Did she fail me as a daughter? Did I fail as a father? Take your pick. Either way, Nathalie Randall did not grow up to be quite the sort of football fan her dad had hoped for. A fixation with John Barnes turned her young head towards Anfield, Sunderland’s next port of call after the encouring dismissal of Brum. Let Nathalie take up the story of her disloyalty – and let her “first team” disappoint her on Saturday……
So how did I become a Liverpool fan?
Born in Bristol and brought up in London by an obsessive Sunderland-supporting father, I still went on to support what he says is the wrong team.
How did this happen? Accusations of “glory hunter” have never been far off although in fairness, if I had wanted to be a glory hunter the question begs: why Liverpool?
To give my dad credit, he did his best to convert me. I grew up surrounded by Sunderland memorabilia, old match programmes and the rest.
I was dragged along to games all around the country in sub-zero temperatures, and he even encouraged me to play for Brentford Ladies U-16s for a short while, presumably because he wanted to see me in red and white stripes!
But the turning point for me came one night when I was about nine years old.
We were huddled around a TV watching a Liverpool game when I first laid eyes on John Barnes. He was fantastic in that game, and from that point on I was a John Barnes/Liverpool fan. (I didn’t actually fancy him at nine, thankfully, though I did by the age of 14!).
This feeling was compounded when, in a last ditch attempt to convert me, my dad took me to a Liverpool v Sunderland match, standing in the old Kop. It all backfired on him when he caught me howling with laughter at Gary Owers’s own goal in a Liverpool 2-1 win!
That moment remains my overriding memory from that game, other than jumping wildly when we scored!
Then of course there was the FA Cup Final in 1992 which featured none other than Sunderland and Liverpool.
I love the picture of us before the match (“before” explains my dad’s smiling face) with us both kitted up in our respective colours.
Sunderland are my second team obviously (third team being QPR as I played for their ladies’ team; Bristol, Rovers or City, my fourth because that is where I was born).
I always look for Sunderland’s results after Liverpool’s, so I have become used to a feeling of relief and happiness first (not lately mind!) followed quickly by a feeling of disappointment (sorry Sunderland).
But I wish Sunderland to survive relegation this season more than I want Liverpool to finish in fourth, though that’s a whole new topic!
And as as for that glory-seeking tag, where was the glory in our first half against Havant and Warterlooville?