THE DAY OF MY LIFE: JOHN POWER
WHO: John Power of Cast & The La’s
WHEN: May 16, 2001
WHY: Liverpool win the UEFA Cup
Life-long Liverpool fan John Power found himself onstage in the centre of Dortmund on UEFA Cup Final day busking to thousands of flag-waving scousers. Not only did they know all the words to his songs, but the Reds won the cup 5-4. So all in all, it was the best day of his life!
“This was my first Euro away game. I’d travelled around England to see Liverpool play in the past but I had never travelled abroad before – and it just blew my mind. When we got to the town square in Dortmund everyone was drunk – I’d had a few bevies myself and I wasn’t sure how it would go down. They gave me a guitar and I said ‘alright, I’ll just hop on stage and see what happens’. Some German band had been doing rock ’n’ roll cabaret, so when I got on at least it was a face the Liverpool fans recognised. The lads at the front knew me straightaway and it just got bigger and bigger as the people at the back started to rush forward to see what was going on. Before you knew it there were thousands of people in the square; there were people climbing up lamp-posts to get a better view. We’d gone out onstage with no idea of how it was going to go, but in the end it just went bonkers and the whole square was singing ‘Walkaway’ and ‘Alright’.
“In the end I just threw me guitar away because people were throwing up their banners for me to hold for photographs. All the barriers went down and lots of people got on stage, but it was amazing. For about ten minutes they were all chanting ‘One Johnnie Power, there’s only one Johnnie Power’. To be honest, I can remember exactly what happened but I can’t really put it into words, it was just bizarre and beautiful and I don’t think I’ve experienced anything quite like it. It was a surreal, sublime happening… and when it finished I just jumped into the crowd.
“When I got to the match that evening the whole thing just took my breath away. I don’t know how many Reds were there, but man, we had about four-fifths of that stadium. The first two goals seemed to go in before we knew it and we were 2-0 up with 16 minutes gone, but then the game turned into a bit of a Greek tragedy. It was like an opera. We were 3-1 up at half-time, but within three minutes of the restart, bang, bang, it’s 3-3! It was like a lift dropping to the basement floor, you could feel it in people’s bones and hearts. Then Fowler comes on and scores a cracker. Can we hold on with a minute or two to go? Bang, they slot in another one! Christ, now it’s a golden goal and anyone can nick it. But thankfully it was the Reds. It was an amazing result. No-one expected 5-4 and every time I looked at the newspaper the next day, it still shocked me when I saw the score.
“My management had been umming and aahing about me going out there because we were starting a tour the next day. They didn’t want me to get hammered and come back with no voice, but we went to the match anyway and got home at 6am – and by 10am I was on a coach headed down to Bristol for a gig. We were still on tour when the Reds were back to celebrate, but we all went home and watched them go past on the open-topped bus. I was standing on a wall with my godson and as they went by he turned around to me and said ‘that’s brilliant’. When I was young Liverpool won something every year and I was always watching them come round with another cup, but he’s 13 and that was the first time he’d seen the open-topped double-decker bus coming past. It gets etched in people’s minds like it’s stayed in mine all me life!
“I’m so glad that I was there on that night to witness Liverpool completing the treble… and to have been there that day, to have played in the square in front of that crowd was fantastic. It had been 16 years since we last won something in Europe and I had been brought up on all of Liverpool’s past European conquests, so it was amazing to be a part of it all. You could feel the history and the emotion welling up inside you, because it’s a big thing and it means so much to people… more than can be uttered in the columns of magazines and newspapers or by pundits on TV. We’d lost something deep and mysterious and now we’ve started to regain it. Playing in Dortmund in front of that crowd was a moment that will stay with me all of me life. No doubt about it.”
© Words copyright Chris Hunt 2009