This is the first guest post on Linden’s Pensieve. Rob is my amazing husband, who, as any true German does, loves soccer. In this post, Rob describes what we had to go through before actually getting tickets.
This is the story of finally crossing another item off my list of things to do before I die. The last item I got to check off was finally being able to take long walks on the beach with the woman I love after talking all about our day over a romantic candle-lit dinner.
A long time ago, I became a fan of the football team (or “soccer” as it’s known in the States) Liverpool FC, and since then, my desire to see a game of the greatest team playing the greatest sport in the greatest stadium has grown every year. You have probably read Linden’s blog about how much fun the game and the whole day was. But getting there is what made it even sweeter for me than actually being there.
So let’s start at the beginning of this quest, which has a final reward sweeter than being able to throw a ring in the fire or win a wizarding duel against a guy named Tom. This quest’s reward is much better than that, but the only way to get there is to take the challenge and quest on.
Liverpool is one of the best teams in England and the world. They have won every competition that there is in football and has developed a huge fan base. Their stadium, Anfield Road, is small for a club with such a fan base, as it holds only 45,400 people. Because of the huge demand for tickets and increasing issues with black market sales for real and fake tickets, the club decided to implement an interesting, difficult, confusing, yet efficient ticket-purchasing system. When I first researched LFC tickets, I thought that the only way mere mortals could get tickets would be to play their home game ticket lottery. It’s not easy to plan an international trip with hardly any notice, so I gave up on ever being able to see a game at Anfield Road.
But then my lovely wife decided to take a two-year job as a beer and bratwurst critic in the only country where you can actually make a living doing that, and one great advantage was that it put us quite a bit closer to England. My desperate desire to go see Liverpool play on their home turf was reignited.
This time, I more carefully researched the ticket-purchasing system and finally figured it out.
The first step is applying for an LFC fancard and then waiting. It could take weeks, or even months. We applied in November 2007 and finally received my own personal fan card, officially making me fan number 10,348,170, in the middle of January.
The next few steps are more difficult. We had to find a game that we are eligible for because first-time Anfield Road attendees can’t just go to the best game of the season. No way. Virgin LFC fans have to settle for a game of lesser importance. Only by attending several pre-determined games, can fans become eligible for one of the better games.
In the end, we settled on Liverpool FC vs. Newcastle United on March 8.
But once again, we were wrong in assuming that we would be able to just get those tickets easily. We had about a month before our trip, so we booked our hotel in Liverpool and bought plane tickets for the weekend of March 8. We mapped out our stay in London and made reservations at Gordon Ramsay’s The Narrow in London. We registered for the Magical Mystery Tour and researched other attractions in Liverpool. Then we decided to call the LFC ticket office to find out their policies about cameras in the stadium and make sure we definitely could purchase two tickets with our fan card.
When I told the lady on the phone that we were planning on coming in from overseas to see the game against Newcastle, she burst our bubble. It just so happened that the Newcastle came was subject to change since Liverpool was still in the FA Cup competition as well. If the Reds advanced 2 more rounds in the FA Cup, then they would be playing a cup game on March 8. Even if the game was in Liverpool, we wouldn’t have the prerequisite games on our fan card, and we wouldn’t be able to attend. Wow. Now we had another 3 weeks to wait until we would know for sure if the game against Newcastle would be taking place.
I guess it would have been too easy, and we felt powerless. All we could do was sit there and hope my team lost. For the first time in my life, I would be cheering against the Reds.