Liverpool endured a horrid period of management under American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, leaving some Liverpudlians with a sour attitude towards not only Hicks and Gillett but also towards the American Liverpool fan base as well.
Now with Brendan Rodgers’ side performing so well on the pitch, fan confidence in the club’s current American owners has prompted a surge of fresh-faced American Reds.
With a season that has been nothing short of thrilling, it’s time to celebrate the 10 reasons it's great being an American Liverpool fan…
Waking up early for matches is actually great
With apologies to all Pacific Time Zone Reds (bless your heart for waking up at 4:30 AM for certain matches), Liverpool is the only reason why some Americans get out of bed before noon on weekends. When the alarms are off and the blinds are shut for the night, it takes enormous amounts of discipline to not oversleep on a Saturday or Sunday morning. By time you get out of bed and go through your (hungover) morning routine, it’s like 3pm and any hope of salvaging a decently productive day is gone. Thanks to Liverpool matches, waking up at a normal time in the morning happens every weekend. After the match, depending on the number of morning pints downed and the morning’s result, there’s a full day of adventure set up. Productivity rules!
Supporters Clubs foster a strong community spirit
Go to any major city in the United States, and odds are, there’s a local Liverpool FC Supporters Club around. According to the LFC website, there are 17 official Liverpool Supporters Clubs in the United States, with many more unregistered clubs out there. Beyond giving fans a common place to watch, react to and discuss a Liverpool match—necessities to help foster growth for budding fans—these clubs also work to send members overseas to Anfield for matches, and help promote international soccer culture. Ask anyone who’s a regular at supporters’ club viewing bars, and they’ll tell you that the closest thing on earth to experiencing a match at Anfield is watching a match as a part of a Supporters’ Club.
NBC Sports Live Extra is a godsend
For years, Liverpool fans the world over woke up every match day not knowing how they were going to watch the damn thing. Will it be on television? Do I even subscribe to the right sports package to get the channel anyway? If all else fails, will there be an HD illegal stream available online? It’s just another unnecessary stress in the lives of every American Red. For everyone with regular cable, they also get subscription to NBC Sports Live Extra, allowing them to watch every Premier League Liverpool match with a stable online stream. Gone are the days of switching from illegal stream to illegal stream, before finding a non-laggy one with Uzbek speaking commentators. 2014 is a fantastic time to be a soccer fan. Thank you technology.
Fans are free to form opinions outside of the pretence of tradition
English soccer culture is very different from American sporting culture. Soccer culture slants more regionally, because more cities and towns in England have professional soccer clubs than American cities have their own franchises. American sports slant stats-heavy, making American sports fans very much a score-crunching crowd. Sports like baseball, basketball, and football can be recorded accurately just through stats—the same can’t be said about soccer. Not only that, but most American Reds are adoptive, making Liverpool an alien loyalty rather than something you’re born into. Because of that, their views aren’t always through the lens of tradition, giving them a more modern take on club matters; particularly in regards to statistics and the influx of money into the sport (NFL fans would kill to have £40-£45 seat pricing).
The thirst to get to Anfield is on another level
Making the trek to Anfield is far from easy for American fans. Travel costs can run into the thousands of dollars, and the eight hour plane ride is no joke— a single game can easily cost more money than most UK-based fans would spend on their entire season ticket. For many American fans, any potential Anfield trip is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. The distance and difficulty to get to Liverpool puts the Anfield Dream in the front of every fan’s mind.
You’re not seen as a bandwagon Premier League fan
Let’s be real here: for the better part of five years, Liverpool haven’t been a world class club in terms of results. The threat of administration, the entire Roy Hodgson Era, the transfer money wasted and the consistently below-standard style of play has meant that there’s been no bandwagon to hop on. All that of course has changed this year! But us Reds have suffered together in recent years, and battled through the taunts and jokes of bandwagon jumping followers of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City. That affords American Reds more respect and pride in the eyes of opposing footy fans.
Having other major sports allows us to deal with losses better
From October to February, American sports fans have soccer, football, baseball and basketball to follow, with each demanding a large share of the media’s attention. For a fan in Liverpool, a loss leaves he/she with a competitive void for the rest of the week. The stink of losing carries over into the week. That same loss can be counteracted—treated even—with another favorite team in a different sport for an American fan. That’s not to say there’s less care, just that there’s just more variety to handle.
We get to play with Liverpool on FIFA first
North American FIFA 14 release date: September 24th. European FIFA 14 release date: September 27th. North American FIFA 13 release date: September 25th. European FIFA 13 release date: September 27th. North American FIFA 12 release date: September 27th. European FIFA 12 release date: September 29th. Shall we go on?
The friendships and connections made at home and abroad aren’t possible without Liverpool
One of the greatest things about being a sports fan is the sense of togetherness it engenders. Fresh bonds are made with new people over Liverpool—entirely new circles of friends pop up that wouldn’t have otherwise existed. A combination of social media and internationally streamed matches have brought people together the world over for the sake of Liverpool, directly contributing to the flattening of earth and opening of cultures. How beautiful is that?
The American LFC Tour gives every American Red an opportunity to see and meet their heroes
Ian Rush said it best when speaking on what LFC’s annual international tours mean to fans: "I think for a lot of clubs on tour, it's been a case of getting in and getting out. But that's not Liverpool's style. We like to put smiles on people's faces—that's what it's all about.” In each city, Liverpool open up training sessions to fans, and make the players widely available for autograph signings, pictures, and interviews. It’s a terrific experience for an entire country of fans who otherwise follow the team from over 2,000 miles away.