Worthy Winners: Manchester City life the Premier League trophy on Sunday. — Photo AFP
At 9.27pm on Saturday evening, Vietnamese time, I had what can only be described as the greatest minute of my entire life.
I was in ecstasy. The earth moved. I was experiencing a euphoric feeling I’d only ever felt once before, during a house party in Liverpool when I’d just turned 16.
But this minute was the best ever. Better than any other minute I had enjoyed in the past.
Neighbours of mine in Times City would have been left wondering what on earth was happening on the 19th floor of one of the tower blocks as a crazy English voice could be heard shouting from the balcony.
Why? Well because for those 60 seconds, Liverpool were champions of England.
But all good things must come to an end, and they did, with a bang. Manchester City, despite going a goal down away at Brighton did what all good champions do. They won at a canter and deservedly lifted the trophy on Sunday.
I’ve written before in the pages of this newspaper how I feel City are a team manufactured, not created.
They are a team whose unparalleled success is largely down to the fact they are owned by one of the richest families in the world who have a bottomless pit of cash to spend.
But that said, on the pitch, they are truly magnificent and while Liverpool have had their best season ever, in the end it just wasn’t good enough and they fell short by a single point.
Finishing second to an amazing team by just one point is a fabulous achievement, but at the same time, quickly forgettable.
Other than a bit of extra cash, there is no prize for coming second. In fact the only thing it really achieves in a place in the Champions League the next season, which is same the team that finishes fourth and third also get.
In the top flight this season Liverpool have lost only once. They have kept the most clean sheets and two of their players, Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah, are joint top scorers in the Premier League.
It’s been a season to remember for Liverpool fans, and one that everyone else in the Premier League will quite quickly forget once the new campaign kicks off.
Remember who finished second to Manchester United when they won the league in 2013? Nope, neither do I. Or who finished runners-up to Chelsea in 2010? No, I’ve no idea of that one either.
So despite the fact that in every season in the history of the Premier League bar two, Liverpool’s points tally of 97 would have been enough to win the prize, the Reds have once again slipped up.
I was planning on getting a tattoo to mark the occasion. It was going to be a mix of Liverpool and Vietnamese and spell out their achievement this year, but sadly the inking will have to go on hold. Until when I’ll never know.
Liverpool fans on the whole, and I include myself in that bracket, are famously and foolishly optimistic.
Since sometime in the mid-90s I, along with most other Liverpool supporter, have been declaring that “next year will be our year” and once again, that was exactly my reaction after the season drew to a close.
There is however one game still to play. The small matter of the Champions League find in Madrid on June 1 (June 2 Vietnamese time).
Liverpool play Tottenham and on paper, it should be a victory for the team in red.
But in a one-off match, over 90 minutes plus extra time and possibly penalties, anything can happen.
So while I’ll always remember the race for the Premier League title in the 2018-19 season, Liverpool will always be remembered as the team who lost it.
Hat’s off to Manchester City, they won it because they managed the most points. I only hope that this is the last time I will ever say, next year will be our year. — VNS