Andrew Hewitt was just a young boy when he used to listen to his dad sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' in church in Jamaica.
Today, he's the subject of this week's edition of Global LFC Family and he explains why a victory over Southampton means more to him than Istanbul...
Name: Andrew Hewitt
City/country: Kingston, Jamaica
Job: Network /systems administrator
Why did you pick Liverpool as your team?
I'm not sure I had a choice - I was simply drawn to this magnificent team of Dalglish, Nicol, McMahon, Rush and the wacky Grobbelaar. It was beautiful as a child to watch Liverpool play football the way they played. But what was even more incredible was the indomitable spirit of the team - if there were five seconds remaining and we were two goals down, I'd still believe we could win. Liverpool's fighting spirit meant we never gave up and it was always a battle to the end. Of course, it merely strengthened my conviction when (Jamaican) John Barnes joined the team a few years later.
What's your earliest LFC memory?
Perhaps the LFC v Everton FA Cup final of the 1985-86 season - relished even more for the fact that Liverpool earned a decisive victory after conceding first. It was another example of the lion-hearted efforts we came to expect from our team. In Jamaica we didn't have all the games televised, so we'd get one game on a Sunday (usually when one of the more popular teams was playing) and we'd get the FA Cup finals on a lovely Saturday morning in May. I remember sitting at home on Sunday mornings when I was lucky enough to escape church, watching my Reds take on and (seemingly) beat all comers. Google would certainly prove me wrong now but then, it seemed we couldn't lose.
Who was your first LFC hero and why?
Ian Rush - the moustachioed assassin. Yes, Dalglish was an idol, but for me Ian Rush was the tip of the spear - the man who would strike at the hearts of all our foes, taking down giants and minnows with the same merciless skill. Rush kept on scoring and we kept on winning. I was devastated when he left for Juventus - only to have the football gods answer my prayers and send him back in short order. I still smile reminiscently whenever I see him representing LFC as an ambassador.
What is your favourite LFC memory?
Undoubtedly Istanbul will forever be marked as one of the greatest victories by any football team. I imagine fans the world over envy Liverpool fans for our claim to such a magnificent victory. Yet, strangely enough, my personal favourite LFC memory was from 15 years prior. It wasn't a final and many may not have seen it as a decider but for me it's still seared in the memory as one of the best victories I've seen the team achieve. Liverpool were up against Southampton, it was a Saturday in March and I was at football training at school (when I still harboured hopes of being more than a spectator). The coach had us watch the game in the audio-visual room and all I can remember is being enthralled as LFC took the lead, relinquished it, fell behind and then, through a stroke of luck and the brilliance of (you guessed it) Ian Rush, clawed their way back into the lead and on to a compelling victory. Years later, when I read about it, the consensus is that we actually didn't play that well but the memories of a schoolboy seeing his team triumph in such a manner can never be sullied by football pundits. I'll continue to remember it that way, thank you very much. Importantly, that was the last year we won the league, and that was the victory that took us (back) to the top of the table - a position we never ceded for the remainder of the season.
Who has been your favourite Liverpool manager and why?
Can I choose a few? Kenny Dalglish as player/manager in the mid-eighties and then full-time manager. Bob Paisley - the greatest Liverpool and British manager who ever stood on the sidelines. Rafael Benitez - who brought joy back to Merseyside. If I had to choose just one, however, it would have to be the King.
What has been your lowest point supporting Liverpool?
The past four seasons have been particularly trying. I'll always support my team through good and bad but it has been difficult watching so many other teams play at the top level and seeing one of Europe's greatest sporting institutions merely watching. It certainly doesn't help that my brother is a Manchester United fan and my very good friends also support other teams. Listening to a Chelsea fan gloat over our trials and failings is no fun. It's almost enough to end 33 years of friendship!
Have you ever been to Anfield?
Not yet. It certainly is one of the things I simply must do before my time has ended and I am hoping that will become a reality in the next two or three years. When I do, I fully intend to get down on my knees and kiss the grass of that hallowed ground. Mark my word!
Where were you while we were in Istanbul?
Wow! Istanbul. I was locked away in an office sending out text message updates about the game while constantly refreshing a web page that had the text commentary. Needless to say, I was disheartened at the half-time result, and yes I admit it, I walked away from the computer for a while, shaking my head and thinking: 'not again'. When I returned to see the score at 3-2, I actually refreshed the page about a dozen times to see if there was some typographical error. I couldn't believe it! It felt like 1980s Liverpool all over again. We would not be denied.
