We've arrived home. Not home Johannesburg home, but the home of our football universe…Anfield. It took 28 years but us mlungus finally got to Liverpool in England to attend a live Liverpool match at our Anfield home ground. Joining us for this awesome experience were honourary mlungus Ryan Sacks (mlungu Brett's brother) and Johnny Taub - both lifelong scousers themselves. Also in town for the weekend and to join in some Liverpool town fun were our friends from London Steven Kransdorff and Rael Sinai.
The exotic city of Liverpool is a mish-mash of upmarket culture and buck-teeth-bovver-lookers. But most importantly for us, and the reason for our detour from the east of Europe all the way back to the west was to attend Liverpool's opening match of the English Premier League's 2011/2012 season against Sunderland FC. This experience was no less than awesome. Sitting in a full Anfield Stadium with a sellout crowd of home supporters is an experience that raises goose bumps. The four of us Saffer Scousers were awestruck and not even the result of the game could take away from the excitement of being a part of our football home and all its history, emotion and "ruach" that it means to us.
Mlungu Ryan, aka Sacksinthecity, has provided more detail in a guest blog post below. Thanks for the words and organizing this powerful weekend that finally took us off the supporters tv couch from which we've watched countless games together to our grand stand seats in Anfield…a dream come true.
You'll never walk alone!
Trek on...Brett and Darren
Tequila with the worm. Who would have thought that the confines of a modern and surprisingly classy bar in the heart of the city of Liverpool would be the first time we would delight ourselves in such delicacies. Warm ales, meaty pies, perhaps losing a tooth or two, a trophy for the local Scousers (hooligans) who supposedly lurk in the dark alleys of the former industrial capital of the North West of England. Perhaps during the economic depression of the early 80's. But the Liverpool of 2011 is a different place altogether. Urban cool, hip, clean and energetic.
The Mlungu's found themselves in this less ventured part of the Queen's country for a very special reason. And that reason was to stand on the tiers of Anfield, the Holy Grail of the famous Liverpool Football Club, and with scarves held high above our head, proudly belt out the words of the inspirational anthem of the Red-men "You will never walk alone". Even more special was being at the opening game of the season, the first season back under the full command of the real King of England, Kenny Dalglish, a man whose feats during his playing days and part one of his managerial career is stuff of legend. The experience of watching the Kop in full cry as Luis Suarez, the new wunder-kid and the guy Ghanaians love to hate, scored Liverpool's first goal of the season was spine tingling (little known rad South African connection: the world famous Kop grandstand is thus named in memoriam of the British soldiers who died during the Battle of Spion Kop during the Anglo Boer war, many of whom were from Liverpool). Unfortunately Sunderland, our opponents for the day, managed to claw their way back and score an equaliser, and disappointingly this was the final result: 1 - 1. So Liverpool didn't win - I guess us Liverpool fans have become used to it!
So the bet made the night before with the barman at Igloo was that if Liverpool didn't win we would be back the next night to drink that damn worm. The first night in Liverpool was relatively quiet as we caught the back end of the UK riots, and I guess them Scousers don't need a second invitation to rustle up some chaos. So we weren't expecting anything too exciting the Saturday night following the game. More so as our vibe was a bit flat due to the footy result. However the universal war cry of Tequila can raise the morale of any weary soldier. And totally unexpectedly the nightlife of the inner city also kicked up notch and roared to life. Five city blocks of Liverpool seemingly offers more jols than the whole of Joburg. The streets were lined with clubs, pubs and people. Not that we explored further than Igloo which was pumping, the crowd cool and razzlin', the drinks flowing and the energy absolutely powerful. The 4am night pizza was just as good as any other 4am pizza... As for the worm, tastes like chicken!
Highlights of Liverpool: the impressive and modern inner city centre and docks including high end stores, boutiques and museums. The two main attractions to Liverpool are obviously the world's most famous band the Beatles and Liverpool Football Club (Everton who?). We took in the Anfield Legends Tour with museum hosted by legendry former player Alan Kennedy (scorer of a goal in both the 1981 and 1984 Champs league finals) - the tour was surreal and almost as good as being at the game - and the ridiculously awesome Beatles museum fully loaded with brilliant memorabilia and full scale replica of the Cavern Club.
And if you listened really carefully you could hear it... "Imagine all the people, living life in peace"
Words by Mlungu Treks guest for the week: Sacksinthecity