Author Topic: RAWK Advent Calendar #18: The Carling Cup Final 2012  (Read 10602 times)

Offline Rhi

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RAWK Advent Calendar #18: The Carling Cup Final 2012
« on: December 14, 2013, 02:49:59 pm »
The Day I Never Thought I'd See

There are many things that Liverpool supporters in my generation will never get to witness. The magic of Bill Shankly. The humility of Bob Paisley. Or a Liverpool captain lifting the First Division title. There are other things we hope we’ll one day witness. A league win in the flesh. An FA Cup win at Wembley. The journey that sees a Liverpool manager elevated to a status alongside our greats.

Up until 2011/2012, seeing Liverpool FC play at Wembley was one of those things. And seeing Kenny Dalglish manage Liverpool Football Club again was just one of those bizarre dreams. We’d been to Cardiff, of course.  And we’d had other messiahs too. But regardless of how much we loved Cardiff, and how much Gerard Houllier or Rafa Benitez mean to us, Wembley is historic, and Kenny Dalglish is simply The King.

So, when Craig Bellamy scored at Anfield in the semi-final of the Carling Cup in January 2012 to see us through to the final, at Wembley, with Kenny Dalglish as manager, bedlam ensued. I’ve had several celebration-induced injuries in my time, but this was one of the worst. Not that I cared. I had spent years telling my brother of the incredible European nights on the Kop, but this Carling Cup semi ran them close. Luckily, by this time my brother was stood by my side on the Kop. That game was special. That moment was special. It was special because we knew that after a horribly turbulent few years, that the club was back in good hands, and that we would get the chance to see the Tricky Reds play at Wembley once more. There was no way on earth I’d be missing that.

By the time the match came around, it was clear we could have more than one trip to Wembley that year, and as is tradition for many of us Liverpool fans, I felt the need to make a banner for the occasion. It was around the same time that the Occupy movement was at its height, and with the anti-capitalist ethos echoing that of The Liverpool Way, an Occupy Wembley banner seemed more than apt.

So very early on that Sunday morning, Gareth, Karl, The Banner and I set off from North Wales for Wembley. The long journey down was interspersed with Gareth and Karl mocking my music choices, and with the sight of Liverpool fans all the way down the M6. We made it to Wembley in plenty of time to set up camp, banner out, with a few beers in the glorious sunshine.

It was going to be a good day.

We got into the ground early, and after a bit of wrangling with the stewards about the banner, we got it hung up behind the goal.

“It’s not political, is it?”
“No, mate.”
“Just there’s thing Occupy thing isn’t there? It’s nothing to do with that?”
“Well we’re not going to set up camp here after the match, if that’s what you mean…”

He gave me a blank stare and wandered off. This was a fairly mild inquisition in comparison to the two Wembley visits that followed, but they are other stories for another time.

When Craig Bellamy netted that goal in the semi, against his former club, he was setting us up for a final against another of his former clubs – Cardiff City. On paper, a tie we should be winning. You rarely get  your own way in games as big as this, though. And being Liverpool Football Club, we don’t do things the easy way. Within 20 minutes, Cardiff were 1-0 up. How the fuck did that happen? It was a good goal, but it was a lazy one to concede. But Stewart Downing of all people was putting in a man of the match performance, and it was from his corner on the hour mark that Martin Skrtel equalised.  This took the game into the dreaded extra time.

When Dirk Kuyt scored in the second period of extra time, it looked as though we had the game won. There were just 10 minutes to play, and we were 2-1 up. We were close. SO CLOSE. I could almost see Kenny Dalglish lifting his arms in the air in celebration, and his beaming smile, awaiting that trophy presentation. But no. Not us. Not Liverpool. A scrappy corner for Cardiff resulted in Ben Turner poking the ball passed Dirk Kuyt and Pepe Reina. 2-2. We’d thrown it away, and the match would be settled, as seems to be the norm with Liverpool cup finals, by penalties.

Considering we had three (apparently) penalty specialists in the team that day, we had good reason to be confident. But our form had been woeful. Nevertheless, when Steven Gerrard steps up to take a penalty, there’s usually very little to worry about. Except not that day. Tom Heaton, the Cardiff ‘keeper, made a superb save to the first penalty of the day, but luckily Kenny Miller put his wide. Still 0-0. Charlie Adam then proceeded to launch the ball into outer-space to give Cardiff another chance to take the lead. Less said about Charlie Adam the better. But Don Cowie duly obliged by putting Cardiff one up. The ever-reliable Kuyt scored the next to make it 1-1, and the pressure got to Gestede, who again put the ball wide. We’d been given a chance to get back into it. Stewart Downing capped off one of his best performances in a Liverpool shirt by coolly slotting away his penalty. Whittingham struck back, making it 2-2 with a penalty each still to take. Glen Johnson stepped up. And scored. So the game rested, as has so often been the case with Liverpool FC, on Gerrard. But not Steven, this time. His cousin Anthony was to take the final penalty for Cardiff. He had to score to take it into sudden death…


We’d done it. At long last, a trophy at Wembley.

