So the annual northerly hop over the park has come round again. Time to be reminded just how depressing a place it is, to the extent that the away team now has to get in and out of the place from the car park outside. Not just us though, everyone else gets the same treatment nowadays.
Back in November 1982 Brookside had just been launched on Channel 4, and a few days later, it was time for us to go over there and play the away fixture. Bob had recently announced his intention to step down at the end of the season, but the team were determined to give him a memorable last visit across the park. Although the opposition were so far behind us on the field at the time, they may as well have been across the Mersey. For reasons best known to themselves, the main camera angle at the ground was changed that summer, so any tv viewers would be treated to an overhead view of the action on their pitch, for the next three years.
After 6 minutes, Hansen put Rush through and he put us in front, and after that, it was one way traffic. He would score a second half hat trick as well, taking full advantage of us playing against 10 men by that stage. It would have finished 7-0 if two other goals were not disallowed, but we had to settle for just 5-0 on the day. It was and is, our biggest away win in the derby, and our third win there in 4 seasons, but our last there for 3 years. After such a comprehensive win, it was inevitable that our home game later in the season would be as flat as a pancake, finishing in a goalless draw. But we were just using it as preparation for our next League Cup Final against the mancs the following week. Having won that, and wrapped up another league title, Bob got the send off he deserved.
Back in 1982, the derby was known as the "friendly derby" with no segregation. In more recent years though, segregation is enforced, whatever friendliness there was has dissolved, to such an extent that chanting about Hillsborough has now infected the fixture. On the pitch, Mane got our last winning goal there 5 years ago. Hopefully, it won't be much longer before we're heading back home with another 3 points in our pocket again.