Ah football. Blessed football. Cursed football. Days were spent wondering when the international break would be over and ETW vehemently promised that the resumption of the beautiful club game would never be taken for granted. This time it would be different. Whether Liverpool are involved in games or not, all would be consumed with the voracious pang of hunger befitting of a Jurassic Park velociraptor.
It wasn't different. When Liverpool weren't involved in games, interest just drifted. Matches were experienced with the finest cuts of dispassionate disposition. Gareth Bale scored a couple of goals at the Santiago Bernabeu to open his account as the world's most expensive player in the history of the world ever. Cristiano Ronaldo must have smiled eternally that it was he who took home the match ball with a hat-trick on the same night. Such is life. Chelsea appear to be going from strength to strength after following up a late victory over Manchester City by winning at Arsenal's shiny ground. Roma made it a perfect ten by beating Chievo at home to solely hold the Serie A record for consecutive victories at the start of the season. Suso helped Almería to record a first La Liga victory of the season with a shock win away to Valencia.
All interesting midweek events no? Yet they were observed with an uncharacteristic limpness. Such torpor does not belong to an individual obsessed with the details, the narratives, the events, the characters, the tactics, the hypocrisy, and the on pitch duels that litter a sport that was once described as "a gentleman's game played by hooligans" by some chap at some time at some place.
ETW is currently besotted with the current season of Boardwalk Empire, Terence Winter's slow-burning masterpiece. The series is filled with superb actors such as Steve Buscemi, Jack Huston, Gretchen Mol, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Kenneth Williams, Anthony Laciura, Bobby Cannavale, and the immortal Jeffrey Wright. Such a joy. Winter's pedigree is finer that the silkiest strand of hair after being involved with 25 episodes of The Sopranos as a writer or co-writer.
Now in its fourth season, Boardwalk Empire is close to achieving greatness. Each passing season provided viewers with greater nuance and tighter dialogue in a world that may be portrayed with the consummate style of a HBO production but with a veneer of unquestionable authenticity. The violence and criminality that littered the Roaring Twenties never looked so compelling and bearing witness to immorality has never been as stylish.
One of the most loyal characters, Edward Anselm "Eddie" Kessler, provided an apposite summary of my ongoing mental state when footballing matters unrelated to Liverpool claw at my disinterested presence. It will always be Liverpool and my loyalty will not dissolve in the heat of any disappointment. It may be tested and there will be moments when such loyalty shouldn't be invested yet one will remain steadfast. Other games may be more enjoyable experiences as Liverpool's status and pride will most likely not be staked on the fortunes of two other clubs locked in glorious combat but it will never be the same.
For 11 years I have tended to you. I fed you. Dressed and undressed you. Nursed you in sickness. I have fought for you without concern for myself. I have watched other men come and go. Lesser men. Duplicitous men. I am still here.
That is why this week has been a struggle. Arsenal are on the horizon and we'll still be hoping for a brighter Liverpool future win, lose, or draw. We're still here and that might make it difficult but one day it will be worth it.