Diehard fans greet the Reds

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 July, 2007, 12:00am

Hordes of devoted Liverpool fans were rewarded for their five-hour wait with a brief sighting of their heroes at Hong Kong International Airport yesterday.

A crowd of about 500 diehards shouted the names of Steven Gerrard, Peter Crouch and Fernando Torres as the Premier League stars arrived in town for this week's Barclays Asia Trophy, which also features Portsmouth, Fulham and South China.

The loyal Reds fans, mostly members of the local branch of the official Liverpool Supporters Club, made an impressively noisy and colourful welcoming committee. And despite the team's delayed arrival, the fans felt it was worthwhile.

'We came here at 9am to set up, with banners, pennants, photos,' said Dickson Chan, spokesman for the supporters club's Hong Kong branch.

'We wanted to give them a big welcome and were all thrilled when we saw the players. We have one person here, a young lady, who flew in from Taiwan just for these Liverpool matches.'

But the objects of their affection did not stop to chat on their way through, even though Gerrard did glance at a fan who was holding a big photo of the Liverpool skipper.

The team did stop, however, to take a group photo on a temporary stage before leaving for their hotel in Wan Chai.

'Of course, we would have liked to get closer to the stage and greet the players one by one, but we know this is impossible,' Mr Chan said.

'There are no special activities planned for the supporters club to meet the players this time as the event is not organised by Liverpool, but the Premier League.

'The last time they came here, in 2003, it was different as we were invited to watch them train. But we are still very happy that they are here and look forward to some good football in Hong Kong.'

Once Liverpool had gone, the scene quickly quietened, with the banners taken down and the crowd dispersing - leaving zero fanfare for Fulham, who came through an hour later.

The Barclays Asia Trophy matches will be played at Hong Kong Stadium tomorrow and Friday.