"Football? Bloody hell!", as Bill Shankly once said.
By the final chapter of this book I was kneeling on the floor of my living room, floods of tears pattering onto my replica kit, wailing like a hysterical gibbon. My dogs, Rushie and Aldo, wailed in solidarity with me. They understood; my wife didn't. I felled her with a right hook.
Imagine if all you ever wanted was a carrot cake, and then, after 25 years without one, you see your most loyal friend walking towards your house smiling, carrying a carrot cake with your name on it. As he reaches your drive, he tumbles calamitously into a ditch. You rush out to find him writhing in agony amongst a cakey-muddy mess, a hungry raven pecking at his flesh. That is how we Liverpool fans feel about the 13/14 season (the raven is Tony Pulis, by the way).
This book is not just some cynical cash-in to make money out of Irish people. Paul Tomkins has truly encapsulated the modern-day Liverpool Football Club experience in literary form: the misty-eyed sentimentality, the endless self-mythologizing and, above all, the abject, humiliating failure. YNWA.