It’s an odd concept, but given I’d class myself as red blood a Liverpool supporter as you’re likely to find, I’m also an unashamed football fan in general.
I write words of a historical footballing nature on a regular basis for the wondrous These Football Times. Anything has been fair game over the last few years and not just words about Liverpool FC.
Plastic pitches of the 1980s, Gianluigi Lentini, Italia 90, Johan Cruyff, Jean-Francois Larios, France’s Carre Magique, the French Basque Region and East Germany are just some of the topics I’ve covered for them, where they sit alongside others I’ve done on John Barnes, Ray Kennedy, Terry McDermott and Graeme Souness.
I do look out for other results. Among others, I keep an eye on the results of Saint Étienne, Borussia Monchengladbach, Real Sociedad, and Club Brugge KV. Basically a smattering of sides we’ve conquered in European combat.
I’m Liverpool supporter first and foremost, with a liberal essence of football hipster bubbling away in the background.
Away from all things Liverpool, If I’m going to sit down and watch a game on TV, then I’m more likely to be searching for a stream for Wisla Krakow vs Cracovia, than enduring Stoke City vs Hull City.
When you have a habit of looking out for other results, you start to see results everywhere, even results in other sports. In rugby league I’ll keep an eye open for the results of Widnes. I don’t even like rugby league. I just loved the kit Widnes had in the early to mid-1980s, that Adidas one. White shirts, black shorts, three stipes along the sleeves and three stripes down the side of the shorts. I was made up when we switched from Umbro to Adidas in 1985. Widnes seemed like a rugby version of Liverpool FC to the 8-year-old version of me.
In American football I’ll look out for the results of the Oakland Raiders. I don’t completely understand American football. I wouldn’t even dream of sitting down and watching a game of American football, but I remember them winning the Superbowl as the LA Raiders in 1984, when coverage of the sport was massive on that new-fangled Channel 4. I mean, this was a sport where they played in motorbike helmets. How cool.
The results thing can even break away from sport completely. Politics. Up the Reds. American politics; down with Trump, Bush, Reagan et al. Masterchef, Bake Off, any competitive food based TV programme come to think of it. I’m always looking for a positive result.
Results and the will for a good one stretches far and wide. Most Machiavellian characters need to lose, unless they’re Darth Vader. Darth Vader is allowed to win.
In this respect, Thomas the Tank Engine is a gobshite.
We’ve all worked with someone like him. Nice one day, a gobshite the next. Capable of a decent day of work sometimes, but a complete and utter liability on other days. Always comes up smelling of roses no matter what shit-storm they’ve created, yet no one else seems to see through them. Constantly filters off the best assignments for themselves and smug as anything. Highly likely to be the ‘eyes and ears’ for the boss.
In footballing terms, a bit like Harry Kewell maybe. Hints of Vladimir Smicer perhaps.
All of this comes under the guise of being ‘a really useful engine’ of which he is anything but. The result I’m looking out for is an episode where Thomas gets what’s coming to him.
I suppose I see a lot of Bryan Robson in him. The Fat Controller, with his blinkers on, feeling Thomas can do no wrong is clearly Bobby Robson. Sodor Island is a microcosm of the England national team during the 1980s.
Gordon could easily do a better job in being at the very the genesis of the team, but is asked to run up and down the line all day instead. Apart from his air of superiority, Gordon is John Barnes. In ‘reality’ Gordon is too uptight to be rapping with his fans on the tube system coming away from Wembley Stadium, but you see the parallels right?
The ever faithful Percy, who has to put up with the brunt of Thomas’ bi-polar behaviour is obviously Ray Wilkins. Always moving things sideways in a dutiful, but epically dull manner. James, with a streak of natural talent, offset by a low boredom threshold and a propensity to be easily distracted is pure Glenn Hoddle.
My marginally older kids have moved on from Thomas the Tank Engine, outgrown him to a degree, so I see less of him on my TV happily, but my youngest is now showing vague signs of interest in him. I might well be locking horns again with the inept, self-centred steam bucket sooner than I’d like. My only hope is that since I last had to suffer his presence, maybe a ‘Thomas Gets His Comeuppance’ episode has been commissioned.