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RAWK Advent Calendar 2014 #1 - Luis Garcia versus Bayer Leverkusen Feb 22nd 2005

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What leads anyone to go to a match?

Let’s face it. It’s cold. It’s wet and for some it’s a massive journey filled with panic, dread and nowt on the radio to keep you going.

In 2005 it was worse. I worked where I do now in Canary Wharf. I drove, as I do now, for what seemed like an eternity to the deepest, darkest recesses of the back of beyond. You know it as Wolverhampton, I know it as my now second home away from home. From there I went to Anfield.

Why, you may ask, did I need to do this? Mr Singh (me) needed a Mrs Kaur (the wife) to understand what Liverpool meant to me and where it sat in my life respective to priorities. Priorities such as bills, sleep, food, the air I breathe. Those kinds of things of importance. Less than 8 weeks prior, the then Miss Kaur agreed to marry me. She didn’t have to but she showed mercy upon my soul and said yes once I popped the question and coughed up with a diamond. No ring… it came later. Before anyone gets at me for that there was a fundamentally good reason for it – I didn’t know her size and wasn’t about to get it wrong!!!

I very nearly didn’t make the proposal date. Work had a bee in its bonnet about something. I was glum faced and sat on a call with my peers wondering where things were going. They wanted a follow up call on the day I was heading up to ask my now wife for her hand.

“No – not that day”, I stated
“Why? Why not?”, came the angry voices down the phone. Now, I hesitated. I either tell them the whole story or I blag it. In’s in…
“I’m proposing. It’s been a very meticulous operation and it cannot be jeopardised. Months will be wasted. I will be sad, nothing great can come of the meeting you’re intending on this day”
“Don’t do it!” one lady said

“Fuck off”

Ok. I didn’t say that

“Ahhh wow, that’s great news. We’ll set the call for the following week but must know how it went” said my boss followed with a “I’ve been divorced twice so I’m not making that mistake three times”
He was one of those happy souls that you usually find kissing the drains on a Thursday night after a few too many at the closest All Bar One. I ignored him on a more than frequent basis.

Back to the match. When the news popped up that the match against Bayer Leverkeusen was going to go on general sale I seized my chance. £32.00 a ticket and in the heights of the upper centenary. I didn’t care where I was in the ground… I had a chance to show her why Liverpool meant so much to me.

And like every person I’ve ever known taking someone close to them to Anfield for the first time I prayed for a win  ;D

In a parallel similar to now we had key players missing. Our lineup was as follows

Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Traore, Luis Garcia, Hamann, Biscan, Riise,Kewell, Baros
Subs: Carson, Nunez, Warnock, Welsh, Smicer, Le Tallec, Potter

Suffice to say I was nervous. I remember Leverkeusen from a quarter final back in 2002. Work, a constant in my life in causing conflicts with matches at times, had sent me to Paris. I was fuming. With this match coming on I wasn’t sure how I’d get to see it. French T.V. came to my rescue. Lucio came to give me tears in my pillow. Fast forward some three years on and I was close to tears again. My fiancé, now wife, kept on saying “Oooh’s where Gerrard? Is he playing?”

“No, he’s injured”
“What about the fit Spanish one?”
“No, he’s injured”
“What about Michael Owen?”

This was going to be a long night. Once I’d explained Judas an ease came over me. I felt ok with the world and it must have felt ok with me as we scored. I remember it so so well. Jumping, screaming, hugging, screaming, hurting. My knee smashed the seat in front and was in agony. An agony so very much forgotten as Eeeeeeegorrrrr, Eeeeeeegorrrrr, Eeeeeeegorrrrr had put the lovely Luis Garcia through to make it 1-0 to Liverpool. Biscan had been the focal point of much love and hate over his Liverpool career but lets face it – he set Luis up beautifully. All I recall is the ball going through the defenders and Luis putting it through the keeper’s legs. It didn’t have to be pretty but it was. It didn’t have to be much needed but it was. It didn’t have to seal that approval that I so wanted my lovely lovely wife to give but she did and I’m forever grateful.

“Have we won, will we win?” she asked.
“Not yet… not just yet, there’s around 30 mins of this half and a second half to come”
“How long’s that then?”

This was going to be a really long night :)

A Riise rocket of a free kick made it 2-0 to us and the first half was over. Things were looking good for the future for me.

In the second half I remember the close shaves more than anything else. Baros and Carra went close but no cigar and it carried on as such until the last few minutes or so. Seeing people leave, my significant other thought it was time to go home

“Nope – stay seated. You get shot for desertion in this army”
“Eh? Why?”
“We stay unti the final whistle. I’m not missing anything here”

We only went and scored. Courtesy of Didi Hamman. They bloody scored too though so ruined the clean sheet. Final score 3-1.

This match though for me wasn't picked for the scoreline nor was Garcla's goal the best one in the match. I picked it due to what it led to. My wife is someone who started off as a fan but became a supporter. She was born and bred right around the corner from Molineux and Liverpool was only something in her life as her brother supported Liverpool. That season she also saw us beat Juventus and the deal was sealed really. She understood what it meant to me and has done for the last 10 years or so

Thank you wife  :)

In those 10 years you've let me become a season ticket holder, get up and down the country to watch Liverpool play and support the team that I love. We've been blessed with a daughter who is also beginning to understand this love I have for this club and she will soon join Dadda on the journeys to Anfield and beyond. Mumma can come too if she wants...PS, few matches on the trot over the Christmas period so err don't get mad. Remember, 'tis the season to be jolly!!!

It's that time of year again. Already!
Welcome to this year's RAWK Advent Calendar. Our favourite goals. Kicked off beautifully by Harinder. Enjoy.

 :) Loved that. Feeling the Christmas spirit already!

Luis Garcia, he drinks sangria...

Sweet. That time of the (RAWK) year.

As always, a treat from Harinder. Thank you sir! (and, of course, to Mrs Harinder ;))

Crosby Nick:
Cheers Harinder.

I loved that game. Going into it I didn't have a clue what to expect. We'd escaped the groups (memorably) but had very little to benchmark our expectations against.

And as much as Luis gets the credit for all the goals in that run (deservedly so) I'm glad you mentioned the mighty Igor! All through that run he popped up with key contributions. The run and assist away at Deportivo, the goal you mention here and then big games against Juve and Chelsea too. He turned into a different beast in Europe!


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