Hearts v Liverpool
Thursday August 23rd, 2012
Europa League, 7.45pm
By Kevin Wrenn
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
It was a rare chance to get to a European 'away' game and even more surprising seeing as LFC decided to take a tiny 1200 tickets. Whether Hearts limited this or not is unknown but it wouldn't be the first time LFC has played safe on tickets in-case they don't sell out. Ridiculous and this meant there were far fewer Reds in and around the city than usual.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
Another stupid point here was a 9am start from Anfield on the coach. We arrived at 2.30pm which was far too early. Fair enough if you've travelled to Madrid or Munich (if only). After a pleasant journey through the borders and along the A road into Edinburgh the coach dropped off right outside Tynecastle. I had a fair idea where I was and so set off on the 30 minute walk into central Edinburgh, past the tram renovations.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
I ended up having a few beers on Rose Street in the centre of Edinburgh where the street entertainers were keeping the Fringe visitors happy. A generally pleasant atmosphere and tapas for lunch. How very 'European'....
Went to the Haymarket pub near to the ground which was abysmal. We were threatened by 3 separate members of staff that if we didn't stop singing we would be kicked out. It is apparently a non singing pub! All this managed to do was empty his pub. Seemed a bit silly given that it is 15 minutes walk from a football ground and the songs were non offensive and returned in kind by Hearts fans.
Walking to the ground was a low key affair, very few police, not many away fans and in general an air of what the French call 'Meh!'.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
The Main Stand side of the ground was very old and badly designed with all manner of entrances and ginnels leading off and around it. However, it was clearly a 'quadrilateral' stadium and that beats the bog standard bowl ground any day in my book.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc...
LFC were total rubbish. Let's get that out of the way. Raheem Sterling showed that he might be the next bright young English wide player, Borini missed a sitter, and in general the tight pitch and 2nd XI LFC team meant the game was a poor, poor affair. Charlie Adam excelled, by which I mean he was by far the poorest player on the pitch. Mr Rodgers wants a quick, fluent and hard working style. So many of our current crop aren't up to this. He'll need time.
This continued throughout the first half. The home fans made some noise, but nothing like the fuss the TV made about it. In the second half they upped it a bit, but an OG consigned them to a defeat.
How disheartening it must be to know your team played 1 up front in the biggest game they would play all season, against a very poor LFC 2nd team, and still lost.
I would like to make mention of the woeful standard of policing and stewarding. From the huge amount of illegal substances being imbibed in the toilets to the moronic lack of effort to move people off the 'shelf' that sits between the tiers, right through to the arrogant refusal of police to move when clearly impeding the view of the match. A shambles and some of the worst match day management I've seen for years.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
We came out to find the road blocked by huge iron blockades, and the coaches parked 1/2 a mile down the road. No escort to the outskirts left us in the wonderful world of the continuous red light. Not a lot for the game managers to be proud of.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
A really poor away trip. Terrible game, ridiculous pub, woeful policing and stewarding and 2 teams that did very little to make it any more appealing.
Edinburgh is a great place for weekend away, but judging by the overall standard of everything surrounding the football, it's not worth an 20 hour round trip!
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