Don’t you wish your home state was hot like Reds?

Dear Diary,

Thirty years of hurt, ridicule and humiliation ended at 5.08am Friday when Chelsea beat Manchester City 2-1 to hand Liverpool its 19th top-flight league title and first since 1990.

It was something this news website predicted would happen this season.

The title triumph was kind of anti-climactic as it would have been sweeter to have seen Liverpool ‘win’ it against City next Friday (3.15am).

But, a win is a win and to have finally got that monkey off the back is certainly a wonderful feeling. A few tears were shed while others slept – which meant no shouting or celebrating.

Liverpool is paradoxically the earliest and latest champion in history – having clinched the title with seven matches left but only confirming it towards the end of June as Covid-19 forced the league to be suspended for three months.

While excited, I can’t help but wonder why I and many others don’t get as enthusiastic about our local football teams.

As a kid, I used to occasionally follow my father to watch Negeri Sembilan play – in the old stadium in the heart of town. Dad was a former state goalkeeper whom one newspaper nicknamed ‘The Flying Nunis’ – despite Negeri losing a match heavily, but he was praised for keeping the score down.

The above is taken from the 1956 FAM Cup Final souvenir book. The writer’s father, Maurice was Negeri Sembilan’s goalkeeper in the final held on Sept 8, 1956. The islanders won 5-1.

He also played in the 1956 FAM Cup final against Penang. The match programme from that day is the feature image of this article.

As such, following the team and checking its results was a must. Over the years, I also jointly supported Kuala Lumpur when Fandi Ahmad joined the city boys.

I was also at Stadium Merdeka in 1993 to witness T. Gopinath Naidu score a stunning 14-minute hattrick against Selangor in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup. I celebrated like crazy when he scored his third goal despite sitting with the Selangor fans – all my pals were Red and Yellow fans.

We were pelted with ‘kacang putih’ and other ‘stuff’ and shouts of “Go back to the hockey stadium!”. This was because many recognised or mistook me for my siblings and cousins who were national hockey players at the time.

Strangely, since joining the media fraternity, I’ve hardly attended football matches – ‘relegated’ instead to covering hockey matches owing to my surname and other sports such as badminton, swimming, gymnastics and athletics among others.

Back then, the back pages of the local newspapers were dominated by M-League stories so I still kept in touch with how Negeri and Kuala Lumpur were doing but my passion for Liverpool had already overtaken everything.

I did cover a couple of Malaysia Cup finals – the atmosphere was simply amazing, but nothing beat watching the mighty Reds on television.

Perhaps the quality of local football was so dire that I slowly fell out of love with it.

So here I am still grinning like a Cheshire cat, but also wishing to rekindle my love for Negeri Sembilan.

Separately, today is the 102nd day of the Movement Control Order (MCO) and the third edition of the weekly MCO Diaries.

Here’s what has happened in the past week.

WOLVERINE LOOK

I haven’t been to the barbers since March 7 and after washing my hair, it was all fuzzy and standing up. The home minister and my sister-in-law said it looked like Wolverine’s hairdo … sadly the physique is more like Elmer Fudd!

CITY IN THE SKY

On Wednesday, NASA unveiled its latest astronomy picture of the day and it caused quite a stir. Why? Well, the picture in question appears to show an upside-down city just chilling beneath the clouds! Check it out here.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Country stars Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum have changed their names – the latest move in US pop culture to drop associations with the nation’s racist past.

Dixie is associated with the US southern states where chattel slavery was legal. As such, the trio will now be known as The Chicks.

Earlier this month, Lady Antebellum changed its name to Lady A, to distance itself from the associations of the Antebellum period with slavery.

FOR ART LOVERS

NUMBERS GETTING BETTER

We now have 8,606 cases with fatalities remaining at 121. Our recovery rate is an amazing 96.37 per cent with 8,294 patients cured. Keep up the good job!

THIS IS ANFIELD

Local singer Faizal Tahir released this track in honour of Liverpool’s success.

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