We woke this morning after 7:30 am (!), and proceeded downstairs to get ready to go see the Liverpool Football Club stadium (This is Anfield), where we were on a 10 am tour (one that Wayne anticipated far more than the Harry Potter studio tour).
Allow me to tell you that it was cold inside that stadium. I ran in to the store and bought a hat right away.
The Reds is an English Premier League football club (now owned by the same folks who own the Boston Red Sox, so watch out Brendan Rogers, you need to start winning), and has won eighteen League titles, seven FA Cups, eight League Cups, five European Cups, three UEFA Cups and three UEFA Super Cups. It was founded in 1892 and has played at Anfield since its formation. The most successful period in Liverpool's history was the 1970s and '80s when Bill Shankly (see photo below) and Bob Paisley led the club to eleven league titles and seven European trophies.
The club's supporters have been involved in two major tragedies. The first was the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985 in which charging Liverpool fans caused a wall to collapse, killing 39 Juventus supporters. In the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, 96 Liverpool supporters lost their lives in a crush against perimeter fencing. This caused the stadium to become an all seater, with no more standing in “The Pit.” We got to tour the media room, the locker room, and to look at but not touch the pitch. This was followed by a walk around the museum, and entry into the shop, where we met up with Barb and headed out to see som more Liverpudlian sights after viewing the Shankly Gate, and the memorial to the 96 who were lost at Hillsborough.
After a quick stop at a local LFC shop (seated almost next to their rival football club, Everton’s shop which literally plays one park away, the stores are known as Liverpool 1, Everton 2), and (of course) the Apple Store, we headed to lunch at Yee Rah in the Liverpool One shopping center. A very interesting blend of Italian and Asian food.
After lunch, and a frenzied flurry of getting assistance with checking in for our return flight, we headed out towards Mathew Street. Labelled the World Capital City of Pop by Guinness World Records, Liverpool has produced a wealth of musical talent. The popularity of The Beatles, Billy Fury, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the other groups from the Merseybeat era, and other bands that included sounds from my college years - Echo & the Bunnymen and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Mathew Street is one of many tourist attractions related to The Beatles, and the location of Europe's largest annual free music festival. The street connects Rainford Gardens (off Whitechapel) to North John Street, and is located in an area known as "The Cavern Quarter". Historically it was the center of Liverpool's wholesale fruit and vegetable market, but is now visited by thousands of tourists annually, who visit the Cavern Club and many surrounding attractions including a statue of John Lennon, a Beatles store and several pubs formerly frequented by The Beatles. A wall in Mathew Street displays a sculpture called "Four Lads Who Shook the World".
We walked past the Hard Day’s Night hotel, specifically centered around Beatles’ culture (could you tell), saw a Lady Madonna tour taxi in front of the hotel, and then went to the Cavern Club, where the Beatles, and many other groups/singers, got their starts. Good tour!
After this, we did a quick tour of the old court house near the Liverpool Lime Street Station, where we saw the judges chambers, holding cells, the courtroom, and waiting cells where several people took their lives while waiting trial. Very grim, but interesting.
Oh, and Lord Stanley, who became the Governor of Canada, has his statue in the halls - the Liverpudlian is the founder of the modern day Stanley Cup!
The sky became grim, so we headed back, relaxed, had a quiet supper and wine (and scotch), and quietly rued that we had too little time.