By Hayden Boyle – @hayden_boyle
My alarm is going berserk; I open my eyes and look wearily at the display, its 4am. I am an Australian Liverpool supporter trying to watch our Champions’ League Group Stage match against Napoli.
I’ve been supporting the club for approximately eight years and I’ve lost track of the amount of sleep lost.
It is a common theme for international fans across the globe, passionate and devoted supporters whose jobs and families suffer as a result of their faith in the mighty Reds.
Usually I wouldn’t discuss nationality, to me it isn’t important, but every now and then you get attacked for supporting Liverpool because of where you are from.
It shouldn’t matter what others think, if you love the club and live in Adelaide or Arizona, who cares? Well to some it seems to be a point of anger. On social media I have witnessed occasions where people’s opinions are attacked and discredited because they aren’t a ‘local’.
To be clear, I hold great respect for the history of the city, and for those who have come from Liverpool or currently reside there today. And those who spend their hard earned money and attend every game deserve praise as well.
But I will not hear that my geographical location disqualifies my level of support for Liverpool. Last year in late August I was lucky enough to attend my first match at Anfield, the first game of the season against Palace.
My mates and I had booked an Airbnb located on Priory Road in Anfield. To be honest, the place was pretty basic, it was an old Doctor’s surgery converted into a town house, but I didn’t care. It had me close enough to the stadium I had dreamed about seeing for 10 years.
I remember walking to Anfield, my first glimpse of the stadium came as we rounded the street running along the Shankly gates entrance. I could not believe my eyes.
I stood there in concrete boots, mouth aghast, and my brain not quite sure what I was taking in. It was honestly one of those moments in which you can recall the same chills 12 months later, as if you have the moment bottled up and captured forever.
Its estimated Liverpool Football Club has 500 million supporters worldwide – we are truly an international club. We have star players from Egypt, Senegal, Guinea and Brazil just to name a few.
And while you may yearn for the Liverpool of old and discredit an international supporter, remember that this dominant global presence helps makes Liverpool what it is today.
If you are one of the fortunate supporters who makes the trip to Anfield if every second weekend or for a midweek European night, please spare a thought for those of us who only get a small taste of what that magical atmosphere is like from our living rooms on the other side of the world.
And when Salah curls in his next worldie, remember my nearest pro league, the A-League, has Usain Bolt running around a stadium with two giant sauce bottles as mascots…