Cracking stories, Locutus. Keep them coming!
Cracking stories, Locutus. Keep them coming!
Another story my Dad gave, was that my Dad once lost his wallet somewhere on the Kop, and it contained a weeks wages. He told the person who was standing beside him, who later on he became good friends with, that he had lost his wallet, and that he was going to stay behind after the match, hopefully to try to find it. So at the end of the game, my Dad stayed behind, and to his amazement at least 60 fans also stayed behind to try and find the wallet. After 15 minutes of searching they had found it. This again shows the character of the Kop. 60 fans had chose to stay behind to try and find a wallet. They could of chose to try and beat the traffic and go home, however they didn't. My Dad didn't stand on the Kop for long, once he got my big brother, 19 years ago, however he still has friends from standing on the Kop, who he meats up for a pint a few times a year.
I finally got to grips with the mountain that I’d created when we moved home eight years ago. Under the coats in the rear hallway were three racks of connected metal containing our store of footwear. Collected over several decades, they had begun hold more and more worn out and unused boots and shoes than my wife and I would ever put on: stout walking boots and flimsy running shoes, curious ‘winkle pickers’ and stately brogues, trainers both cheap and classic, heels my spouse would never again wear and party sandals she no longer liked.
Sorting through the footwear of a bygone age I came across several good quality leather soled shoes that had ‘holey’ soles. Repaired before (many times, a couple of them) I looked in wonder at the ring of equally spaced nails around the edge of the leather soles. I remembered the man who had repaired them. His name was Tommy Hunt. He ran ‘The Busy Boot maker’ an old cobbler’s halfway up Green Lane. He was a tall wiry man who wore glasses and had wavy ginger hair gone grey. He had the air of a man who loved doing his job and disliked distractions, even if they were customers.
I recalled the last time I was in his shop. It was 1997 and I was there to collect the very same shoes I was now holding. I can still see the dirty plate glass window was filled with old shoes that he’d repaired, but had never been collected. So old, were some of them, that they’d faded in the sun and collected so much dust they were grey. There must have been almost a hundred pairs lying there unwanted.
I walked in and he was so lost in his work I had trouble distracting him from his gluing. With that slightly reluctant air of his, he began to search the shelf at the back of the shop for the address I’d given him and that he’d chalked on the bottom of the shoes. After a pause where I, once again, thought my address must have worn off the soles, he came back with them. Money was quickly exchanged for goods and he was back at his work before I’d even left the counter.
Cobblers like Tommy were a dying breed, even back then. So I was not surprised to find shortly afterwards that he’d closed down. I heard he did it to look after his ailing wife, however the modern shoe market is full of cheap and irreparable footwear and as time went on the throw away shoe was ending his way of life. My shoes were probably some of the last he ever did.
So I bagged up six pair of shoes that Tommy had fixed for me 15 years earlier and took them to the local key cut/shoe repair shop in my local high street, to see what could be done. Of course techniques and glues had moved on since mine had last been done. So the ring of nails told of a different time. What I didn’t realise is that each old cobbler can be identified by their own method.
The shoe-repairer looked at the soles of my shoes and all those equally spaced nails and said astonished “Who did that? “ I told him about the shop on Green lane and I swear there was a little look of nostalgia in his eye. I quickly followed it up with the question “Did you know him?” It turns out that he did. Apparently Tommy Hunt was famous in cobbling circles hereabouts because he used to repair all the boots for Liverpool and Everton players. He was particularly gifted in his stitching.
Of course, we now think of the boot sponsorship deals and the incredible colours that boots come in nowadays for professional players. But way back when Shankly was holding court in ‘the boot room’ he was surrounded by footwear that had been put back together by my old cobbler: Tommy Hunt.
A couple of days later I collected my shoes and gone were the nails and holed soles and in their place was a brand new leather sole with just a couple of nails at the instep. Tommy’s former work now all but erased. Of course they are only shoes and any connection to the original Boot Room is fleeting and separated by decades. So it would be silly for me to claim any link. However, I can’t help but feel a little spring in my step now when I wear them.
