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My Favourite Player #2 - Sami Hyypia

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I have elsewhere talked about how much I loved Robbie Fowler as a kid, to me he was the joy of football. He represented my childhood fascination with the game. Giving it all you have - that unexplained feeling as your whole body lights up as the ball goes into the net. And if Robbie Fowler represents the inner child of my Liverpool supporting life - Sami Hyypia is who I want to be when I grow up.

If I was forced into a corner to describe Sami Hyypia in a single word I'd probably go with absolutefuckinglegend [it's in the dictionary look it up]. Sami Hyypia was one of those few select players you just couldn't get enough of. It speaks volume of the man and the player that after 10 seasons with the club, in which he racked up a mighty 464 appearances for the club, the 20th most in Liverpool's history, you still feel a sense of regret with Big Sami. I wish he had arrived earlier than he did and I wish he'd have stayed longer than he did and I feel spoiled to have experienced a decade of Liverpool's glorious history with Sami Hyypia as part of it. The flying Finn also captained the reds from 2001-2003 and even though Gerrard was promoted to captain in 2003 Sami took it with dignity and model professionalism, one could argue that for the remainder of his career when he played he was still Liverpool's captain - armbands be damned.

Big Sami Hyypia was signed for a measly sum of 2.5 million pounds in the summer of 1999, [then chief scout] Ron Yeats said of the deal: "When I was told how little money Liverpool had spent on Sami, I nearly fell off my chair!" and who can blame him. For the fee Liverpool got 10 glorious seasons of pure, unadulterated incredibleness. Even when adjusting for inflation, homegrown players aside, it's hard to argue that Liverpool Football Club has ever made a better signing.

Sami scored an impressive 35 goals in his Liverpool career, although arguably his most important one was his peach of a left footed finish against Juventus on the road to Istanbul, the same game for my part was Sami's best for Liverpool although a case for his last start in our 4-1 win at Old Trafford, where only asked to play following injury, was an example of Sami's timeless quality. He was a man for the big occasion and always acted in a manner of unparalleled professionalism.

Sami Hyypia always acted in a manner which one would associate with the much mystified 'Liverpool way'. He was respectful and supportive, as exceptional a representative of the club on the pitch as he was off it. I will always remember him fondly as the man who defined Liverpool for me growing up. The towering Finn was omnipresent at every joyous occasion for the years where I really started following the club. Sami wasn't just everything I wanted to be as a player, he was everything I wanted to be as a person. Personafied professionalism, loyal and devoted, inspired others and above all his charasmatic way of leading by example.

I'm not ashamed that I was one of thousands of victims in the mysterious cut-onion outbreak of May 24th 2009 that coincidentally coincided with Sami Hyypia's emotional farewell at Anfield. Saying goodbye to Sami Hyypia was saying goodbye to someone who had been a part of my life longer than most of my family members. I have so many fond memories of Sami Hyypia that I hope will stay with me for as long as I live.

And because of those memories I will always cherish my Liverpool idol. The man. The hero. The Legend: Sami Hyypia

I could've gone on forever but I feel it's best to keep it short and direct.

Day 2. Enjoy this great article about a great defender.

Flaccido Dongingo:
My favourite Liverpool defender ever, a colossus in his own right, up there with Hansen, Yeats, Lawrenson as one of our very best centre backs, there is no limit to my love and respect for the man, a legend.

Malaysian Kopite:
Fantastic player. Still fuming at how he was treated towards the end. Degen ahead of Sami?


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