Previously: Part 1
First thing I had to do was figure out how to purchase tickets the LEGAL way.
I looked up the unofficial but-so-good-it’s-better-than-official Liverpool FC website, The Mighty Reds (http://anfield.merseyworld.com – sadly defunct, now).
If I may go off on a tangent for a bit, I just want to say to all those Liverpool fans who have never known a time when the official Liverpool FC website did not exist, the premier place on the Net for all things Liverpool back then was Alex Brown’s The Mighty Reds site. A New Zealander and lifelong Liverpool supporter, Alex B arrived in Liverpool to study and work. His simple site (hosted by the University of Liverpool) became the most popular website of any English Premier League team – trumping even that of Man Utd, whose official site was then hosted by Sky. I remember BBC Radio 5 once had a show discussing the pros and cons of the official websites of the EPL teams and the site adjudged to be the best was The Mighty Reds. It’s status as top dog was assured when the site won the Web User’s Choice award at the then-prestigious Yell UK Web Awards in 1998.
Liverpool FC officials themselves did not consider the need to have an official site given the Mighty Reds’ popularity. However, they began realising the benefits of having an official site (i.e. being able to control the flow of information coming out of Anfield and being able to officially confirm or deny the usual rumours and speculations) and eventually decided to take over Alex B’s site and turn it into what we now know as LiverpoolFC.tv. (Interestingly, it is believed the primary architect for the introduction of the official website was Houllier himself, who apparently felt the need to have an official outlet for club matters.) For those who want to know what Alex B’s Mighty Reds site looked like (as well as for those old-timers like myself who want to experience a moment of nostalgia), do check the cached pages at the Internet Archive. [Here’s a direct link, in case you’re as lazy as I am..]
Anyway. Back to my story.
I checked out the ticket information available via the Mighty Reds site [see here for an example] and learned that I could apply to buy a ticket via the credit card line or by post about 26 days in advance of the match. Postal applications was a bit complicated and had it’s risks, of course. So the credit card method sounded like the way to go.
Except, of course, for the not-inconsiderable fact that I did not have a credit card.
A analysis of the situation revealed a possible solution. Since the process required me to quote a credit card number, and after which they’d send the ticket to the credit card owner by mail, I saw no reason for me not to borrow someone else’s credit card for the deed.
I quickly contacted a fellow Malaysian student, who not only by the grace of God possessed a credit card, but he was thrifty enough to have plenty of money in his account available for the transaction. After assuring that I’d pay him back, I borrowed the card, made a call to the LFC credit card ticket line and made the order. In fact, when I was dialling the number, I had a rare but brilliant flash of inspiration which compelled me to purchase TWO tickets instead of one.
See, while I had sorted out the ticket-purchasing angle, I still needed someone to accompany me to Liverpool (an out-of-town Asian walking around Liverpool by himself? Are you freaking out of your mind?!) I mean, I knew most of the Toffees would have been out of the city, given the football league match-scheduling tradition where if one team (e.g. Liverpool) plays at home, the other team (e.g. Everton) will play away. But still, you just can’t be too careful…
I couldn’t get any of my friends to join me because most of them weren’t in the country (it was late August, and while I had flown back to UK early to run away from the Malaysian heat and humidity, most of my friends chose to stay back just that little bit longer – probably because of the food. Can’t blame them now, can I?). Meanwhile, those who were around were either Man Utd supporters (sad gits) or simply not interested in football.. (blasphemy!)
But then I remembered the LFC mailing list. Ah yes, another piece of that great brotherhood of Liverpool supporters back then. The mailing list was the place for Liverpool supporters around the world to hang out. (Among the members was Alex B of the Mighty Reds website.)
I realised I could purchase an extra ticket, and then flog it on the list and in that way be able to find a fellow supporter who could become my unofficial tour guide (or at least, my unofficial bodyguard).
And that is exactly what I did. The match that I set my sights on was against Charlton Athletic on September 19. They were not quite the team they are now (actually, given their recent results, they were probably better then) and I was pretty confident that Liverpool would be able to comfortably see them off at home. Besides, there was a rumour going round that Robbie Fowler who had been out injured for about 7 months would make his comeback for that match….
The person who answered my “Spare LFC ticket for sale ‘cos my girlfriend is fugly and I broke up with her so she won’t be coming with me” e-mail ad (fictional, of course) was a British Asian dude from London but was studying at the University of Liverpool. He not only agreed to buy the ticket (and I did not charge him higher than the ticket’s face value – I’m not thaaaaat bad lah) but graciously agreed to meet me at the railway station and show me around town.
Great. Now the only thing left to do was to wait for the tickets to arrive in the mail.
They never did….
Next: Sashi really does commit credit card fraud. Seriously. I’m not kidding.