I remember the day vividly. It was a day that completely changed my existence, and that’s really not that much of an exaggeration. I was still just becoming a true football fan, and after that day my future as to what sport I would follow religiously was decided. I was just ten years old, and as an American, my family really only watched American Football. I was an anomaly of sorts in that I watched sports other than American ones. I played the usual sports for an American kid: our football, baseball, and your football. But after May 25, 2005, I made up my mind as to which sport I wanted.
I had followed Liverpool throughout their 2005 Champion’s League campaign, especially after what had happened against Olympiacos. After that famous Gerrard strike, I began to follow them even more. Long story short, by the time Liverpool had arrived in Istanbul for the final I was pretty heavily invested into the club. But once the Reds came back from 3-0 down, I knew that my fate had been sealed. I knew at that moment that I would support Liverpool Football Club for the rest of my life. I had seen what amazing joy and sorrow football could bring to me, and I wanted more of that joy. After Istanbul, I began watching more Liverpool games and really started supporting the club even more. I gradually became a die-hard Liverpool supporter.
The global support for the club has been made evident by fans just like me during this year’s preseason tour. I think this is a testament to how much the fans outside of the U.K. truly love the club even though they will most likely never have the privilege of watching a game at Anfield. Most of us have to wake up at ungodly hours to support this club. Personally, I had to wake up at 5:50 AM in order to watch the match against Melbourne before I had to go to work, and that was only a preseason match. I know for a fact that others have had it worse than I did, but we do it because we love the club.
The support that the foreign supporters give to Liverpool is absolutely unreal. This new breed of fan is just as committed to the club as the ones going to the matches every week. I’ve really evolved as a Liverpool fan from just watching the games every week to writing for Empire of the Kop and reading the transfer rumors every day, no matter how much they anger me. I’ve even considered moving from sunny Tampa, Florida to Liverpool once I’m done with my schooling. A lot of us live and die by how Liverpool does in their matches, just like the fans in the U.K. I’m usually in a horrid mood for an entire week if Liverpool play badly. I felt the same sense of betrayal that many others felt when Fernando Torres left us for Chelsea. We’re all the same, really.
One lesson that the fans in Liverpool can take from the preseason tour, is that they should not take their ability to attend matches for granted. I know that I would not be able to die a happy man if I don’t watch a game from the Kop, and I plan on doing so as soon as I’m financially able. So when you’re sitting in the stands, know that it is a privilege that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Most of us would do some unspeakable things to be in your seat.