant part of me. My first link to football was through a photograph of me as a baby held by an ex-football player called Emlyn Hughes at a book signing. He played for Liverpool F.C., which is my father’s favourite football team in the U.K. I never met Mr Hughes again, and since he passed away in 2004 I never shall, but that moment cemented the importance of football in my life.
Liverpool F.C. was the best team in the England and Europe. That winning streak was coming to an end, and from 1991 Liverpool went through a drought of only one trophy in ten years. When you are a child in the playground you prefer the winning team, and unfortunately that wasn’t Liverpool anymore. I was teased mercilessly but I stuck with them through thick and thin. There were some highlights in this dark time: the 1998 World Cup, Michael Owen, and winning three trophies in 2001 but nothing could prepare me for 2005 Champions League Final in Istanbul.
Liverpool had always been an amazing club in European football, having won the top trophy four times. In 2005, Liverpool had once again reached the Europe final; it had been nearly 20 years since they had been in the final. It was a chance to relive the glory years, a chance for redemption for the years of teasing and a hope that was shared with so many others. The final was tense, in the first 45 minutes the opposing team had scored three goals. All seemed lost. I was gutted, I thought it had ended but something amazing happened, the team captain spoke to his desolate team at the break and something changed. Suddenly there was new life in the team and quickly Liverpool scored and two more followed. The score was equal after 120 minutes of play. It was coming down to a penalty shootout. A penalty shootout is when five players from each team take turns to shoot at a goal, whoever scores the most will win. After an hour and half of play and 9 months of build-up, it had come down to ten shots. I was working at my father’s restaurant during the match; he had set a television so we could keep up with the results. Throughout the evening I had been popping in to check the score, but for those ten shots I forgot my customers. This was something much more important. Those ten shots were tense, exhilarating and horrible at the same time. The shots went in in the right order for Liverpool to claim the victory and I was ecstatic, alive and dancing.
Ten years later my love of Liverpool Football Club has not wavered; I attend matches regularly with my father and have merchandise across my room. Although we are not doing as well as we once did, all the doubts and upsets I had suffered before or since from the club were cast away because of that moment. My love of Liverpool Football Club has brought me joy and misery but has helped me become close with my dad and family and keeps an element of my girlhood alive today in my twenties.
Girl Museum Inc.