And so it has come to pass…the departure of ‘The Lord’ Joe Allen from our Mecca, Anfield. Joe leaves behind him tens of thousands of disciples who worshiped him, believed in him and who today vow to live their lives the way he would have wanted – growing Pirlo-esque facial hair and hating Marouane Fellaini.
Joe arrived at Melwood on August 10, 2012 at the behest of Brendan. We were told that he was ‘a great character’ (but then again, who wasn’t?), and he was immediately christened ‘The Welsh Xavi’ by Liverpool fans longing for, well, a Welsh Xavi. His cherubic features belied his fierce internal drive and ambition to be the best that he could be and to lead Liverpool to the ‘Promised Land’ (Top 4 of the Premier League).
Joe graced the Scouse Nation with his presence no less than 132 times over four seasons, scoring a grand total of 7 goals, but while his stats don’t appear that miraculous, it was his work behind the scenes that he will truly be remembered for. His 24 appearances in the 2013/14 season almost led Liverpool to the most improbable of Premier League Titles (well, it was improbable then…stupid Leicester changed the whole definition of ‘improbable’).
His first (and only) goal of that incredible season was a headed goal at Selhurst Park on a fateful night which no Liverpool fan will ever forget as their title challenge was ended by a freak ‘Gayle-force’ wind. That goal looked to have set Liverpool on their way to the miracle of a Premier League title, but alas it was not to be. I suppose it would be like feeding hundreds with five baguettes and two battered cod only for another ten thousand to show up after an all-night rave demanding a fish supper.
His dramatic late equaliser in the 3-3 draw v Arsenal at Anfield will also linger long in the memory of Liverpool fans, but it is his act of heroism just thirteen days later, as he slotted home the crucial penalty v Stoke City to send Liverpool to Wembley, that he will possibly be most fondly remembered for.
During his final season at Anfield, The Lord Joe personally healed both Joe Gomez and Danny Ings over the space of 9 months (miracles don’t happen overnight, ok?) but his most impressive miracle, which is currently under review by the Vatican in order for his Sainthood to be confirmed, occurred on the night of April 14th, 2016. After 62 minutes and with Liverpool 3-1 down on the night and 4-2 down on Aggregate, a miracle was truly required. Enter ‘The Lord’ Joe Allen with Liverpool needing three goals in less than half an hour.
29 minutes later, Dejan Lovren rose at the far post to head the third Liverpool goal since the introduction of Joe. The facts speak for themselves – Joe Allen is clearly the second coming….
However, as with a certain other gentleman around 2000 years ago, betrayal is never far away, and so just mere weeks after The Lord Joe led his countrymen to an historic Euro 2016 semi-final (and being cruelly knocked out by Satan, aka Cristiano Ronaldo),
Judas Iscariot Ian Ayre accepted 30 pieces of silver (One piece of silver is worth £433,333 Sterling – blame Brexit) and Joe will play at The Britannia next season.
There are many who worship Joe who are yet to come to terms with the news, while others are openly wailing in the streets (typically between the hours of 1am and 4am on a Saturday night). I for one have decided that I was fortunate to ever have had him in my life at all. He has taught me so much – how to look like Pirlo, how to bestride the midfield like a colossus (while being petite and looking like a 12 year old) and how to always make others look good even if it is to my own detriment. Aren’t I just great?
Will we ever see his like again? I doubt it, unless you follow Stoke City. If that’s the case, you need all the help you can get….which is why he has he has gone to Stoke. Selfless to a fault.
God Bless you Joe Allen.