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Cheap beer. Cold beer. Continental sunshine.
Smiling Scousers. A selected few pissed Scousers.
Enjoying the day. Enjoying the moment.
Traveling with their beloved team. A dream.
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Crammed down a little passageway to the visitors section
of a stadium in the Brussels badlands. Stuffed into an area
where there weren’t enough seats. Enough room to stand.
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Tempers raised. Couldn’t see the bl**dy game.
The Belgians refusing to open the other sections of seats.
Nobody in charge. Perhaps what is expected of Brussels.
Teen-aged Flemish boys in orange steward vests
shrugging their shoulders. Young authoritarians sans authority.
My ticket useless because I was not allowed access to my seat.
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Someone heeds the advice of the ticket paying public and allows
More space in order to view the game.
Calmness. Good humor. Thick Scouser accents that needed
translating. Chatted with the traveling fans. Felt the vibes.
Drank the atmosphere. Discovered why Liverpool FC will
Always walk alone. Told of the soon to be introduced to the world
superstar kid called Rooney. Football was life. Life was good.
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Half-time brought riot-gear clad police. Like a scene from a bad
made-for-television movie. Play for today. Not what we wanted.
Not what we needed. We wanted football. We wanted soccer.
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Three Americans lost in a sea of Evertonians. Riding atop the
big blue wave. Time to turn in our surfboards. Just past half-time.
Head home. Avoid the scene that was brewing, unbeknownst to
English men, women and children enjoying a football match.
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C’est pas possible, shouted the little lady with a big shield and even
Bigger stick. Squeezed in amongst her colleagues. Tall men. Big men.
Same big sticks from the same big tree.
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You cannot leave. You must return to the stadium, the crooked nosed,
bug-eyed female individual insisted. Her shiny black helmet glistening.
The sun glaring off the face shields of the fifty-plus riot policemen.
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The game ended. The police mobilized. Were reinforced with more in
the same intimidating black suits with black helmets and black sticks and
Clear Plexiglas shields that might as well have been black.
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The English and the three Americans were stuck in this small arena.
Ordered not to try to leave. Not to move. Couldn’t move. Packed in.
Riot police came from both ends.
Children cried. Women screamed. Men protested and joined the chorus.
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Abused and lashed out at. Struck down. An Everton badge on a shirt like
A Star of David to the stick carriers. Water cannons at the ready. People
Ordered to go in one direction, forced in one direction by a wall of police,
In the direction of the cannons. Bodies flopping on the cobbled pavement
On the filthy streets, chased by shots of water. Cold water. Evil water.
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Why are you doing this?, sobbed a pretty blonde woman with her pretty blonde
Son, sobbing hysterical. Snot running down his face. The redness bursting out of his crying eyes. A poor little lad who’s only crime was that he loved Everton and wore their colors.