I vividly recall the night Liverpool lost the league title to a last minute Michael Thomas goal (1989, I was 11, going on 12) & though I didn't cry, I felt really down, like 'my' team had lost. I'm sure Harry Kewell in Australia felt the same. Even in "far-flung places," you do find Liverpool supporters who grew up passionately supporting the club, our childhood memory includes posters of Barnes and Rush adorning our bedroom wall, reading Shoot Magazine, collecting panini stickers; and today we're always meeting Man Utd & Arsenal fans at work, school & home.
But I guess it's the whole OOT/Overseas/'Glory-Hunter' thingy, that those of us who support from afar are never considered to be the same as 'local' fans.
Everyone knows Liverpool is a British club, and no one contests that it primarily belongs to the Scouse community of Merseyside. But while it's nice for Liverpool to have local boys like Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, John Welsh, Jon Otsemobor, Stephen Warnock, Darren Potter, as well as boyhood fans like Chris Kirkland & Harry Kewell in the team, I don't think there's a team in the world which can be successful purely using local boys/boyhood fans.
I wonder if Arsene Wenger felt any emotion when Arsenal lost 3-2 to Luton Town in the 1988 League Cup Final? Did he celebrate Thomas' goal in '89, did he support George Graham's "Boring, Boring, one goal to the Arsenal?" Did Thierry Henry, Vieira, Lauren, Kolo Toure, Bergkamp, Pires, Leghman, Fabregas or Reyes?
I wonder, when did Benitez "dump" Owen and Heskey? If the feeling among Murphy & perhaps the English cabal that it's "important to be around players and primarily staff" one can "communicate with" why did Michale Owen go to Madrid?
Xabi Alonso says his father told him about the great Liverpool sides of the 1980s/70s & I know players like Cisse and Baros also know what a massive club it is. They may not have the same emotional attachment like boyhood fans or local lads, but if Liverpool is to challenge the likes of Barca in European competition and Arsenal domestically, as much quality as is possible is needed on the pitch and the dressing room.
But there's no smoke without fire. I seriously hope the camaradire problem alluded to by Murphy and Diouf is sorted out.