It's a good thing I was alone in that office because when we equalised I was running all over the place, screaming my head off like a complete lunatic. I still can't believe my heart didn't give way that day. The blocked shots, the penalties, the description of Jerzy Dudek flapping and wobbling, my friends must've been proper annoyed by the stream of frantic texts they were receiving. When it was all over I was sapped, breathless, like I had just played 120 minutes of the most important game of my life. The greatest Champions League victory ever. And it belonged to Liverpool. As it should.
Do Liverpool have a passionate fan base where you're from?
Liverpool fans in Jamaica are certainly passionate. Indeed, it takes passion and intense loyalty to stick with your team while oil magnates buy trophies all around you. I've found most LFC fans in Jamaica have been fans for a long time - especially after Barnes joined - while the younger generation tends to throw their support behind teams recently in ascendancy. Players like Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez, however, have had a profound effect in winning over younger fans. And as we retake our place amongst the Champions League elite, I'm sure that will only continue to grow.
Which team are considered Liverpool's biggest rivals in your country?
Manchester United. Full stop. Not even the Merseyside derby carries as much passion and bitter rivalry as the games between Liverpool and that club up the M62.
Where do you go online to follow news about LFC?
I fanatically check Google News and Liverpoolfc.com daily to see what's happening with the club and to catch photos of training sessions (when available). Twitter is also one of the main forms of catching up on football news in general and Liverpool news in particular.
Do you also support a local team?
The Stars of the East! In our local premier league, the Harbour View Football Club are the team that I support. They've had some good successes in the past few years, and incidentally, Ricardo Gardner, who was at Bolton Wanderers for 14 years, transferred from Harbour View FC.
Here, though, we are much more rabid about our high school teams and I would be remiss if I didn't mention the storied history of St. George's College (that's right, named for the great knight of England). Like Liverpool, we are the most successful team (schoolboy, of course) in Jamaica in terms of overall trophies won. Our team wears the sky blue and white and each year, old, greying men turn out in droves to support the effort to add to our record tally.
Who is your favourite current player and why?
Captain Fantastic, Steven Gerrard, for the stellar service he's rendered through the past 15 years. Steven has been an exemplar for courage, fight, loyalty and leadership. Like all Liverpool fans across the globe, I dread the day he'll hang up his boots but I take comfort in knowing the boy from Whiston always gave his all on the pitch and we were blessed to witness his journey.
If you could meet anyone connected to Liverpool FC - past or present - who would it be and why?
That's an extremely difficult choice to make. Ian Rush and Steven Gerrard as players would be my top picks, but of course, Kenny Dalglish would be my ultimate choice. The reason is simple. The King led us as a player and then as a coach, and very few have contributed to the institution as much as he has for so long.
What makes you most proud to be a Liverpool supporter?
Liverpool's history is more than just about football. Liverpool have transcended countries and cultures to bring together people so different yet all with one singular passion - the Reds of Merseyside. We not only, however, support a team but always support each other. I'm proud of that history, I'm proud of the football nobility, I'm proud of the fans who continue to be amongst the best in the world and I revel in that pride come sunshine or storm because I know I am a part of one of the greatest families on earth.
Finally, what does 'the Liverpool way' mean to you?
When I was a child, even before I became a Liverpool fan, my dad used to sing a song that I found amazingly profound and captivating. He sang it in church and had many requests to sing the refrain on many occasions. That song was 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. Someone who believes in those kinds of things would probably say it was my destiny to become a Liverpool supporter (I don't). My dad isn't even a Liverpool fan - he just loved the song and what it stood for. And what that song stands for is exactly what I think 'the Liverpool Way' means. That we will always fight on through the storm and the rain, that we'll always press on even when our dreams seem tossed and shattered but, most important of all, that every step you take, through whatever life brings, there are others who walk beside you. Always. YNWA.
Previous articles in the Global LFC 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>>
USA - Roy Yates>>
China - Chen Jing>>
Brazil - Bárbara Rubio>>
Kenya - Mitesh Chavda>>
Spain - Luis Gutierrez>>
Venezuela - Jorge De Castro>>
Greece - Efstratios Sakkias>>
Malaysia - Muzili Aznor Musa>>
Taiwan - Roxan>>
Finland - Jani Lilja>>
Turkey - Ulfan Ismihanov>>
Mauritius - Jean-Carl Palmyre>>
Pakistan - Bissmah Mehmud>>
Poland - Radoslaw Chmiel>>