This weeks issue of Kop Treasures is brought to you by Keith Perkins. Keith is an ex-scouser living in Vancouver Canada, where he is an executive member of the Vancouver Branch of the Official Liverpool Supoorters Club. He has been a supporter of LFC since 1965, and loves to talk about and write about his “Passion of the Reds.” He writes regularly for various websites, including his own Supporters Club Vancouver newsletter.
Written by Keith Perkins
There are surely some things in life that will always be remembered most vividly from the first time they happen: the first day at school, the first day on the job, the first day that you drive a car without an instructor sitting beside you, and so on. Among all of those firsts, the day that we finally make it to Anfield to see our beloved Liverpool must be one of the most significant, and surely imprints an indelible memory for the rest of our lives.
My first time was way back in the 60’s, when my uncle Eddie finally took me with him to Anfield. We went in through one of the narrow entrances under the Main Stand and emerged into The Paddock. The idea was that Eddie had seen lots of young lads down at the wall at the front and so naturally assumed that this would be the ideal place for me. The problem was that we soon found that the wall was higher than I was! All of those young lads turned out to be standing on empty beer crates and such, and only by doing so could see above the edge of the wall. Plan B then was to take a place further back on the terrace, but naturally it was less than ideal as I was surrounded by much taller bodies. I don’t really remember much of the match itself – how could I when I could barely see anything? ‘“ but I’ll never forget the atmosphere, or the frightening experience of suddenly being carried down the steps as the crowd surged forward. The obvious solution for the next time (and for a few years to come) was to watch from the Anfield Road end. The fence behind the goal was low enough that much younger lads than myself could stand there and easily see our heroes in action.
What was most memorable about those times was seeing The Kop in all its glory, with the thousands of singing, swaying, and surging spectators willing the Reds on to victory. The Kop was well known as the place for all of the hard-core Liverpool supporters, but it was also much more than just a place for those fanatics. It became synonymous with true support, with those who stood on the famous terrace having the right to proudly call themselves Kopites. Surely that’s where any self-respecting Liverpool supporter would want to be. It would be some time before I worked up the nerve to join them, but in the meantime I could at least learn from them and eventually earn the right to become one of them.
All of Anfield, and especially The Kop, has undergone considerable change since those days of my youth. During the last few years of The Kop as a standing area, the number of supporters allowed through the turnstiles was strictly controlled for safety. From estimates of as many as 30,000 in its heyday (it was impossible to know the actual figure) the numbers had dropped to less than 20,000. By the early 90’s the recommendations included in the report from Lord Justice Taylor had been accepted by the League, and so it was that all First Division (now Premier League) clubs were required to eliminate standing areas. In the summer of 1994, the old Kop was demolished and the new all-seat stand was built.
It can never be the same as it was in those early years, when watching The Kop was almost as entertaining as watching the action on the pitch, but the spirit of what it represents will always be there. Even now, just saying the words ‘œKop’ or ‘œKopite’ will invoke a feeling of unity among Liverpool supporters. No matter what may happen in the future, if or even when a new stadium is finally built, it’s that Kop spirit that will still unite us all. And it’s that special irreplaceable feeling that all of us will always treasure.