A Pilgrimage to Anfield Liverpool

Well this is the 2020 Easter. My original plan for the holiday is going to the Iberia but everything from the flight ticket to travel insurance were all cancelled due to the pandemic. Therefore I am staying at home having a Barmecide feast by viewing my photos of vacation. During the Xmas-New Year Holiday, I and my boyfriend completed a flash trip to England and Paris in a week. We didn't do the traditional Eurostar route but instead, flying to and from Northern England. My boyfriend is a diehard Liverpool FC fan and would very much like to visit the city. Plus the lure of discounted easyJet tickets, we challenged six flights in a week (and we found that's freaking tiring= =) but yes really, there's no regret coming to the Liverpool City.

Pics or it didn't happen so let me show off my match ticket: an electronic one, saving efforts for pickup.

The difficulty in getting a ticket for Anfield game is no news across the globe. I heard that even attendance rate is counted for priority to buy a Season Ticket. And we didn't wanna go to the scalpers, so in the very first place our plan was the Official Matchday Hospitality offered by Thomas Cook - the one and only authorized official seller at that time and the most suitable option for tourists with matchday ticket and accomodation inclusive. It's a pricey though and was marked at least a thousand HK dollars something for each person. I booked via their Chinese branch on Taobao (copartnership with Fosun) because Thomas Cook no longer had tickets available on their UK website. Later I had the fortune to keep my trip on track when Thomas Cook collapsed so suddenly in 2019 as their Chinese branch directly handed over to Fosun and got our tickets upgraded and arranged. Of course now Thomas Cook is no longer the reliable official provider and I wouldn't recommend people to take the risk of getting a ticket from Taobao. I don't know, unless the Club cooperate with this travel agency again next season. The hotel is really quite far from the city centre but I like its style. Anyway I just explored that new map.

On the match day, we took a walk to the Everton FC at around 1 pm. My boyfriend said he had to hide his LFC scarf in the jacket for the time being...Walked pass an unnameable quiet and peaceful park, we reached Anfield and it's already packed with people. Those who arrived early could watch live performance, buy souvenirs AND! Greeting the players! Haha! The buildings here in foreign country is not that high-rise, you don't really need to keep your head up to see the beautiful sky view. In Liverpool particular, it's quiet and people are nice. Walking along the harbour coast is also a good choice if you have time. Crowds already gathered at the players' entrance of the carpark and some were trying to go up to the stairs but the guards stopped them when the time was near. An Irish fan was so hyper that he wanted to start a chant. The atmosphere was very good, just don't miss it if you come.

Reds Bar Hospitality includes not only the match ticket but also entrance to the Reds Bar lounge offering free flow of coffee and tea. The staff gave us a wristband when we scan to entry, and booklets available for pickup.

Our seats were on the first row and had a great view. It's very near to the goalpost although far far away from the players' entrance. We could see players shooting and goalkeeping in high definition especially number 66 was running just in front of us throughout the game. I really don't know much about football but the pace was fast and not boring at all. I was having fun when watching this British quintessence and culture. The ticket price for this particular match was increased by a thousand or two because Liverpool FC remained its ranking of No.1 throughout the season and it was regarded as the most possible champion in 30 years. And then the hope burnt with the virus, so...tragic. My boyfriend and other LFC fans were in the same disappointment. There's a difference between actually winning the game and automatically winning the game. And I'm a bit worried that as a Chinese I might feel a bit embarrassing and sorry stepping into the Liverpool community again in the future. Not sure if that's crossing a bridge before I come to it. Of course for the time being, the most important concern is UK stay safe! As the Stayers say, although they are not happy with BoJo but in the name of god, just pray for him and wish everyone good health!

So this is the end of the game. Some staff seemed to be security guards standed at the edges of the field, were they mean to prevent fans from running down to the field or running to the opposing camps? Anyway it turned into a dark night already. We didn't rush to leave because there's not transportation, haha. We wandered around in the LFC store with shelves stocked not fast enough. A fish and chips fast food store was a few steps away the stadium, we ate a little bit and walked a bit more further, got outside of the road closure area and took a bus to the city centre.

A note here: if you're buying stuff from the official store at the stadium, you'd better do it before the match day. We arranged to do the stadium guided tour a day before and shop at the store by the way. If you go shop after the game, it's really really crowded and you even may not get the right size because the stocks are all gone... Football fans are indeed the craziest creatures in the world, and the same for gentlemen shopping there, yes. If you don't have a preference, you may just go to the store in the city centre. At least two stores there as I noticed. Products are more or less the same but the store size is smaller than the one at the stadium. Clothes for ladies are significantly cheaper than men's wear. I bought a piece which I can wear in daily occasion. Buy buy buy.

Here we come with the sharing of "The LFC Stadium Tour" (Hurrah). Although many people are not keen on museums, I still consider it's quite necessary for a die hard fan (are you?) to come and have a look - we're here anyway. The home dressing room is not opened to visitors before the match day but I was not very sure. We still managed to get into a dressing so what was it? A film set? Still no idea XD And talking about filming, the greatest advantage for this tour is that it's just awesome for shooting. Please go on reading.

The venue offers lots of backdrops and players' cardboard stands. Visitors may take photos with them, and also pretend to be the host in the press conference room! Also they have the players' entrance, the stand, different perspectives of the stadium. Shoot any photo you want until you're all done. The most popular location which everyone wants a photo and where people have to line up is this - the field entrance. From inside to outside, from the back to the front, they just don't have the time to film a video! Along this corridor, a sense of full immersion in the moment when players entering the stadium was created and it turned you into that twelfth man of LFC. You're in different time and space but you're stepping on the same Anfield ground where they once standed. And that's pilgrimage!

Basically the movement in Liverpool relies on buses. Not many people write about the transportation of the city and I'm also too lazy to because it's always changing. Just quite meaningless. I'll introduce a little bit - let's make it short. Liverpool is in Merseyside and they have some kind of a transportation department or organization:Merseytravel.The two bus companies Stagecoach and Arriva are both using the yellow logo of Merseytravel. The rule in December 2019 is get on a bus and buy a single ticket from the driver in cash, it'd cost you 2.3 pounds. Or you could get a 4.5 pounds day ticket. Just note that the day tickets of the two bus companies could not be used interchangeably. Merseytravel did has a "Solo Ticket", and it's a day ticket. In theory it can be used to take all buses in the Merseyside but I didn't bother to check it out. I once thought the day ticket sold by the driver was the Solo Ticket but it's not, or should I buy a smart card first? If anyone knows please drop me a note, thanks.

OK, too many photos. Too tired of photo taking and writing the blog, bye for now.