Since we get a fair number of questions about football tourism in Europe these days, I thought I'd post a report on our trip to the States for Liverpool's pre-season tour.
We just returned from our road trip from Canada to New York City and Charlotte for two matches. I'm not going to tell you much about the sights, since the States are so familiar to so many, but more about our experiences on tour.
We are three couples (40s, 50s, 60s) who made the journey in two cars, over nine nights.
Many football fans dream of getting to a match at their team's home ground. This is an experience that can't be duplicated, and I've written reports here of my experiences doing this. But if you are not able to do this, a pre-season tour match is well worth it.
One of the best parts of the Tour was the huge numbers of people we met. We met people from all over Canada, the States, and England. We could (and did) walk up to anyone, old or young, male or female, and ask "where are you from?" or, "how did you come to support Liverpool?". You don't really have such an opening when you go to the home ground. We even ran into people we had met on tour two years ago, at matches in Toronto and Baltimore.
We hung out at the 11th St. Bar in NY, which is the LFCNY Supporters bar, and were made very welcome by the staff and the executive of the Supporters Club. In Charlotte, there was a terrific street party happening at the French Quarter, which was just a short walk from our hotel, and the Stadium.
We were lucky enough to get the "magic wristband" in New York to get the autographs of two Liverpool legends.
This year the football was much better than two years ago, partly because we had good opposition, and partly because the weather was cool. We saw almost all the big stars for all teams. And Liverpool won both the matches we went to! The atmosphere at the NY game rivalled that of Anfield. We were proud that at both games the stadiums were about 90% red.
I've heard people say that the pre-season tours are not worth it. Not true. I will never forget the sheer joy on the faces of my fellow Reds. Many may never have the means or opportunity to get to England for a so-called "real" match. But they were there, having the time of their lives, and we were happy to be in the thick of it. Thanks to them, it was one of the best weeks of our lives.
Oh, and my group made the news in Charlotte!