FeatureWe Love You Liverpool: Meet Official LFC Supporters Club... Thailand
Liverpool FC has more than 300 Official LFC Supporters Clubs (OLSCs) across 100 countries worldwide.
The Reds' fanbase is famous for its passion and loyalty, cheering on both Jürgen Klopp and Matt Beard's squads whether on Merseyside or watching from afar.
Our We Love You Liverpool feature aims to bring supporters closer together to learn more about each other wherever they are based around the globe.
Whether in the UK and Republic of Ireland, on Merseyside itself, in North or South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia or elsewhere, fans provide the very foundations that the club is built on.
Here, we meet OLSC Thailand…
Firstly, can you introduce yourself - tell us a little a bit about who you are and where you are from...
My name is Duke and I've been a Red for almost 40 years now. I was born in Bangkok and currently I'm the chairman of OLSC Thailand.
Tell us about OLSC Thailand…
Well, the founding members of OLSC Thailand have supported the Reds from the early 1980s. We got to know one another along the years and found out that the most important thing that we all have in common is supporting LFC.
When the opportunity arose back in 2000 for us to apply for official status as an LFC supporters club, we did not hesitate and received our status in 2001 just in time to celebrate the incredible treble-winning season, before welcoming the team to Thailand on their Asia tour.
We have been part of the OLSC network for the past two decades through the highs and lows. We have welcomed the team to our region on six different occasions and will continue to be part of the OLSC network for many years to come.
How special is it to have a feel of 'Liverpool' despite being in Thailand?
It's special of course and we all have television to thank for that. We can get access and follow the Reds in each competition over here even though we're thousands of miles apart.
It's even more special when Liverpool fly over for a visit, as they did last summer. It provides an opportunity for supporters to be closer to LFC and for our members in OLSC Thailand to take part in the activities set up for them during the team's visit to Thailand.
Do you hold any special events throughout the season, or meet-ups for games?
Normally, we do meet-ups for selective games during the season, but COVID limited our options. However, last season we did manage to have a gathering to watch the FA Cup final together in a local movie theatre, which was amazing.
In 2020 we started a match prediction contest to keep us connected during the pandemic, which was well received and has continued onwards. We were fortunate enough to have the three LFC legends, Jason McAteer, Vladimir Smicer and Jose Enrique, presenting our winners with a memento.
The Reds' visit to Bangkok last year also provided us with the opportunity to organise a session for our members to meet up with the three of them. There was a discussion on-stage, and the LFC legends shared their experience of their playing days and insights on the current team. The event was capped off with a photo and autograph opportunity for everyone at the event.
We would like to thank LFC and the OLSC team for this great experience, which has been one of the best activities this season for our branch.
What is so unique about being a Liverpool supporter for your members?
Well, having supported the team from as far back as the early '80s, or late '80s and early '90s for some, I think our members have experienced the highs and lows over the years with the team alongside the local supporters in Liverpool.
The success, the agony, the players and the managers all past and present, combining with the loyal support and the club's history, are contributing factors in making this club unique and creates a sense of pride and passion for being a Liverpool supporter.
Why do you think Liverpool fans - no matter where they are from around the world - are so passionate and loyal to the club?
I think everyone has different contributing factors for their passion and loyalty. Perhaps for some it has been passed on from generation to generation since going to the first game with their parents. Then for others, it's maybe from certain games that they have watched or former players that inspired them.
For myself, it was the pass-and-move football in the '80s, which became the identity of the club, that got me started. You'll Never Walk Alone became one of my favourite songs after hearing it for the first time as it was being sung at Wembley in the dying minutes of an FA Cup final, which we eventually lost. However, the song was sung with passion, and I found it very inspirational.
The rest just fits right in, whether it's being at Anfield, where I could sit for a day, or the 'This is Anfield' sign and the story of Bill Shankly to remind the lads who they are playing for and to remind the opposition who they're playing against. The songs and chants that are sung around the stadium too, how can you not be passionate and loyal?
I guess the simple way to put it is... Liverpool was made for me and I was made for Liverpool.
Has the OLSC ever visited Anfield? If so, what was the experience like?
Yes, of course! The experience has always been brilliant. We had been visiting Anfield annually until the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have seen the development of Anfield throughout the years and were fortunate to be on the last stadium tour to visit the old dressing room.
There have been many memorable games that I've had the opportunity to watch inside the iconic stadium and two will always stick out in my mind, one being the Europa League comeback against Borussia Dortmund, and the other is the Champions League miracle comeback against Barcelona - it was unbelievable!
How has it been to follow the club in recent history? There has been plenty to cheer about under Jürgen Klopp and Matt Beard…
The resurgence under Jürgen Klopp has been rewarding. The football identity is now apparent with trophies as the proof of success. It's been a great blessing to be able to enjoy and witness this successful period of the club.
The success also expanded down to the youth level with winning the FA Youth Cup in 2019 and being a finalist in 2021. The determination to succeed at all levels has been proven with the reappointment of Matt Beard to the LFC Women and within one season our team is back in the WSL and doing very well.
Finally, is there anything else you'd like to mention?
I went to Anfield for the very first time back in March 2001. It was my first time watching a Premier League game at Anfield and I got to sing You'll Never Walk Alone with over 40,000 Reds for the very first time.
It was a game against our arch-rivals Manchester United, and I was lucky enough to witness a special Steven Gerrard long-distance strike scored right before my eyes, followed by a second goal from Robbie Fowler, my favourite player at that time - we ended up winning 2-0 with 10 men.
It's a match that I'll never forget because it was my first match at Anfield and everyone was so nice and helpful. I was jumping and hugging people that I didn't know and made new friends in the process.