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MEET THE HONG KONG REDS Mark Platt in Hong Kong 23 July 2007
LFC is famed for having supporters all over the world and one of the most passionate hotbeds can be found in Asia. In the first of a special series of features, we spoke to members of the Hong Kong Supporters Club.
Hong Kong fans
Just how big a club are Liverpool in your part of the world? People in Hong Kong are crazy for the English Premier League, with Manchester United and Liverpool being the most popular teams. Owing to their success in the past ten years, Manchester United has accumulated a heavy base of fans over here. Although we are still waiting for the 19th league title, the tradition and history of the club are still adored by many fans in Hong Kong and we are really proud of it. Tell us a bit about your club, ie how many members, where you gather to watch matches and how many of you will be in the Hong Kong Stadium to support the Reds? We are established in July 1999 and obtained the official supporters club status in 2003 (shortly before Liverpool's HK tour that year). We have around 500 members for the 06/07 season and the number is still on the rise, although we have stopped membership application in the closed season. Throughout the season we will gather to watch the 'big' games in the bars, cafe, karaoke or restaurants where there is big screen. As a matter of fact, nearly 500 of us were gathered at two bars in Wanchai, Hong Kong, to watch the Champions League Final in Athens (our record number of attendants). During the night, we connected with fans who were at Athens to tell us the live atmosphere in the stadium. As we were only able to secure tickets from the club ten hours before tickets go to public sales, many of our members have queued up outside the stadium for over 12 hours in order to purchase a ticket themselves. Now on the match day we will have 300 members in the allocated area to cheer for the team but we are sure the stadium will be filled with our fans everywhere. How excited are you by Liverpool's visit to Hong Kong? We have been excited by the news since rumours began saying LFC will be coming to HK again. Certainly we are looking forward to meeting the team again. It is sad to us that God and King Luis have left because they are heroes in our hearts. We have prepared a banner for Robbie during our CL final gathering to collect fans' signatures and have it sent to the club in the hope that this could have persuaded Fowler to come to HK before he leaves the club - realistically we knew this was only a dream but it didn't stop us. We have a series of activities to welcome the team. A week ago some of us worked together to make some banners and we have some souvenirs for our members to commemorate LFC's tour, including T-shirts, postcards, badges and stickers. We were in the airport to welcome the team and, thanks to assistance of different parties, our members have the privilege to join an autographs session this Wednesday and have the chance to take photo with some of the players. We have urged the fans to make the Hong Kong Stadium like the Kop during the match days. Which players are you looking forward to seeing in action most? We would like to see the whole team but the two homegrown stars, Steve Gerrard and Jamie Carragher should be the men we are looking forward to seeing. This is the second time they are coming and we are glad to see them again. Of course there are also the new signings, Torres, Benayoun, Voronin and Babel. It is just unfortunate that Javier Mascherano will not come because of the Copa America. What are your hopes and expectations for the new season? If we can mount a serious challenge to the Premiership title we would all be happy. The performance in the Europe has been over our expectations to be honest and, hopefully, we will be heading to Moscow next year. With signings like Torres, we hope Rafa has got a team he is satisfied with and that we can play some attractive football.

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