On Saturday 6th June members of the Road Ahead and HealthFirst were invited along to a unique football tour of both Everton and Liverpool and went all round the City.
The Soccer in the City tour is run by Peter Carney and he regularly runs tours around the City for fans of the beautiful game. This weekend Peter ran The Soccer In The City Testimonial Tour specifically for people with a learning disability and it was superb. To find out more check out the website www.soccerinthecity.co.uk.
Peter Carney the tour organiser told us “We aimed to make it available to those scousers who love football, but wouldn’t normally get the chance to take part in our tour. To give them the chance to share insights, see sights & speak of soccer in a sense & style not possible anywhere else.
It took a while to come about, but thanks to the likes of Joan Talbot of Formby CTA, who provided the appropriate automobile, & Billy Merritt of One Vision Housing, who financed the tour, we were able to make it happen. With the practical application of Neal, my glamorous assistant, & Kim, the Korean kamera karrier we like to think we created a tour that made many memories.
The tour itself was the usual tri language (English, scouse & gibberish) torrent of facts, historical insight, cultural tittle tattle & small talk relating to football. Officially kicking off in town, but in reality beginning 2 hours earlier, the Testimonial Tour, as Soccer In The City tours do, started with a spiritual salute to Shankly and a knowing nod to devout Cattericks. A quick tour of the Creative Quarter and a salute to Littlewoods was followed, in Shaw Street, by an insight into the most influential kick off in the city’s football history.
We got to know a little more football & city history, plus a little taster, at Everton Village. While Everton Brow gave us the greatest view of our City’s lifeblood, the River Mersey; a geographical gander at the togger, & golf, goings on in our region; as well as the story of a poor boy who was sent far away from his home. St. Domingo’s Grove doesn’t offer the visual historical aspect we hope for, but does offer a fresh view of the city’s future and positive aspects of our recent troubles with 2hat Texans.
Past the Stanley pub & Sleepers Hill (where the Lion got caught napping) led us to Anfield Road where our tour took it’s first detour. A Food Festival caused us to stop in the car park to enjoy tales of Stanley Park’s footy features & a lyrical lament of me & my old Pal Joe. Our second detour, due to the new stand rebuilding, had us rocking down Rockfield Road and alighting on Alroy Road. Reflections of Hillsborough were followed by a walk in the park, Stanley Park. Though the festival footy had finished we were able to bring to bear bags of banner banter and plenty of pitches, real & imagined, pointed out at the epicentre of our popular pastime.
We passed along, & back up, Priory Road to partake in the pleasures of our other two cathedrals, Goodison & Anfield. Peter turned to Paul for identity purposes while the people’s pride of purpose was put into perspective, pertinently portrayed on Bullens Road; projecting popular, European & planetary playing on the Street End. A sideways look at St. Luke’s and a listing along Goodison Road, of long lost, but still much loved, Royal Blue lads, left a lasting impression as we went on to learn of local supremacy in our chosen sport.
Up Utting Avenue, past the Arkles, then around the field on Anfield Road, the original home of both clubs, we learned of early pre & post match happenings, pinpointing, perhaps, the pertinent point which prompted the split; recalled the Liverpool club’s christening, and portrayed some parallels which pervade & persist in present day supporters. The pie purveyors of Homebaked were also pointed out as a particular matchday pleasure.
Being the grand tour that we had planned, we swerved the Asda pit stop and went on to West Derby to see the playing fields of Bill Shankly & the soon to be secretive shelter of Liverpool’s first team, Melwood. Keeping up to pace with the epochal Pacemakers, & Gerry, we were graced with a sight of the young Rooney’s residence before legging it along the East Lancs to get a glimpse of the future at Liverpool’s Kirkby academy.
Kirkby’s link list to Liverpool’s football legacy is a long one including players like; Stubbs, Boersma, Baines, Cook, Noone, McDermott, Caton, Thompson, but also includes the bad day the Kirkby Town boys had at Bangor, finding the European Cup in the Falcon, the lost stadium of Tesco, & the last thing players hear when they leave the Goodison tunnel. Appropriately, the last call of our tour was the Johnny Todd, where we ate a hearty meal and supped a few sups.
Before we headed for home, a couple of our players prophetically sought pastures new, while back on board we were graced with the good man Sam, father of Ricky, who foretold the future of the sadly disregarded. A couple of other players showed their stamina staying on for extra time at the Wagon Awards Champions League ceremony where much Corona was quaffed.
All things considered, it’s fair to say at the end of the day. We played well & a good game was had by all”.
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