My Liverpool Story: A Chance Encounter

To tell my story of becoming a Liverpool supporter, we should start at its most influential moment. I can’t recall the exact time and date, but I vividly remember the interaction that changed my football supporter trajectory into the branch of reality where I went all-in for the Reds.

READ MORE: My Liverpool Story: Drawn In by J.D. Smith
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It was sometime during the holiday season of 2001. My side hustle was bartending at Ruby Tuesday in Rockford, IL. (about an hour west of Chicago). I started playing soccer at 10 and played in high school and college (Rockford College on the same team as “The Turkish One”). During high school and college, I watched as much Premier League soccer as possible with the limited broadcasting on this side of the pond. As a bartender, I always asked anyone with a British accent, “Who do you support?”. I listened to many English football stories as a bartender, which helped me learn the history and rivalries of the teams.

ASTV Shorts: Klopp’s Sabbatical

One night, a few days before Christmas, a fellow staying at the hotel next to the bar, happened in and ordered a Bass Ale. After I set down his pint, I asked him my football supporter question. He quickly replied with a moderate level of interest, “Who do you support?” Back then, the U.S. didn’t have as much access to EPL matches as we do today. We Americans would only see the biggest fixtures by the biggest teams (Thankfully Man City wasn’t one back then).

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I told him about my ignorance of the league and just being exposed to the top sides they would show here. I told him I didn’t have a team, but I enjoyed watching Liverpool and Michael Owen was my favorite player. It came up that Iiked Emile Heskey and a young academy player named Steven Gerrard who I felt could be a special player. He paused for a second and said he’d be right back. 5 minutes later, he gave me the green Carlsberg third kit from that season and said plainly, “You are now a Liverpool supporter for life”. I bought him his beer and we chatted the rest of the night.

Liverpool Chose Me

I didn’t choose Liverpool, Liverpool chose me. I easily spoke to over 100 people in my bartending career, and he was the only one to see my interest in the Reds and demand I follow them for the rest of my life. United and Arsenal were the teams winning and battling for the trophies each year. I watched them play as well. Henry was special and almost lured me into support for the Gunners. The United side had stars like Beckham, Cole, Sheringham, Keane, Scholes, and Giggs. Maybe I liked the work ethic and grit of the “underdogs” that didn’t have all the big names.

But my patron explained to me the history of our great club. The trophies we lifted in the 70s and 80s, the brilliant managers we’ve had and still sing songs for to this day, and the rivalries we had with Everton and United. He gave me a proper history lesson to solidify that LFC was worthy of my admiration and support.

I’ll never forget that day. Nor will I forget all the great memories, agonizing stress watching matches, and pure elation when we’ve won, that I’ve had as a supporter since. UP THE REDS!

Floppy disks to entering in code on a Spectrum 48K… Clearly not a lot going on in the transfer market for Liverpool at the moment
  1. Floppy Disk
  2. What's Next?
  3. What Would Klopp Do?
  4. July 1st Fireworks
  5. The C Word
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