Thirty years of hurt, then this

April 30, 2020 - 08:44

I do believe, and hope, and pray, the league will continue, and in some way or other my team will finally break their barren spell, but it won’t be the same


ANCIENT HISTORY: The last time Liverpool were crowned champions was 30 years ago this week. — AFP Photo.

Paul Kennedy

Ardent fans of the popular and long-running cartoon series The Simpsons will no doubt be aware of the bizarre claim that its creator, Matt Groening, is in fact a time traveller.

Over and over again, episodes of the hit cartoon show have contained tiny snippets that seem to predict the future – you know the ones I mean.

Smartwatches, FaceTime, the tiger attack on entertainers Siegfried and Roy, auto-correct fails, faulty voting machines and even the sale of Fox TV to Disney were all featured in The Simpsons long before they actually happened.

As much as I’m all for a good conspiracy theory, and I would love to believe in the concept of time travel, I think it’s obvious all these events are just coincidence, granted very big coincidences, but nothing more.

That said, it did get me thinking, what if? What if, many years from now, somebody actually invents a way to move back and forth through time itself?

So, picture the scene. It’s 30 years ago, April 30, 1990, and a 17-year-old Paul Kennedy, probably wearing a shell suit, is approached by an even more oddly-dressed stranger with a wild haircut and bizarre spectacles driving a beat-up sports car claiming to be from the future (yes, I’m thinking Doc Brown from Back to the Future).

And then this mystery man starts reeling off a number of key events that he forecasts will happen in the future.

  1. The President of the United States of America will be the not-so publicity-shy real estate mogul, Donald Trump. Yeah, right, sure.
  2. Instead of filling up your car with petrol, you will simply plug your vehicle into an electricity socket and leave it overnight. Whatever.
  3. The entire world will be engulfed by a pandemic that will see millions upon millions of people forced to stay at home day and night. Nah, no chance.
  4. Paul Kennedy will still be single. What? Me? Never, I’m a real catch.
  5. After just being crowned champions of English football, Liverpool would not win the league again for at least 30 years. Now I know you are bonkers.

But all those things have actually happened, and while my own relationship status is not really of great concern (honest), it’s really number five on the list of predictions that I would have found the hardest to believe. Even above 'The Donald' sat in the Oval Office.

Thirty years ago this week Liverpool won what was the Division One title and had an amazing, albeit slightly ageing team, but as a season ticket holder at the time I had no doubt the next title would not be too far away.

But that wasn’t to be. Football changed, modernised and moved forwards in leaps and bounds, and Liverpool sadly for me didn’t.

They soon became also-rans. Nothing more, nothing less. And it has taken them 30 years to rebuild into title contenders.

Yet this season, as we enter the seventh week without any English Premier League teams kicking a ball in anger, Liverpool’s sheer dominance may not be rewarded.

I do believe, and hope, and pray, the league will continue, and in some way or other my team will finally break their barren spell, but it won’t be the same. The bubble has well and truly burst. If they do carry on, they will win it in an empty stadium. The supporters who have waited patiently won’t watch Liverpool pick up the trophy in person and will have to do so via television sets with no one there to cheer them on.

And there’s always the chance, albeit very slim, the season may still be declared null and void, as it has in Holland and France already.

If that does happen, the only word I would be able to utter would be ‘D’oh’, the catchphrase of Homer Simpson.

Something really only a time traveller would have been able to predict. — VNS