Having not ticked off much from my bucket list for a little while, I certainly made up for it last weekend! The main event was the incredible opportunity to meet the original kids from the TV series Fame, go to concerts and parties, etc. and you can read all about it here.
However, another highlight was to visit the home of Liverpool Football Club, Anfield. How old was I when I first started to support the team? I know that I was pretty young but by my late teens, I was watching every match possible on TV which meant that I saw the fateful match at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989. Over time, I’ve probably watched less football although I’ve got back into it more recently and I tend to think that once you commit your support to a team, you stick with the team through the good and not so great times. It turns out that right now is an AMAZING time for Liverpool!
Last Friday as I drove up to Liverpool, I was really taken aback when I turned a corner and saw this huge stadium reaching above the roofs of the local houses. Aagghh! It was huge and in fact it’s the 6th largest stadium in the UK. Easy parking meant that I was soon heading towards the doors with ‘STADIUM TOURS’ boldly written above it……but I took a detour to the LFC shop! How could I resist! There was so much that I could buy but I thought I was pretty restrained at just a scarf and a magnet. And then it was time to go through security, check-in and get ready for an unbelievable experience.
When doing tours, the guide can really make it or break it but we were super lucky to have Danny, a young many who’s probably young enough for me to be his mum! He was genuinely funny with quite a dry sense of humour that really appealed to me. To think he must go through the same blurb on every tour, he did brilliantly to make it sound fresh and like this was the tour he was going to give. I learnt so much about the history and the various titles and we certainly covered a lot of ground.
Several escalators took us up to the gantries and wow! What a view! We had the stadium at our feet and we could see for miles around. Plenty of time to take photos, offer to take photos of other tourists, etc. I don’t know. Something just took my breath away to see Anfield and to think of all the matches I’ve watched on TV with players having graced the grounds. As we came back inside, Danny pointed out Goodison Park. Now, for anyone not familiar with UK football, this is another stadium but for the other Liverpool-based team, Everton. They’re just a mile apart! Danny asked us how far apart we thought they were? Someone said “1 mile”. Someone else said “2 miles”. “No”, Danny said. “41 points”!!! reflecting how far ahead we were at the time in the league compared to Everton !
We went to the locker rooms for the home and away teams and this was VERY interesting! So, the room for the visiting team is stark! One light setting, very pale colours. The cushions around the edge of the room are designed so that the players can’t lean back comfortably. There are 10 showers rather than 11 so that it’s disruptive. It’s a room that’s far from being soundproof, allowing the opposition to hear Liverpool F.C.’s chanting drown any advice that the coach is giving at half time. As Danny said, Liverpool welcomes other teams…..but “we don’t the other teams to feel too comfortable”! Compare this to the warmth and luxuries of the home team. Salah and his mates have different light settings, a much warmer feel to the room, comfy seating, ice baths, 11 showers, etc.! It’s all about psychology and anything to give out team the edge. I was watching Liverpool F.C. on the TV news the other night as the cameras showed them celebrating in the locker room after their latest success and I was thinking ‘I’ve been there’!!!
We then headed out to the pitch through the players’ tunnel! How amazing was this! There’s the ‘This is Anfield’ sign which players often touch as they head down to play and I got to touch the sign too. But then being pitch side was incredible! The loud speaker played cheering crowds so we could get a sense of the noise of match day. There were many, MANY reminders about not touching the grass! How I wish I could! It may not be at Anfield but 8pm on 1 June for the Champions League final is in my diary and the phone will be left off the hook! I can’t wait to see if Liverpool lifts the trophy.
The tour probably took about 1.5 hours and you can also go around the museum. If you’ve ever followed Liverpool, I really can’t recommend the stadium tour enough.
Next week, I’ll tell you about what I got up to in Liverpool city centre but I really feel that I’m now ready to get back into the swing of regular blogging.
Have a lovely weekend, everyone xx