The Asian Today Interview
THE Spaniard feels privileged to be amongst a group of accomplished professionals who grace the Melwood training ground and make an effort for the Liverpool cause.
“Sami Hypia, Jamie Carragher and Stevie Gerrard, all of them have been playing at Liverpool for many years. I feel it is very important to have players who have been here for a long time. This means that they can teach the passion and what the club means to them to the new players; I feel that is very important. I have been here for over four years and when you spend so much time in one place you really do feel a part Liverpool Football Club, and you try to show that to the new players who come in.”
I witnessed first hand – Xabi’s outrageous strike against Newcastle at Anfield in September 2006.
I was sat in the Kop and all the fans around me just went wild as Alonso’s arrow of a shot went over the keeper and into the corner of the net.
“It was a great atmosphere to play in and the pitch was just perfect. I’m glad I scored the goal because Pepe Reina told me I had to score a goal from my own half every season. I like to try it all the time in the training ground.
“I will continue trying to score like that, I will try. I have scored many important goals and this one was one of them. The penalty in Istanbul was also one of the most important goals I have ever scored.”
Now is the time to actually ask Xabi if he is indeed aware of the number of Asians here in the UK and worldwide who support Liverpool. Once I ask the question, Xabi has a drink of water looks me straight in the eye in a genuine yet straight-forward manner and says: “Off course, Mohammed.”
“I feel great. That’s something that’s just so unifying about the game of football. Whatever your race, whatever your social class and whatever your religion – football is game that bring all of us together. It doesn’t matter if you vote for the Conservative party; it doesn’t matter if you vote for Labour, if you are rich or of you are poor. You sit next to each other in the Kop, the main stand, the centenary stand or where ever. It’s just great to have the support of so many different communities because we all share the same passion for Liverpool Football Club and that’s just so good to see.
“I don’t care about the background of our fans. We are all in this together. For example, the FA Cup game against Arsenal a few seasons ago was really special because of the atmosphere. The way the fans showed their support to the 96 people who died was amazing, they carried out their protest in front of the BBC cameras live for all the country to see, which was the best way.”
Read the complete interviews with Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard, John Barnes, Lawrenson and Hansen, Sir Tom Finney and many others in ‘The Asian Liver Bird’ by Mohammed Bhana.
You can buy the book HERE