I was standing at the hot counter of my local Sainsburys in Upton on Friday afternoon with my nine year old, uber excited and Liverpool kit wearing nine year old lad. Then a little well spoken voice said: "I hope you'll be cheering them on loud as you can, tomorrow". The voice came from a little old lady, but a healthy looking old lady at that. We ended up listening to her for a good 10 minutes as she told us of the many years she's had a season ticket and how this year and last year she got a ticket for both Kiev and Madrid in the ballot all by herself on her computer which was f**king majestic enough in itself. She then told us of how she had given her tickets, both years, to her son in law and that she'd be watching the game at her daughter's house in North Wales. She really was a lovely woman and it was warming to hear her stories and not only the effort she made with my lad but how he loved listening to her. As she took a step away with her trolley she said to him: "So if you hear a high pitched cheer travelling over from North Wales on Saturday night you'll know who it is".
Fast forward to all the absolute madness and my lads tears of relief and joy after we won on the Saturday, amidst it all, he looked at me, smiled and said: "And I've just heard a high pitched cheer from North Wales". Obviously on hearing that the other half wants to know what he meant so I told her about the lovely lady and she got all gooey and wished she was in Sainsbury's with me the day before.
Forward another day to the parade and I'm rough as I've ever been. Really, really hungover. Day started with a queue from hell for tickets at the train station over to town, the packed train temporarily breaking down while I was sweating my balls off standing up with the Mrs, three kids and a pram. We get over, get amongst it and it's all good. We find a little spec by the Hilton on The Strand and wait and its hard. I know it's a celebration but I'm getting all grumpy as my hangover worsens, then around 4.30pm some guy tells us on a tannoy that the bus won't be here til 7pm at the earliest. Crowds are moving off as we are and its f**king packed at every turn. People selling this, people selling that, footballs getting booted randomly into the crowds, all sorts of different characters, pissed up but happy ones at that. Then the bus finally comes into site and as it gets nearer to us it quickly gets more and more packed around us. The closer it gets the more people swamp us. Then as it is right in front of us I look to my left and standing right f**king next to me, looking up and smiling at the bus is that little old lady from Sainsbury's. I say to my lad and he sees her, I tell the Mrs who looks at her but the bus is right in front of us so I look back at that and then when that's gone I look where she was and she's gone.
She, and we, could have stood anywhere amongst 750,000 that day. I just wish I had a chance to let her know that we were next to her.