So it’s finally happened. Jurgen Klopp is leaving us at the end of the season, but what a ride it’s been.
An old Robin Williams’ film, ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ comes to mind. All his pupils stood on their desks as a show of massive support for their teacher and cultural leader and one by one saluted him with the phrase ‘Oh Captain, My Captain.’ A moving moment in cinematic history.
I’d get on my desk, and salute our leader for the last eight wonderful years with a tear in my eye (I may need a helping hand getting down to be honest).
I remember the excitement when he came. He’d shown his excellence by leading Dortmund to prominence in the Bundesliga. He had spare charisma to burn.
When he came, we’d been in the League wilderness for 25 years. The 2001 Season winning ‘the treble’ was fun, but hardly the treble we were really looking for.
He came in and basically said we’d be challenging within five years. We hardly dared to believe. He immediately brought in a brand of football that excited, even though the team struggled a little defensively.
He recruited wisely, bringing in young players with real potential at reasonable prices, and built a team that was again feared across Europe.
Talking of ‘prices’, what made him truly great was the fact that he succeeded in a time when clubs like Manchester City spent ludicrous amounts of money. He competed on a playing field that was never level. In Europe, wealthy teams like Barcelona were overwhelmed (I’ll never ever forget that amazing night at Anfield).
He just gets what our club is all about. He gets what our city is about. What a loss he is going to be.
Over the years as a GP I have spent considerable time trying my best to comfort those who have lost someone close to them. I often tell them that the level of grief can be dependent on the quality and depth of relationship they had and that hopefully, with time as the healer, they will again be able to look positively at the wonderful years they had together.
I feel sad today. A grown, older man who has dealt with life and death of patients frequently, feeling sorry for myself at potentially losing a bloke I’ve never met who helps a few lads in red win football games. No apologies though; this team, and this man, mean such a lot to me.
Klopp once said that football is the most important of things that don’t matter. If that’s the case, this is one of the saddest things that doesn’t matter. But actually it does matter. I realise there’s so much horrible stuff going on in the world, but important relationships will always have a personal sway in our delicate emotions.
No one has died here I know, but the sense of loss can still be there, and mentioning ‘grief’ is merely a comparison of losing a relationship with one who we feel is so special. Klopp is such a character, a leader of men, and has a bond closer to supporters probably not felt since the days of Bill Shankly.
Talking of Shankly, I hope Jurgen Klopp name is still sung from the Kop for years to come. His name should be revered along with Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish. He has made our club great again and given us pride and numerous amazing moment we’ll never forget. These moments have not only given us amazing pleasure in their own right but, personally speaking, moments of ‘bonding’ with my lads as we celebrated together.
I’ll always be grateful to the man. He’ll be an icon of our beloved club forever and a day. His players, and us supporters, would walk through walls for him. Like a song taken from other local icons The Beatles suggests ‘I’m in love with him, and I feel fine’.
Fine loving another man (my wife doesn’t mind – she quite likes him herself lol) but also fine that we’ll move on as a club and a footballing family. A man of greatness and importance is moving on, leaving a legacy rather than an ongoing presence, but we’ll find another, sooner or later. Our great club will move on.
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your hearts.
If you like Dr Andy Hershon’s writing, check out his book – 15 Minutes With You: Tips on Medical Consulation and Other Musings