Monday, 17 October 2011

Liverpool FC

Fulfilling a Childhood Dream

I’ve been a lifelong fan of Liverpool Football Club since 1990, and only recently I’ve managed to fulfill my dream of visiting Liverpool FC’s famed Anfield Stadium. Even though I could not catch any matches there (it was an International break and Liverpool was playing away subsequently), the joy of being there at the Kop End was enough to send shivers down my spine!

As I wasn’t exactly staying at Liverpool city, I had to make travel plans to get there early in the morning to be in time for my pre-booked Museum and Stadium tour. So here comes the anticipated trip to Liverpool by the means of train. The train ride would take me 2 hours and it was one of the most enjoyable rides I’ve ever ridden. There wasn’t anything interesting things that happened, just the vast fields with cows lazing under the cool sunlight throughout the trip from Manchester to Liverpool. As the train was approaching Liverpool Lime Street station, the images of the vast fields slowly changed to red brick houses, entering the train tunnels with the red brick walls and giving it a very rustic feel. This increased my anticipation and to make things more interesting, I plugged in my IPod and listened to the Liverpool FC’s anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone, and followed by Fields of Anfield Road and a series of Beatles songs (Beatles originated from Liverpool). The songs playing in my ear, coupled with the image and my growing anticipation, simply had me speechless. (Fellow Reds supporters might want to do the same to really enjoy the feeling).

As I reached Lime Street Station, not wanting to waste any time, I immediately queue for a taxi that would bring me to Anfield Stadium in minutes. As all English Premier League followers would know, there are 2 very established teams in Liverpool, the other being Everton FC, and their rivalry is very intense. So the lucky me, managed to get on a taxi whose interior was plastered with Everton FC’s memorabilia’s. So my friends and I had to keep our mouths shut without showing that we are die-hard Reds supporters. As the taxi was approaching the stadium, The Kop sign could be seen from afar and within minutes, I’ve arrived at my dream, the Liverpool Football Club.

 The tour of the stadium led us to the current media room, which was the former boot room where a lot of legends were born. Insights on the previous developments of the club were also clearly explained to us, of which some I had gotten to know about through reading the books. Being in the changing rooms, having a first-hand look at how the players are supposedly preparing for the matches, and ultimately walking through the tunnels down the stairs, slapping the ‘This Is Anfield’ sign, and finally stepping out onto the pitch, made everything seemed so surreal.

Actually we were not allowed to step on the pitch. The group of us could only stay by the sidelines, enjoying the views from the manager’s dugout, sitting on the seats where my idols are sitting almost every weekend. After some explanations and descriptions, we were led to the famous Kop End. While walking there, they ‘You Never Walk Alone’, with the pre-recorded crowd singing in the chorus. The feeling is almost I am together with the Kopites. Though it was just a tour and the Kop End was empty, except for the tour group, I am still able to say that I was there before!

It was an enjoyable trip overall to Liverpool, however there was some disappointment in not being able to visit Everton FC as well as the Beatles Museum (spent too much time at Anfield). While on the taxi ride back to the train station, this time I’m in luck. Though the interior of the taxi looks empty, when the driver’s mobile phone rang, ‘You Never Walk Alone’ was the ring tone.

There are truly 2 great teams in Liverpool!

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