Friday, June 3, 2011

This is Anfield

As a fan of Liverpool FC, I chose to take a detour from Manchester to Liverpool just to visit the home ground of Liverpool FC - Anfield. I am lucky to have my cousin offering me his place to stay overnight just around the corner of Anfield. 

This is Anfield.

Thats the famous football field locating at the Anfield Road in Merseyside. That's how the name of the stadium came from. Anfield a stadium full of history and victory. Unfortunately the stadium was closed at night when I reached there. Anyway, I will be back for Anfield tomorrow morning before I catch my train back to Manchester.

I promised myself to return to Anfield early in the morning to catch the first session of the stadium tour. That was not really my day because the only offered mini tour on that day. That means I am missing the "behind the scene" of my all time favourite football club. No player changing room. No player lounge. No media area. This is because they need to prepare for the next coming home Champions league Europa League game. We were only allowed for the field and museum.

I stand a chance to snap a photo in front of those cool legend mini jersey outside the museum. Of course I never heard most of their name before. Aiya maybe I am the young and modern Liverpool fans ma! So don't know also never mind la boss...

I continued my tour to the entrance of the museum.

Not anyone will be find the museum interesting. Unless you really support Liverpool. It was just like I went in to Manchester United museum I found nothing special about Manchester United except David Beckham.

You need to go through a ticket gate that a similar to game day ticket gate in the stadium just pretending you are going into the field to watch live. Luckily, I was slim enough that time to go through that narrow small little gate.

The memorable and historical moment.

The olden days Liverpool jersey. They just simply looked like a foreman working uniform. 

Anfield doesn't changed much compare to the olden days. Some refurbishment had done to increase their   
capacity. The stadium remained the same the history remain in Anfield.

Bill Shankly is the true legend of Liverpool. He is the boss of Liverpool back in the 1960's and 70's. He led us to the glorious moment of the club.

They even have his statue in front of the stadium. 

The Gerard Houllier's era is my era of watching football. I felt quite sad when the board of director sacked him. 

Where did all the confident of Rafa came from?  He nearly paid off his job in the final.

We have nothing but this five European Cup standing in the musuem that you won't be able to find in any other museum tour  even the prestigious Manchester United (they nearly got their fourth last week). Especially the 2005 cup was really meaningful to the club. They turned over AC Milan's table in style to brought the cup back to Anfield.

The night of Istanbul is the brightest part of LFC modern history. We were 3-0 down before half time and we drew the game 3-3 before the clock reached 60 minutes. And kick their ass off in the penalty kick. They even have a room in the museum that filming the highlight of that night. All the fans can't forget that night in the rest of their life.

"The AC Milan glass was filled on the order of Berlusconi, the chairman, at half time, believing 3-0 guaranteed a win. The other was used by the Liverpool Directors after the final penalty."

"One of the match balls used on 25th May 2005 in Istanbul. Was this the ball Jerzy saved to win the game? We will never know for sure, but it is a vital part of our history!"

Later on we were brought to the field to have a look. The tour guide had played the theme song of the club, "You will never walk alone". Everyone standing up and paying tribute to the song.

I felt that Old Trafford had a better and modern stadium if compare to Anfield. But what we have in Anfield was the precious history. I can feel the soul of football in Anfield seriously.

At last I'm here standing on the ground of Anfield - the dream of all the Liverpool fans around the world.

Once again, I was burning a hole in my wallet by spending 60 pounds on a Liverpool home jersey with my own name behind it. In total, I had spent 120 pounds (RM600) in both stadium.

The new signing.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Theater of Dream - Old Trafford

Football stadiums are everywhere in England. From a small town to big city, you can saw a lot football club and stadium. You can't really imagine how important that football meant to the English. That's why every corner of the world now is watching the world class football league the English Premier League. This time I had went to the Theater of Dream, Manchester United. As a Liverpool fans I shouldn't be on their ground because they are arch rival since ages ago. I don't care anything, as long as Liverpool still in my heart - You will never walk alone.

Yes. This is the legendary Old Trafford that everyone Theater of Dream. It's very cold out there because snow fall few days ago. That is really big from outside. You can imagine how big was the stadium until you reach the main entrance of it. You can't get that in Malaysia for sure.

I was damn excited when I am walking into the stadium because this is the very first time I went to a stadium tour.

The ticket into the stadium and museum tour cost you 13 pounds. I collected the ticket from the ticketing desk and get myself ready for the tour. Their ticket is so nice like a souvenir for us. You need to hold the ticket pass all the time in the stadium just like you are a staff in Old Trafford.

