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Liverpool Offside Radio: Where I’m From

Liverpool face a run of matches away from the friendly confines of Anfield which has us thinking of home.

Liverpool FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

I think about home a lot. Home as in the place I grew up - Hawthorne, California. I think a lot about the smell of the ocean, a short enough drive away that on cool nights the scent of salt water would wind its way to our open windows. I think a lot about the people and the loving relationships I built there. I think about the places I miss because I am not there anymore.

Liverpool haven’t had to think too much about being away from home as they’ve played two out of their first three league matches at Anfield. And after their away trip to Burnley, they have a league match at home where they host Newcastle.

But there’s something special about home. For Liverpool specifically, even without the fact that, generally, they’ve been stellar at this whole football playing thing regardless of venue, being home is quite the boost: the lads haven’t lost at Anfield since 2017. Home is special.

The genesis of this post is not that deep. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek. It’s part revenge. It’s likely mostly hubris. And because of that, we can safely say that it’s all Twitter’s fault. No, seriously. It was basically this tweet that kicked this off.

And, look, I’m not looking to re-litigate this. Especially since I’m right and everyone is wrong lalalalalaICANTHEARYOU.

I bring all of this up to say that home is special but, also, obviously, the way that we perceive home is different to people who aren’t from there. In the essay I wrote on Hillsborough and Hawthorne, it wasn’t until I was working outside of Hawthorne that I realized how some people saw my home as a place riddled with crime and poverty. And while I wouldn’t say it was the safest place to live, I also wasn’t ducking stray bullets every night. It was home.

And it’s also clear to me that because people perceive home differently, it would stand to reason that the cultural touchstones that were important to me growing up wouldn’t be universal. That’s the shock you read in the tweet that lead to this cockamamie idea for an article. I have been so thoroughly surrounded by Sublime’s work that I didn’t even make space for the idea that people just...did not like them.

Home has a way of closing us off, at times, from a broader set of opinions and tastes. It can be a negative - maybe I don’t need to think Eagles are a great band, for example. But it can also protect us from bad opinions - like the Eagles and Sublime being terrible. Home can be a fortress.

Anfield is a fortress. That was a truth that was told to me over and over in my early days as a Liverpool fan. And, with the quality of football on display during those seasons, it became hard to well and truly believe that.

Even with the radical change in quality under Jurgen Klopp, I did not get a full sense of what Anfield could be like when it was entirely and completely tuned in.

I mean, it’s one thing to read about those famous Anfield Nights in news pieces or in David Peace’s Red or Dead, and to be told of what it’s like from longtime Liverpool supporters who’ve been in and around the glory days. It’s entirely another to see and witness Anfield exhorting a team to victory.

No visiting team has claimed all three points at Anfield in over 2 calendar years. No team has been able to force Liverpool to surrender over that term.

And the most perfect example of Anfield’s re-emergence as a fortress is Barcelona 3 - Liverpool 4 in last year’s Champions League semi finals. Liverpool’s famed 3-nil defeat in the second league of that tie is what cemented the image of Anfield as its own special force in my mind. The entire crowd was deafening and in the most extreme version of the old maxim, they snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat. Took it from the hands of current European royalty.

Anfield did that.

Home will forever be Hawthorne, for me. I love where I live now and the community that we’ve built is one I couldn’t simply turn my back on. But on some days, when the thermostat climbs or I get a craving for some pizza and wings from the best damn spot in the LA area, I think of it.

So, because I’m homesick, here are some songs from my favorite LA artists with a very specific nod towards people who are from the South Bay/close to Hawthorne. Feel free to drop your favorite hometown artists in the comments. Hope you all enjoy a weekend surrounded by the love and comforts of home.

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