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#632422 - 30/03/20 12:41 PM A nice read
Dunk Offline
KopTalk Editor

Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 3247
Loc: KOPTALK
I received this email for the KopTalk podcast. It was a really nice read and I thought you guys might like it smile

Hi Dunc

I hope you are doing well under the circumstances. Life is on hold for so many of us at the moment but we all have to stay positive, keep up the good work.

I am a new listener but a regular podcast junkie and subscriber to various LFC and non LFC podcasts. I came across your podcast recently and I have been entertained, so thank you. I just thought that I would drop you a line to share some of my memories following LFC.

My love affair with this great club started in the mid 70’s and I was fortunate enough to attend my first LFC game in 1984. Once I started driving, I became a regular at the match, travelling across the country in my old Morris Marina from my home in Berkshire. I upgraded to an XR2 a couple of years later so the drive became much more enjoyable and calls to the RAC to recue me from various motorways dropped dramatically! In those days it was a case of turn up, queue for two or three hours and pay on the gate. Winning was a way a life back then and we were all intoxicated by the success that our club enjoyed.

As someone who saw LFC win the last league title it is hard for me to think that it has been 30 years since. So much has happened in the intervening period both personally and for the fortunes of our club, but in all honesty, and although we have had to wait so long to win the title again, it really doesn’t feel like 30 years to me – do you agree?

There have been so many memorable days and nights following this great club, I was there for the debut of John Barnes, Peter Beardsley and John Aldridge (the original front 3) at Highbury in our 2-1 victory in August 1987. I met JB a couple of years earlier when he was playing for Watford, and coaching Eton College Boys in a local grudge “derby” against my Comprehensive School Team. I had seen him play a few times when we played Watford and I was so pleased when we signed him. He truly deserves the title of LFC legend, what a player.

I was in the Kop when Roma arrived to play at Anfield in March 2002. You may remember this was the game when Gerard Houlier returned to the dugout five months after life-saving heart surgery. I will always remember the welcome he was given by the fans and the atmosphere that night was very special in our 2-0 victory.

I sat in the Kop again the night we played Olympiakos in December 2004, there is an image of a young girl in a woolly hat biting her nails on the match DVD, when the commentator makes a comment about it being nail biting stuff, just before the “beauty” goal from Stevie. I was sat next to her. A few months later I sat in the Upper Centenary Stand and bemoaned the performance of Louis Garcia moments before he hit that fantastic (as BR would say) volley against Juventus – what do I know about football, what a strike that was!

That run to the final in Istanbul will live long in the memory as will the trip 13 of us made to Turkey via Sofia in Bulgaria. For my sins, I was the appointed trip organiser and I liaised with a “local chauffeur” company in Sofia a few weeks before we arrived to arrange for a round trip transfer to Istanbul. The driver arrived at our hotel looking like he had just come off the set of a gangster movie and demanded that we pay him the full fare about $600 before we set off, despite us agreeing 50% on departure and 50% on safe arrival back in Sofia, when I booked. A Mexican stand off ensued for 30 mins and then, finally we reached a compromise, when the hotel staff agreed to hold the money and pay the driver when we returned, we didn’t fancy a one way trip to Istanbul!

Little did we know that we would have to endure several other difficult situations on the long drive to Turkey. For those that made this trip, you may recall the never ending border points en route, I recall 10 or 15 checkpoints in each direction with officials looking for “something in return for our safe passage and for the return of our passports”, all currencies accepted was the order of the day, we were well and truly rinsed! Interestingly on the way back after the match, money was not in demand. We were asked to hand over shirts, scarfs, or anything with a Liverpool logo on it. I had this image of scores of Bulgarian officials walking around the border area with Djimi Traore emblazoned on their backs!

I have shared a few pictures I took within the ground, the first one shows me meeting Andy Gray as I walked into the Press Box by mistake (no security anywhere) I asked him for a prediction and he said “3-0 win to AC Milan”! I was lucky enough to see all of the goals and the penalties clearly from my spec in the stadium. There were quite a few Milan fans in the seats behind me and as you can imagine, they were making a racket in the first half. Although there were 13 in my group we were all dispersed around the stadium, I sat with one mate, but he decided to leave at half time, returning 20 minutes later as he couldn’t find anything to do in or around the ground (could this happen now days?). By the time our second goal went in some of the Milan fans near me were making their way out of their seats, they knew it was coming and boy did it come. Nothing has ever come close to the feeling in the stadium that night, and for those of us fortunate to be there, it will be very difficult to top this.

