Updated: Dec 23, 2020
We head back across the ocean for our next stop in the FanConnect series to New Zealand where we chat with Jane Adams.
A lifelong Red, Jane is originally from Birkenhead, but then found herself living too close to Michael Owen in Hawarden near Chester, so felt the need to emigrate to New Zealand.
Let's chat with Jane:
Q. Hiya Jane, so before we chat about the football, tell us a bit about yourself.
A. Ok, well, I'm originally from Birkenhead, but then moved to Hawarden near Chester where I went to the same school as Michael Owen. Never liked him, even back then, long before he sold his soul to you know who (laughs).
I'm married to Steve and we have two girls; 11 year old, Chloe and 9 year old Hannah. Steve and I moved to New Zealand 17 years ago and now live in a small town about 40 minutes from Christchurch called Rangiora.
Back when we lived in the UK, Steve and I decided we wanted to do a lot of travelling, and one of those trips was to Australia and New Zealand and we ended up staying there. It wasn't really to get away from Michael Owen (laughs).
Q. Can't blame you, it's a lovely country. So how did it all start for you as a Liverpool fan?
It was all my dad's fault. He was actually a Tranmere Rovers season ticket holder, but in terms of the two First Division clubs in Liverpool, he chose Everton. Then he'd make me sit down and watch them on the telly and we had to stay quiet while he watched them.
So, as you do, I chose Liverpool purely to annoy me dad. (laughs) And I'm so glad I did, cos let's face it, if my dad had got his way, I could have ended up as a long suffering Everton fan.
Q. Very true. You dodged a bullet for sure! So, what's it like being a Liverpool Fan in New Zealand?
A. To be honest, we're rather starved of Liverpool stuff over here. We look at events like KopConnect and get a bit jealous because we don't have anything like that. The team haven't visited or played here and we don't get any ex-players visiting us either.
We do have an LFC New Zealand fan club, but it's quite low key. I really get my Liverpool fix from joining groups like this where we can feel attached to other fans around the world and of course back in Liverpool.
What I need to do is get all the sheep here to become Liverpool fans, then we'd be alright -we'd have millions of fans and everyone'd want to come visit us (laughs).
Q. That's hilarious. Do you think we could get them to sing 'Ewe'll Never Walk Alone'? Ok, ok, I'll just stick to the questions.... so, tell us about your early experiences as a fan?
A. Well, myself and my best mate Tina Sutherland who's still over in the UK used to walk to Hawarden train station and take the train to Liverpool.
We were only about 12 or 13 at the time and we'd go to every match and queue up for hours outside Anfield to make sure we got a good spot. We'd take turns going to the chippy while the other one saved our spot in the queue.
This was in the days of the all-standing Kop, so when the game started, we'd get lifted off our feet every time the Kop swayed forward. All the fellas around us were so protective of us and made sure we were always safe.They wouldn't let anyone swear around us either. If anyone did, you'd hear "ay, lad, watch yer mouth - there's kids 'ere". They were so lovely to us. True gentlemen.
Q. Great days, I remember them well. Who was your hero back in then?
A. I started watching back in the era of Rush, Hansen, McMahon, Ronnie Whelan and Ray Houghton. I saw Kenny play too towards the end of his career. Loved Rushy. He was from Flint, close to where I was living so I always had a soft spot for him.
But the one I wanted to meet the most, because I thought he was absolutely brilliant, was Steve McManaman. He was a genius on the ball, the way he dribbled.
Q. Was that for his footballing ability or cos you fancied him?
A. Probably a bit of both. (laughs) No, more for his football, honest. Actually the one I did fancy back then was Barry Venison - it wasn't for his football skills obviously (laughs).
Q. How about now? Who's your favourite player today?
A. Oh, it's got to be Mo! I can't choose anyone else. I adore him, literally. I absolutely love his humility. He's world famous and yet you'd never know it when you see him being interviewed and how he carries himself.
And I know he's well loved by Liverpool fans, but I actually think he's underrated. He's a genius with the ball, but his movement off the ball, the way he pulls defenders all over the place to make space for others. When I hear 'oh he's selfish' it drives me mad - his stats prove otherwise. When you look at his combined goals and assists he's second to none.
Also, he just comes across as a lovely, lovely man. There's not a single thing I don't like about him.
Q. Even his new haircut?
A. (Laughs) Oh, ok. Well, I don't mind it, but I did prefer it the way it was. But now it makes me feel a bit of cradle snatcher because it makes him look about 10! I used to think 'oh he's not that much younger than me' but now it just feels wrong. (laughs)
Q. Yes, Mo's brilliant, and yeah, he does look a bit like the shy kid in class when he gets interviewed. So, sticking with the new Premier League Champions, what are your thoughts on Jurgen?
A. Oh, wow, what can you say. He really is a genius. He's transformed our club. There's such a 'human' element to him.
He gets the history, he gets the fan connection, he gets everything about the club. I hope he never leaves. If anyone wants proof of just how transformational he's been, just take a look at his first ever Liverpool team selection versus the first eleven we have now. It tells you everything.
Q. What would you say is your greatest moment as a fan?
A. Oh, there are so many. Winning the league that last time in 1990 became more special with each passing year. The Crystal Palace 9-0 game was amazing. Those Newcastle 4-3 games too.
Then there was last season's Champions League win. But it wasn't just the final, it was the whole campaign; the Barca games; the fact that it came after such a disappointment the year before when Mo had to be taken off in tears, injured.
The most homesick I have been in 17 years away was watching the homecoming parade from the other side of the world.
Of course, had it not been for covid ruining the whole fan experience, I think winning the Premier League this year would have beaten all of them because THAT was the one we've all waited so long for.
Before covid hit, I'd already told my husband, "I'm going home in May," and he said "but we're going back in August," and I said, "I don't care, I'm going back in May too." it wasn't even open for discussion. (laughs)
Q. Brilliant! Any other Liverpool related stories?
A. Well, I've actually met a couple of celebrity fans. I had a chat with Sporty Spice once, she was dead nice. And Sue Johnston from Brookside & The Royle Family - she's a bit of a super fan. She was at every game. She's one of the nicest people I've ever spoken to in my life. She ALWAYS stopped and had time for everyone. Really, a lovely, lovely person.
Tina and I used to go autograph hunting after games as young teens, and we met a lot of the players that way. John Barnes and Jan Molby in particular were incredibly nice, but I'd say the nicest of them all was Roy Evans. He always stopped and chatted with us.
Q. I have to agree! Having met Roy in Vegas for our first event, and spending quite a bit of time with him since, he's an absolute star - an unbelievably nice guy. So, do you still have your autograph book from back then?
A. Oh yes, along with my hundreds of match day programmes and all my old ticket stubs. My pride and joy is my ticket for the last game of the standing Kop before it became all seated.
Q. Ok, my final and probably most important question. Why do you have blue nail varnish?
A. It's green, I swear it's green. it's not blue! it must be the dodgy Facebook video making it look blue! There's a story behind that too. In preparation for us winning the league, I had my nails painted red... then, as soon as I did, covid hit, so I vowed to never paint them red again because it obviously jinxed us. (laughs)
Well Jane, thanks for your time, that was a laugh a minute and a real pleasure. Take care, and hopefully meet you in person soon. Look forward to it.
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