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Liverpool v West Ham

Filed: Monday, 26th February 2018
By: Ten Thousand Miles From The Boleyn

-5 Minutes: As kick-off time approaches their famous anthem rumbles around the stadium. With a couple of exceptions, visits to Anfield have been so horrible for the last half century that I can't bring myself to watch Carousel any more.

Not a massive issue as it was never one of my favourite Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, but as Liverpool fans are renowned lovers of Show Tunes (not that there’s anything wrong with that) I’d bet there is a parallel universe where there are currently fifty thousand Scousers singing I'm just a girl who can't say no.

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I live ten thousand miles from the Boleyn. So what do I know about anything?

I do know it's not easy living and working in the International Space Station, particularly on match day when you miss half game because you're on the wrong side of the planet. This is just one of the many reasons I never pursued a career in a field that would have made me of any value in a zero-gravity environment.

-2 Minutes: Commemorative Bobby Moore t-shirts for the travelling fans, let's hope this doesn't become contentious. But it probably will.

There were a few negative responses to my first opinion piece regarding the mood of discontent surrounding the club and the upcoming march. I could have taken the criticism as a perfectly reasonable response from people who have a far greater investment in the ongoing issues surrounding the stadium than I do. But instead I decided to treat it as a vicious assault on my right to free speech, casting doubt on my love of West Ham and questioning my very Cockneyhood!

10 Minutes: I just know it's going to be a long night, surprised to see we've had 15% possession but I suppose Adrian has held onto the ball quite a bit.

When I was a child we lived in my Gran's house in Selsdon Road, off Green Street and within the sound of the North Bank. I remember Christmas night was about as East End as you could get; lots of drinking, dancing and a round of "Sing us a song or show us your bum". Luckily, everyone preferred to sing and traditionally Aunt Mary would give us all seventeen verses of You don't get many of them to the pound, while Uncle Fred would treat us to the popular love song; Step into the garden and kiss me under the plums! My efforts were less successful as every year, after just a few bars of my ten minute Tribute to Judy Garland the old man would call a halt, describing it as "inappropriate".

30 Minutes: We're one-nil down, disappointing but nice to be able to unclench for a few minutes.

Trying to follow West Ham while living on one of the Pacific Islands is also challenging... probably. I don't know how things work there but I suspect they must fall under the footprint of one of Murdoch's satellites, although I prefer the idea of living like the characters in the 1950s classic The Admirable Crichton, ingenious contraptions made from coconut shells and having to coordinate your meals around kick-off time as the satellite dish doubles as a wok. If that comment is at all culturally insensitive I apologise to all the people of the Pacific Islands. I suppose I could have said "but you can't say that any more", but that seems to be what people say immediately after saying something racist.

57 Minutes: Adrian is caught in a conundrum. Decides to come out but is too late, if he handles outside the box or gets anywhere near Firmino you know he'll go down, followed by a red card and a three match ban... so he brings down Zabaleta instead... good call.

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We've been living in Australia for twenty five years and following West Ham has never been easier. When we first arrived I had to wait until Thursday's paper came out to see the score from the previous weekend, tucked away in a column underneath the cane toad racing and dwarf throwing results. Thanks to improvements in technology I have watched live, every Premier League game we've played since 2008. The only thing all this new fangled technology can't fix is the time difference.

59 Minutes: Antonio is on for the tiring Lanzini, not sure what difference he can possibly... Bugger me, he's scored!

For most of the season the traditional 3pm kick-off happens at 2am on Sunday morning down here. In the past I've tried recording the match and watching it the next day but realised I can't logically affect the outcome with the power of my will if it's already happened, also the urge to fast forward when the opposition has the ball is too great. I tried staying up but usually fall asleep before the match starts, so I now go to bed and get up just before the teams come out. This is a time when you're no longer drunk but not yet hung over, the period we should really be asleep and not the ideal time to watch West Ham.

90 Minutes+: It's all over. I predicted a 3-1 defeat in my tipping contest so not surprised by the result. I usually go back to bed angry, disappointed, depressed or on occasion, pumped. Tonight it's just acceptance of a painful reality... they're so much better than us. On nights like this a job on the International Space Station doesn't sound that bad.

In the morning my memory of the match is less than reliable. Any attempt to report faithfully on the events of the game is a waste of time, ending up like something Fellini would have written if he'd decided to quit the cinema and try his hand at football journalism. Like going to the match while you're bread & drippin'... so I’ve been told.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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