Thursday, 20 August 2015

Cherries' Away days - Liverpool was epic - we out sang the Kop!

My good friend Damien Hill recounts his away trip as an AFC Bournemouth fan to one of the greatest grounds in England - Anfield. Here is his account. Big thanks Damien!

Destination Anfield to watch AFC Bournemouth.
If you are like me, you would have been watching or listening to Sky Sports News on the 17th June to find out our fixtures and the first one I was looking for was Liverpool away. Great it was going to be in the summer holidays and hoping we had enough points, it was a definite - I'll be going and taking my son Deklan too.

So I was straight on net to book a hotel as I didn't fancy the drive back after the game, a few weeks later and oh hang on! Sky, have now changed the date to the Monday night, so a quick phone call to the hotel and we changed the date. Phew!

So the road trip begins, having gone on the coach to Tranmere Rovers (7 long hours of a numb bum) and as we were staying overnight, we decided to drive up. So myself, Deklan, Joe and Steve “the Sweeney Barber” Young left Bournemouth at 8am on the Monday morning as wanting to experience the whole build up and visit the club shop, go around the ground and head into town. We had to leave early.

So the roads were clear and in no time at all we were in Oxford and the first question from my son might have been expected: “Are we there yet”! “ NO!!” came the reply but it was a chance for a quick stop. Back on the road we discussed the possible line up and to predict the score line (failed on both counts) but the day would not be ruined by any score line as this was a history making day and we were going to enjoy and embrace it. “Are we there yet?” rang out again from the back of the car, so another stop was in order but we were now well up the road on the M6 toll road. We stopped at the services for a quick bite to eat, because as soon as we would arrive in Liverpool we had one overriding ambition - to head straight for the ground.

Watch out, Cherries fans on the road again.
So we made it to the ground, passing Everton’s Goodison Park first and parked up a side street about 1pm, so not bad 5hrs with two stops. Having done a stadium tour last year and visited the museum, we walked around the ground taking in the new development and looking at the memorials for the Hillsborough and Heysel tragedies.

There are more pictures on Match Day Gallery.
Football fans will never forget them.
Rest in peace.
Soaking up the atmosphere and the sun we headed into the shop to see what was on offer, well we have a long way to go before our club shop will have so much history to sell, but this is the start of our future and hopefully a past to remember, and for Barry and the club shop to get ideas of merchandise that people would buy, lots of retro kits, photos, clothing, mugs, sweets, NEW kits! (hint, hint) sweets and so much more. As we didn't want to carry any bags in during the game, we purchased our items and decided we would leave them at the hotel. So we headed to our hotel and got lost in the city's flyovers and after a couple of laps around we finally made it. After quickly stashing the bags and a joyous bounce on the bed! (mainly Deklan) we headed into to the city for some shopping ( ladies if you have never been to Liverpool, you need a weekend here shopping) as the hour or so we spent looking around was not enough, but having been here before Deklan only wanted to visit the Lego store. 
The Paisley Gates.
Deklan really did try out the bed - glad he took his shoes off.
Having made his purchase and dad wanting to get something for his dry throat, we headed over to the Albert Docks for a drink and another bite to eat. What was nice is that everywhere we went the locals were friendly and showed us support and even wished us well, well the blue ones did! And all the taxi drivers have a story to tell and to tell you, which players they have had in the back of the cab, etc. [Ed - I bet if they had Stirling in the back they might have also got lost in the flyovevers - might have had a bit to say to him].
Down at the docks.
The Pump House.
Time for a drink.
It's all friendly on Merseyside so far.
Hope the players don't have to get to the ground on one of these.
Having made it to the Pump house which buy now had a good showing of cherry fans we had a couple of shandy’s   [Ed - few beers more like!] and soaked up the sun, and watched the world go by. "Okay, lets go!" was the shout and after a quick return visit to the hotel we made our way to the ground getting there for just after 6pm, mingling with all the fans outside and looking at all the stalls on the pavements - and yes, it was finally sinking in that we were playing Liverpool, in the Premier League and that we were part of that. We walked past all the players' cars and made our way down to the away end and started to queue. Just before 7pm the gates opened and we headed to our seats. The build up began and the keepers came out to train and the team followed after to an arousing round of applause and “Eddie’s Howe barmy army!”

Shankley's statue - now we're talking.
Then the moment I wanted to hear, and my son, for the first time is "You’ll never walk alone!" rings out. And the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, but wait all I can hear is our fans singing and sing with all of their hearts and sing they did all through the game. What a night even though the result didn't go our way, to say I was there, I out sung the Kop, it was something that will stay with me forever and to share it with my son was amazing. After the game we headed back to the hotel for a good nights sleep. When we got up, we had our breakfast and had just finished when the fire alarm sounded and everyone had to evacuate, but not before Damo grabbed a cup of tea and a cake and few people had grabbed a towel to spare their dignity.
Bit of injustice in the final score line, but we live to fight another day.
Amazed to see a cup of tea rather than a pint in hand!
False alarm! And after a 10 or so minutes and no fire brigade we were allowed back in. We finished packing our bags and started our journey home. All I can say is, it was a day I will never forget and it was a day I thought would never happen. The people of Liverpool were friendly and hopefully they will remember how lucky they have been, as I never thought I'd see the Kop begging for the final whistle to go so much when they were playing against AFCB.

If you fancy having a crack at writing an away match trip to a big Premier League ground this year you are welcome to send them in, especially if you have a very eventful trip. 


  1. Great article. Glad you enjoyed our fair city and its people. Come back anytime and bring the same Ref and Linesman :)


  2. Good luck for the rest of the season -except when we play you obviously! ;)