It would be a familiar sight to any die hard Liverpool fan in a local pub – the wall to wall red jerseys, the religious fervour of the "Liverpool, Liverpool, Liverpool" chant, deafening roars, hugs and fist thumping as Liverpool score. But I was not in the heartland of Reds country, I was with 200 avid Liverpool fans over 9,000 miles away, at Franklin's Tavern in East Victoria Park.
Carol Houghton, and a great committee, have gathered together this formidable expat red army. When she emigrated from Birkenhead to Perth in 2006, one of the things Carol missed most was watching Liverpool games with other enthusiastic fans. There was a small LFC Supporters Club in Perth when she arrived, but it lacked the atmosphere she craved. So a year later, Carol wrote to LFC to ask if she could set up an official supporters club. She was told there was already one there, but they would keep her name on record.
Carol Houghton with Ian Rush, LFC legend (Photo by Stephen Caldwell)
Then out of the blue in November 2012, LFC asked Carol if she was interested in putting forward an expression of interest to set up a club. She was, and in April 2013 she became the president of the Official Liverpool Football Club Supporters Club Western Australia. This is one of over 200 Official LFC Supporters Clubs worldwide and one of the fastest growing. Within a year it had attracted more than 500 members, and at the end of last season had 1,200 paid up members.
Official Liverpool Football Club Supporters Club Western Australia flag (Photo courtesy of Carol Houghton)
The Club has grown so big that members now meet at two venues, Franklin's Tavern in East Victoria Park and Northshore Tavern in Hillarys. Details of when Liverpool's games will be screened at these venues are advertised a few days before on the Club's Facebook
At times Carol has suffered from home sickness, being so far from family, friends and her beloved team. But the Club has given her a large 'family' of like minded people and helped her to feel more settled.
Wall to wall red jerseys at Franklin's Tavern
The Club is a not-for-profit organisation and supports three charities: The Hillsborough Justice Campaign; the Western Australian Wheelchair Sports Association football team; and Totally & Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Servicemen and Women Association of Western Australia. So far, the Club has raised $26,000 for these charities from raffles and generous donations from members. This has strengthened Carol's commitment to the club.
"Establishing the supporters club and what it stands for is one of the proudest achievements of my life," she said.
At the end of the night, as I listened to the fans singing "You'll never walk alone …", I understood why.
If you're a Liverpool Football Club supporter living in Perth, don't walk alone – become a member of the Official Liverpool Football Club Supporters Club Western Australia. For more information email the club at email@example.com