People talked of a Liverpool return to Istanbul – I never even got to see the first trip

PAUL CONNOR on the pain of missing out on a trip to Istanbul that would have made up for not being there for the first.

No comments

I could rant about missed chances, lack of end product and loose balls during the match. We just fell short. If we had taken a shot here, or played a pass there…

I would only be piling on the disappointment.

The prospect of Liverpool returning to Istanbul in May was very much relevant in my mind. It provided more hope and excitement, and the fact Chelsea were waiting for the winner of the game’s tie in the semi-finals just made it feel more like it was written in the stars.

This extra hope of going to Turkey is influenced through my dad’s (and a lot of people’s) experiences. He was there, a year before I was born. I can tell by talking to him that he cherishes these memories like no other.


Join our Facebook group and discuss all things LFC with other like-minded Kopites!


Having heard various tales of the footballing David and the Goliath, and also watching films such as ‘One Night in Istanbul’ (also my favourite film) has given me lasting hope that someday we’d be en route to Istanbul once again.

Dancing about Taksim Square with a blow-up European Cup, then heading to the Atatürk in the night. I would love to take my Dad back there one day.

I was disappointed when we eventually bowed out of the Champions League last year against Atlético Madrid, so to hear that the venue was being pushed back to this year due to Covid was great for me. I took it as a second chance. A second chance that was meant to happen.

I had high hopes for this year, even though we had two centre-backs who had never (bar an FA Cup game in the January) played for the club before October. You have to have faith like this – your team is the best team in the world, whether that be Paris Saint-Germain or Prescot Cables.

Advertisements

I am very, very grateful to be able to say that I’ve been to a Champions League final already in 2019, which was by a long way the outstanding day of my life so far. To see your local team from 10 minutes down the road lift arguably the world’s biggest prize into the air is a day you don’t forget.

The football bug in most ways isn’t something you catch – it’s something you inherit. I had inherited the football a long time ago from my dad, but Madrid? That bug had grown yet another steel covering. There is nothing like it.

This is the reason I and probably a few other Liverpool fans were keen to progress against Real Madrid. Desire to do it again. Have one more day like this.

Embed from Getty Images

In the end, we probably didn’t deserve to go through – though we put in a decent performance in the second leg, we lacked that end product. The Spaniards defended for their lives too, credit to them.

For the fans of the two teams who will eventually progress to Istanbul – I hope you enjoy the experience that we had almost 16 years ago, if regulations allow it.

One day, we’ll be back. I know we will.

For old time’s sake.


Don’t miss a thing

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox. It’s free!

Tell us what YOU think about this