Two very different dreams of glory went in separate ways on May Bank Holiday Monday, 2014.
In Snooker, Mark Selby completed one of the most astonishing comebacks of all time in the World Championships at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, against a man described as the most talented player ever, by ex-players and experts.
Meanwhile, about 174 miles south, Liverpool saw their outside bid for the Premier League title shredded by a Crystal Palace team who came from 3-0 down to snatch a 3-3 draw in nine second half minutes.
Quite frustratingly, though, it was annoying to read that social networks were full of antipathy for both of the sources of the comebacks. The Jester from Leicester, Selby, was accused of playing a game that amounted to ‘anti-snooker’ by amateur pundits who were obviously wanting Ronnie O’Sullivan to prevail in the final. O’Sullivan himself wasted no time in congratulating his opponent for forcing him out of his comfort zone and to play a more tactical game.
Then, on LFCTV – the home of Liverpool Football Club’s official television channel – former Reds striker John Aldridge was denouncing the Palace efforts as ‘anti-football,’ instead of seeing, like most supporters of the Anfield club, that the blame lay squarely with the inability to cope with the late and totally out of the blue onslaught that came their way, with barely 12 minutes on the clock.
Unfortunately, Aldridge’s comments will be welcomed by those with a disappointing reaction to the game, while Ronnie could teach him about how to concede that he was denied by the better approach in the long-run. Liverpool have had a phenomenal season up to this point and although it looks like their tilt at the title has fallen short at the penultimate hurdle, only a fool would question their attempts.
The situations here are not exactly the same, but there is a correlation there, not in just the aims. O’Sullivan was looking to take home the trophy for the sixth time, one off the record of the great Stephen Hendry. Liverpool’s next top-flight title win will be their 19th, just a single hoisting behind Manchester United. However, Ronnie’s would have been his sixth in 13 years, while the Reds are looking for their first since 1990.
So, you can understand the frustration in the mindset of Liverpool fans as the current record-holders reside just up the East Lancashire Road and the rivalry is not exactly friendly. However, they wouldn’t care whose tally they overtake – they just want to win it again and rightly so. There is far too much animosity in defeat, nowadays and it’s getting beyond boring with all the bitterness and banter, because it’s not actually that anymore. People are given a platform to air their views, rightly, but it is now in danger of there being total misuse and also, there are far too many voices shouting out their opinions, with little sense able to be made of the comments.
A cruel twist of fate sees a common denominator for both parties here: Steve Peters. Mr Peters is a sports psychologist who had previously helped O’Sullivan regain the World Championship of snooker in 2012 and 2013, meaning that the Essex player went into this year’s tournament as the twice-defending champion. He first got involved with Liverpool in November 2012, but has been unable to assist in anything more than this season’s probable finish in second place. Granted that is a great achievement, since Liverpool ended the last campaign in 7th place and will notably climb back above their neighbours Everton for the first time in three seasons.
However, Peters’ aim will be to give them the belief to go that one step further and realise their dream of giving the supporters that elusive Premier League title win.
Have Liverpool blown their best chance of winning the Premier League? What are your views on the ‘anti-football’ jibes hurled at Jose Mourinho, Tony Pulis and Mark Selby?