The euphoria. And the relief. And the joy. And the relief. And the emotion! And the relief.

Liverpool’s first trophy in 6 years, and Kenny Dalglish’s 11th trophy as Liverpool manager. There are places I’ll remember all my life, and we’ve had our fair share of fairytale finals. But the day we got to stand at Wembley, and see the King, Kenny Dalglish, lead Liverpool to a trophy, will be right up there with the best of them. Not least because it was something we NEVER thought we’d get to see.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 02:58:32 pm by Rhing Solstice Bells »
“Above all, I would like to be remembered as a man who was selfless, who strove and worried so that others could share the glory, and who built up a family of people who could hold their heads up high and say 'We're Liverpool'.” - Bill Shankly

Offline Hinesy

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #18: The Carling Cup Final 2012
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2013, 12:07:11 am »
That match put me through the mill, just like the Cardiff West Ham FA Cup Final, and your thread did again! Great stuff. Ta xx

Offline ashleyrose-66

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #18: The Carling Cup Final 2012
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2013, 11:42:13 am »
Lovely read.

I am in total agreement with you.  Whilst it is always lovely to win a trophy, no matter what trophy it is, there were so many factors as to why that League Cup was so special...

Our first trophy at the 'new' Wembley.
King Kenny winning silverware in his first full season back.
Our first trophy in 6 years.

And I just wanted it so badly for Craig Bellamy.  Gary Speed had died just a few months before (Rest in Peace Gary), and Bellamy came out just a few days later and put in a man-of-the-match performance at Chelsea to send us in to the semi-finals.  He was absolutely unplayable that day, and you could see he was visibly moved by the Liverpool fans singing Speed's name.

He then scored the winner in the semi-final.

It just seemed right and fitting that he would get his hands on the trophy that year.

Enjoyed that!  Thanks.

Offline rafa4eva

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #18: The Carling Cup Final 2012
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2013, 11:00:38 pm »
Think the photo of kenny and the cup sums it up, the start of a new beginning after a gloriously insane and dark period at our club, one which I'm still recovering from to be honest.


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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #18: The Carling Cup Final 2012
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2013, 09:24:23 am »
was unreal

48 shots on goal

we hit the bar in the first minute, if that went in the floodgates would have opened

downing was superb, his performance actually saw me fall out with a mate who refuses to speak to me since! unreal

was worth it though he is a prick (the guy not downing) hahaha

was very enjoyable, this was brilliant too

meant so much to king kenny
yer ma should have called you Paolo Zico Gerry Socrates HELLRAZOR

Offline Lady_brandybuck

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #18: The Carling Cup Final 2012
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2013, 09:56:22 pm »
Excellent Rhi
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Offline Hinesy

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #18: The Carling Cup Final 2012
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2013, 12:04:55 am »
Bump for Christmas

Offline Andy G

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Re: RAWK Advent Calendar #18: The Carling Cup Final 2012
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2014, 01:20:33 pm »
This was one of my proudest days as a Red.  I watched it from a pub near Wembley with my Brother adn two good mates.  My mates, my brother and myself have seen us win everything, league titles, European Cups etc.  This was also the first 11 a side match that Liverpool played at Wembley where neither my Uncle Michael, my Dad or myself had not been to - the majority of them being attended by all three of us.

So why was it so great?  Kenny won another trophy - that helped, but more than anything, my Nephew, Tom, who has obvioulsy been overshadowed by his relatives when it comes to being present when trophy's were won, was there.  His first visit to Wembley - carrying on the family tradition.

Aliverbirduponmychest (from here) was also there in the ground, we had all travelled down for the craic knowing that we only had 2 tickets between the 6 of us (plus one Derby Fan who was never going into the ground).  Having a few bevvies on the train, the plan was to have a draw for who got the other ticket  (Aliverbirduponmychest got both tickets so he was deffo having one - even though he was prepared to give that to me).  My Bro and I had both deceided that if we won the draw, we would give the tivcket to Tom anyway, but as we spoke, our two mates said that they really were not bothered about a draw, and we should just give it to Tom.  He was over the moon, but protested that he was the least worthy of the ticket.  He realised after a while, that we would have more pleasure in him going the game than if we went ourselves...and we did.

So that is why this particular match meant so much to me.  I am sure my Bro would say the same, and Thanks to aliverbirduponmychest for the opportunity.
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