PUBS, clubs and homes across Yeovil and the surrounding area were buzzing with excitement on Wednesday of last week as footie fans gathered to watch one of the most amazing games of football ever to unfold on a night of amazing tension (writes Yeovil Express chief reporter Steve Sowden).

These days there appears to be more Manchester United and Arsenal fans walking the streets, although locally the replica shirts of Yeovil Town FC are becoming the biggest fashion sporting statement in the area.

But when I first caught the football bug as a schoolboy back in the late 1970s it was the name of Liverpool which was the biggest club of all and seemed to win countless league and cup trophies with effortless ease. That never-ending roll of success seemed to inspire every youngster of my age back then to support the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, Ronnie Whelan and Co.

Times have changed with the dominance in recent years of United, Arsenal and now Chelsea and Liverpool are not the powerhouse they once were - but last week they certainly put that myth to rest with a fantastic fightback in the Champions League Final against the mighty AC Milan.

It was a night of high drama - one I will certainly not forget and I am a Yeovil Town fan with a more than passing interest in the goings-on at Arsenal and certainly not a Liverpool supporter. But this was England, this was Europe and there was no doubting that I wanted the Reds to win the trophy.

I watched the game from the environs of the Westminster pub in Westminster Street, Yeovil, where a number of Liverpool fans had gathered.

There was a somewhat subdued mood around the place when the half-time interval came and Liverpool were losing 3-0. My football catchphrase of 'keep the faith bruvvers' was somewhat snubbed.

I even sent a text with the same pick-me-up message to my editor, Liverpool fan Ken Bird, and he replied with words I could not possibly repeat!

Two Liverpool fans in the Westminster - PHIL QUINNEY and CRAIG SMITH - left the pub at half-time totally disgruntled and dejected at thinking the dream had died and made their way home in a sorrowful state.

But there are some defining rules as a soccer fan: Never leave a game early, it is not all over until the fat lady sings, football is a funny old game and it can certainly be a game of two halves!

And last Wednesday's Champions League final was very much a case of a game of two halves as Liverpool - inspired by captain Steven Gerrard - stormed back and drew level at 3-3 before winning a penalty shoot-out after extra-time.

It was an extraordinary night. It was a fantastic occasion. And it was just one of those games people - regardless of their favourite club - will talk about for years to come.

But you had to feel sorry for the Liverpool supporters who had given up hope at half-time.

When I congratulated Mr Quinney the following day about Liverpool's success he said 'I don't want to talk about it.'

"I left the pub at half-time," he said. "It took me about ten or so minutes to walk home, I put my tea on and I was pretty cheesed-off. I got my tea and sat down and thought I'd just turn on the television to see how bad it had got.

"You can just imagine what I did when I saw it was 3-3 - I just couldn't believe it!"

But those Liverpool fans who remained at the Westminster for the duration of the 90 minutes, the extra-time and the penalties were overjoyed with emotion.

ROB RICE, of Yeovil, sat virtually motionless throughout the penalty shoot-out drama. And he was then speechless and could just stare at the television come the end such was his amazement.

"I can't believe it," he said. "I thought we were dead and buried at half-time - but the boys came through. An absolutely amazing experience - the best game ever."

WAYNE SMITH, of Yeovil, added: "Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant - I can't put into words how I'm feeling. But whose round is it next?"

The Express has received a number of emails from other locally-based Liverpool fans talking of their pride about the Reds' fantastic achievement.

JIMMY HEALEY, assistant programme editor at Yeovil Town FC and a self-confessed Reds fan, said it was a superb night in which he and his friends got 'completely hammered!'

"We've watched all of Liverpool's European games at my house in Barwick," he said. "We'd worn the same shirts, the same hats and sat in the same seats - it all became something of a lucky superstition. And boy oh boy did we have a party when we won.

"Afterwards we went into Yeovil where we met up with fellow Liverpool supporter Steve Thompson, the Glovers' assistant manager, and Yeovil's physio Glen Schmidt at Globetrotters.

"We then went down to Chicago Rock where there were loads of Liverpool fans singing the Anfield anthem of You'll Never Walk Alone.

"It was a fantastic night - but I will always remember how we felt at half-time. My head was down and we just thought we'd have a night of drowning our sorrows.

"But what made it even better was the next day when I got to Huish Park and took the mick out of the club's press officer, Adrian Hopper, and telling him that his beloved Manchester United had not won anything during the season! Just a few days after United had lost the FA Cup Final to Arsenal they then suffered the humiliation of seeing their deadly rivals Liverpool win the Champions League - it must have been an awful week for them!"

NICK BURTON, of Yeovil, watched the game in a bar at Centre Parcs at Longleat along with his father and brother-in law.

"The game coincided with my wife's birthday - so that went down well," he said. "The atmosphere was good in the sports bar. It soon went quiet when we were 3-0 down, but everyone got caught up in the second-half excitement, even those who weren't there to watch the game.

"When Liverpool won everyone went completely mental. The whole place went mad and chanting 'Are you watching Manchester?'

"I had a very sore head the next day, but what a month of May was with Yeovil Town being crowned champions of League Two and Liverpool being crowned champions of Europe!"

TONY PERKINS, of Yeovil, who plays football locally for Stoke-sub-Hamdon Reserves, watched the big match at his home due to superstition.

And his wife told the Express: "At half-time his mates rang from the Arrow pub to 'share' their sorrows and Tony said that if Liverpool won he would come up to the pub and buy a round.

"After the final whistle - and several cans of lager - he jumped on his pushbike and rushed up to the pub. He bought one round for his friends.

"On the way back he fell off his bike, injured his shoulder and got covered in dirt, but luckily he didn't rip his beloved Liverpool shirt! And he still got to work for 6am the next day!"

Liverpool-born BOB SNOWDEN, 52, watched the game at the Baker's Arms in Martock with eldest son Robert.

"I was born and brought up in Liverpool and my granddad took me to my first football match at Anfield when I was six," he said. "I've been a Reds fan ever since. I took my place in the middle of the old Kop every match day for years, on derby days and other big matches where I had to queue up outside the gates at 10am in the morning to ensure I got in.

"I have witnessed some fantastic games and comebacks over the years such as against St Etienne, Wembley for League Cup, FA Cup and the European Cup Final against Bruges.

"But last Wednesday night eclipsed them all and we had a fantastic night in the Baker's Arms.

"Can't remember how much I supped, I sang my head off and danced the night away. I don't remember how I got home and I didn't have a penny left in my pocket.

"I must have been the happiest Scouser in Somerset and I can't wait to do it again."

My own personal memories of that fantastic occasion will be that of Phil Quinney - the Liverpool fan who left the Westminster pub at half-time.

I watched the open-top bus tour with him the following night on television and he had tears of pride in his eyes - he seemed to sum up how all Liverpool supporters must have been feeling on what had been an amazing 24 hours of rollercoasting emotion. Non-football fans will just never understand the power of the beautiful game.