By Bob Ball
Over the last three seasons, I’ve had the great pleasure of introducing my son and daughter to the delights of Anfield. I’ve told them about the great European nights on the Kop, and the noise we used to make. But somewhere along the line, it has disappeared. I suppose you could say that I became a disillusioned Kopite. Disillusioned about the lack of noise generated for the team. I brought my kids up to Anfield and was always disappointed with the noise. They wondered what the hell I was talking about, until the 19th of March 2002.
I managed to get the three of us tickets for the Roma game. I wrote a letter to their school saying that I had to take them out of school as we had to see family in the north-west of England (not quite a lie!). We drove up, checked into the B&B, met up with my friends, and my daughter (9) and son (10) donned their scarfs and hats before we drove to Anfield. Even they picked up on the atmosphere…it felt like a special night before it started. The kids were buzzing!
I began to think that my kids might, for the first time ever, experience Anfield at it’s best, and to finally understand and realise what I, their Dad had been waffling on about for years!
The rest, as they say is history. I felt so proud to see my kids standing on their seats waving their scarves in the air and singing to Gerard Houllier, and waving Roma back to Italy! Strange, but they seemed to pick up all the words to all the songs by themselves. And they didn’t even complain about standing up for the whole game! It was, indeed a night to remember. The Kop did LFC proud, the team did themselves and the fans proud. To see my kids faces that night, and for days after was a joy. They knew that they’d been present at a very special occasion. I knew that as well. I hope there will be many more. I wish there was. They sung YNWA, and the GH songs all the way back to Surrey the next day!
Roma will live on in our memories for ever. I was proud fan, and a proud Dad that night. My kids still talk about that game. The newspaper spreads are pinned to their walls! The kids understood fully for the first time what it meant to be a Red. They too were proud to be Red.
Oh, did the school ever find out about where the kids actually went?
Well, on their return to school on the Thursday, my daughter’s teacher said to her, “Good Morning, how was Anfield?”. My daughter replied, “Great Miss Williams, brilliant!”, before clapping her hand over her mouth, realising that she’d let the cat out of the bag!