Kate James: Confessions of an Anfield Virgin

Our Kate had never stepped foot in Anfield…until this week.

PRE-MATCH

I’m making my debut at Anfield this Wednesday evening. Yep, getting a game against Chelsea aren’t I?

Sadly, I won’t be heading into the dressing room with Allen and Sturridge, but I will be taking my seat in the Centenary stand to write my first ever live match commentary and post-match review, and I’m absolutely bricking it!

I’m not a total newbie, I’ve been to Goodison (shhhhh), St James Park, Stadium of Light and toured Camp Nou in Barcelona, and very nice they were too, but this is Anfield!

First of all, what do women wear to go to the match? Seriously, that’s a genuine question. Jeans, converse? Help!

Wednesday’s forecast is for rain, this also worries me and my Monica humidity prone hair.

I appreciate that this thought never crosses the majority of LFC supporters as they wear their dedication to LFC to the match, clothing never comes into it. I’m not at that stage of devotion yet, I’m there to work first and enjoy the game second. I’ve resorted to looking at crowd photos from the Watford game at the weekend. Not much help really.

Have you noticed that when you date a guy who loves his footy, there’s an unspoken agreement that you too will love the footy. He goes to the match, I stick the live game updates on Google while I sit and work. We text the score and reactions to bad tackles, penalties and extra-time. I have no idea when I signed up to this as prior to meeting my other half, my interest in premier league footy went as far as “OOOOOhhhhhh I’m supporting Man City next season…..have you SEEN Pep Guardiola?” and perving at Jamie Redknapp.

Also, he sees the people around his seat more than he sees some members of his family. So I’m nervous about making a good impression. Who wants to be the annoying girl that fella in seat 254 takes to the game?

Also, as an Anfield virgin (that sounds so wrong) should I keep my observations to myself? Just watch and learn? Or go for it and do a Smithy with shouting tactics or helpful advice such as “JUST HOOF IT” OR “GET UP YOU OVER PAID FAIRY” Yeah ok, keep quiet it is.

I’m thinking I might just go full kit wanker and tut at people swearing. What do you reckon? Quickest way to never get asked back to Anfield? Yeah, probably.

Come on you reds!

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POST MATCH

Well I did it. I lost my Anfield cherry…and I absolutely loved it. Unfortunately it wasn’t the greatest game of the season, but it’ll always be an amazing memory for me.

Having devoured my pre-match curry, chips and Kopparberg at The Park pub, I climbed the steps to the lower Centenery stand at 7:15pm with butterflies and felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I saw the pitch in all its flood-lit glory!

The banners and flags rippling across the Kop is such a special sight. Especially when there’s a good few thousand people chanting ‘Stand up for the 96’. Another amazing goose-bumps memory.

Unfortunately, Hazard scored in the 32nd minute and celebrated his achievement with a roar in front of the Kop. Brave or silly?

I might have accidentally shouted a few FFS! (sorry mum) as Liverpool struggled to finish off promising chances on goal, but I didn’t heckle Fabregas taking a corner right in front of me! I left that in the capable hands of the guys behind me who were well versed in squishing as many insults as possible into one sentence. Skills!

After devouring a packet of half-time Minstrels I settled back into my seat to hope and pray for an equaliser. At this stage my other-half began wondering if I was a jinx? If the game ended in defeat, it was obviously my fault and I wouldn’t be allowed to step foot in the ground again. Talk about pressure!

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As I mentioned, the game itself was hard-going. Liverpool lacked conviction, yet the fans wanted the pride of a win over Chelsea more and the crowd practically roared in response to the late efforts of Joe Allen and James Milner before extra time kicked in.

I held my breath every time a Liverpool player made a run, and when (my new fave player) Benteke planted the ball with an awesome header in extra time, I jumped up and cheered like a lifelong fan. Relief!

I wore jeans and converse by the way, and once my guy wrapped his LFC scarf around my neck, I felt like I belonged.

Bring on next season!

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