Ever since Trina and I have had kids it’s always been a dream of mine to take them to Anfield to watch Liverpool play and it finally happened.
Liverpool is in the middle of some major regeneration projects thanks to plenty of European Union funding and the improvement since the last visit there for Trina and I some nine years ago was astounding. The main shopping precinct used to be a dreary strip of the same old chain stores, but the new Liverpool One area (which leads onto the already fantastic docks area) is now the main place to go and it’s full of bars, cafes and a great variety of shops. Liverpool One is also where the Liverpool Football Club has a store for us fans to go mad in and it was packed with supporters spending up large (us included!) The boys were quickly decked out in “Stevie Gerrard” shirts and shorts and we were ready to head to the stadium for the game against Crystal Palace.
As the famous anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was sung, the boys were singing away and loving the atmosphere. The giant flags and a couple of smoke bombs from the Palace supporters also added to the occasion. Liverpool were winning 3-0 at halftime and all the goals were scored right in front of us so we had a great view of the action. It was also a bonus that all three goals were scored by the boys’ favourite players – Suarez, Sturridge and of course Gerrard. The second half, with the result now pretty much safe, was a bit flat but Palace scored (once again, in front of us) to restore some pride. The Crystal Palace fans that were beside us were in great voice for the full 90 minutes and didn’t stop singing even with the result beyond reach for their team. It was a shame we weren’t in the Kop end of the stadium so the boys could hear more Liverpool chants, but this didn’t detract from the day at all.
The game was the talking point for the rest of the evening with three very excited and happy boys and one very happy Mum who loves the club almost as much as me. The cost of tickets to the match was expensive. In reality you have two options to get them. One is by purchasing via a ticket agency (like we did for the Barcelona game) or the other option is purchasing a hospitality package with the club direct. This option also includes car parking and a post-game meal so we took this route – worth every penny!
We booked in for a stadium tour on the Sunday morning. As much as I love this club, the stadium is tired and small and in vital need of an upgrade and investment (which is coming). It was difficult to compare this to the stadium tour at Barcelona, which was fantastic. We got to see the players changing room and sat where all of our heroes sit. We also walked down the players tunnel to the pitch, but it wasn’t how I remembered it many years ago on my first ever visit there.
A quick drive to Chester for lunch and then we popped over to Wales to increase the country count which is now sitting at 11 for the boys.
Liverpool is getting better and better but we think the biggest asset the city has is its people. So many times people went out of their way to ask if the boys were “alright” and if they were having fun. There is a genuine pride in their city and they want to make sure visitors love it as much as they do.
A dream fulfilled. That’s the UK done and we are sad to be leaving it. A drive to Heathrow to catch a flight to the Caribbean beckons.