The likes of Kenny – that’s the reason we love football.’
A simple sentiment expressed by someone I texted before Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Old Trafford, welcoming the return of Kenny Dalglish, “a proper legend” as I called him, to the Lions Den.
It’s hard to comprehend that there’s a massive audience out there with little, and in some cases no appreciation of what Dalglish did in the game, as a player and as a manager.
I started supporting Manchester United in 1979, after watching their defeat against Arsenal in the ‘Liam Brady’ FA Cup final. I was six, and unsurprisingly had scant regard for the subtleties, but after United’s courage in defeat I was smitten.
And on it went. The 1982 World Cup copperfastened my fascination with all-things football, and the following March my godmother arrived out with a birthday present she was sure I’d love, being a big Red Devils fan. I hadn’t the heart to tell her the ‘Red Army’ schoolbag was Merseyside merchandise, not Manc, and decided to just grin and hide it. Similarly, when my first primary school ‘girlfriend’ presented me with a poster acclaiming Anfield’s finest I vowed that misguided loyalty wouldn’t get in the way of love’s young dream, and feigned passionate delight. (“You really shouldn’t have. Really”.)