Ben Wilkinson

This is Anfield

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.

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