• Why European football is always important to Liverpool....

    September 2 2015
    Earlier this week the Europa League draw was made with Liverpool being drawn to face Rubin Kazan of Russia, Bordeaux of France and FC Sion of Switzerland. The Europa League is met with contempt by many modern football fans and it was no different amongst sections of Liverpool fans, particularly online. But for me, and I know many lads old and young, scouse or wool feel the same, the prospect of any European football fills us with excitement, anticipation and the potential for adventure. 

    Liverpool Football Club has a rich European history, and not just on the pitch. I’ve written previously about how the club’s first forays onto the European stage gave our support its first taste of adventure on European soil and thanks to a prolonged and continued period of success on the continent it was a taste they were able to get used to. Travel savvy scousers are widely accredited with the birth of the casual culture, raiding the boutiques of Paris and Milan to bring back the finest training shoes and casual gear; giving birth to the success of labels such as Adidas, Lacoste and Paul & Shark. 

    That tradition has continued unabated with Liverpool featuring heavily in Europe right up until the late 2000s and after a disappointing Champions League campaign last year at least the Europa League offered us the chance of another taste of Europe this season. 

    The draw gave us the thrill of our beloved club being pitted against some of Europe’s finest and forgotten with the likes of Ajax, Dortmund and Lazio featuring in this year’s competition. But perhaps even more exhilarating than that it gave us the opportunity to pour over the obscure and sometimes completely unknown names of sides from the farthest flung corners of Europe and wonder which of them might end up in our group. I had been impressed by FC Midtjylland of Denmark in their defeat of Southampton and kept an eye on them as the balls came out. In the end it was the relatively familiar Rubin Kazan who provide Liverpool with one of the longest away trips of the group stages alongside the arguably civilised prospects of Bordeaux and then Switzerland in the form of Sion. 

    But for many whoever ended up in our group, within minutes What’s App groups, Facebook profiles and pubs would be alive with talk of how to get to so and so … whether to fly or try a scenic route and what excuses could be dreamt up to get out of work. For those few, football is not about “Goals on Sunday” and “Banter” it is about loyalty, adventure and experiencing something new; and that it the beauty of it. 

    Are you going away in Europe with Liverpool this year? Let us know by tweeting @GiancarloRicci and for some vital new threads for the trip, pop in and see us on Bold Street. 

    Written by Tom Johnson
    Follow @thegentlemancasual and @anfieldshrine