What a timely thread to start, Brian, bringing us together at a time when people on other threads are at each other's throats.
I grew up in an Irish family living in Lincoln of all places, we took a lot of stick from bigots I remember. My dad took me to see Lincoln City a few times when I was 5 or 6 in the early 70s, and I recall some blokes refusing to allow me to sit on the wall by the pitch, and my dad getting into a push n shove with one of them, lots of scrapping, spitting, pissing and swearing on the terraces around me, lots of flying bog-roll and some hooligans tipping over all of the sky-blue 'invalid carriages' that the old fellas sat in to watch, near the goal. Madness.
And the football? Don't think I saw much. I cared even less.
In short, I was one scared little lad and told my dad to forget it. So footie became a rare TV-only treat in our house.
Then in 1974 we got a colour TV - nobody else had one in the street, so loads of kids and dads came in to watch the FA cup - LFC v Newcastle. Keegan and Heighway destroyed the Geordies and I was hooked on the red magicians. The next day I drew my own poster of Keegan with 'Super Kev - Super Steve' in red felt tip. It stayed on my wall 'til Special K left for Hamburg, and I made a new one of King Kenny.
At school, it was all Nottingham Forest - Forest spoiled the party for us a few times in the late 70s I remember - only my mate Mick and I were Reds. Then his uncle took us both to Liverpool, to Anfield for a game (can't recall which) in about 1978. We were about 10 or 11, and I remember being lifted off my feet and the surge of bodies, and the heat, funny accents and noise. I got separated from my mate and his uncle but some bigger Scouse lads took pity on me, held me up and looked after me, shared a pie (remember them?) and told me about my favourite players. I remember Ray Kennedy scoring, I must have been carried forward 30 yards in the celebrations, and he was the absolute spit of my dad, so he became my hero. At the end, these lads stayed with me until the Kop cleared and my mate and his uncle showed up. We were all absolutely giddy, just laughing like idiots.
So that was it. I'd had my Roman Catholic confirmation, but that was my Liverpool confirmation and guess which I treasured more! The togetherness and joy of that Anfield day was the total opposite of my early match-day experiences at Lincoln.
It's just life, isn't it, supporting Liverpool? All of life is there, over the years. Nowadays I get just as excited, just as invested, but I've learned to take the rough with the smooth. No defeat or run of poor form will ever feel as bad as Hillsborough. It's all about people, perspective, balance. And life goes on.
Anyway, here I am. 53 years old and still that little kid deep down, experiencing the Kop for the first time. Such sad times now, to see it empty and the ground silent, but this will pass, this awful season will pass and we will be Kings again. All we need to do is look out for each other, and look after our memories, hopes and dreams.
YNWA - all of you.