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Anfield
Liverpool v
Derby County
Satur
day September 1st 2007, 3pm
Premier League
By James Roddis
(Derby County fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be)

I am a Derby fan and its been five long years since we have played premiership football and back then I was gutted to have missed the trips to Anfield. I made sure I wasn't going to miss the trip this time round (as we might be in the Championship next year and Liverpool are moving to a new stadium) so when tickets went on sale to season ticket holders I dragged my girlfriend along to the ticket office to queue outside at 7am.  We were rewarded for our early turn out as we were second in a massive queue and when the ticket office opened at 9am we were the first to come out with the tickets in our hands.

Out of all the premiership grounds Anfield was the ground I was looking forward to visiting the most.  It has the most history and for the 4 weeks building up to the game I could hardly wait. My only concern was how the team would do as we had lost 4 -0 the previous week at White hart lane, Oh well.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking

The journey was okay, we got a supporters coach down to the Liverpool at 10:30am and everyone was excited about the game.  We stopped off once for a toilet break but still arrived at Anfield in good time, around 1:30pm.  There was no traffic as there was a police escort which was good.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Me and my mate decided to have a few pints at the Arkles pub which is opposite from where the away coaches park.  It was mostly Derby fans but there were also a few Liverpool supporters and although it took ages to get to the bar, the atmosphere was friendly and not intimidating.  There was a big screen at one end of the pub and tv's dotted around showing Sky Sports News. A program seller also came in and I brought a program for 3.  When we left however there was a big queue outside the pub waiting to get in, so if you want to go then I'd go as early as you can because it was one in, one out.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground.

As we left the pub you could see the corner of the ground rising above the houses and I have to admit as we got closer you truly realised what a legendary stadium it is. There was lots of stalls selling what seemed like hundreds of different Liverpool scarfs and badges etc.  We had a look at the Hillsborough Memorial and had a stroll round to the Kop which was everything I had imagined.  I had been told that Anfield was quite intimidating but this like most stereotypes of supporters was untrue. The atmosphere around the ground was really friendly and derby fans wearing shirts mingled with Liverpool supporters without any problems.  There was a police presence but not major and it was a sight to see the traditional mounted police and they were really friendly and let kids pat the horses which was good.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

Me and my mate however were searched by the police upon entering the ground but they were friendly enough and only doing their job.  When we entered the concourse the Derby fans were all ready singing and we didn't need much encouragement to join in.  There were a lot more stewards and police inside than outside but that's always the case in the away end.  When we walked up to our seats the stadium was breath taking, the Kop had flags and scarfs waving and the stadium was filling up nicely.  Then came the famous "you'll never walk alone" which was a sight to see with all the scarfs.  I was however a bit surprised that the Liverpool fans went quite from then on.  The game was good, we held them of for 20mins until Alonso fired in a superb free kick from 25 yards, which produced a deafening roar from the Anfield faithful.  By half time we were two down but that didn't dampen the spirit of the Derby fans.  The queues for the bar at half time were bearable and the prices were what you'd expect at any football ground.  By full time it was 6 - 0 to Liverpool but I was a little disappointed that Liverpool fans were still out sang by 3000 Derby fans who had been hammered 6 - 0 and a lot of them were already leaving 15 minutes early which was very odd.  I'm not making it up either, it said so in the papers the next day that, the Kop started to sing "were going to win the league" but it was soon drowned out by Derby fans singing "Premiership and were having a laugh" I've got no doubts however that if it was the local derby against Everton they'd be more vocal.  The ground did have that feel that it could produce an electric atmosphere it was a
pity I didn't experience it.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game

No problems at all, there was a bit of traffic which is expected but apart from that it was fine.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out

All in all it was a really enjoyable experience and I'm glad to be able to say I've been to Anfield.  The ground was amazing, the home fans were friendly and I didn't feel intimidated at all.  The stewards and the police were friendly and did a very good job at controlling the fans and adding to the experience.  I was a little disappointed with the atmosphere of the home fans and the 6 - 0 hammering we got but that's premiership football and its clear that we've been thrown into the deep end, I just hope we start to swim sooner rather than later.  The Derby fans however did the club proud, we sang from the begin to the end even after the embarrassing score line and from what I've been told and read we out sang 40,000 home fans and we were still singing in the concourses after the game and all the way home to Derby.  If you haven't been to Anfield then try your best to go its the best away ground I've been to so far.


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