John, what does today's announcement mean to the fans in your hometown?
This is a huge announcement! This will be the first time a lot of our supporters in Chicago and the surrounding area will have the opportunity to see LFC up close and in the flesh. It will be a very special day for a lot of people around here.
The opposition at Soldier Field will be the Greek side Olympiacos. Most Liverpool fans have very happy memories of when we played them in 2004 on the way to winning the European Cup. What do you remember of that game?
It’s still resonating in my head! 'Ohhhhhh ya beauty!!! What a hit son, what a hit!' I think that bit of commentary sits in the minds of a lot of neutrals as well as Liverpool supporters.
There have been a lot of rumours doing the rounds about where Liverpool would play this summer. Were you surprised Chicago was picked?
We were certainly pleasantly surprised. We have been inundated with calls, text messages, emails and the like ever since the rumor hit the wires a couple of weeks ago so to have it finally official is very exciting for everyone. We are grateful to host LFC and supporters from all over the world in our city and hope everyone’s experience will be memorable and fun.
What has the reaction been like from fans so far?
Everyone is very excited! It means a lot to the fans here… People from all over the area have been reaching out to see if we have more details yet about match tickets and other potential events surrounding the tour. Supporters from Chicago and other cities from around the country have already been in touch with us today since the announcement was made official.
How passionate is the Liverpool fan base in Chicago?
Well, I think you only have to look back to a couple of weeks ago when it was minus 20 Celsius without the wind chill factor and with snow everywhere. Despite all that, our pub AJ Hudson’s was already packed at 6:15am for the 6:45am local-time kick-off. Moreover, some of our members actually attended the match at Anfield that day!
Is English football growing in popularity in Chicago?
I would argue that it’s been very popular for a while now. In fact, I think that we see more live games here than are available in the UK. A lot of pubs and bars are very busy weekend mornings showing games.
What sort of reaction can the players expect in Chicago?
I would expect they’ll get a very warm reception. Chicagoans are a bit like Scousers. Very warm and welcoming. It will be very special to have LFC here.
Liverpool FC will play Olympiacos in Chicago on July 27th.