OpinionJohn Aldridge

Aldo loved playing with host of Liverpool legends in Oz

John AldridgeBy John Aldridge
Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Jason McAteer, Robbie Fowler and our man Aldo
Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Jason McAteer, Robbie Fowler and our man Aldo

What a week I have had as part of the travelling Liverpool party down here in Australia.

Steven Gerrard led a team of Anfield legends that included Robbie Fowler, Jamie Carragher, Gary McAllister, Didi Hamman, Luis Garcia and Ian Rush, as well as a 57-year-old fella called Aldridge.

Stephane Henchoz, Aldridge, Gary McAllister, Igor Biscan, Patrik Berger, Vladimir Smicer, Stevie Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Luis Garcia, Sander Westerveld, John-Arne Riise and Fabio Aurelio

We’ve had Gerrard Houllier as the manager of a Liverpool side that was still as passionate about the club as when we played for them in top-flight matches.

Stevie G’s presence on the trip obviously made it even higher profile and it confirmed to all of us once again that Liverpool is a football club that resonates with such a massive audience around the world.

I never expected to get the call to come on this trip at my maturing age, but it was a real joy to be a part of a game against an Australian legends side that was played in front of 40,000 fans in Sydney.

Top to it all, I even managed to get myself on the score sheet with a last minute tap in from a John Arne Riise cross, so I guess my goals per game ratio for Liverpool has improved a little now! 

Bruce Grobbelaar did his bit for my generation as he came on in the second half and kept a clean sheet and it was great to be on the field with Gerrard and Carragher on such a fantastic stage on the other side of the world.

Rushie was another player from my era at Liverpool and he also got himself on the score sheet. You can’t keep us old boys down you know.

What we have seen in Australia this week is that Liverpool is a club that gets under the skin of everyone who has the honour of pulling on the red shirt.

Carragher, Gerrard, Riise and Aldo take in the sights of Sydney

You don’t get huge travelling parties of players from other clubs travelling half way around the world together for games like this.

Liverpool as a club are so good to their former players by sorting us out with tickets for games at Anfield and that keeps everyone involved in the club, even when our time as players comes to an end.

The Liverpool former players association is an active group that does so much good work in the community and this trip has been a highlight we will all remember for years to come.

From a personal perspective, this has been a joy. 

It’s been a real chance to bring back all the memories of what it was like to be a player at one of the world’s biggest clubs.

I took the first leg of the journey with Jason McAteer and Robbie Fowler and we met up with the rest of the lads in Dubai.

Since then, we have all felt like a travelling Liverpool team on a pre-season tour or heading for a big overseas game.

Maybe we haven’t been quite as professional as we might have been in our playing days as a few beers have been consumed at times, but it has been great craic for all the lads. 

This has been my first trip to Australia and while the flight is way too long and I have not been sure what time of the day it is since I got here, Sydney is an amazing place.

I think we will all be sad when this little adventure comes to an end, but as you can see from the photos I took for the Sunday World, we have had a blast.

Wish you were here,

Aldo