Michael Bertin writes about soccer regularly for Deadspin. I'm big into self-preservation, so if I'm in the path of a hurricane—which having been temporarily relocated to Houston, I am (or was)—it's not going to take much cable news fear-mongering to get me to evacuate. And that's the story of how I became a refugee. I don't want to make light of the people who took the brunt of the hardship, but my plight hasn't exactly been like fleeing Rwanda to Zaire to escape genocide only to find there's a cholera outbreak awaiting me at camp. I went to Austin. It was an easy choice as it's where I grew up and I've still got friends there. So, I've had smooth, uninterrupted power, cell signals and drinking binges. And my buddy's TV is so massive, he can go split screen and still get two HD pictures up simultaneously that are each larger than mine. It's pretty sweet. If I could get a steady diet of hookers and pound cake, I'd never leave.There's only one problem. He's got no Setanta. He doesn't even know what it is. To him Liverpool has something to do with the Beatles and United is an airline. But between the two clubs, they've won 35 league titles, 18 FA Cups and 8 Champions Leagues (or historical equivalents thereof). So their squaring off puts me in a Fadó at 6:30 on a Saturday morning. I've got a theory about watching soccer in large groups (and what it lacks in nuance it more than makes up for in infallibility): The biggest douche in the crowd is always a Manchester United fan. Always. Saturday was no exception. It's pretty easy to hold up when United is playing, but even in the crowded bar the grand prize winner stuck out like a hetero on Project Runway (what, don't pretend like you don't watch it). Wannabe old school United jersey? Check. Popped Collar? Check. Gel-spiked hair? Check. Nothing with both self-respect and a y-chromosome should ever put effort into looking like that but again, local time, this was before 7 am on a Saturday. I was happy to have pants on at that hour. Who is giving up sleep to groom themselves? And to what end? It's the world's most useless gesture. Attendance rates by women for 7 am soccer starts are lower than those at NAMBLA meetings. Even before he opened his mouth, the guy was a tool. Then he opened his mouth. Before kick he was singing "You'll Never Win A League." Three or four times. Nobody joined in. Then it was "When Johnny Goes Marching Down the Wing." Also multiple times. Also without anyone jumping in. The latter is a song about Man U's John O'Shea. He didn't march down the wing. He never got off the fucking bench. Have I mentioned it's early? Everyone who's not drinking is hung over. Is it too much to ask if you're going to be an annoying prick to at least sing something relevant? Three minutes in United went up 1-0 and it could have been 2-0 as the ref might have missed a hand ball in the box. At this point it looked like the Red Devils might be in a walkover, 4-0 or maybe 5-0. Manchester McSingy breaks out the "You're Not Singing" song. Leave it to the fucking English to sing a song about other people not singing. You really needed our help? You couldn't have just irritated Hitler into submission? In the 27th minute United scored again. Only this time they put in in their own net. It was the first time in four years of league matches that Liverpool had even scored against United. And it was an own goal. Even better, the last time someone put the ball in the back of the net for Liverpool against United (September 20, 2004) it was also a United own goal (by the lovely John O'Shea no less). Four fucking years and you can't even score without their help? That's not a rivalry. That's the Washington Generals. But in the 77th, Liverpool got a fortuitous bounce off Paul Scholes. Dirk Kuyt fed a wide open Ryan Babel (and Rafa, if you're reading, you should play that guy more) and holy crap, Liverpool were up 2-1. A late blast by Wayne Rooney went wide and the Scousers kept their spot atop the table. They've needed some luck to get points out of every match this season. But, seeing how they finally got the better of United and did it without Fernando Torres, I'm sure Liverpudlians are still over the fucking moon and aren't worrying about their week 1 struggle against Sunderland. After the cheers of the local Liverpool supporters faded out, yep, my favorite fan was still singing. Still by himself. And about what I have no idea. Does United have "Hooray, We Lost and We're One Spot Under Stupid Fucking Bolton" songs? It's almost admirable that even defeat couldn't get him down. Almost but not actually. It was still just annoying and it made me long for Houston, the city that is its own punishment. Liverpool 2 Manchester United 1 [Independent.co.uk]
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