Don't tell Rafa I'm a Blue!

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Despite being an Evertonian through and through, last week was quite a week for me in terms football encounters of the red variety.

Ben Johnson helps Rafa Benitez draw his square for the People's PanoramaBen Johnson helps Rafa Benitez draw his square

First we had ex-captain and coach of Liverpool FC Phil Thompson attending the press launch of our new UEFA exhibition Only a Game? at World Museum Liverpool, and then I was lucky enough to meet some other famous LFC faces for a completely unrelated project.

This month’s national Big Draw campaign is aimed at getting people across the country to uncover their artistic abilities through a variety of creative projects, and in its 2008 Capital of Culture year Liverpool is having its Biggest EVER Draw.

Teaming up with a number of cultural centres around the city, NML has put on a programme of events which included a return visit to the Walker Art Gallery from Liverpool Cityscape artist Ben Johnson at the weekend.

Ben has worked with NML to encourage people to take part in an exciting project to recreate his Liverpool Cityscape as The People’s Panorama; dividing it into 400 squares and inviting Liverpool’s people - including Liverpool Manager Rafa Benitez! - to each draw a square…

So, in the name of art I swallowed my blue-pride and accompanied Ben Johnson on a trip to Liverpool FC’s Melwood training ground last week to get Mr Benitez to draw his square. Stepping into his office I couldn’t have gone any further into the heart of the ‘enemy’ if I’d tried, and the disloyalty to my team felt almost too much to bear. This feeling quickly vanished however on ‘bumping into’ Sammy Lee and the legend that is Kenny Dalglish as they left Rafa’s office. So, feeling quite overwhelmed, I resolved to enjoy the encounter…and help complete the mission to get Rafa to draw his little piece of Liverpool!

Rafa's drawing of North Western Hall on Lime StreetRafa's drawing of North Western Hall on Lime Street

Rafa’s artwork can now be seen in the Liverpool Cityscape gallery at the Walker, alongside that of the Lord Mayor’s and 398 other people of Liverpool!