30 years of hurt, shattered dreams and near misses are over: A letter from a Liverpool fan
What a day to be a long-suffering Liverpool fan.
Since Liverpool FC's championship champagne was put on ice for more than three long months, the club's rivals and detractors have played a game of 2Ds – deny and devalue.
First, deny: The league season has to be declared null and void, some cried, as football was no longer important when thousands are dying.
Former Man United player Rafael, Newcastle legend Alan Shearer and West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady, to name a few, said there was no other way to conclude the season.
Shearer said: "As harsh and as horrible as that would be for some clubs, none more so than Liverpool, it is the only outcome."
Devalue: Early in the season, the ridiculous LiVARpool brigade claimed there was a conspiracy by the Premier League to award the Reds undeserved video review decisions.
Then when the season was interrupted in March, Man United legend Gary Neville declared that there would always be an asterisk next to Liverpool's title win this season if the season was curtailed. "If that’s the case, there are plenty of questions that need to be answered," he said.
Others lamented that Liverpool's dominant lead over the rest of the Premier League deprived football fans of the drama of a final-day title endgame like the previous season.
Some even said that a "failure" to go the entire season unbeaten like Arsenal did in the the 2003–04 season would take the shine off this title triumph. With seven games to go Liverpool have already won the league and more Premier League games (28) than Arsenal did in their Invincibles season (26).
After the drab 0-0 draw at Everton – their first EPL match since the lockdown in the UK – one critic wrote that Liverpool could limp their way to the finish line after firing on all cylinders for most of the season.
The only D-word that has come to pass is delay – history delayed, not history denied. Is there a more deserving Premier League champion than Liverpool, especially after the heartbreak of losing out so narrowly on the prize last season?
This season, Juergen Klopp's Mighty Reds have answered every doubter's questions and fulfilled every believer's dreams.
Klopp said before the Premier League resumed last week that this has been the most difficult year and season to become champions" and that "whoever will be champions at the end, it will be historical because it is a year that we will never forget."
He added: “It is historic now more than ever. Give us an asterisk. Yes. Do it.
“Because it is the most difficult season ever and the only difference is there is quite a points gap between us and other teams.
“What people outside make of it, I couldn’t care less. It’s just for us."
Nail on head. Liverpool fans don't care about what could have been -- we've had enough of being called bottlers and nearly men. Neither are we bothered by taunts about only having our history to sing about.
This Liverpool side has had to live with the weight of a 30-year-old millstone around its neck, an unbearable burden that has sunk not a few LFC teams in the past.
These are players who have reached the summit in an era of superhuman athleticism, near-bottomless investment by oil sheikhs and Russian oligarchs, unprecedented competitiveness due to war chests bloated by TV riches, in a modern tactical game played with relentless pace and unforgiving scrutiny.
And in a league season interrupted by a disease which threatened to invalidate all their Herculean efforts.
All Liverpool's previous title-winning teams have never had to go against so much to win.
This victory is for the Liverpool supporters who witnessed the last championship all those decades ago and did not live to see this one.
It is for the 96 who tragically died in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
For the fans who were not even born when the old Football League Division One trophy was presented to the 1990 title-winning side for the 18th time – like my two sons.
For the long-suffering faithful – like myself –who have endured 30 years of hurt, shattered dreams and near misses, despite some truly memorable highs (Istanbul, Madrid and Doha, for instance) along the way.
This is the Holy Grail we've thirsted for all these years, and just like the artifact in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, it will grant eternal life (in football's hall of fame) to our manager, players and staff.
We are the champions.
And now you're gonna believe us.