Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Liverpool FC in Malaysia, July 2011

My beloved Liverpool made a long overdue visit to my homeland about 2 weeks ago. This is their first ever, ever visit and you can imagine the frenzy.

I didn't attend the match as I wanted to save my first time for Anfield. But local fans, many of whom will never be able to get to Anfield, snapped up tickets. The crowd that turned up to watch them train was 37,000. Madness. Our home stadium in Anfield has a seating capacity of 45,000. That's for a real match. So this is almost a full stadium turned up to watch the guys train. Ever watched footy training? It's about as exciting as watching paint dry.

On match day itself, some 85,000 paying fans (are you reading this, Chelsea FC? You had to GIVE AWAY tickets to get a full stadium!) crammed into the stadium. I knew there would be a lot of fans there but even I was gobsmacked to see it packed to the rafters.

My friends who went definitely got their money's worth. Final score was Malaysia 3, Liverpool 6. Add in the one disallowed goal and there were 10 goals for the whole 90 minutes. Fun or what! The crowd cheered every single goal and I believe the cheers were the loudest when Malaysia was down 0-1 and the captain struck a beautiful freekick that curled into the Liverpool goal. Why? Because we're such minnows in world football. Because Liverpool FC is such a legendary club. That our little team could score against such a club, and score a beautiful goal at that, is something to celebrate. We all expected Liverpool to trot out winners, no one was expecting anything less. It was just nice to see our national team give a good fight and score a few.

I cheered the Malaysian goal too and got an "OI!" and a glare from Dear Hubby. Oh my. Tension in the Scouse-Malaysian household. Hee.

The sponsors Standard Chartered had decked out Pavilion KL in team colours for the visit. The Bukit Bintang entrance was made to look like the Shankly Gates at the actual stadium. Whoever thought that up was BRILLIANT, it absolutely hit the sweet spot for us fans and even Dear Hubby thought it was quite the thing. They also had a giant LFC jersey hung up in center court of Pavilion, a replica of the dressing room at Anfield and the best bit - the This is Anfield sign at the entrance. Unfortunately, they put the sign too high up! Most Malaysians aren't that tall you know!

Connor ponteng one day of playschool so that I could take him to Pavilion to learn about his heritage. We took pictures at the fanzone and Mummy was way more excited than Connor. Connor just munched on his rice crackers throughout and looked bored. Then we sat in one corner after lunch and waited there for almost 2 hours for the players to show up for a meet-and-greet event. It was a bit weird singing You'll Never Walk Alone in a shopping mall but what the hey. I'll never forget the noise when the players finally appeared, it almost took the roof off. Everyone was just going nuts.

It was a great week for us local Red fans. I am fortunate enough to have a hope of catching a match at Anfield. Many others do not. For them, this is as good as it gets.

Come back soon, Liverpool - we love you long time, we do!

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