Being born within the sound of Bow bells means I should have been an Arsenal or West Ham fan, maybe even a I’d have been subjected to Tottenham and ‘Arry Redknapp.
Thankfully my family life took me to Liverpool at the pivotal time where kids start wanting to be people, like choosing their clothes and who to idolise. On the street we lived on was a man who wanted to get his child into football, luckily for me that child had no interest and word went around that there was a spare ticker to Anfield every week. Thats where it all began.
For one reason or another life didn’t plan for me to grow up with one of Englands most controversial accents, so aside from those first few years, Anfield quickly became something I only experienced on TV. In family living rooms, packed bars and on my phone I’ve seen us win finals, loose finals and come 2nd in the league too many times to think about. Even when we gave the world the best ever Champions League final in 2005, we were still far from the best team around (we came in 5th behind Everton)
Fast forwarding not to 2019, and after a tough season where Liverpool narrowly missed out on the league for the first time in 29 years, and paired with losing another Champions League final under unfortunate circumstances the year before, Liverpool famously put Barcelona to the sword and gave themselves another shot at the biggest trophy in Club football. My choice of career and city I live in meant that getting tickets to the game in Spain was off the table. I considered going to Liverpool to watch it, but couldn’t bare the thought of being in the city if we lost. In the 89th minute, Liverpool legend Divock Origi scored the 2nd goal of the game and I booked my ticket for the parade the next day. £91 to get me from Euston to Liverpool seemed like a small price to pay for the year they’d given me.
Travelling on the 7am train, I was in Liverpool before 10am, and even with a slight drizzle in the air, the excitement was everywhere to be seen. I aimlessly walked around, getting my bearings of my old city, and by the time the sun came out around 12 I had made my way up through the streets to the starting point of the parade. On my way I experienced true utopia. No really, I did. One of those props “you’d had to be there to understand” moments. Every person I walked past was smiling. Children were playing football in the streets whilst parents laughed happily together. Every bar I went into had people singing and laughing inside and out, no sign of drunken fights today. If this is what sport can do to people, we need to find a way to extract this feeling and sell it.
The rest of the story is what you see in the book. A picture tells a 1000 words right? Well there is a bunch of pictures in here so you’ve got a small novels worth to find out what happened. Enjoy a small selection of images below, and head over to my shop if you want to see what it was like being amongst the happiest 750,000 in the world.