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The Boys Pen is where we used to go before graduating to the Kop at Anfield. Looking towards the Kop, it was situated in the top right hand corner next to the main stand. There were only two objectives (three if you include watching the game) in the Boys Pen – survival and trying to bunk into the Kop by climbing the railings. There were gangs of kids from all over the city and god help you if you couldn’t look after yourself. The Lord of the Flies was nothing compared to the Boys Pen :)

It was around for 70 years before being demolished in the early 80s.

Liverpool FC Boys Pen, Anfield

image copyright Pete Marlowe

Here’s a lovely poem by Dave Kirby


Its fifteen minutes to kick off time
Im in my seat, Block 109
I look around, I hear the noise
see lots of fathers with their boys.

The kids look happy, a marvelous sight
macdonalds burgers they all bite
they’re  all excited thats for sure
and with their dads they feel secure.

Although the surroundings have now all changed
the children’s feelings are just the same
the middle classes have now arrived
but things were different for a sixties child.

I then look out across the kop
to the right hand corner at the top
where up until the age of ten
I served my time in the old ‘boys pen’.

For those of you who do not know
it was a place for kids to go
metal bars like a kind of cage
where little kopites came of age.

I remember the first time I went inside
Liverpool v Chelsea  65
a star struck boy who stood amazed
football was all we had those days.

Youd always see some kids from school
they came from all over Liverpool
little scouses every week
from kirkby town right up to speke.

The kop was packed out in those days
but at half time, dad found a way
to fight his way through all the crowd
and feed his boy, he did me proud.

An ‘eccles cake’ a sausage roll
a drink of coke, god bless his soul
between the bars he’d pass it through
like feeding monkeys at the zoo.

And through those bars we used to stare
at all the kopites standing there
oh how we’d long to stand with them
and make that step from boys to men.

Some  kids escaped now and again
it was a pretty dangerous game
it filled the kopites full of laughter
to see kids dangling from the rafters.

It had its own ‘soprano’ choir
you couldn’t sing ‘walk on’ much higher
inside those bars kids sang with pride
but it sounded so funny from the other side.

When the match was over at 4.45
your dad would pick you up outside
dozens of kids , some big some small
stood opposite the pen by the old brick wall.

But that was how it was those days
no greedy players, no corporate ways
they recognized us ‘kopite cubs’
we were the future of the club.

Then at last it came my time
to leave this little world behind
I was at an age when every lad
didnt want to go the match with dad.

And so I passed out to the kop
that love affair has never stopped
I take my son to the occasional game
but this ‘dad and lad’ thing’s not the same.

You never see young lads no more
who go the match in three’s and fours
this city’s children rue the day
when they took the old boys pen away.

The money men arrived in town
and in their wisdom pulled it down
they called it ‘progress’ but we read their thoughts
who needs children when adults pay more.

I now drift back to present day
I take my seat, watch the redmen play
a diehard red , Im the real McCoy
because I was groomed from a little boy.

That golden era has now passed by
but we all have memories you cannot buy
from apprentice kopites, now middle aged men
who served their time in the old boys pen.

Dave Kirby


6 Responses to “Liverpool FC Boys Pen”

  • Brilliant my dad pointed the pen out to me from the kemlign rd stand aged about 6 and said that’s where I served my aprentaship . I mist it by a couple ov years . How I would iv lived just one game up there ? Great poem mate . Sent me cold ….Ynwa

  • Stan warder:

    Dave what memories that brought back . Yeh I was 1 of them dangling from the rafters luv the poem should be in the museum

  • stanley baxendell:

    on my last tour of anfield the giude knew nothing about the boys pen, i served my time in it so i know we did have one.

  • arthur edwards:

    when was the ‘ boys pen’ closed down.? what year or season? I have asked this question many times BUT nobody seems to know??????

  • michael cross:

    That is an epic poem Dave, I served my time in the Pen from 69-71 , great memories and some dodgy ones too :-)

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