Monday, November 11, 2013

Guest Post: Chris and Sean in Liverpool

Man, do I have stories for you today. The day started bright and early at 7am when Sean and I had to leave the airbnb rental so we could take the underground to catch our two and a half  hour train ride to Liverpool. As we entered the train we saw a few others wearing Liverpool kits which was a relief, I was worried we would get stuck on a train with all away team fans. 

Sean and I had a couple early morning beers and some talk about sports, and we struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to us. He was interested by our American accents and asked if we liked American football, and of course we said yes. It was a good thing we did because he had two extra tickets to the San Francisco 49ers vs Jacksonville Jaguars NFL game at Wembley stadium in London for the next day. He said he couldn't go and couldn't even give them away to his friends and passed them on to us, what a nice guy. But more on that later.

As we arrived at Liverpool Station, we joined the ranks in a long queue for taxis. When we got to the front of the line I devised a way to save some money and asked everyone behind us if they were also going to Anfield Stadium and wanted to share a taxi. Lucky for us the two people behind us spoke up and joined us. They were a nice couple from Hong Kong, and the girl was in love with Steven Gerrard (I can definitely relate (Kelly note: that is Chris relating...not me, but I see her point)). We must have been pretty friendly to them since they offered to pay for the ride altogether. If you're counting that is two free NFL tickets and one free taxi ride all before noon. 

As we got to the stadium it was apparent why Liverpool fans are stereotyped as blue collar workers. It's because they are. All around the stadium were small side streets with small two story houses all connected together, like something out of the Green Street Hooligans movie. Just down the street was 'The Sandon' which is where our hospitality package began with a lunch buffet and drinks. 

The Sandon is an old run down restaurant/banquet hall where Liverpool FC began, the initial contracts were even framed on the wall there. As we made our way into the stadium I was freaking out the whole time with excitement, I even took a picture of some guy in the parking lot just because everyone else was. 

We found our seats and realized we had front row seats in the balcony, and the thing with these old stadiums is that they were built so the fans were basically on the field, a very intimate experience. Just before kickoff everyone sings "You'll Never Walk Alone" I get chills hearing this on TV but to be there in person it's such a thrilling moment... I thought I was going to cry. (Kelly note: I think he did)

During the game Luis Suarez scored his first ever hat trick at Anfield, and every goal was spectacular, I couldn't have asked for a better match to see: 

We ended up beating West Brom 4-1. After the match, we made our way back to The Sandon for sandwich triangles and tea (haha so British). 

Afterwards, we spent a while trying to hail a cab but decided to walk back to the train station. We cut through Everton Park where we were treated with a nice panorama view of the whole city. 


It was an enjoyable walk followed by a 3 hour train ride back to London. We got to London and immediately headed for the underground and we were so tired we forgot we were still sporting our Liverpool attire. Of course we find a spot on the subway next to a bunch of drunk guys who immediately say, "What are you wearing Liverpool kits in these parts for?" Lucky for us, we charmed them and turned it into a hilarious conversation about the way we pronounce "uhluminuhm" compared to their "ahluuminium" ...drunk people are so easily distracted. We finally made it back to Kelly and Megan by midnight.  A solid 17 hour day, just to see a soccer match but so worth it. 

Getting back to the NFL tickets: I began to find out why this guy couldn't even give them away. The next day as we toured around London I went up to everyone I saw wearing some form of NFL gear and tried to give them away, and everyone either had tickets or didn't trust me. After about 8 attempts, I was about to give up that's when Kelly spotted two guys walk into the restaurant that we were eating at for lunch. One was wearing an old Bears sweatshirt. She convinced me to give it one last chance and so I awkwardly approached them at their table. They said they were on their way to the game hoping to buy tickets last minute. I handed them the two free tickets and told them to enjoy. They were shocked and didn't know what to say. Making their day felt nice but after a long weekend of acting very extroverted I could now go back to not talking to favorite.

(Kelly note: 36 days!)

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