Give a step for Manchester United to show my support for Liverpool prove that I had leave a footstep in Old Trafford.

At last we were brought to the pitch. I got no words coming out from my mouth. Woah!!!! Cool!!! The view of the stadium is too breathtaking. 

This man was our tour guide for the whole session. He explained the history and the victory of the club. And he was quite a cocky guy giving out lame jokes. At first he told who were not MANU fans please raised your hand. He asked me who do you supported and I said The Reds. He came out with a brilliant response "We will showed you the EPL trophy later in our museum." Another cocky jokes was between him and a kids. He questioned a kid about the history of MANU and offer a "match" as a reward for the answer. The kid got it correctly and the Mr. Cocky took a match from his pocket and give it to the kid. HAHA! Pity that little kid that trying so hard for the question. Cool guy Mr Cocky.

Stretford End from the far corner is where the die hard MANU fans will be seated. Almost every game the seats were full at that end. That was a place I shouldn't go or else I will be beaten up badly by those crazy fans. The lighting on the pitch was so fucking expensive. It is to maintain the grass on the pitch during winter. According to Mr Cocky each of that cost 1 million euro or maybe pound.

We were brought to the player changing room after some explanation on the pitch. Actually this is the most excited part of the tour because we can knew what is happening behind the scene in Old Trafford. This is the part you can't get on the TV for sure.

The back line of Manchester United. Without them, MANU will not win any trophy. They are sitting together each other in the changing room. Vidic and Ferdinand are the main role in defence

This is my all time favourite player in my football memory. He is the wonder boy of England and Liverpool. Why I am supporting Liverpool because of this wonder kids. But now he is only a reserve in MANU. Hope he will regain his glory days soon.

Top striking force in England. 

Old and loyal Giggs.

Old and loyal Scholes.

According to Mr Cocky, Valencia requested the club that he wanted to sit under the clock during his transfer to United. I don't understand his silly move. I guess he don't want to pressure himself by looking at the time frequently.

Ferguson tactical board in the changing room. The mastermind depends on this board to give his player instruction for how to control the game well.

I found out a room that is really suitable for me - the BALL BOYS room. According to Mr Cocky, the ball boy was selected randomly from the children in the school in Manchester. Sad. I can't be one of them unless I study primary school again in Manchester.

This is the player lounge that the player relax themselves before the game. Wives and children or maybe friends of the player will be here before the game. A player can maximum bring a group of four into the lounge. Ferguson had never been to this room before because it stated player lounge out there. He respect the players. Or maybe he is in the executive lounge with the director boards.

Saw this photo in the lounge. The last title they captured.

The international honours  board.

The player tunnels. Many famous players had run through this tunnel. Normally the home team will line up on the right side and the away team will line up on the left hand side. Of course I chose to line on the left side. The special things of the tunnel for stadium tourist. They will put the audio of the fans cheering and welcoming words for the players.

Known as the loser bench because there is where the visiting team sitting.

I sit on the place that Ferguson normally sits. The front seats are for the substitution players. 

Fergie won't be on his seat most of the time. He will just stand there and point to his player to let them know what to do. I am acting like Fergie during a game day.

The most Munich disaster clock on the east stand. Almost half of the main players died in the air crash and that was part of the tragic history of United. They had gone through the darkest day in their history and regain their glory day 10 years later by winning the prestigious Champions League.

Get ready to the boring part of the tour - the museum tour. Explore the history of your favourite club from here. That's not my favourite, so I am not so interested about it. I don't want to see the trophy in their trophy room.

Remember this jersey wore by Beckham in 2001 during the last world cup qualifier betwen England and Greece. He scored the last minutes free kick in Old Trafford to send England check in to the world cup later held in South Korea and Japan.

The Legends room.

Roy Keane's gear during his days in United.

Eric Cantona's gears.

Anf their talisman Giggs. He is going to retire soon.

And replaced by me. I am lucky to have my 60 pounds jersey posing with all those legendary jerseys in the museum. I supposing not buying the jersey but buying jersey in the Megastore is one of the purpose I came to the musuem. I burnt cash again!

When they beat Chelsea in penalty to win this cup. I still remember the days in Inti when I looked at this trophy.

Always never forget to pose your certificate in front of the museum before you leave. I was so surprise when they handed me a copy of certificate after I complete the tour. I hope it works in my CV when I am applying a job. Maybe it works when you applying a job in Old Trafford.

Closer look.