The most important of the most important - Reflection by Chief Officer Mike


Read Chief Officer Mike's reflection for Monday, 12 July, 2021.

Fairly early on in Covid, as lockdown was beginning to loom, Jurgen Klopp – the greatest manager of the modern generation, of course – said that football was the ‘most important of the least important things in life’. It was an alternative to Shankly’s football being more important than life and death quip which was no doubt a good joke at the time but hardly fitting for what we were beginning to encounter.

And there are times when sport feels the most important thing. The Roy/Buttler run out of Martin Guptill to win the cricket world cup; the Miracle at Medinah to win the 2012 Ryder Cup; the Italia 90 penalties. And of course, Liverpool fans will always have Istanbul. And these times move us and lift us and frustrate us and leave us bereft. But only, as the Leonard Cohen song says, for a while.

But this England team has begun to show something beyond the least important things. They have a world view, a social conscience that is appealing. There was a brilliant story in this morning’s The Athletic about Jordan Henderson – who, come on Gareth, has to start in tonight’s final – going to visit one of the LFC support staff when she was off ill. She writes:

You’re a role model and a leader — not just at Liverpool but on England duty as well. Young players look up to you and you inspire them.

I’ll never forget that day two years ago when you and Adam Lallana turned up at my front door in Anfield. I was suffering from some health problems at the time. I’d had a tough time. I had the shock of my life seeing you two there on the doorstep. I just couldn’t get my words out.

Jordan, you came in, put the kettle on and we had a lovely chat. You asked what you could do to help because you didn’t want me to worry about anything. You told me how much all the boys were missing me and they couldn’t wait to have me back in work. That was such a lovely gesture. It’s something I’ll never forget. You really put yourself out.

There’s a decency, a humanity to this England squad and their manager. They reach into the more important things of life. But we need to reach beyond even that. However England go tonight there will be an intense feeling of elation or despair, probably for more than a while. But in the end I’m still with St Paul - So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Or as St Jurgen might put it, we fix our eyes on the most important of the most important things in life.

Mike Eastwood

Chief Officer, Liverpool Cathedral

11 July 2021 (six hours before kick off)

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