STORY
Prior to now living in a small town not too far from Liverpool, I had only visited the famous city once - I was roughly 10 years old and my dad took me to see a football match: Liverpool Legends vs Everton Legends. I believe it was for the Marina Dalglish charity. I'm originally from the midlands but I have always loved Liverpool football club for two things - the passion and atmosphere that it promises.

It turned out to be a fantastic day that I remember well: my first experience of the Anfield crowd - the Kop blew me away, as loud as ever could have imagined considering that it was only a charity match and not a competitive one. I saw brilliant players such as Ian Rush, Alan Hansen, Jan Molby and of course Kenny Dalglish amongst others. These are players who I unfortunately never got to see play due to being too young, but it was still a special experience nonetheless as the history of LFC is engraved for the young and old. I knew it was special to be seeing them play once again.

But other than the match, as a ten year old I remember little else about the city (apart from a friendly taxi driver with a funny accent). As football was the only thing I cared about back then, I took in very little else from the day. The excitement of the match overshadowed everything else.

Since then, growing into an eighteen year old, I kept a passion for football and was interested by other history of Liverpool. Be it the culture, the music, the architecture. There's always been something that has attracted me to the city from a young age, despite having no ancestors from Liverpool as far as I'm aware.

It's also strange as being from a town and having very little experience of actually being in cities, the idea of being in one I always felt intimidating. Noisy, tall buildings that dominate the sky, people everywhere that you don't know rushing to shops and work, and traffic. Lots and lots of traffic.

Maybe I'm a bit claustrophobic, maybe the hustle and bustle lifestyle always put me off. I have never been out of my comfort zone as much as I have been on my rare visits to London.

So with these aspects in mind, it's a wonder that I've always been interested in Liverpool. It's strange, but when I was younger I used to tell myself that I would live there someday. It seemed like a mystical, faraway land.

Two years ago when I was applying to universities, I found one that I liked the look of in a town on the outskirts of the city. I always dreamed about getting out of the midlands - there are very few redeeming towns in the counties which are famous for cities such as Birmingham and Leicester (two cities that I have no intention of going to again in the near future).

I applied for the university and was accepted. When I told my school friends, the majority of whom stayed in the midlands to continue studies or work, I got the usual banter from people who weren't associated with Liverpool.

"Make sure you don't get robbed!"

"Won't the accent annoy you?" (rich, coming from someone with a Brummy accent).

"I'LL STANLEY YA!"

All fun and games coming from a bunch of immature teenagers who never meant it as an insult to the good folk of the city. But these sorts of negative stereotypes are fueled by the media - be it newspapers highlighting crime statistics (it's a city, of course there's going to be some crime), sitcoms taking the mick or just general Scouse bashing.

So with all of this in mind - my general uneasiness of cities and the speculative unwelcome nature of the city, I'm ashamed to admit that I was a little anxious to be visiting the city again.

After a first few days at university, getting past the awkwardness of moving in and making friends, me and a few mates decided to have a day out in Liverpool - a short train journey away. I was both excited (the culture of the city speaks for itself) and nervous (what if everyone is right about the people).

We got out of Liverpool Central and I was suddenly overwhelmed - tall buildings, people rushing everywhere, traffic. All of the traffic. I felt like a mouse in a maze and we all began to wander around like headless chickens.

We explored Liverpool One, often going around in circles and going back on ourselves, in complete astonishment of the sheer amount of shops and people.

Suddenly, a young man with a shaved head wearing a tracksuit flies around the corner on a bicycle and collides with my mate from a small town further up north. My mate managed to stay upright but the chap on the bike flew off and hit the ground hard. He jumped up quickly with a face like thunder and began to speak quickly in a strong Scouse accent. My first thoughts was 'is this guy on drugs or something?'

But much to my surprise the young 'chav' was extremely apologetic, seeing to my friend that he was fine. Luckily they were both unhurt (amazingly) and the fella jumped back on his bike and raced off again. Perhaps he was just late for work.

From then on I eased up and the day proved to be a hugely enjoyable one. The sun was shining as we sampled some of the culture - art galleries, The Cavern Club, the docks, etc. And the buildings that at first felt overwhelming turned aesthetically beautiful to my eye.

Since this day I have returned to Liverpool many a time and now work here. Turns out the kid in me was half right, I might not be living directly in Liverpool but I'm here most days - you can't keep me away.

And I have yet to meet a Scouse person who was unfriendly towards me. Turns out any accent can be endearing when it's nice things being said.

I'm willing to bet that all of the people who have negative things to say about Liverpool and its people have never once visited the city or met one of its residents.

This is why from now on, I never judge a book by its cover.


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By MH2693 MH2693


This story was added on 15th February 2013

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