Athens followed a couple of years later and as a creature of habit, I decided to pull a group together again and retrace our steps via Sofia but this time the road trip was much longer, the bribes were bigger and the result, well….

FSG arrived in 2010 and to be frank we were all a bit sceptical after the previous period of ownership and it took a bit of time for things to settle down (I joined the walkout against Sunderland in 2016 in protest at seat prices) but I visited Fenway Park in Boston later in the year and I did the stadium tour. I was really impressed in the back story of the Red Sox and the similarities with our rich history. I came away feeling that we were in the right hands if what they achieved in Boston was on the roadmap for LFC. If you get the chance it is well worth a visit. IMO Fenway deserve more credit for what they have done and for what they have achieved as custodians of our club.

The 2013 / 2014 season provided immense enjoyment, not only in the way that we played but the way that the momentum started to build again within our fanbase. I was at the Fulham away game when Stevie scored the last minute penalty. I was sat on my hands in the home section that night and that goal felt special at the time, and as I look back, for me, it marked the beginning of that great run.

The arrival of Jurgen heralded a sea change in our fortunes as we all know, but one of the key needs was restoring belief and unity across all aspects of our club. For too long we were a divided club, you may remember the infamous transfer committees, publicly losing out on transfer targets with players preferring to join Chelsea and in the case of Sanchez, Arsenal and the annual sale of our best players.

Jurgen has given me some of my best days ever following LFC. Defeats in Basel, Kiev and against City in the cup were all building blocks for great things to come, the ride to each of those finals was special. The days and nights attending the finals themselves were all memorable and part of what we are in it for, and I don’t take it for granted that I am lucky enough to see the Reds play live.

We gave City such a fight last season and we went toe to toe, slugging it out. Small margins were the difference in all honesty, I remember sitting at home watching Vincent Kompany blasting that shot in from 30 yards and thinking he would never score another goal like that if he had 1000 attempts. The following night we were due to play Barca and I recall my mood at the time, which was 100% focussed on the league, as we had a mountain to climb against Barca.

Along with all Liverpool fans I was feeling really low, and that goal by Kompany took all the fight out of me. I went to bed that night thinking that I probably wouldn’t make the journey up to Anfield the next day. Thankfully I awoke with a thought / reminder that this was a semi-final for the Champions League – how many CL semi-finals had I been to before (2) and how many opportunities would I have in the future? I had two tickets for the match, but I didn’t have a plan and I hadn’t made any arrangements with anyone for the other ticket. A few calls later and some words of encouragement from my wife, and I was on the M5/M6 heading to Anfield. We all know the rest, but I guess the point here is about belief (as JK would say!). I had been sucked into the fight with City for the league, I was emotionally invested in this fight and subconsciously the game with Barca had been written off…. Madrid awaited, albeit that I didn’t qualify for a ticket ☹ but just to be in the City with many of my mates who have been on this journey too, well I was always going to go anyway. Number 6 was in our hands.

So now that we are on the cusp of winning our first title in 30 years, we have been asked to wait a little longer, it will come however. There are bigger things to deal with right now, but hopefully the authorities will do the right thing and allow all teams to complete the season, irrespective of when this might take place.

When Jordan finally lifts that trophy it will still be as euphoric for all of us as if he lifted it last weekend, against Palace, and this 30 year wait will finally be over. FANTASTIC as BR would say!

BTW.

I have come up with 6 players with the same letter in the first name and surname:

Mike Marsh
Ronnie Rosenthal
Garry Gillespie
Larry Lloyd
Kevin Keegan
Steve Staunton


ATB.

Regards

Gary

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#632426 - 30/03/20 03:58 PM Re: A nice read [Re: Dunk]
Pickles Offline
Under 23 Player

Registered: 23/12/15
Posts: 4705
Very good read!

Incidently my older Sister (who was a Sister at Broadgreen Hospital ICU) took care of Houllier when he had the life saving heart surgery.

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#632490 - 03/04/20 12:58 PM Re: A nice read [Re: Dunk]
hangthu Offline
Trialist

Registered: 30/03/20
Posts: 1
Very good read!
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