By Arne Lamb

Scotty Road, Everton Valley and up the hill. The smell of brick dust and smoke from the demolished buildings, the barrage balloons everywhere overhead.

My brand new stepfather (who was still Jack to me then) in his khaki uniform sitting by me gave out those words “there it is son”. I felt a tremendous lurch in my stomach. I still feel it now, nearly sixty years later, every time I get close to the place and see the roof of the stands and see the red and white crowds, the programme sellers and the old places around the ground. Then it was the Kop. The old, genuine Spion Kop, named forty years previously for an unnamed number of Scousers left behind in far off South Africa. The corrugated roof, the brick walls and those tremendously deep steps leading up to the promised land. I was to see my first match that day. Between the Reds and a team in blue. It was a “wartime” match and as such didn’t really mean much in terms of leagues and trophies. But, hell’s bells, it meant something to the “owl fella”. It was his second home. He and his mates had shifted snow off the hallowed turf to allow matches to go ahead during the depression to earn a few bob when there was no work and the “dole” was the only means of getting by. Today the Reds were playing some so called team from somewhere or other. (I forget their name, but they wore blue shirts). I was to go into the boys pen but the turnstile man said there weren’t many in the ground so why not go to the other end and into the holy place with the old man? So there I was, scrambling up those steep steps into the Kop. God, when I first saw that green stretch of turf I almost burst into tears. (I didn’t because I was nine and grown up wasn’t I)? I can still remember that lump in the throat though.

The match? Well, to be honest, I remember very little about it. I remember two players going up to head the ball and the man in red biting the dust and the spectators around expressing their disgust at the gentleman in black who neglected to send the blue clad assassin to various destinations suggested by my fellow spectators. I remember jumping for joy in the eighty seventh minute of the game when the fourth, (yes the fourth), goal went in at the Kop end, meaning that the Reds had won four – three. I remember three men, total strangers, two in Navy uniform and one in khaki throwing me up in the air (and catching me on the way down I hasten to add), to celebrate the goal. I remember having difficulty keeping my feet on the way out. (Those steps again). And last but not least I remember the old man going into the pub among a crowd of others, some with red scarves and funnily enough, some with blue scarves, laughing and leg pulling. I remember waiting outside for him, drinking lemonade and eating crisps. Listening to the laughter from inside I wondered how these Reds and blues could be such mortal enemies inside the ground and such obviously great mates outside. Then it struck me. Of course these men all had the same accent. They all knew each other. They’d all shifted snow from the grounds and shared the struggles back in the dark days. They’d all shared the nights that brought the devastation that you could see all around. They were from Liverpool!

My first memories of Anfield. But obviously it was along time agoepfather (who was still Jack to me then) in his khaki uniform sitting by me gave out those words “there it is son”. I felt a tremendous lurch in my stomach. I still feel it now, nearly sixty years later, every time I get close to the place and see the roof of the stands and see the red and white crowds, the programme sellers and the old places around the ground. Then it was the Kop. The old, genuine Spion Kop, named forty years previously for an unnamed number of Scousers left behind in far off South Africa. The corrugated roof, the brick walls and those tremendously deep steps leading up to the promised land. I was to see my first match that day. Between the Reds and a team in blue. It was a “wartime” match and as such didn’t really mean much in terms of leagues and trophies. But, hell’s bells, it meant something to the “owl fella”. It was his second home. He and his mates had shifted snow off the hallowed turf to allow matches to go ahead during the depression to earn a few bob when there was no work and the “dole” was the only means of getting by. Today the Reds were playing some so called team from somewhere or other. (I forget their name, but they wore blue shirts). I was to go into the boys pen but the turnstile man said there weren’t many in the ground so why not go to the other end and into the holy place with the old man? So there I was, scrambling up those steep steps into the Kop. God, when I first saw that green stretch of turf I almost burst into tears. (I didn’t because I was nine and grown up wasn’t I)? I can still remember that lump in the throat though.

The match? Well, to be honest, I remember very little about it. I remember two players going up to head the ball and the man in red biting the dust and the spectators around expressing their disgust at the gentleman in black who neglected to send the blue clad assassin to various destinations suggested by my fellow spectators. I remember jumping for joy in the eighty seventh minute of the game when the fourth, (yes the fourth), goal went in at the Kop end, meaning that the Reds had won four – three. I remember three men, total strangers, two in Navy uniform and one in khaki throwing me up in the air (and catching me on the way down I hasten to add), to celebrate the goal. I remember having difficulty keeping my feet on the way out. (Those steps again). And last but not least I remember the old man going into the pub among a crowd of others, some with red scarves and funnily enough, some with blue scarves, laughing and leg pulling. I remember waiting outside for him, drinking lemonade and eating crisps. Listening to the laughter from inside I wondered how these Reds and blues could be such mortal enemies inside the ground and such obviously great mates outside. Then it struck me. Of course these men all had the same accent. They all knew each other. They’d all shifted snow from the grounds and shared the struggles back in the dark days. They’d all shared the nights that brought the devastation that you could see all around. They were from Liverpool!

My first memories of Anfield. But obviously it was along time ago.