Updated: Feb 18
Well-known globetrotter and Liverpool fanatic, Kerry has taken her love for Liverpool FC around the world. Here's her story:
Q. Hi Kerry, great to see you again. For those Liverpool fans who don't know you, tell us a little bit about yourself.
A. Hi Alex, good to see you again too. Well, I'm from Melbourne.... as in Florida, not Australia. (laughs) I have 3 brothers. One of my brothers and both my mum and dad are Reds too. I recently moved permanently to Mexico which is where I'm based now.
Q. So how did your love affair with Liverpool FC begin?
A. When I was in high school we went to live in Northern Ireland; a place called Antrim about 20 miles from Belfast. One of the great friends I made there was a guy called Jeff Beckett and he was the one who convinced me to become a fan.
So that was the start, but it was when I actually visited the City Of Liverpool that sealed it for me. I absolutely LOVED it! I have to say, when I told people I was going to Liverpool I was advised against it. I was told to stay away because it was dangerous, but I've always been the type to find things out for myself, and I am so glad I did! The culture, the people, the sense of humour, it had everything I love in a city. Everyone was so outgoing and friendly. I fell in love with both the City and the Scouse culture. That naturally gave me an even greater affection for Liverpool FC, but in terms of becoming a true 'die hard' fan, that actually began about 5-7 years ago when I started travelling.
Q. Your travels are amazing and well documented. How did it impact your love for the club so much?
A. Well, as you know, when you visit other countries, there is often a language barrier which can make it hard to meet or communicate with people. What I realised very quickly is that there is a language that people speak all over the world, and that's the language of Liverpool FC. Walking around in almost any country in the world in a Liverpool shirt is a guaranteed 'friend maker.' I've travelled to about 50 countries now - always with a few Liverpool shirts in my suitcase - and it's ended up with me meeting and watching Liverpool games with other fans in virtually every one of those countries. Just recently, I went to visit the Mayan Ruins here in Mexico - in a Liverpool shirt of course - and a guy walked up to me smiling. He was from Monterey, Mexico and just wanted to say hi, and to tell me that Steven Gerrard is his favourite ever player. (laughs) That kind of thing happens everywhere.
Q. Tell us more about where you've travelled and the reactions you've had from other fans.
A. I've travelled to many places that aren't obvious tourist places as I find the lesser-known kinds of places fascinating. In Africa, Asia and the Middle East you tend to get a very passionate reaction from people really excited to see the shirt and more often than not they come and say hello. Just being mutual Liverpool fans means there's an instant respect, bond and kinship with people you've never met before. It's really quite amazing.
Social media has also been a big help because I can now contact people in OLSCs or supporters groups before I visit and it's been another great way to bond with global Reds. For instance, I decided to go to East Africa and contacted the Liverpool fan group in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to let them know I'd like to visit and watch a game. Not only did they say yes, they decided to surprise me - and when I arrived they met me at the airport! These are people I'd never even met! It was a lovely gesture from genuinely wonderful people.
Kerry with the gang from Tanzania
Another time, when I visited the Lebanon LFC group, they took me on a tour and wouldn't let me pay for anything. Seriously, they wouldn't. In the end, I had to threated them before they gave in and finally let me pay for something. (laughs)
Because I've had such amazing experiences everywhere I've gone, I have this crazy goal now of trying to visit every Liverpool supporters' group in the world.
Q. Great stories and I hope you do it - any other stories in particular that stand out for you?
A. There are two that come to mind and both of them involve me wearing a Mo Salah shirt. (laughs)
I was walking around a market in Zanzibar when I heard from behind me 'Mo Salah, I need to speak with you.' I turned around and there was an older gentleman grinning from ear to ear. He said to me in his best English 'We are going to win the league.' He'd been a Liverpool fan for almost 30 years and had never once seen us win the league. By the time he'd told me his story, his love of John Barnes as a player, and all his cherished memories we both ended up in tears. When I think about us as Premier League Champions now, I always think of him.
