It’s appropriate that my 8th tour of Anfield should include some time spent looking over the Steven Gerrard collection but that’s not all that excited me on this visit. And despite watching too many matches to remember over the years, the Anfield stadium tour always gives one a new perspective of the storied club that is Liverpool FC.
My first tour was all the way back in March 2008 and a lot has evolved within the walls since then. The most notable of changes without doubt has been the new Main Stand. I took a tour last year in the as yet unfinished stand so my most recent venture took me to the new player areas including media rooms, change rooms and the players lounge. Being a bit skeptical of the old change rooms and other historically charged areas changing too much, I was surprised at just how well it was all done.
Proceedings commence in the revamped ticket/entry point and you are handed a set of headphones along with an audio/visual guide and allowed to venture out pretty much on your own. This means you are not, as has been the case in years gone by, pushed through in under 60 minutes. Baz and I took around three hours on this new tour, taking our sweet time.
There are many new interactive areas to explore and I have to admit, FSG have made it all look so very tasty behind the scenes. They have done well to keep the history of the club blended in with the new surroundings. For instance, the are plaques splattered around the walls recounting moments of eras well behind us. For instance, in 1952, you are informed almost 62,000 souls came to watch a 2-1 victory over Wolves. A nice touch these for the history buffs.
Instead of using the new Main Stand to simply house spectators on match days, the club has done well to make it the place to use 7 days a week. Hard to imagine this is the same club who closed the club store the day after our 2005 Champions League final victory! Speaking of, there is now a brand spanking new club store adjacent to the ground which includes a decent range of merchandise and memorabilia for young and old alike to spend their hard earned in.
The museum is still the same spectacular walk down memory lane it has always been. Presented in a most beautiful way, you can lose yourself for hours at a time in the LFC museum. As mentioned at the top of this blog entry, the Steven Gerrard collection is a reminder of just how great a servant to the club he has been and will hopefully be again in years to come when he manages the first team.
I’ve spoken to a few local reds who have done the new tour and even these fellas, people who have spent their entire lives in the city are blown away by just how good the tour is. On the day we went, we bumped into an old fella who had been going the match since 1964 and even he was blown away by what he saw.
For me though, the two fitting highlights came, as always in the museum. Firstly, the 5 European Cups on display and, most importantly, the fitting tributes to the 96. A permanent reminder of match goers who went off to the match, never to return. Bless their souls……