This is Anfield on a European Night

Posted: March 31, 2006 in LFC Verse, Liverpool FC

A guidebook in verse for visiting supporters in the Champions League.

See you in the Sandon – where it all began.

This is Anfield on a European Night

Two visiting fans of a European team
Asked me about the Anfield scene
“Where can we get a drink near the ground?
Or should we just have a beer in Town?
Are the pubs safe for a visiting supporter?
Can we wear our colours, think we ought to?”

I said “the only problem with yer scarf & top
Is everyone in the pubs will want to swap
Scousers aren’t shy like most Brits with a stranger
So the crush to get served is yer only danger.”
I said  “come  on jump in a cab with me
I’m meeting some mates in pub or three.

Oh aye, it’s the place to be alright –
Is the Anfield area, on a European night.”

The Anfield Iron’s on the cab radio
Talking of glory nights of 30 years ago.
But I think the cabbie could be a Blue,
As he mutters & switches to Radio 2.

Shall we go the Cabbage Hall, far enough away
And enough bar space to get served any day ?
Or start in the Oakfield? A  decent pub alright
Home to many an HJC fundraising night..

“See that chippy there, when I was small
We’d get dinner there & sit eating on a wall.
Or for good Chinese, try this one here –
You’ll need some scran to soak up the beer.
And  that  Little Solly’s a fine little pub
But it can feel like a bit like a private club.

Oh aye, this is the place to be alright
Is the Oakfield Road, on a European night.”

Into Sam Dodd’s wine bar to meet friends of mine
It’s funny – but none of them are drinking wine.
Then all into the Sandon, a historical pub
It belonged to John Houlding, founder of our Club

Liverpool used to change in a shed out the back
On the very spot where we meet Dave and Mac.
They went the first leg, they go everywhere
And try to have a laugh with the lads from over there,
But it’s not the first time, nor the last I’ve heard
Visitors say they can’t understand a word.

Oh aye, these are the places to be alright,
Are the Anfield streets, on a European night.

There’s plenty of native handicraft & art
In these street scenes so dear to my heart.
Like the two lads darting in and out of the bars
Flogging fake fifties with the faces of our stars.

Outside “any spares?” as you pass by the touts.
“6 quid yer half & half scarf!” someone shouts.
These two want a scarf too, so we all stop
He gives us 3 for fifteen, so we’re all made up.

“Get yer overpriced fake charity wristbands here!”
Shouts a self-made man with a budding career.
There’s plenty of characters, and the odd vulture
In  this  European  Capital  of  Culture.

Oh aye, there’s money to be made alright
Round the Anfield ground, on a European night.

Our guests ask “shouldn’t we get in the ground,
To sample the atmosphere & Anfield sound?”
I say “not much point before seven thirty five
Then You’ll Never Walk Alone brings us alive
(Though for a tight 2nd leg against the Cockney boys
From seven fifteen we’ll be cranking up the noise).”

“But, if you really think you can knock us out,
Shouldn’t you be in there starting to shout ?”
I  said  “for well-timed  pre-match preparation
Kopites know the key players need lubrication.
These vocal chords, now getting lager libation,
Will  all  help  in  your  team’s  elimination!

Needing to beat St. Etienne by two in ’77
The Kop helped it happen for the Red XI;
Needing the same against Roma in 2002
Again the Kopites sang us through;
The Olympiakos late show was like St. Etienne,
A 2-goal margin – we stormed through again.

Right here are the places to be alright
The Anfield pubs on a European night.”

One more round? I’d love to lads, but frankly
I’m meeting me mate at the statue of Shankly.”
I take them past the flagpole & there’s Andy Knott
“You really should buy that fanzine he’s got,
It’s better than the official match programme
And he designs the Kop mosaics – top man !”

Oh aye,  these are the people to be with alright
On the Walton Breck Road, on a European night

When we get to the statue, outside the Kop
Our visitors are tempted to pop in the shop
I say “You’ll miss kick off with the queues in there
Get corporate crap tomorrow in Williamson Square!

Tell you what, let’s nip in  the ‘Justice’ Shop
It’s just over here, right opposite the Kop.
They’ve got badges, t-shirts, scarves & all that
Much better souvenirs than the corporate  tat.”

Oh aye, it’s the place to be alright
Is the Walton Breck Road, on a European night.

“And this is the Albert, by the way my friends
Let’s  meet in there after the game ends.
Plenty of other pubs are perfectly fine:
Big Solly, Park, the Arkles or Flat Iron,
Or there’s a dozen more ten minutes away
And you’d save 50p a pint easy that way.

The Albert’s not exactly famous for its beer
But I still think it has a great atmosphere –
Well it can  be great, but it’s not for the purists
Who say it’s full of day trippers and tourists.

But half an hour after a win, you never know
Some of the rare old songs may just get a go.
Plenty of memorabilia adds to the atmosphere
Plenty wide-eyed wools asking ‘am I really here?’

“Enjoy the match lads – sing yer hearts out
And whoever’s team wins gets the next shout.
Afterwards we’ll all go down Mathew Street
It’s a hard day’s night if you’ve been Mersey beat.”

Yes, this is the place to be alright.
This is Anfield, on a European Night.

© nige 2006


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