Last edited by Locutus; 21-12-12 at 08:47.
Why this massive break in posting Locutus?
This thread brought back some great memories , mainly because I was one of those lads who use to walk round the edge of the pitch selling mars bars although it was mainly wrigleys we sold in those days.
It was a fabulous time, during the early seventies and I was lucky enough to have an uncle who knew someone who worked in the sweet manufacturers Barker and Dobson , who got me the job.
Imagine as a 13 year old , being able to meet up outside the old players enterance, go in past the old dressing rooms and walk out through the tunnel past the 'this is Anfield' sign and then meet under the old Anfiled Road end where all the sweets and chewies where allocated and you got your tray and coat. Then off you go to your allocated 'patch'.
Mine used to be the old Kemlyn Road Stand and my highlight was selling chewies to Gerald Sinstat....this was before his infamous 'The Parties Over ' bit !
The main selling was done at half time and we all used to try and hold back as long as we could so we be walking back round the edge of the pitch once the second half had started to see if we could get on telly....
So ....we came in through the players enterance , got in to see most of the match for free AND we got paid....10% of what we sold. Wasnt a fortune but I guess most of us would have done it for nothing.
The only down side was every other week we had to go to Goodison (this was in the days when matches were all on a saturday and kicked off at 3pm!) and sell to the handful of 'fans' follwing Everton every week.
It all ended for me when I got 'jumped ' by a crowd of **** head everton skin heads who grabbed all my stock , robbed a load of money and ran... We had to pay it all back so in the end it wasnt worth it and if you didnt do the Everton Weeks you couldnt work the Anfield ones.
Great days and I especially remember working at the Derby where we came back from 0-2 down to win 3-2.
Carrying all that money and stock must have been really risky, especially for a 13 year old.
It doesn't surprise me that you got jumped by bitters though, some of them have no honour and never have had.
A few supporters ended up suffering from 'Wrigley's Eye' ... an ailment only caught on matchdays if a gozzy chewy-seller missed the outstreched hand of the purchaser and smacked the unsuspecting visual organ.
I'm probably a little older than most on here and have lived local to the stadium. I have been to almost every game at Anfield for almost 40 years, from when it was the equivalent of 20p to get in. It is now £48 some games, you can do the maths yourself.
I've always been happy about our support in other parts. The more far flung the better. I am concerned a bit about local youths not being able to afford their 'birthright' of a place on the Kop. An important part of the appeal to me is the unique atmosphere springs form the local working class. The well-being that it creates feeds back into our community.
It costs me around £1000 a season to go to all the games at Anfield and that doesn't take into consideration the travel, food & drink. A season like '06-'07 cost me around £8000 going to everything home and abroad. Watching live football is no longer a working class past time if you live near one of the 'big' clubs.
Sky billions, far from expanding and enriching football, appears to have created football watching deserts near the big clubs. While clubs chase higher gate receipts from the matchgoing fans to pay the ever increasing wages of their heroes on the pitch ( thats where it goes). More locals are falling away from the game.
Inevitably their place is being taken by 'day-trippers' who can afford the 'once in a lifetime' ticket prices. The middle -classes too take up more of the tickets, especially for the prestige games. It leads to the mistaken belief that Out-Of-Towners are to blame, but of course they aren't. They are a symptom of a system that must squeeze as much out of the fans as possible.
FSG have addressed some concerns. They have a business model that buys 'up-and-coming' players and neglected stars and picked a manager who can work that system. They have also reduced prices for the 'hard to sell out' cup games so that parents (usually mums) can take kids to the game. However, premier league seats have steadily increased by two to three times inflation for every year since Moores sold to Hicks and Gillette. Every year that is except this last one which if they had would have broken the £50 ticket barrier.
£50 is a figure that makes you think: Can I really afford this? In 2007 I watched us beat Barca at the 'Camp Nou' for €80 which is a little more than that. ( bad seats by the way) and I thought that was a little steep (pun intended for those in the know) joking that it was a 'once in a lifetime' experience.
