Legendary Anfield barmaid who was ‘mum to everyone’ dies aged 86

A legendary barmaid and nan who served five generations of LFC fans has died after a short illness.

Theresa Graham, 86, had worked as the barmaid at The Arkles pub on Anfield Road for 48 years before retiring in 2018.

Over years spent pulling pints on crowded match days, she became an Anfield legend known to football fans all over Europe.

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Theresa had three children with husband Johnny who died over 20 years ago. But together their family grew to include 11 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren, with the newest addition to the family, great granddaughter Pearl Theresa, being named in her honour.

Theresa's son, John, called her "a mum to everyone" and described just how Theresa became loved by fans from all over Europe.

John, 53, told the ECHO : "In the 70s when we were in all the European cups, my mum used to take the fans home who couldn't get digs anywhere around Anfield.

"It was a great childhood. When I would open the living room door the next morning there would be six or seven lads all asleep on the floor from countries all around Europe.

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"She would then get stuff from the shops to cook them a big breakfast.

"She was a mum to everyone, she had an open door and it was always that way."

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John described how his mum's skills as a brilliant barmaid were evident even before modern, eclectic tills were installed in the pub.

John, who also worked in the pub for a time, said: "Try serving 300 people in the pub and they're all ordering for 15 people. I was always okay when I worked in the Arkles serving for £10 or £15 rounds, but sometimes the rounds would be £100 and I couldn't do it.

Theresa Graham behind the bar at The Arkles where she worked for 48 years

"But my mum was that good at it, and none of the tills were electronic at the time, and she would shout the price of my round and then carry on with her own."

Theresa had long become a matchday fixture for many local and European fans, so much so, John said his mum would get recognised everywhere.

He said: "She was famous and renowned for everyone knowing her – it was an ongoing joke that my mum couldn't go anywhere without being recognised.

"The last time I dropped my mum at The Arkles was two years ago and I took her to the side door.

"As she was going in, two guys who were having cigarettes both turned and put arches over my mum with their arms and pretended to blow bugles like the queen was coming in.

Theresa Graham with youngest grandson Albie, taken in The Arkles put in Anfield

"It's good for me because it made me howl laughing – it was like Sinatra doing Vegas.

"Even today, when the porter in the hospital was coming up to take my mum away. When he found it was my mum he nearly had a heart attack as she used to serve him and his grandad."

Theresa had gone into Aintree Hospital two weeks ago after suffering from a chest infection.

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John said she seemed to overcome the infection, much to the doctors' amazement. However, due to her age, the strain on her heart and kidneys proved too much and Theresa died in her sleep in the early hours of Wednesday.

A date has not been finalised for Theresa's funeral, but John said it would take place at St Teresa's Church in Norris Green before moving to Anfield Crematorium and finally, family and friends would meet back at The Arkles to raise a toast to a Liverpool legend.

Theresa Graham

Theresa's was much loved by husband Johnny (deceased) and her three children. Marie (who would have been 64 but died in 2011), Cathy, 63, and son John, 53.

She will be greatly missed by her 11 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren, as well as a legion of Liverpool FC fans around the world.

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