Roy Yates didn't grow up a Liverpool fan in Florida. He was actually born and raised in Maghull.
But since emigrating to the sunshine state over 20 years ago, he's made it his lifetime mission to spread the gospel according to Bill Shankly and Liverpool Football Club to anyone who will listen.
The president of the Florida branch of the official LFC Supporters' Club, Yates attended his first Anfield game with his dad in 1973, considers Steven Gerrard the club's greatest ever player and can often be found cheering on the Reds in The Fox and Hounds in Fort Lauderdale.
Name: Roy Yates
City / country: Lighthouse Point, Florida USA
Job: Entertainment agent, working with international cruise lines around the world
Why did you pick Liverpool as your team?
My family would have disowned me and cast me out into the wilderness if I had picked any other team. I remember I had a cousin who started off as a Red and somehow had his head turned to become a blue and we never heard of him after that!
What's your earliest LFC memory?
Going to my first match at Anfield with my dad in 1973. It was a fourth-round League Cup midweek replay versus Hull City and was actually a unique game for a number of reasons. Though it was a midweek game, the match was actually played during the day as the ground could not use the floodlights as it was in the middle of the fuel crisis and the three-day week. There was no public transport either due to the strike so just over 17,000 (including me and my dad) were there to witness the one and only hat-trick by Liverpool's greatest servant, Ian Callaghan.
How did fans in Americans follow Liverpool's fortunes back in the day?
On the radio - BBC World Service. Normally the BBC would only cover the second half of the match chosen for that week and of course it was not always Liverpool that had been selected so the buzz when the commentator would finally say, '...and now we are going live to Anfield' is something I will always remember.
Was it difficult to find out news or see the match?
When the game was not on the BBC World Service, they would still give you the scores from the matches and I still remember the tension when they would say, 'There has been a goal in the Liverpool game...' I would always send up a quick prayer that it was for us! The only match that was shown here in the US - and it was not that easy to find on some obscure TV channel - was the FA Cup final and regardless who was playing, the pub would be packed four or five hours before kick-off.
Who was your first LFC hero and why?
Steve Heighway. I just loved the way he would ghost past defenders with his silky smooth dribble and then just clip one into the box for Keegan or Toshack to finish off. He would be worth 50 million today!
What is your favourite LFC memory?
The night we won the league in 1976 at Molineux! I remember listening to the match on the radio and being on a real downer as it was a match that we had to win and we were still losing with 13 minutes to go. However goals by Keegan, Toshack and Ray Kennedy meant that we had won the league (again). The Liverpool supporters swarmed onto the pitch to celebrate us winning the league and it has been told many times that on the way home to Liverpool, the M6 motorway was closed for a time as fans were dancing in the road. Brilliant! Bob Paisley said it was his proudest night and I agree with him.
Who has been your favourite Liverpool manager and why?
Shanks for many reasons, but most importantly it was his love of the Liverpool fans over anything else that I will always remember him for. My favourite memory is the day Shanks stood on the balcony of St George's Hall withe rest of the team in front of probably 250,000 people and he simply raised his arms and the whole place went silent. It was an almost spiritual experience and a moment I will always treasure.
What has been your lowest point supporting Liverpool?
Of course Heysel and Hillsborough but on the field probably the night we got beat 1-0 at Anfield by Bristol City in an FA Cup replay in January 1994.The Kop at the end were singing 'Souness out' and I felt that on the field we had fallen from the greatest team in Europe to a team with many players who were not worthy to even lace the boots of some of the greats who had pulled on the Liverpool shirt before them.
Where were you while we were in Istanbul?
I was lucky enough to go Istanbul and have so many memories of the trip. First, the taxi ride from the airport. The taxi driver said he knew exactly where our hotel was and we finished up on a shooting range for the Turkish Army. Thankfully it was night time. The next day, we were singing and drinking in Taksim Square with flags and banners everywhere. I remember one in particular - 'Ian Topping RIP (Alt Park Pub Maghull)'. Ian was a lad I went to school with and I never knew he had passed away. On some photos of Dudek saving the final penalty, you can see the banner in the Liverpool end so I would like to think that Ian was looking down proudly.
Do Liverpool have a passionate fan base in Florida?
Like anywhere, the numbers reflect how we are doing on the field. In the 2001 treble-winning season, we would average 50-75 fans for every game. For the Istanbul match, I got told they had to close our local pub, The Fox and Hounds, in Fort Lauderdale an hour before kick-off and that holds around 200 people. However, our lack of success and the fact that all the matches are now available on regular TV has meant reduced numbers coming to watch the match live at The Fox, however we are still far and away the best supported Premier League team in Florida.
Which team are considered Liverpool's biggest rivals in America?
The rivalry is not quite the same here as the supporters of the Manchester United, Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea are actually quite small in number but for us there is still no greater feeling than beating the Mancs. The day we won 4-1 at Old Trafford was superb.
Where do you go online to follow news about LFC?
I subscribe to LFC TV Online and also read the Liverpool Echo online every morning. I used to play football in Formby with Dave Prentice (Liverpool Echo chief sports writer) so I enjoy seeing what he has to say.
Do you also support a local team?
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers are our local team and they play in the USL - one league below the MLS. Historically they were one of the major football teams over here. In fact, in the 1970s and 1980s they had players such as George Best, Gordon Banks, Gerd Muller, and even our own Ian Callaghan.
Who is your favourite current player and why?
Up until last season, I would have said Carra. Now it's Stevie G - undoubtedly the greatest player to pull on the shirt (he still can't dribble as good as Stevie Heighway though!).
If you could meet anyone connected to Liverpool FC - past or present - who would it be and why?
Through the Former Players Association we have been fortunate to welcome many of the LFC greats over to Florida - Roger Hunt, Ian Callaghan, Ian St John, Ron Yeats, Tommy Smith, Roy Evans, Ronnie Whelan and Dave Fairclough. When the Reds came over to the US last year, I had the honour of meeting all the first team; however, I would love to have been invited into the 1960s Boot Room, been given a glass of scotch and have the chance to chat to Shanks, Paisley and Joe Fagan.
What makes you most proud to be a Liverpool supporter?
The fans and our history. How many teams could fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground with 95,000 fans - especially considering our lack of success over the last few years? Being a Liverpool supporter is not about being about a glory hunter - which we see a lot of here in the US - it is about loving the club through both its darkest and finest hours. If Liverpool never won another trophy, they have still given me some of the greatest moments and nights of my life.
Finally, what does 'the Liverpool way' mean to you?
Playing, supporting, winning and losing the game with class and dignity. There is no greater feeling than seeing the Red men win - however, seeing the Kop applauding the opposition goalkeeper as he jogs towards them or giving a standing ovation to an opposing team who have deservedly just beaten us at Anfield makes me equally as proud as it shows the true meaning of being a supporter of Liverpool Football Club.
Previous articles in the LFC Global Family series:
South Africa - Melissa Reddy>>
Thailand - Jeerawan Duangnam Herriot>>
Australia - Wayne Psaila>>
Mexico - Victor Alvarado>>
Indonesia - Andhika Sarwendha Suksmana>>
Nepal - Nischal Adhikari>>
Ghana - Aristo Dotse>>
India - Kaushal Goyal>>
Singapore - Henry Hann>>
Bahrain - Mohamed Ashoor>>
Mongolia - Amarsaikhan Orsoo>>
Vietnam - Pham Quynh Le>>
USA - July 4th Special>>
Iran - Mohammad Reza Rahimi>>
South Korea - Yong-Suk Choi>>
Norway - Arild Skjæveland>>
Russia - Ivan Potapov>>
Myanmar - Khin Maung Cho>>