Today’s post is a total celebration, of something wholly good, that’s happened today in Anfield.
From today, open for business.
These have been tough years for Anfield.
Years of slow and painful regeneration.
Many homes and people gone, so many pubs closed down.
Less people to shop, so less shops to shop in.
But now, at very long last the future is arriving. Approaching gradually down St Domingo Vale.
Because whatever you think of how it’s been done, new houses are being completed and new people are arriving. And the community of people who’ve stuck with their beloved place are gradually becoming a bigger and newer community.
A community in an extraordinary place.
Because while many major football clubs have been leaving their inner-city homegrounds, this one, Liverpool FC, after much prevarication, has decided to stay.
Today they’re playing West Bromwich Albion, and the crowds are gathering.
42,000 people are gathering. And most of them are looking for something to eat.
Just as well Homebaked, the new Community Bakery, has opened today then.
Eight years after we stood up there and took the photographs of the place I showed you in our previous post.
Mitchell’s Bakery is reopened. By Homebaked.
I arrive a couple of hours before the match kicks off and it’s already busy.
This close to the ground.
People are queuing and sitting inside. And also lining up here outside – at the ‘Pie Hole’
Inside I meet my old friend Robin Lawler.
He gets me a cup of tea, that’s Robin in the grey.
And for the next half an hour or more we sit and talk. Catching up with each other’s lives, our memories of both working around here for Liverpool Housing Trust in the early 1980s, and our joy at being sat here, in the dreamed of ‘Homebaked’ today.
When Robin goes off to take his seat in the Kop, I get my camera back out to record this wonderful day.
A busy kitchen and constant business at the ‘Pie Hole’
There are many many pies. Pork, Shankly, Scouse &, for the likes of me, cheese and mushroom.
They will all go.
New supplies got ready in a constantly filling shop.
Still queues round the side.
As kick-off time approaches.
Bev Mines, another friend from Liverpool Housing Trust. The kind of day Liverpool feels like one big village.
Next, a couple of arty photos, after all this place has some of its roots in art, through Liverpool Biennial.
‘Homebaked, a busy café with Anfield reflections’
And ‘Homebaked, a busy kitchen, with Anfield reflections’
Outside a happy customer savours his Homebaked pie.
Earlier on, while I was inside the shop, a different customer had turned from the counter, looked down in delight at his purchase, and said to me ‘Now THAT is a fucking pie!’
Here is my own stash. A cheese salad roll, a cheese and mushroom pie, and one of the multi-grain loaves I bought.
No, I didn’t eat them all at once. In fact the loaves are next to me now as I type. Politely suggesting I might like a buttie after all this work?
Just coming up to 3 o’clock, time for the match to start.
The street empties and, despite the presence of 42,000 people in the ground, over here everything goes quiet and emotional.
‘We’ve done it’
Overlooked by the wall of pictures of just some of the people who’ve helped this day to happen. Some of them long time readers will have met on the Anfield Homes Tour last year.
‘Us lot and more besides. Open for business, every day except Sunday’
In football its called a ‘post-match analysis.’ Here at Homebaked that happens while the match is on.
Inside the ground as I leave, we’re already two up.
So all is well in Anfield today.
You no longer need to get your drinks, as this fading writing suggests, from a ‘machine round the corner’
Because Homebaked is open.
Well done one and all. We’ll be back!