The chance to return to Anfield and play in front of the stadium's expanded Main Stand was one Gary McAllister simply couldn't refuse.
In a week’s time, the Scot will be part of the Liverpool FC Legends squad facing their Real Madrid counterparts in special charity match in support of the Liverpool FC Foundation.
A stellar line-up of former Reds have been recruited for the game, which will see the likes of Emilio Butragueño, Roberto Carlos and Luis Figo take to the turf for the Spanish giants.
McAllister admits his appearance might be ‘fleeting’ but the man who helped Liverpool to an historic treble in 2001 will cherish every minute he gets to entertain a capacity crowd.
“It’s a fantastic fixture, even though it’s older players playing this time round. I’m looking forward to it,” the club ambassador told Liverpoolfc.com.
“I missed the first one [a 4-2 victory for Real at the Santiago Bernabeu in June 2015], I think I was injured. I heard it was a great occasion and a great crowd. Everybody is looking forward to it.
“As much as I’ve been there and seen the new stand as it has developed over the last couple of years, and then it has finally opened and the atmosphere it creates is really good, it will be nice to actually be on the pitch and looking up at it when you’re playing. It’s special.
“Even though I go to the games now as a fan and a supporter, it will be nice to get back down on the pitch to say a thank-you to the fans who come every week.”
McAllister on Anfield, Figo, fans and more
McAllister hopes to match up against ex-Portugal international Figo – “a class act” – in midfield at some point in the fixture.
But neither he nor his fellow Reds alumni have any intention of merely watching and appreciating the talents of the visitors next weekend.
“We’ve got a nice mixture of running power, athleticism, experience, heart… and body shapes!” he said with a smile.
“I’ve played in a few of these games. They start off pretty friendly but then that competitive edge kicks back in; all of a sudden, you want to win those little 50-50s, the little one-on-ones, the duels in the middle of the park and at the back.
“They become real again, it’s like an auto-pilot – you just kick back into gear, even though we’ve not played for a long time.
“We’ve got a lot of legs, there’s no doubt about that. We’ve probably got three or four that could still play. Carra could still play, Stevie certainly could still play, Luis Garcia without a shadow of a doubt, and John Arne Riise is a fit guy.”
In truth, the final outcome is secondary to the real cause for everyone involved.
All funds raised from the event will be donated to the LFC Foundation to support its range of programmes and partnerships which aim to improve the lives of children and young people in Merseyside and beyond.
“I’m involved in quite a lot of the programmes in and around Merseyside, and seeing some of the work the Foundation does, it is pretty spectacular,” said McAllister.
“It’s always very humbling to be involved, to help youngsters in that journey through childhood and those youth levels. It’s always nice to try to help.
“The club do a great job through the Foundation, raising money to help all these charitable things and programmes that go on continuously throughout the year.”
How to watch LFC Legends v Real Madrid for free