Author Topic: RAWK Advent Calendar #4. LFC v Man City. FA Cup 5th Round 2001 aka my 1st match!  (Read 2805 times)

Offline Harinder

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You never forget your first. In many walks of life. Your first day at high school. Your first love. Your first car. Your first heartbreak. Your first child

Your first match.

Mentally so many things go through your head because of all that youíve seen and heard before. My head wanted to explode. I was in my final year at university down the road from Liverpool in Manchester. Not an easy place to be a Liverpool fan but then easy is not always the best path to take. For years my mother dearest had said to me going to a football match was nigh on impossible. Logistically it was a nightmare without seeing a way to get a ticket. At the age of 8 back in 85 I needed my parents. They never did come forth with one! Years passed from this point but the element of needing them hadnít subsidedÖ until I got to university. Trains were all the rage Ė have ticket, will travel. Getting a match ticket was all that much harder though.

Many a year passed from 1997 to 2001. Each year Iíd try, each year Iíd fail. Each year spent at a shitty sideroom of Queen of Hearts in Fallowfield watching the game on the big screen. I hated it. I hated Richard Keys then and I still donít really warm to him now. Hands waxed or not he always scared me a little. Irrational I know but then I am also a person who until the age of 7 had an irrational fear of Ronnie Barker with his glasses on. Never figured that one out either

Anyway, first match. In 2001 many things had already happened. Life was sorted, kind of, as Iíd landed a graduate position and signed the offer letter. A cloud nine feeling kind of day in January. February came along and all of sudden there was an opportunity bigger than that. FA Cup 5th round tickets to see Liverpool play Man City at Anfield. Tickets were being sold via See Tickets (this is a LONG time ago!) and all you had to do was register with them too. Did that. What I didnít do was try and buy the tickets at the university campus. No Ė I went in dial up 56k. Like a boss. Not. All that eeee-grrr-eeeeee-eeeee-eeeeeeeeee to get connected to the internet. Dark days I tell you.

The panic and hope of trying to get 3 tickets was getting to me. The pages took forever to load and even when the payment finally went through I had to ring up to make sure theyíd got it. A bit like today really so not much has changed! When they confirmed I had 3 for the lower centenary I was over the moon. Me, flatmate and another mate. Cue that cloud nine feeling.

Like a kid the first thing I thought was ďWhat do I wear?Ē

You wear a top. Or so I thought anyway. Buying one in Manchester was an experience when it came to that yellow/gold 2000-2001 away kit and sadly they didnít have my size in Red for home. Go to Liverpool I thought. Thatíll work. So off one went. Train ticket in hand I headed from Oxford Rd station to Lime Street. Crossed a few roads and stumbled across Williamson Square. Top nailed (again I was young, foolish and err not as versed in things as I am now!). No 9 on the back with Rush printed on it. I was made up. In true nostalgic fashion I still have that top somewhere. Last time I got it out to look at and reflect upon was in 2012 and the night before the Carling Cup final. Still fitted then too so that gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside :)

So the day. Sunday 18th February 2001. Cold yet bright in the North West and that dilemma of coat, jacket or bravery awaited me. Sweatshirt with top over it (youthful days I hasten to add) was the answer and sod the manc faithful in the city of the damned Red Devil contingent. I totally forgot the blue moon side of the city much to their amusement on the train up to Liverpool. I think what surprised them were the number of Liverpool fans on a Manchester train outnumbering them. That and the fact that some strange looking blondy brown haired mop head fella from Hollyoaks. We got to Liverpool Lime Street somehow. I cannot honestly recall how or why but had to go via Southport for some reason. It added time to the journey but no-one cared. We were heading to Anfield.

The bus wasnít as exciting a journey. That saddened me a little as it was packed and the windows were steamed so we couldnít see very much outside. I just remember seeing the ground and being astounded. All three of us had never been there before so it was a special moment for all of us. Iím envious of every little kid who goes to Anfield as they must get such a great feeling all the time. As you get older and a bit more weathered by experiences at matches a little bit of seeing Anfield ebbs away. I guess thatís why some matches where you can feel the atmosphere rock and almost hear the heartbeat of the club which is us, the fans, it really can take you aback. That being said I havenít been since we beat Crystal Palace in the first week of October so first match at Anfield in a while is coming up this week for me on Saturday.

Back to the match. I remember being a few rows behind an advertising board which is all very exciting until a ball smacks you in the head. I didnít mind that though. Within the first 15 minutes or so we were 2-0 up thanks to Jari Litmanen and Emile Heskey. I loved Emileís goal that day. Low and hard like how he nailed them in his pomp. The match seemed to blur past me at times from the viewing position we had but I remember them pulling one back. The second half was all us pretty much as I recall it and 2 more followed. 4-1 seemed a great first visit to Anfield until they got a consolation to make it 4-2.

Unsurprisingly I donít remember the journey home. I wasnít drunk as I donít drink but more delirious in regards to this result and the anticipation of the Worthington Cup Final to come a week later. I loved 2001 for so many reasons but this week happened to be one of the special ones in that year.

Go on Jari Ė cult hero that you are!

« Last Edit: December 2, 2013, 11:27:34 AM by Harinder »
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Offline Hinesy

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Here's a fab day 4!
Yep.

Offline BIG DICK NICK

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Great game this one. Just about the last one before I set off on my travels and one I watched with my Dad so remember it fondly. Actually the last one was the League Cup Final so this must have been a week or so before and was at that point when we were starting to realise this could be an amazing season.

Jari Litmanen up against Andy Morrison. Mismatches have never been so much fun! :D

Offline The 92A

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Great read that mate.
Still Dreaming of a Harry Quinn

Offline Corkboy

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Jari!

Offline Harinder

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Kanchelskis - he was the fella that irked me throughout the years. Seeing him losing was a nice sight I have to admit  :)
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Offline Yorkykopite

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That was the great Jari pass to Heskey wasn't it? Blind, over his shoulder, and so accurate that it seemed that time had been suspended for everyone except Litmanen who'd taken advantage of the hiatus to pick the ball up, stroll (he never ran) over to the edge of the penalty box, place the ball in Heskey's flight path and then amble back to his starting position before hitting the switch to jump-start time again.
"If you want the world to love you don't discuss Middle Eastern politics" Saul Bellow.

Offline BIG DICK NICK

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That's the one Yorky. Amazing vision. Think Vlad scored two penalties? Can't remember who got the 4th. Barmby rings a bell for some reason. Kanchelskis scored a real daisy cutter for them, swerved past about half our team I think!

Offline Harinder

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Babbel got the last goal  :)
Just clicked on the main board and my virus scanner came back with this

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Offline Hellrazor

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loved that
yer ma should have called you Paolo Zico Gerry Socrates HELLRAZOR

Offline Hinesy

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Bump for Christmas
Yep.