Ben Wilkinson

This is Anfield

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Living up to its fabled buzz, the Kop roared and rose

even before kick-off. Down in the main stand

I watched; John Barnes adjusting his captain’s band

on the hallowed turf. Waves of red in rows

and rows – a kid in that season’s kit, I swelled

with a kind of borrowed pride, belonging

without belonging; my dad and brother craning

to see McManaman darting, how Fowler propelled

strike after strike.

                                Half-time over, and a crashing header

left the keeper without a chance … the place erupted.

I still remember it like that – the luminous pitch,

the echo of the terraces, players floodlit

beneath an October sky. An ordinary game,

solid win, save for one kid looking on in wonder.