Thanksgiving is many things to many people. Hopefully, we can all take it literally. In this case, I’m taking stock of what I’m thankful for in terms of Liverpool and football. So here they are, in no particular order:
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Don’t be sad because it’s over; be happy because it happened. Sadio gave us the six best seasons of his career. 90 goals, 6 trophies, and countless memories. His wonder goal at his current club Bayern Munich was sublime. The day in 2019 that he raged at Mo Salah on the pitch for shooting a hard shot instead of passing to him when he was in position for an easy goal, up 3-0 in the second half against a bottom-half squad, was the day I knew we could win the league. Most importantly, his investment in his home country of Senegal building schools and clinics is inspirational. I’m thankful he was ours. I’m grateful for the man he is.
World Cup Protests
This World Cup over Thanksgiving is a moral abomination. Awarded by bribery to a despotic government, an estimated 6,500 migrant workers died in building the facilities for it. That’s no surprise as that’s how these projects are built in Qatar. FIFA knew this World Cup would be bathed in blood. They didn’t care. But some people do. At Bundesliga matches, German fans have called for a boycott of Qatar. The Danish national team’s kit uses muted colors with their third kit being a mourning black. On the first match day of the tournament, Ecuadorian supporters celebrated their nation’s win over the hosts with chants of “Queremos Cervezas!” or “We Want Beer!” This taunting of the Qatari theocracy’s restrictions on alcohol at the tournament was deafening. In a World Cup full of darkness, I’m thankful for the light.
Jurgen is a wonderful coach as the wins and the trophies can attest. He’s brought us a golden age, unlike anything the club has known since the 1980s. But Jurgen Klopp is more than that. He’s a wonderful person that leads with compassion. He cherishes the joy he and his players bring to millions. In interviews he doubles as a therapist or life coach, reminding us of what truly matters. If only he could stay here in Merseyside and in our lives forever.
The US Men’s National Team
We may not be a footballing powerhouse, but failing to qualify from CONCACAF should simply never happen. But now we are back in the World Cup. For the first time since Tim Howard stood on his head against Belgium, we are back. It’s something to be cherished this Thanksgiving season. If they have half the heart of the team that went to Brazil, they’ll undoubtedly make us proud.
Fenway Sports Group
I’m told there are still people who prattle on with the “FSG Out” message. I can’t imagine why. Have they had missteps? Sure. Ticket pricing and the failed European Super League are two that immediately spring to mind. But there are no perfect owners. They’ve expanded Anfield and returned Liverpool to glory. FSG spent big on big players: Virgil van Dijk, Alisson, and Mohamed Salah. Those players have given us so many magical nights and countless memories we can recall around the Thanksgiving table. John Henry and company have their flaws, but I’ll take them over the bloodstained tyrants who own Manchester City, Newcastle, or PSG any day.
The French Senate
The Champions League final was marred by chaos. We are quite lucky that it wasn’t also marred by tragedy. To add the insult to the injury of the result is that from the first minutes of the debacle the French authorities blamed Liverpool fans for their own incompetence. But unlike the British media and the Thatcher government after Hillsborough, the French Senate cared about the truth. Their investigation was real and their findings unequivocal. French police and stadium security were fully at fault for their treatment of our fellow Reds. Liverpool fans were blameless. Thank you, Senators.
I’ve gone on about these centers of joy and community before. They are treasures. These establishments are places where we can share our passion, our lives, and our memories. These days I don’t make it to mine as often as I’d like, but watching a game at home I know exactly who is screaming in my local LFC watering hole at any given moment in the proceedings. Thankfully, 2023 is right around the corner and my New Year’s resolution will be to take in more midweek matches at the pub.
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I unapologetically love this man. His leadership is tremendous. His faultless penalty-taking leaves us with a sense of calm. That knowing smirk after a well-timed yellow card melts most Reds. He’s 36 and still a consummate professional. James Milner is not the player he once was but he is still the player I want to see come on in the 75th minute and snuff out the other team’s hopes of a comeback. Get him the ball in the corner in a big game and the other side won’t touch it again.
Beyond all, I’m thankful for the emotions, friends, and community we find through Liverpool and through football. Here’s wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!