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LFC Boston: ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ more important than ever

Liverpool’s official supporters club from America’s East coast talks to AS English about how the ongoing coronavirus outbreak is affecting LFC’s global family.

Soccer Football - Anfield General Views - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - March 13, 2020   General view of Anfield   Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
JASON CAIRNDUFFAction Images via Reuters

This morning radio stations all around the world united with a simultaneous playing of Gerry and the Pacemakers’ 1963 hit You’ll Never Walk Alone. The idea came from Dutch station NPO 3FM’s presenter Sander Hoogendoorn who hoped the iconic anthem would help bring people together amid growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. The song was played on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2; Hits Radio stations across England and dozens more across the globe.

Talking about the song, synonymous with Liverpool FC and other clubs around the world, Sander said: “This crisis shows that it brings people together. We all have to put our shoulders to the wheel to get out of this.”

For millions of people, the love of a club or a sport can offer comfort during uncertain times and Ian Gunniss, Chairperson of LFC’s Boston Supporters’ Club, spoke to AS English about how Covid-19 has affected fans around the world.

Ian was brought up in an Air Force family so he spent much of his childhood overseas, and it was during his time in England that he became a football fan.

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“I was very young when I was first introduced to Liverpool FC while living in England. They were one of my first loves and that's stuck with me my whole life.

“When I came to Boston for college, I found The Phoenix Landing [the Boston Supporters’ Club’s official HQ] by accident while looking for bars that would show matches and when I found the bar, I found LFC Boston. I became a member, joined the committee as a member-at-large, then Vice-Chairperson, and then Chairperson. I think it's been 10 years or more now.”

It’s been quite a decade to be involved with the club for too. From eighth-place finishes to European champions, it’s the kind of journey that would make anyone fall in love. But now, Ian explains, that all pales into insignificance amid a greater threat.

The world is on hold over coronavirus

“Unfortunately, everything has changed. Everything fun has been cancelled and much worse, people are losing their jobs. One of the best parts of a supporter's club, and some may argue the best, is the sense of in-person community, on and off matchday. That has been taken away.”

With no more live football and no option to meet up in person, it’s a nightmare scenario for all Liverpool fans but that does not mean that they stop being supporters. Thanks to the internet there are ways to stay in touch while staying isolated and the sense of community that surrounds a football club lives on.

I don't think it's possible for any of us NOT to support LFC! As long as we're breathing, our minds drift to thoughts of this season so far. There's always plenty of people to talk to online and on our social media. Liverpool FC's social media do a great job with extended clips and older matches can be easily found.

In fact for Ian, rather than letting football fade into the background he believe its importance is greater now than ever. From Bootle to Boston, the spirit of You’ll Never Walk Alone is an anthem for unity and optimism even when things look bleak.

“It's times like these, outside of football, that a motto like YNWA gets put to the test, but it's unshakable… We need to think outside of ourselves, to everyone affected, and do what we can to minimize the impact of this virus and get life back on track so everyone can be safe and healthy, only then, can the sport and team we love return.”


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