Raul H Cohen Llaguno - Satelite, Mexico
Today we travel meet a Reds fanatic in Satelite, Mexico located about 40 mins from Mexico City. Raul is a renowned blogger and video producer about all things Liverpool FC and has featured many LFC personalities in his work. He's married to Cyntia and has a young daughter, Lia. Let's chat with Raul:
Q. Hey Raul, great to see you mate. Let's start with an obvious one. Being in Mexico, and with the common belief being that most football fans in Mexico seem to support the Spanish Clubs, how did you become a Red?
A. Yes, it's true many support Barca or Real but for me it had to be a team I emotionally connected with and I really didn't ever connect with those clubs.
How it happened for me is that I became a football fan when I was a young kid watching the 1994 world cup. A couple of years later, at around age 12, I started to watch European football, but I still didn't have a team. I would occasionally see Liverpool games, and being a big Beatles fan it meant something that they were from the same city..... and Octopus's garden was the first song I ever loved as a kid. (laughs) For many people around the world, if you love The Beatles, you tend to have a fascination with the City of Liverpool. So as a football fan too, following Liverpool FC seemed a logical choice.
So, that was how my interest in the Club started and it grew from there, and as you know, once this Club grabs you it never lets you go. (laughs)
Then, of course, 2005 happened. Around that time, my dad had lost his job in Mexico due to the government change and had been offered a job in Canada. So, we relocated and for about five years we settled in Vancouver.
I didn't know too many people but for the Champions League Final I knew I had to find a place to watch it with other Reds. I found a pub called The Ranch in Maple Ridge, a suburb of Vancouver, so I headed there. It was packed with Liverpool fans.
At half time, we were all so devastated, and I have to admit I considered leaving and going home. But then came that moment, when the fans in the stadium sung 'You'll Never Walk Alone.' It's easy to say now, in hindsight, but there was something truly magical about that moment. The crowd at the pub started singing it too, and the passion of it all, being a part of that moment and seeing the impact it had - it's a feeling I remember even now. Somehow, it captured more than just football - it was about the power of the human spirit and overcoming adversity. Those fans in the stadium inspired their team to the greatest comeback in European Cup history. It was amazing.
Liverpool fans inspiring the team to #5 in the Ataturk Stadium, Istanbul 2005
Q. Ah, what a day that was! So now you're back in Mexico, what's it like being a Red there?
A. There is a Mexican fan club called MexiKop, based in Mexico City, but I live over 40 minutes from there in a small town called Satélite. Our biggest claim to fame is that Satélite is a City that has absolutely no traffic lights. (laughs)
I have to be honest, there aren't too many other Reds in my neighbourhood, but it doesn't matter because I'm like a crazy person in my own house when Liverpool are playing. We have a weekly Liverpool party with me leading the wife and daughter in the singing and dancing. We have the shirts on, the scarves above our head, everything.
My wife Cyntia loves what the club stands for. She sees how inclusive it is of everyone irrespective of race, religion etc. and that really matters to both of us. She sees how supportive they are of the local community and of things like the Rainbow Laces Campaign, with our Captain even speaking out in support. It's things like this that make the Club so special and unique.
Q. Spot on mate! So another thing you've done is to build large LFC on-line fan communities and have done several video podcasts with special guests. Can you tell us about them?
A. It all started out of necessity really with us being quite remote from other Reds, and with the internet being such a great way to reach out to Reds all over the world. So I started a page initially just to share photos and have some dialogue with other fans. To my amazement, it started to gain momentum and attract fans from all over the world.
In my job I do a lot of producing and audio/video work for the United Nations, and so we're lucky to have the tools to put together professional looking video podcasts. Then of course, all we needed was guests. (laughs)
We've been lucky enough to have had LFC-related guests such as author Jeff Goulding and ex-player and 'Lost Shankly Boy' George Scott on our videos and podcasts - and of course, not to forget you guys from KopConnect too. (laughs)
Then one day I noticed that one of our followers had a picture of the Shankly book, The Real Bill Shankly and was actually the author of the book. It was Karen Gill, Shankly's granddaughter!
I thought, 'hey, why not' so I contacted her to invite her as a guest. She said yes immediately, and was such a wonderful, warm person. She told us stories of how Bob Paisley would come over for a cup of tea and talk football with her grandad in the living room. It was all so normal for her, but for me, it was insight into Shanks and Bob Paisley I never in my life dreamed I would get to hear.
