This season Liverpool have been a study in turgid ineffectiveness – the Boxing Day encounter with Burnley at Turf Moor being a case in point. It is often said that the mark of a good team is that they can play badly and still pick up three points. On the evidence of that display Liverpool must be the best team in world right now. Oceans of ink, both the traditional and virtual varieties, have been spilled as pundits and fans alike seek explanations for the Reds loss of form. People have pointed to the sale of Suarez, the injury to Sturridge, the age of Gerrard, the inability of a jittery defence to deal with incoming crosses, Mario Balotelli and the transfer committee. Brendon Rodgers would do well to remember, rather than simply mimic, the words of David Brent: “Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days you are the statue.”
So what has gone wrong at Anfield this season? Thankfully those of us searching for answers need look no further. Paul Rimmer, a former Ukip candidate, has revealed that Liverpool have been cursed by god. Channelling the spirits of Mike Bassett and Iain Paisley, the wonderfully named Rimmer believes the almighty is punishing the club following its support for the Liverpool Gay Pride parade in 2012. On Facebook he wrote:
“From the Bible, Sodomy defiles a Nation. Those who promote it will be punished & vomited out of the Land. In 2012 Liverpool FC sponsored the City’s Gay Pride Parade. Unless they repent they will be under a continual curse. Liverpool were amazing last year, but the title was denied them. Everyone knows homosexuality is wrong, but now we have to pretend its nice and normal and anyone who points out it’s a perversion is evil. This is a deep moral and spiritual sickness in our nation.”
At first look this seems to be just another example of a far-right nutbar using scripture-fodder to justify their latest round of bigotry. And to be fair it looks like that at second and third sight as well. This is after all a guy who has made his way from the BNP to Ukip to the English Democrats. Rimmer countered by claiming “I am only repeating what is said in the Bible – it's not my opinion, it's what the Bible says.” But wait… what if there is some truth to all of this? What if the club has failed to win a single league title for the past 25 years because they have been breaking the rules hidden in the Bible? What if Liverpool could only draw with Arsenal because Rodgers was coveting Arsene Wenger’s Ox? A quick look at Leviticus, that Old Testament rulebook, reveals a whole series of other offences liable to piss-off our football obsessed deity.
What if Stevie G slipped against Chelsea because he had accidentally eaten some fat (Leviticus, 3:17)? Perhaps the polyester blend of the Liverpool kit is behind the dip in form, since mixing fabrics in clothing is also a no-no (19:19). Does it seem all a bit far-fetched? Well it can be no coincidence that Martin Skrtel has found his feet since playing with a bandaged head (Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people”) or that Raheem Sterling has netted in consecutive games since his haircut (10:6). All of a sudden I’m warming to my task. ‘OMG’ one might remark, were it not for the fear that such an oath could scupper a potential FA Cup run.
Indeed all of football should be in trouble were it to be punished for transgressions of Biblical prohibitions. Sky’s Super Sundays would be very different were it to keep to the rule about working on the Sabbath (23:3) and there should hardly be a footballer in the land playing well given that the big G ain’t all that keen on people getting tattoos (19:28). Still not convinced? Well how about this. Is it any surprise that so many players with sideburns scored goals in the 1970s when you realise that Leviticus is so particular about people cutting their hair at the sides (19:27)?
It’s all nonsense of course. Paul Rimmer takes his selective reading from the Bible to justify a homophobia that has no place in the world. Anytime you find your politics to be behind those of Hollyoaks then you should know you’re in trouble. And if Rimmer really wanted to remain consistent in his reading of Leviticus he might want to pay attention to the passage that reads “the foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born” (19:33-34).