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Freakin' Liverpool, freakin' Manchester City.....

POSTED March 15, 2014
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson



            Freakin’ Liverpool. Freakin’ Manchester City. Freakin’ Chelsea. Welcome to my house on a Saturday morning.

            Hey, we like England and we love London. But this isn’t a geographical assessment. Never been to any of those cities and I’m sure they all have their fair share of nice blokes, a lot of bangers and mashers and talley-hos and and things to captivate. Hey, who doesn’t know the Beatles were lads from Liverpool.

            I don’t know exactly what happens in the Chelsea or Manchester City but I’m sure something goes on.

            No, this is all about soccer. Oops, excuse me, futbol. And it is more about my son than me although he is s-l-o-w-l-y reeling me in. All the sudden he has become a major Barclay’s Premier League mega-fan.  Frankly my exposure to the name Barclay’s has been what Phil Mickelson wears on his golfing gear.

            However now that NBC is televising games from across the pond, futbol has gone from No. 3 on my son’s want to play list to maybe No. 1 or 2. Frankly like all 14-year-olds he goes with the season, but soccer, (hey, I’m American and that’s what it is called here) so I’m going with it, has had a meteoric rise on his interest ladder.

            So Saturday mornings have become a mandated period of time with Sports Center on ESPN, but after the first round of results and bad humor the inevitable, “Hey dad change it to (channel 146),” rolls out with regularity.

            So off we go to places like Old Trafford and other staid England venues to spend some time with teams like the above and Hull City, West Ham, and the Tottenham Hotspurs.  We even get teams like Bayern Munich and Real Madrid once in a while. Jon doesn’t just watch he knows.

            He knows the standings which have his shorts out of sorts this year and all the stats. He knows Messi’ and Robin van Persie and Rooney and all the biggies. I think he even knows how much Rooney paid for the nice toupee or weave his wearing these days.  Meanwhile, I’m getting the hang of it all, s-l-o-w-l-y.

            I mean in the past if you said Rooney to me I thought Mickey. If you said Messi’ I thought of my desk. I know Wayne Rooney and he can play. He has a bicycle kick on You Tube that is unearthly. If you said van Persie I would have said who. I mean I know Van Morrison, Van Gogh and Dick Van Dyke, but not the smooth-haired van Persie.

            He gets mildly irritated with me because I do not follow as closely and come across in his world as having the brain cells of a rock sometimes. But he tolerates and educates. Of course he doesn’t like the idea of having to walk to school either.

            This season has been upsetting to him because his team is Manchester United. Maybe the most famous sports franchise in the world, the Red Devils have won 20 league titles and 11 FA Cups (how about that Jon?).  They are the New York Yankees of the rest of the world.

            This season they are the New York Yankees of the late 1960s. A skunk smells better. Of course everything is relative.  The record is 14-8-6 (gasp!) not exactly reason to call for a Scotland Yard to do an investigation but only good for sixth place (gasp again?).

            So he’s a little frustrated. Understand he has a couple of official Manchester United jerseys the ones that print the name in letters about the size of Texas of the advertisers not the team. Okay, I have to get used to that. Be honest though, would you rather see  the team name on the front or Up with Viagra?

            Jon is so immersed in the Red Devils that he recently asked me to buy him a book on Sir Alex Ferguson, considered by many to be the greatest manager ever in British football, who coached Manchester United for 27 years. Sorry he was the manager. I’m learning terminology too.

            Jon read the 350 page tome although I don’t know the grade he got on the report which he did for his English teacher Martin Giroux who is a big Arsenal fan. I think he flunked. He impressed dad, though. I have been trying to get him to read Chip Hilton stories for a couple of years and he looks at me like I fell off the turnip truck.

            But, it has become a passion now. So Saturday mornings we grunt at one another, he with his apple juice, dad with his coffee. We flip on the game of the week and watch and listen. I kind of like the games because the atmosphere is always up. The enthusiasm can’t be missed, a lot of singing sounding like solid pint-produced passion. The play speaks for itself.  

            I admit I would like to see a game. Soccer or football or futbol has never been high on my list, although way back in the day Pele’ caught my interest and Maradona and Chinaglia. This looks like it might be worth the while.

            At two touchdowns with extra points old, I don’t know if Jon has a bucket list but I know he wants to go a game one day. I think he will get there.

He knows that a lot of the really good European clubs are playing a tournament here in the states this summer. I went through the schedule and Manchester United is playing AC Milan at FedEx Field in late July.

With approval of my wife I mortgaged the house and sold a car and auctioned off one of our cats and we have three tickets. He can take out a loan and pay me back later or finish college in three and a half years, his choice. In the meantime, he is going.

Until then and after then, Saturday mornings will continue to be - `Freakin’ Liverpool, Freakin’ Manchester City, Freakin’, Freakin Chelsea’ and I’ll even throw in Freakin’ Arsenal for him (they’re pretty good too.).   

See, I’m learning. S-L-O-W-L-Y.

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