Barak Engel

— September 2019

Liverpool has a fascinating global fan base. It may not be as big, in the aggregate, as that of the most successful Spaniards, but I’m willing to bet that it reaches more places, and is more diverse and yet somehow more unified than any other team’s. People who fall in love with the Reds rarely fall out of love with Reds; and the club’s credo, as expressed in YNWA and “this means more”, is something all Red fans seem to buy into, no matter where they were born.

I was lucky enough to get the bug as a young child, from my dad, who was a Liverpool fan at the time (and stands as that rare example from my statement above – more on that later). I don’t really remember myself as not being a Reds fan, which means to me from roughly age 5 or so. I suppose I was born a Red, too. The timing to consciously become a Liverpool fan could not have been better, as it was the year that Bob Paisley took over, sir Kenny joined the club, and Liverpool were set to become the greatest powerhouse Europe had ever seen (by that stage).

With a start like that, no wonder it stuck.

Growing up in another country, my love is shared between Liverpool and my home town team – Maccabi Haifa – and when they played each other the one time back in 2006 in a champions league qualifier, it was nothing short of glorious. An earlier moment of connection and pride was when our homeboy Ronnie Rosenthal – Rocket Ronnie to English Scousers – came over to the Reds.

The premier league era has been a walk through a storm to date. Loving Liverpool under Gillett and Hicks earned a sort of badge of martyrdom, in particular, but thankfully that did not last long. My dad switched allegiances to Barcelona then, which meant I got to have a bit of fun with him a few months ago, after that remarkable turnaround on the way to number six. The signs pointing to the return of our former glory are portentous. One can only hope.

One thing that had always sorrowfully accompanied my love for Liverpool is that I never got to see them play a competitive match in real life. This was finally remedied this summer, when I went to Istanbul to watch the Supercup. It was amazing, incredible, stupendous, and wonderful. Finally getting to sing YNWA together with a massive crowd of other Reds fans, instead of alone in front of the TV as I have hundreds of times before, was one of the best moments of my life.

My big remaining unfulfilled wish is to watch a game at Anfield (if at all possible, in the kop!). Being finally at a moment in my own life where this is mostly a matter of planning for the trip, I am certain that this will happen – if I can only figure out how to get some tickets!

With a golden sky looming right up ahead,

Cheerfully,

Barak Engel