LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 14, 2021: Liverpool and Real Madrid players stand for a moment's silence to remember the victims of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster on the eve of the 32th anniversary before the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and Real Madird CF at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool may be out of the Champions League, but perspective is everything

With the 32nd anniversary of Hillsborough landing the day after Liverpool’s exit from the Champions League, Steven Scragg highlights the need for perspective among fans.

Perspective is important to me.

When times are good, I am keeping a watchful eye open for the banana skin up ahead. When dark clouds gather, I seek the glimmer of hope, and the totally inappropriate element of humour, in order to lighten the mood.

I’ll analyse patterns and recognise familiar tangents that have been encountered before, yet I will refuse to follow fashions and trends.

A collection of snapshot images makes up the landscape of the mind. I’ll see something new, then from that photo album of the mind will come an image of something similar from the past.

Parallels can then be drawn, and an esoteric link will spring from the subconscious, be it a plastic bag in an updraft or Bobby Ewing reappearing in Pam’s shower, a year after being ruthlessly mown down by his sister-in-law, Katherine Wentworth.

Yes, I really have written in-depth about both of those concepts upon the pages of This Is Anfield.

April 17, 1989, floral tributes are placed by soccer fans at the 'Kop' end of Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, England, on April 17, 1989, after the Hillsborough April 15 tragedy when fans surged forward during the Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium killing 96 people. (Picture by: Peter Kemp / AP/Press Association Images)

Observation naval gazing, I suppose it could be classed as. A search for the absurd maybe, which is rooted in being a month shy of my 15th birthday when I went to Hillsborough, for the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

It was an experience that left the deepest of impressions, and left Liverpool FC as simultaneously the most and least important thing in my life, until I found my soulmate and my children were born.

In life and football, nothing is ever new. It is simply recycled from things that have gone before.

This heavily replayed record of mine gets stuck once a year though, on and around April 15. This is even more so when the sun is shining, just as it was at this precise moment 32 years ago. April 15 is infinitely easier to deal with when the weather is awful.

The anniversary of Hillsborough should always reset us. It should be a moment when the inner voice tells you to stop howling at the moon, if just for a day.

That last defeat doesn’t really matter; the fumbled opportunity from the previous evening really shouldn’t provoke the levels of anger you feel. There is no need at all to throw projectiles at a passing vehicle.

I can’t even begin to consider what place you reach, when the seed of an idea germinates that what you simply must do is to log on to your favoured form of social media in order to racially abuse somebody who plays for the team you support.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 14, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah shoots during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and Real Madird CF at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As disappointing as an exit from the Champions League quarter-finals was last night, it isn’t the end of the world. We created chances that we should have taken, but didn’t, while Zinedine Zidane went a bit Sam Allardyce, in terms of a pragmatic approach.

Real West Bromwich Madrid will now face Chelsea in the semi-finals and the very best of luck to them. See, something absurd…

It doesn’t really matter, and with a bit of luck we’ll have another pop next season – or the season after that, in the event of us not finishing in the top four of the Premier League this time around.

I was unsettled more by the news of the attack on the Madrid coach on its approach to Anfield. Especially at this time of year, it is not just unacceptable.

It’s small-time behaviour. We are Liverpool, and we’re better than that. Or at least we should be.

Back our team to the hilt but respect our opponents, unless they disrespect us. The rule was always that we’d never set out to pick a fight, but that we’d rise to one if required and end it if challenged, whether that is the wanton attempted destruction of the club we love by its previous owners or the government’s shameful inaction over the Hillsborough Disaster.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 12, 2019: Liverpool supporters take photos of team bus arrive with their smart phones before the final FA Premier League match of the season between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We’re Not English, We Are Scouse is a state of mind, rather than geography. You are allowed to buy into that ethos, wherever you’re from.

Carry on along the path of attacking our European visitors, though, and we’ll soon be one short step away from lobbing plastic chairs around picturesque piazzas and waging war against water cannons.

What was that other banner? What We Achieve in Life Echoes Through Eternity. In both positive and negative terms, everything that happens in the name of Liverpool FC creates a domino effect like no other club.

Yes, enjoy life, yes, love the team, but there’s no need to be a complete and utter arse when going about your activities.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 14, 2021: Floral tributes left at the eternal flame memorial for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough Disater pictured before the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and Real Madird CF at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Thirty-two years ago, life ended abruptly for 96 Liverpool supporters, their right to enjoy life and to love their team needlessly taken from them.

In our contemporary situation, while we wait impatiently for the chance to click through the turnstiles once more, there will be supporters of every club that won’t have the opportunity to return. I’ll see it as a privilege to be back.

Introspection at this time of year is vital, and perspective is everything.