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LIVERPOOL’S pre-season tour of the United States has been more than just the usual global branding exercise.
Not only have legions of fans across the pond been able to catch a rare glimpse of their heroes but some have been able to contribute to a vital charity near the club’s Anfield home.
This is thanks to the work of two Liverpool-based organisations, Fans Supporting Foodbanks and The Anfield Wrap, which has been raising money for the North Liverpool Foodbank.
These tours often provide a chance for fan-sites, whose access to the club is limited during the Premier League season, to get closer to the team. Liverpool fan media outlet The Anfield Wrap — TAW for short — have taken this opportunity with both hands this summer.
They have used this increased access to provide their readers, listeners and viewers with exclusive interviews with Andy Robertson, Adam Lallana and manager Jurgen Klopp.
These interviews appear to be as refreshing for the subjects as they are for the audience and provide an alternative to what’s offered up by the mainstream media.
“Premier League rules make it difficult for supporter-driven football media to get close to the players at home, but the rules are relaxed on tours,” TAW’s Gareth Roberts told the Morning Star.
“The players and the manager also have a little more time to play with and we’re grateful to Jurgen Klopp, Andy Robertson and Adam Lallana for their generosity this summer — it’s made a big impact.”
On the back of this work TAW have been able to get their hands on a Liverpool shirt signed by Robertson and another which Lallana arranged to be signed by all of the players plus Klopp. These were raffled off at live shows as TAW took their podcast to the stage in Charlotte, New York and Detroit, raising £3,000 for the North Liverpool Foodbank.
Fans Supporting Foodbanks is an initiative which brings Liverpool and Everton fans together to help their local area. It is organised by fan groups the Everton Supporters’ Trust and Spirit Of Shankly and collections have been taken on match days, with both clubs playing their part through their own community schemes.
Foodbanks provide a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in Britain. The support is expanding to include new services like money advice and fuel banks, helping people to break the cycle of poverty.
“We support the Fans Supporting Foodbanks initiative because it’s not only a campaign that gives a huge helping hand to a vital cause. It’s also part of what football should be about,” added Roberts.
“Clubs like Liverpool were born out the passion of the community they played in and it’s only right that bonds between the sport and the local area remain strong.
“That hasn’t always been the case, but more and more now we’re seeing fans, players and club officials coming together to make a difference to those living only a goal-kick away from Anfield.”
TAW are showing that fan media can be more than just recycled news stories and transfer rumours and can make a difference beyond the football media bubble.
Many supporters are searching for something other than the formulaic advert-heavy approach offered by some local and national news outlets and TAW’s combination of free shows, free articles, plus lots of extra podcasts for subscribers, is part of the future of football media.
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