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PARRY'S VISION FOR WORLD DOMINATION Mark Platt in Hong Kong 23 July 2007
Four decades since Bill Shankly famously outlined his ambition to see Liverpool 'conquer the bloody world', current chief executive Rick Parry insists everyone at Anfield remains totally focussed on achieving this goal.
As the Reds landed in Hong Kong for their latest Asian tour, Parry spoke exclusively to about his desire to see Liverpool attain a position of worldwide dominance, on and off the pitch. And explained why trips such as this are now a necessity if the vision of Shanks is to be fulfilled. "Developing a worldwide fan-base is very important for a club of our stature. We've been fortunate enough to be able to draw on huge support from all around the world for many years now and it's vital we build on this," he explained. "It's all about promoting the club in the best way possible and continuing to maintain our global profile. Trips such as this do have an enormous impact. They are a vital part of our strategy to make Liverpool Football Club the biggest and best in the land. "It's impossible to put an actual number on just how many fans a club has around the world but I've got no doubt that we are up there with those who claim to have the most. All figures quoted are only rough estimates but one thing we know is that our fan-base is absolutely enormous and growing all the time. "Nothing boosts your fan-base like success. We saw that in the seventies and eighties, then to a much greater extent in 2005 after we last won the Champions League. Had we been successful in Athens then no doubt our fan-base would have been swelled even further. "Of course, we are extremely conscious of the huge following we have in this part of the world and it's good for us to repay their loyalty by visiting from time to time. "This is our third trip to Asia and we've seen on the previous two visits just how fanatical our fans out here are. The turnout is always breathtaking and I'm sure it will be the same again. They are so knowledgeable about the club and have an insatiable appetite for all things Liverpool. "This will be the first opportunity for them to see our new signings in action and you can sense already that excitement is really high. Everyone is looking forward to it, us and them." Liverpool will be competing alongside South China, Portsmouth and Fulham for the Barclays Asia Cup during their week-long stay in Hong Kong and Parry has promised fans that the games will be more than glorified training sessions. "At the end of the day these games are only friendlies and part of our preparations for the new season but they will be taken seriously," he said. "It's all about building the fitness levels of our players and helping the new boys settle, so you’re not going to get a typical blunder and thunder type Premier League match but with supporters coming in from all over Asia we want to show them our appreciation by putting on a show. "Rather than just go on a promoted tour, like we've done in the past, we thought it would be more interesting this time to actually take part in a tournament. Although the games are still friendlies, at least there will be more of a competitive element. "At such a crucial stage of pre-season, long-haul trips such as this are not ideal for the staff and players, and too much travelling can take its toll. But that's modern football and they are equally aware and appreciative of the support these fans give us. "We're all very keen to give something back and we're determined to make this trip worthwhile in every sense. We've even got some of our Academy coaches going into the local community as part of the adidas grassroots initiative so hopefully everyone will reap the benefits of our visit; the club, the players, the fans and the locals." With Manchester United also in Asia and Chelsea in America the race is on to conquer the next developing football hotbed and Parry has his own ideas on this. He added: "Asia will always be of massive interest to us, obviously, but I'm still very interested in the American market. I believe there's a lot of potential out there. We've also considered the possibility of going to South Africa too because that's a part of the world where the game is developing rapidly."



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