‘The Voice of Anfield’ or George Sephton answered a few of our questions about Jürgen Klopp, the eighties and his ideal pre-match mixtape.
George Sephton has been the stadium announcer at Anfield since 1971, announcing thousands of goals and more substitutions than you’d care to imagine. No football game at Liverpool’s hallowed stadium can begin before George has had his fun.
So, after being the stadium announcer for 46 consecutive seasons, longer than any other in England, and after seeing the glory days come and go, George finally gets to chat to Rousing the Kop:
We asked George about the sort of thing he would do for pre-season preparations:
Much the same as the rest of the year. I am constantly picking up new music and downloading promotional stuff, plus the local bands who send me new stuff. I also pick up on events such as the passing of big stars and stash away relevant pieces of music.
Like everyone else I try and keep tabs on the transfer market and make sure I know how to pronounce the names of new arrivals. Sadly – the guy who taught me Spanish and Russian at Liverpool Institute nearly 60 years ago, Jack Sweeney, passed away this summer. I owe him big time!
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The highlight of my summer was seeing ELO in Manchester and there may well be a few of their tunes in the 2016-17 playlist! And I watched many hours of Glastonbury on TV so the likes of Protoje, The 1975 and Christine and the Queens will be on the Anfield p.a. too!!!
When asked about his ideal pre-game mixtape, he responded:
I’m fond of upbeat stuff, “Stadium Rock” and try to include fans favourites. “3 Little Birds” was the classic example of that last season.
When asked about what Jürgen Klopp is like his response was brilliant:
I don’t know. Like most people, I only see him from a distance on matchdays.
I only spoke to him once and that was after his first home game. He went past me in main stand reception and I shouted “Herr Klopp!” I started to introduce myself and he suddenly smiled and said “ Ah Yes, you are Ze famous “Voice Of Anfield!” then shook my hand , bowed his head and clicked his heels ! I was gobsmacked and two stewards behind me nearly fainted!
I recently found a copy of the German Football magazine “Kicker” which has Jürgen on the front cover and a two page interview with me inside the back cover!
What’s it like being able to watch from above as generations of Liverpool players come through the ranks?
Looking back it’s amazing. Phil Thompson had just signed apprentice forms when I started in 1971 and I used to rave about him in the office during the week. The squad that won the F.A. Youth Cup for the first time were amazing. Carragher, Owen etc.
I remember Rushie playing in the reserves when he arrived from Chester. And of course Stevie G playing in the Youth squad. If only we knew then what we know now !!
I have a programme from a school’s match at Anfield when Wayne Rooney represented Liverpool Under-11s at Anfield. That was the City not the Club of course !!
I think it was when the pitch was being used for Euro 96 matches that junior games started moving away from Anfield. By the time we got in the Champions League for the first time it became policy to preserve the Anfield pitch for first-team games.
Since then the Academy and the advent of LFC TV means that the whole system of progressing through the ranks has changed. I hope Jürgen will change that. We really need a Scouse heart in the side.
What impact do you think a new stand will have on Anfield and the atmosphere?
If the demand for tickets maintains its present level it can only improve the atmosphere; even if only in terms of volume. The new stand LOOKS so good it will turn the whole stadium into an even more iconic place than it is already.
Which player/s are you most looking forward to seeing?
INGS !!! I think the timing of his injury last Autumn was a monumental blow to the outcome of season 2015-16. Mané is SO fast and Grujic REALLY looks the part.
Do any current or former players make any request of you?
Very rarely speak to ANY of the current squad. I have dealings with a lot of the eighties lads. I’ve toured Scandinavia a couple of times with them and I frequently do functions with them and (lately) some local dinners and other functions with the sixties crew. Last June I went to Tenerife for three days with Phil Neal. That was surreal!!
How often a season do you expect to have to say ‘commence Anfield exercise?’
NEVER !! The guy on the police emergency system does that. I just have to explain to the crowd later what has been going on !! I believe we’re legally obliged to try out the emergency exits four times a season in the terms of the licence but that’s a MINIMUM!
If you had to guess, where do you see Liverpool finishing next season?
I really believe we can be at the top of the league this year. Jürgen has a head start on the other big teams (United, Chelsea, City ) with new managers as he has been in post long enough to know EXACTLY what’s needed. I don’t believe in aiming for top four, ask any Olympic Athlete!!
Many thanks go to George for being so willing to answer our questions! Here’s to many more seasons hearing his sultry voice over the intercom at Anfield!