May 18, 2016

perhaps Roma knew ......................................................................................................................................... a story of how I would become a Liverpool fan

Dundee United's Jim McLean and Walter Smith walk past
hostile winning side Roma players after their 1984
European Cup semi-final clash (via Reuters/DailyRecordUK) ©





so there I was in Liverpool 
in 1987 stumble bumming visiting 
dharma spilling style through out Europe 
an ignorant and naive budding American poet...

well on that hot day 
in thee wee ye 
jolly old England 
Summer sport 
seemed only 
Wimbledon and the 
Tour De France 
where were the baseball fans 
I asked of my train mates 
this is England they said 
what's baseball here no one knows 
and besides Liverpudlians will be  
itchy for fighting you, they said 
if I were to continue wearing 
that shirt ...

we arrived, during the business 
part of morning and I was 
wearing an AS Roma kit top 
I had found in France 
traveling here from Nice 
I liked its USC Trojan colors 
the maroon and gold 
somehow reminded me of home
but ... I did not know of course 
any of the recent history 
between Roma and Liverpool 
and their fans 

(the 1984 Euro cup final) 
won by Liverpool in Rome 
was marked by horrific violence 
involving rival fans while 
it is alleged, riot police looked on 
but did not assist the visiting fans 
from marauding ultra 
fanatical Roma supporters ...

so as I meandered in and about Abbey Rd. 
a bobby or whatever colloquial term 
I thought Brits used 
for their virtually unarmed police officers 
spotted me and relayed dismay 
with a bit of an edge in his voice 
at my shirt but it was still 
a rather polite manner 
that he held onto 
while he told me 
the story of 1984's final 
and suggested the wounds 
were still fresh here 
for these folks 
who are red 
all the ways 
and through 
and it might be wise 
to start wearing 
a shirt of a different 
color or hue ...

so he went to a gift shop and 
bought me a Beatles shirt
(hard days night) and 
he took no money in return ... 

and he said, as he left, 
" ... there you go Mr. Rinaldi, 
a proper tourist 
to this part of England you be ..."

and I have been a Liverpool fan ever since ...

mind you before this trip I had no idea 
about European football  
just how huge it is 
what football means to Europeans 
let alone the denizens 
of this big port city 
where the Mersey 
on one side red 
and the other side blue 
empties into the sea bleeding-ly
from the northwest of England ...

EJR ©


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