How prophetic could that phrase be in these times of pay freezes and job losses. After 40 years in which I saw Shankly's Red men and the great man on the touchline (and in the kop), St Etienne, Olympiacos and too many great days and nights to list here, I might consider not going.
It is possible to run a world class league without fleecing the fans. Just look at the Bundesliga where you can watch European cup-winners and finalists for half what you pay here. Better football too most of the time. The problem here is that Sky has called the shots for far too long and their money has made some boardrooms very rich and they (and their equally rich and bought off governing body) don't have the desire to change anything.
I can only hope that the peak has been reached in prices and that our owners plan will bring both the success that we crave and the financial stability to, at the very least, maintain prices where they are. But I'm not naive, I know that global financiers from America didn't come here because they liked our atmosphere or the colour of our kit. They came because they could see the bottom line in a recession proof industry that has gobal market appeal.
Perhaps, in the future, fans at the ground will be completely removed and games will be played out behind closed doors and watched entirely on TV. Perhaps its only local fans like me that are doomed, and will one day be completely replaced by 'day trippers', corporate entertainment and middle-classes.
Whatever happens in the future and wherever I am, I know that I would want my team supported in the way that we have in the past. If that is by more people from afar then so be it. Maybe if our fans from outside the city take away something of us and it grows where they live, it is not Liverpool that has lost, but Liverpool that has grown.
My name is Tautvydas, you can all just call me Toto'! I am huge Liverpool FC fan from Lithuania and Full-Member as well.
I am coming to London on November 1st until the 3rd. The reason is of course the Arsenal game.. Unfortionately I am unable to get the tickets for the game.. if I don't manage to get the ticket before the match, does anybody know where I can find "The best LFC bar" in London to join other Reds to enjoy the win over Arsenal?
Best regards everyone!
If only the forum had a 'Like' option similar to facebook. This post would get a double thumbs up from me
I don't buy in to this idea that football should be the domain of the working classes either or any other sector you wish to name ie local or distant day trippers, you pay your money and you have the right to enjoy.
Love your last paragraph!
I've nothing against day-trippers or the middle classes, they have always come to Anfield. I've cadged a lift many a time from someone who'd never been to Anfield, didn't know how to get there and stopped for directions.
The whole set up now militates against the low paid local people getting to the game, especially if they have children. To go to every game you have to have a membership and around £500 in the bank twice. Once halfway through the summer holiday and once 6 weeks before Christmas. that is unless you've got a seasie in which case you need around £800 up front. Long gone are the days were local youths could walk up on a Saturday with the money in their pocket, if they had enough, and claim a spot on the Kop. That excludes a whole demographic layer of the population that gives the club its name.
If I could explain to you what being in the Kop was like back then.
Shankly saidand"The fans here are the greatest in the land. They know the game and they know what they want to see. The people on the Kop make you feel great – yet humble "It was joy like no other when we won and solace when we lost. It was an immense communing and the feel of belonging and well-being fed back into the whole society. I don't wonder that people from elsewhere want to be part of it. I'm only glad I managed to take my lad standing on the Kop from when he was 10. I don't know how much he really saw but I knew how much he was affected when, for weeks after his first game, he would spontaneously burst into ' When you walk, through a storm........' whether there were people with him or not. I don't know if children can have that experience now, it has changed so much.“I’m just one of the people who stands on the Kop. They think the same as I do, and I think the same as they do. It’s a kind of marriage of people who like each other.”
Back then, of course, day-trippers, middle-classes and the older fan still went, but they remained in the stands where it was more comfortable. Standing on the Kop was a younger person's game (although Shankly did come and he was well looked after). I mourn the loss of the Kop caused by the changes, I mourn it for my community. Maybe future generations will appreciate what we've got now more than I do.
I look out now, from the Anny Rd end, over the kop and I recall the friends, fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers who went before and made the place what it became. I'm just glad I was able to be part of that too.
Last edited by Locutus; 2-11-13 at 16:09.
some great stories on here , great to get an insight into how it was before my own time , keep em coming
if you want a good pie around anfield go to homebaked on Oakfield they do Lovely scouse pies washed down with a can of coke and ketchup Lovelyy
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