I'm sure his smile is even bigger now we have #19
The other would be visiting Egypt. Of course, I HAD to wear my Mo shirt there. We all know that Mo is a national hero, but the reaction to the shirt was insane. I had a group of teenage girls come over and want their photo with me; then I went to visit the pyramids and the locals wanted photos with me in front of the pyramids - all because I was in a Mo Salah shirt! I couldn't quite believe the reaction to it. It just goes to show what Liverpool means to people anywhere in the world. It really is a global family.
Q. It really is. So, on to your favourite players. How about one from the past and one from the current squad?
A. I started following the team in 2000, so it has to be, undoubtedly, Stevie G. His passion, what he did for the club, his amazing goals, his determination. He epitomised the spirit of the club and being a local lad made it all the better. He's an absolute legend.
From the current squad it has to be Mo, for a number of reasons. First, Egypt is my favourite country, and I already mentioned the amazing time I had there. Second, because he's just a brilliant player and goal scorer. But also because he came as an underdog after it hadn't worked for him at Chelsea. Because of that, I was cheering him on from day one hoping he would prove Klopp right and the doubters wrong.
Also, I was lucky enough to meet him on the pre-season tour in the US the summer after I'd been to Egypt. While I was in Egypt, I'd actually been interviewed by a journalist from the Egyptian News and she had posted some photos of me on line in my Salah shirt. I was thrilled to find out that Mo actually commented on that article, so I mentioned it to him when I met him... and he remembered! He was so incredibly nice, friendly and personable. He was already my hero, but even more so after I met him in person. (laughs)
Mo responds to The Egyptian media article featuring Kerry in her Salah shirt
Q. Yeah, everyone who meets Mo tends to say the same about him. I believe you've met a few of the others too?
A. I try to get to as many of the games and tours as I can, and the players really do their best to give us fans chances to meet them, see them train and get a few photos and autographs so I have met a few. Let's see if I can remember.... I've met Jurgen Klopp, Salah, Mane, Firmino, Trent, Gini, Virgil, Robbo, Origi and Hendo all while they were on tour in the States..... Oh, that reminds me; funny story - Jordan Henderson actually had a photo with me on his Instagram and it was a bit of a fluke how it happened. I was actually taking a selfie with Jordan - as you do - but someone from the Club apparently took a picture of me taking the selfie with him! Anyway, it ended up on his account. (laughs)
Q. That's an impressive list and I'm sure you're going to add to it. So, in all your time as a fan, what's your #1 favourite moment?
A. Winning the Premier League, definitely. Winning the Champions League was amazing, but winning the league was the top of the top. Because of lockdown, I was sitting on the couch by myself crying tears of joy. Finally, after so many years, we'd done it. I thought about all the ecstatic fans all over the world and how that lovely man in Tanzania must have been feeling right at that moment. Whatever happens in the future, it was a moment I will never forget.
Q. Yeah, after 30 years it truly was a magical moment. So, final question... thoughts on Jurgen Klopp and the upcoming season.
A. Well, I've always considered myself an optimist in general, but with Liverpool having so many nearly years and near misses my optimism had been 'challenged' shall we say. (laughs) But Jurgen told us didn't he? We all need to stop doubting and become believers and I really am a true believer now in the manager and this amazing team.
I believe we have the best manager, team and squad in the Premier League and I'm anticipating a double-league-winning massive, crazy party whenever KopConnect can happen. (laughs) It's become more difficult with the major injuries we have in central defence, compounded by having to use our best midfielders there, but I still believe we'll do it.
As for Klopp, I think there are two things that make up the magic formula for a manager; the ability to make good players great, and the ability to bring in exactly the right kind of player to fit the vision. Klopp excels in both - his record in the transfer market is simply incredible, and almost every player improves with his guidance and coaching.
So even though we've had a bit of a wobble over the last few games there's a long way to go. And with us having the best manager in the world and such a talented squad I still believe we'll be celebrating two consecutive titles come the end of the season.
Q. I believe exactly the same. Kerry, many thanks for your time, a pleasure as always, and see you hopefully soon for that long overdue title celebration. Cheers!
FanConnect is a blog series featuring Reds fans' stories from around the world, brought to you by the KopConnect team.
Alex Malone is a Scouser, lifelong Red and co-founder of KopConnect, as well as a columnist for This Is Anfield.
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