Here's the thing: anyone who has listened to a Springsteen album will understand that The Boss is probably the world’s number one working class hero, no matter that he's probably rich enough to buy El Salvador. Which is all very curious when you consider how lousy he makes the blue collar life sound.
He has spun countless stories about simple folks with complex problems - almost all of them involving a car that runs badly, a lousy job that they're about to lose, or a girl named Mary (most Springsteen songs have a girl named Mary).
His stories are filled with empty highways, decaying factories, workers on strike, smoggy industrial skylines, wood paneled taverns, and rustic characters who once had it all going for them, but through life's cruel turn now find themselves with no money, no car, no job, and a wife (named Mary) that's about to leave them.
Evidently, nobody in Springsteen's blue collar hell ever gets promoted to manager, or even able to afford a decent Toyota. They instead exist in proletarian hell where mortgages are foreclosed, transmissions leak, and wives have a "headache" every night.
I feel your pain, brother Scouser...
The Boss knows how it feels to be a Liverpool fan
Here is a club that has once won - at some point in its tumultuous history - every prize worth winning in club football. 18 league championships, 7 FA Cups, 7 League Cups, and importantly 5-time winners of the European Cup / Champions' League.
And almost every Liverpool fan you meet will not hesitate to remind you of just that - the statistics. Liverpool fans live and breathe the history that once was. The great 80's with Souness, Hansen and King Kenny – and a bit later with Rush, Barnes, Beardsley and the rest - when they took all of Britain and most of Europe by storm, weighing in as number one contenders on almost every major competition.
Later years saw them unearth the prodigious, predatory talents of Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen. Current captain Steven Gerrard and his deputy Jamie Carragher embody the very spirit of the club: resilience, passion, thirst for glory and a never-day-die approach on the field. A friend who is a die-hard Liverpool fan – and I am close to many of these, in spite of my allegiance to my beloved Manchester United – once said “if Liverpool had six Gerrards and five Carraghers we could again be the club we once were.”
And therein lies the conundrum of the Liverpool fan: in this day and age when strategy, inventiveness, technical ability, panache, wizardry, flair, elegance, flamboyance and style are the sort of buzzwords used by so many to describe a modern football club, all of these don’t matter as much to the Liverpool fan as much as the heart does.
They say if the heart is empty, the rest don't matter (and rightly so).
Truth be told they have had many nights where the heart eventually won the day. Last year’s FA Cup final against West Ham United was one such occasion; on their day, the most tactically astute team don’t have a hope in hell of walking past a Liverpool team that turn up feeling all heart and blood and sweat and tears.
And nobody ever needs reminding of that glorious night in Istanbul. Hand on heart, I will say it meant more to their fans who for over a decade were bereft of any notable achievement, vis-à-vis Manchester United’s dramatic Champions' League victory in 1999, when many of the club’s fans were already used to close to a decade of winning everything.
It’s heart, and blood, and sweat, and tears. Very working class indeed. Why Springsteen has not yet written a song about them is beyond me!
Standard Scouser stance: Heart on sleeve, hand on head / mouth / eyes
But blue collar romanticism aside (and I’m actually referring to the red half of Merseyside), we shouldn’t ignore the real essence of being a protagonist in a Springsteen song: he’s always a loser and a bum, no matter how much you feel for him.
And that my friends, is Liverpool in a nutshell. You tend to feel for the poor chaps. Close to 17 years of absence on top of Britain’s league is a long time indeed. Some of the babies born when they won their last league title have grown up to be teenagers who unlike their parents prefer the modern appeals of the game: strategy, inventiveness, technical ability, panache, wizardry, and all that nonsense. Heck, many of them probably even support Chelsea. Or worse, Everton!
So you would please excuse me my dear Scouse friends if my genuine wish is for you to pull your bloody socks up and start the damn season properly next year. For goodness sakes go on and win the blessed thing so you can finally sing about something worthwhile.
Or don’t. I mean, what the hell would The Boss write about then?