Monday, January 9, 2012

The Anfield Experience


In my last blog post 'You are about to read my 100th blog post' I gave you a hint of what my next post would be about. Football fans would have guessed it right, and well the picture in the video should haven given the answer away fairly easily to those who know me.

Here it is again.

Being a Liverpool FC fan for about ten years now, and finally travelling to Liverpool to see a match was somewhat an experience, which had to be done. Otherwise I wouldn't have any peace of mind. Being a non-member of the club is a pain in the ass when you try to buy a match ticket. Every match sells out so quickly, and I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to get myself a ticket during my stay in England. Because obviously it's easier to travel from London than Finland for a game. But thanks to my father's credit card I was able to buy a ticket for the FA Cup game against Oldham. And thanks to Eme's credit card we booked the bus tickets, accommadation and stadium tour.

Life is hard without a credit card.

After a few hours of sleep I headed to the coach station. It's always so stressful to travel around London, if you have to be somewhere on time. People have the 'It's ok to be 15 minutes late' attitude, since you can't really rely on the public transport here. A day earlier the train I was on stood 20 min due to whatever error there always is. Thankfully the trains had good service that morning so I made it to the coach station well enough before it left.

The trip to Liverpool took 5½ hours, but it went surprisingly quick and the sits were really comfortable. The bus had two female drivers, who swapped during the break and were talking the whole time. In Finland that wouldn't be really possible, though I guess it's safer for everyone, when there's someone to keep you awake. It cost only £15 two ways, by train it would have been £80 or so. I would have gotten one way half price with a promotion code. When we tried that with Eme, funny enough using the promotion code was actually a bit more expensive. Sneaky bastards.

As the bus was approaching Liverpool centre, I started to play 'You'll never walk alone'. I never knew the lyrics from word to word, so I did write them down to memorize them to be able to sing out loud properly during the match with other fans.

I had time to walk around the city, before I'd check in to the hostel, but this is the only place I really visited.

It was really simple to get to Anfield by bus, and the first glance of the stadium, you can imagine my eyes. My hostel was located only 100 yards from the stadium, I figured it be safer to get as soon as possible back after the match. It took a while to find the place though, as I read the directions wrong. Some local 'neighbors' noticed I was lost, so they helped me. Unfortunately to the wrong direction, but still nice people.

When I finally got to the place, it smelled like Holland, the room was freezing and the only bathroom quite dirty. And the bed strings broken, but it was good enough for one night. Also seemed that the owner was a bit hyperactive/having a bad memory; he asked three times during a minute if he had given me the key. Yes, yes and yes.

So many hours until the kick off, that the only thing to do was to go to the club store again. It's like paradise to look at LFC products without any other team's products hanging around.

It was quite chilly outside that I decided to keep myself warm for a while in my room (thanks to the transportable heater it was a bit warmer now). An hour before the kick off I got ready for the match.

Somehow I felt people were staring/laughing at my Christmas hat. It was still offcially Christmas though!

The feeling of stepping inside the stadium for the first time was amazing. Always when you get in a football stadium the smell of fresh air and the bright lights shining straight into your eyes is special. Only now it was super special.

I had really good sits, quite close to the substitution bench. Some players passed by and gave autographs and it was so cool to see them so close, even during the match. I was so lucky to see Captain Fantastic, Steven Gerrard back. He and Jamie Carragher (who I already saw earlier against Chelsea) are the only players left in the team, who played when I started to root for Liverpool. Back then Stevie G. was a skinny boy, and now the captain of one of the biggest clubs in the world.

the nice old man had shaky hands

captain fantastic


Singing 'You'll never walk alone' didn't really work out, because I couldn't get the words out of my mouth; the view was just too beautiful. Everyone having their scarves up and chanting for their team, like it's the end of the world. Could you find supporters like that in any other team? (a video from a match against Juventus)

But needless to say my dream had come true; hearing/singing YNWA at Anfield. Though it's hard to remember the moment, it passed so fast.

Before the whistle, there was a minute applause for former LFC defender Gary Ablett. Unfortunately, it seems that the football world is losing many nowadays, but it's good that there isn't a minute silence anymore. Click here to watch the tribute paid at Anfield.

The game started a bit rocky for Liverpool, with the likes of Finnish player Kuqi having a good chance to put the visitors ahead, but luckily we survived that. Though just to be behind after another try; it was a really nice goal though from the visitors. After that we went on scoring all in all five goals. All from different players! Really happy for the result, and to notice how LFC fans clapped for the Oldham players when they went off pitch. And that the hostel was close by.

king kenny


That was a safe choice, or not as there were some hooligans approaching and throwing glas bottles just a few metres away from me. I was standing in front of a take away place, when one of the staff members told me to come inside.

I have to say that I love how English people talk; 'Have you been served babe?' I should have replied 'No, babe' to the waitress. Instead I went; 'Do you have anything really English, except for fish&chips?'

Yup. Bastard sausage.

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