Q. It's always fascinating to hear stories from people lucky enough to have known those legends. So, given all your experiences as a Red, what's your greatest moment as a fan so far?
A. Oh, the greatest single moment has to be when Trent hit that corner and Origi blasted home the winning goal against Barca. Honestly, the explosion of joy in my house when that goal went in! I was literally running around the house with my daughter yelling and screaming. I'm surprised the neighbours never called the police. (laughs)
But the greatest moment was winning the Premier League title. I honestly thought it was going to be an anti-climax winning it as we did without kicking a ball that day, but after many beers in celebration - and then a few beers more - we started watching the videos and playing all the Liverpool anthems. We were dancing around to 'Si Senor' and had our scarves held high in a circle for YNWA. Instead of it being an anti-climax, it became one of the most fun times I've had with my wife and daughter.
Q. I know you've travelled quite a bit with your job. Do you have any fan stories you can share with us?
A. When I started the fan page, I was doing a lot of travelling with work so I would reach out to other Liverpool fans in places I was about to visit. One trip was to El Salvador so I googled Liverpool fans there, wrote to them and to cut a long story short ended up in a bar watching a game with El Salvador Reds.
That's another thing amazing and unique about this club. Anywhere in the world you go, there's this instant bond of friendship. After the game we all stayed behind singing Liverpool songs, then they ended up actually driving me to the airport to catch my flight! They remain personal friends to this day. You really don't walk alone as a fan of this club.
Another time, I ended up in Cancun at the same time as the Champions League Final in Madrid. I was in a complete panic, because I had to host some important guests from the United Nations at exactly the same time as the game was on. It was also election time in Cancun, so there were no beer or alcohol sales. I was thinking 'how do I do this? - I CANNOT miss this game!'
So, I showed up at the airport to pick them up in my grey and red Liverpool shirt! For my next trick I suggested that we go and have dinner in Hooters. (laughs) I knew they had a large screen TV, were showing the game AND they were serving alcohol! Thankfully, they agreed and all came with me.
So of course, as the game went on, I became more and more crazy, yelling at the screen and generally ignoring my guests. Thankfully they loved it, and their boss told me later they loved my passion. They were even taking pictures of me celebrating like a madman at Hooters. I was so excited at the end of the game, I jumped in a nearby pool with my scarf held high singing You'll Never Walk Alone.
Q. Great stories Raul. It's amazing what we'll do for this club, right? So, final question - what are your thoughts on Jurgen Klopp?
A. Oh, what a manager, and what a person. Many years ago I was in Germany and went to see a Borussia Dortmund game when he was manager. I was lucky enough to briefly meet him and say hello. Even then - and of course I had no idea back then that he'd one day become the Liverpool manager - he was a captivating personality.
He came over to us with that big beaming smile of his and was so friendly to us. I never forgot that moment, so when he became Liverpool manager I was so excited. I knew what he'd done at Dortmund and he seemed like the ideal person to take the club forward.
Everything about him fits the personality of the Club; the passion, the honesty, the spirit. He doesn't just exude them himself, he breeds it in everyone around him. Look at how he can whip The Kop into a frenzy with a few fist pumps.
I remember thinking when he was giving his first press conference, "maybe, just maybe, we finally have the right man to bring all the titles back to Liverpool."
Well, now we have #6, #19 and are the current World and Premier League Champions - and are once again at the top of the league, it's no longer a maybe. (laughs)
He has put the club back to where it belongs. We are the envy of England and Europe. For too many years, other clubs were winning the big titles we used to win routinely. No longer. Now, WE are the team to beat and we are the team everyone fears - and it's all down to the brilliance of Klopp and his backroom staff. I hope he stays for many more seasons ahead. And if he does, I see many more titles in our future.
Q. I'm with you there mate, 100%. Raul, a pleasure as always my friend. Take care, stay safe, have a Happy Christmas with the family and we'll see you at KopConnect.
A. You too Alex, all the best to you and your family at Christmas.
FanConnect is a blog series featuring Reds fans' stories from around the world, and brought to you by the KopConnect team.
Alex Malone is a Scouser, a lifelong Red and co-founder of KopConnect, as well as a columnist for This Is Anfield.
If you like this feature, we would appreciate you sharing it with all your fellow Reds. If you're not already a member, we'd love for you to join our KopConnect Facebook group. YNWA