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Of Spiders and LFC

The story of King Bruce of Scotland is one of the better-known tales about persistence.

Robert Bruce once faced a formidable enemy in war, the King of England.

Six times had Bruce led his brave little army against his foe only to lose six times! At last his army was scattered, and he was forced to hide himself in the woods and in 
lonely places among the mountains. 

One rainy day, as he lay under a rude shed listening to the patter of drops on the roof above him, Bruce reflected on how 
tired and sick at heart he was, and ready to give up all hope. It seemed 
to him that there was no use for him to try to do anything more.

As he laid thinking, he saw a spider over his head, making 
ready to weave her web. He watched her as she toiled slowly 
and with great care. Six times she tried to throw her frail thread 
from one beam to another, and six times it fell short. 

"Poor thing!" said Bruce: "you, too, know what it is to fail." 
But the spider did not lose hope with the sixth failure. With 
still more care, she made ready to try for the seventh time. Bruce 
almost forgot his own troubles as he watched her swing herself 
out upon the slender line. Would she fail again? No! The thread 
was carried safely to the beam, and fastened there. "I, too, will try a seventh time!" cried Bruce. He arose, called his men together, told them of his plans, and sent them out with messages of cheer to his disheartened people. Another battle was fought, with victory this time round against the King of England.

Fast Forward
Looking at our labored performances, from Birmingham City to our Carling Cup exit at the hands of Northampton, and the subsequent frenzy of condemnation that ensued, it makes me want to borrow lessons from the oft-quoted tale above. 

The club's present plight, the financial turmoil notwithstanding, makes it clear we are a long way from the exalted position we have come to take for granted. No one needs to point this out to any Kopite.

In all honesty, it is always darkest before dawn, but it does not mean the sun will not shine. In the present cloudiness, we find ourselves blaming (rightly or wrongly) various parties, from our owners, to the coach, to the playing personnel, ad infinitum, but this only makes us feel worse afterwards.

Others among us ask when the rain started beating us. Is it under Souness or did Rafael Benitez make it worse? All this aside, it is good to try and learn from history.

This legendary club began as Everton, plying their trade at Anfield. A dispute forced a walkout, leaving Anfield’s owner, John Houlding, with only a ground. That legendary ground, Anfield, is where John McKenna’s “team of Macs” began creating the history we are discussing 118 years later! Lost in that story is serious heartbreak, relegations, mediocrity, all overshadowed by glory that the Reds have enjoyed and continue to savor.

It was Mexican poet, Carlos Santayana, who aptly noted that those who never learn from history are forever doomed to repeat it. This is much like the eternal torment enjoyed by Sisyphus, punished by the gods to roll a huge stone up a hill for eternity.

We’ve been here before, and no wonder we experience déjà vu. To borrow from recent history, many forget that before Rafa the Red ever stepped at Anfield, the club was where it is today. We were regular UEFA Cup participants, indeed one of the stronger sides in that tourney and record winners too (tied with Inter and fellow fallen giants, Juventus, among others). Under the maligned Benitez, regular top four finishes and champions league participation became things we took for granted.

We have been here before. We might not have experienced the current financial turmoil, but we have gone through one hell after another. This is the club that has two eternal flames represented in its crest, Heysel and Hillsborough. This is a club of remembrance; we never forget, a fact that our owners have come to learn painfully.

Regardless of the shit storm we find ourselves in, we still walk with our heads high, through the storm and any other thing this life throws at us. To quote legendary author, Stephen King, “when you go through hell, you come out baked by the fire.”

Don’t be disturbed dear friend when rivals laugh at us. Don’t lose sleep when the prospect of exceeding 20 years without number 19 is forever dangled in our faces. Arm yourself with history lessons instead, that Chelsea went over 50 years before lifting the league. The current benchmark is Manchester United, who underwent their own 26-year drought before finding themselves where they currently are. Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson, chief taunter of Liverpool FC had a very barren six years of mid-table mediocrity, so much so that fickle-hearted Old Trafford fans constantly bayed for his head!

Together we can pull through. The total sum of us is greater than any one of us. It should form one of the chief reasons why we need to rally behind initiatives such as SOS and keep the owners and their cohorts on toes.

Just like I began, a story is told about the legendary Arabian author, Luqman, who earned his freedom from slavery by accepting to eat a very bitter melon from his master. The master shocked at Luqman’s consumption of the nauseating fruit inquired why he agreed. Luqman reminded his master that he had previously been willing to partake good things from him, why would he not take the bad too? The answer so impressed the master that freedom was immediately granted. You can read the account for yourself at

Are you a true fan, willing to take in our current repulsive melon together with all our glory and heritage? They're just sides of the same coin. To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, greatness is that point one learns to treat both success and failure as impostors. The former cheats you that you've made it, the latter tells you you've lost it. Neither is entirely right.

If the answer to the above paragraph's question is yes, then stand with this legendary institution, for yourself, your children and all true lovers of the beautiful game.

Regardless of where we stand, we are still The Reds, and NO ONE ELSE EVER WILL BE. This might be why Fergie can never stop talking about us and a certain departed coach, all the while pretending he doesn't really give a damn.

You Will Truly Never Ever Walk Alone, Ever!

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