Behind The Badge: Dean Mannion

Behind the Badge

Name

Dean Mannion

Supported club

Liverpool

How long?

I’ve supported Liverpool for as far as back as I can remember. My first game was a Premier League match against Blackburn Rovers in 1998 – which was ironically Steven Gerrard’s debut – and I never looked back. I remember walking up the steps and seeing the pitch in the night, with the floodlights beaming onto it. I was hooked there and then. Goals from Michael Owen and Paul Ince in the 2-0 helped as well like, but I was going nowhere after that.

What began the support?

Buying the kits was a huge factor I think. Seeing these larger than life events happening on the telly and then wearing the same kit as the heroes who were playing them out, with their names o the back, played into my childish mindset. But that game against Blackburn in November 1998 was the clincher. I knew as soon as I saw that pitch that this is where I belonged. Anfield was my place, Liverpool were my team, football was my game.

Why have you stuck with them?

I come from a split family. Everyone on my Dad’s side – all my uncles, aunties, cousins, and my nan and grandad – are all blues. We’d go down every Saturday and we’d all have banter regarding Everton and Liverpool. They were all season ticket holders so they knew their stuff about The Ev. I made it my business to know mine about Liverpool. Every week I’d go armed with a new argument. I had a little falter, admittedly. A year after first going to Anfield one of my uncles took me to Goodison for an Everton game. To my shame I wore a blue shirt. I was soon back on the straight and narrow once my Dad found me running around the street though, pretending to be Franny Jeffers. Haven’t fell off the wagon since although it does get brought up now again by one of my cousins who lent me her shirt for the game.

Best thing about supporting them?

I’m about to fall into so many stereotypes here but I honestly don’t believe there isn’t another set of fans like us. We ingenious with our songs and fervent in our support. Supporting Liverpool is like belonging to a community. It’s like being in an elite, VIP club. You are among the most knowledgeable, passionate fans on the planet. We’ve been part of things that fans of other clubs could only dream of. Liverpool fans are amongst the most creative and intelligent in the world. I believe we are in a class of our own

Greatest memory

Istanbul is obviously a memory that I will never forget. I was only 14 and I wasn’t there, but it was special nonetheless for all the obvious reasons. It isn’t my personal greatest memory though. I was at the F.A Cup semi-final in 2012 when Andy Carroll scored in the 88th minute to win the game. There was so much that was great about that day. The coach down there was bounding, despite the 4.30 a.m start. The atmosphere inside the ground was tense but excited. We had been on through a bit of a sticky patch and Nikica Jelavic was scoring for fun for the blues, so I wasn’t personally confident. When that goal went in though, and from Andy Carroll of all people, I’ve never felt so much elation in one moment. I felt like my head was going to explode! My Dad was there too and he doesn’t get to many games because he works long hours, so it was special to share the whole thing with him. That whole day is my greatest memory as a Liverpool fan.

What makes your club special to you?

Being a Liverpool fan is part of my identity. I wouldn’t say I am a particularly confident person but the one thing I do not about when I speak about it is anything to do with Liverpool. The nature of the support also reflects the people of Liverpool. We’re hard working, passionate, proud people. Where else in the world would you get 96 families stand up to the government for 27 years and finally win? That’s the type of city, and club, that Liverpool is.

Best player

I have two in my lifetime that push each other very close for different reasons. The first is Steven Gerrard. The man bled Liverpool. You saw it in him everytime he played; playing for Liverpool was everything to him. He was one of us who happened to be good enough to pull on the shirt. He has given me so many brilliant memories as a red, from Olympiakos, to Istanbul, to winning the F.A Cup in 2006. The definitely is not a more iconic Liverpool player in my generation. The other player is Luis Suarez. Fuck me, that lad was a magician. I never seen anyone in a red shirt do the things Luis Suarez could do. He came just when we needed him to, immediately after selling Fernando Torres. He fit straight in and you knew from day one he was special. In terms of pure ability, Suarez is the best player I’ve seen play for Liverpool.

Worst memory

There’s been plenty along the way but anything to do with Roy Hodgson is a lowlight. In particular, I remember being a game where we played Wolves at Anfield in December 2010. The atmosphere in the stadium that night was poisonous. We got beat 1-0 and we were absolutely awful. Paul Konchesky was cheered as he went off, people were chanting for Kenny Dalglish and ‘Hodgson for England’ ironically, there were fellas fighting in the stand –  it just was not a nice place to be. He sucked the enjoyment out of watching Liverpool for me.

First shirt

The first kit I owned was the 1994/95 Liverpool home kit. You know the last Adidas one with the massive V-neck? I had ‘FOWLER 23’ on the back and loved the lad because he had blonde hair like me back then. I had all the enthusiasm for stuff like that that a 5 year old had. I got every kit after that until the 2014/15 shirt (the last Warrior one). After that I had stopped playing five-a-side and decided I was a little too old to be buying football shirts anymore, as I didn’t even wear them to the match anyway. I make sure my two little girls still get them though and will do until they tell me otherwise.

Be the first to comment on "Behind The Badge: Dean Mannion"

Leave a comment