Time for another round of our Indy Red Fan Focus. This series has been extremely popular so far which is great to see. It has been very fun to do. Look forward to posting these each week.
Up today is one of my most favorite Indy Reds to sit down and have a beer and a chat with. This guy knows his beer & his soccer. You will see him out at the Indy Eleven matches & at UJ’s & Chatham during LFC & USA matches & he is always posting some nice little nuggets on Social Media.
Name: Jim Dimitri
How did you pick Liverpool as your team? I did what some other American fans new to the Premier League do when they’re searching for a team: I chose Liverpool because they had an American player. This was back in 1998, when the only way to watch Premiership matches in Indy was to tune in to the local Fox Sports affiliate, which showed a weekly Premier League highlights program every Sunday night. At the time, I’d been a soccer fan for four years after getting addicted to the sport during the 1994 World Cup. I’d met Brad Friedel during that World Cup at a reception in Detroit for the USA team after the team’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland at the Pontiac Silverdome (this must have been not long after USA coach Bora Milutinovic exhorted the team to “Size the Day”—There’s an inside joke for all you Men in Blazers fans). At that World Cup, Brad was the USA’s number two ‘keeper behind Tony Meola.
Anyway, I was already watching MLS in ’98 but wanted to pick a Premiership team as well. So I knew that Brad was a Liverpool goalkeeper and I said, “Boom, there’s my team,” even though Brad didn’t play for the club much. Yes, it was an arbitrary decision, made in full ignorance of LFC’s illustrious history, but there I was, a newly-minted Liverpool fan. Making LFC my team was made sweeter when I later learned about the club’s history and when I saw that the club had Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler booting in goals.
First LFC memory? I don’t know that this is my first memory, but it’s the first important memory: the first time I watched Liverpool with another Liverpool fan. I am fortunate to still call that fan my friend almost 14 years after that meeting. The friend in question is fellow Indy Red Bryan Smith. Bryan and I were regulars on the BigSoccer.com forums and met each other on that website. This would have been in 2000 if I remember correctly. When we discovered that we were both Liverpool fans, we arranged to meet at the Fox and Hound in Castleton to watch a LFC match. I think it was a UEFA Cup (now called the Europa League) match against Olympiakos or something like that—you’ll have to check with Bryan because he has the better memory. I do remember it was a weekday afternoon match. So we both showed up wearing the same shirt—the home kit shirt for that season—which was kind of weird at the time. Think about it—two guys wearing the same foreign sports team shirt showing up in a nearly-empty pub at 2:30 in the afternoon at a time when few Americans cared about the Premier League. It wouldn’t be weird now, but we kind of chuckled about it back then. We were happy that not many other people were there because of the funny looks we might have gotten. Anyway, LFC won, and each of us had made a new friend. That was a good day. We’ve watched many a match together since then, including USA, Chicago Fire, and Indy Eleven matches.
Favorite LFC memory? The 2005 Champions League Final. No question.
Do you have any superstitions or traditions you do/have for each match? I’m not a superstitious person, so no.
Where were you during Istanbul? I was with Bryan at Rob n’ Jay’s Chippy (RIP), which used to be at 52nd and College where the restaurant E+D is now, next to the Red Key Tavern. The Chippy was a fish-and-chips shop owned by a down-to-earth Manc named Jason Kersh. He’s a Man U fan, but we don’t hold that against him because he used to serve delicious fish and chips (with curry sauce—and a side of mushy peas!), and in 2005 provided one of the only venues in town to watch European football on a regular basis. So there Bryan and I were downing Guinness and Strongbow Cider to drown our sorrows after going down 3-0 to AC Milan before the half. I will never forget that as we sat there at halftime, Bryan looked at me and said, “We’re going to come back.” I laughed because I’m cynical. But as history has shown, Bryan was right. And I’m a happy man for that. So the lesson there—listen to Bryan Smith when he says your team is going to win because he’s right.
Favorite Current Player and Why? A lot of people will say Stevie G, but for me, it’s Jordan Henderson. I think he’s the most well-rounded player the club has. He reminds me a bit of Xabi Alonso but perhaps isn’t as strong in the tackle as Xabi was when he was a Liverpool player (Hendo will get there, though). Any player who is like Xabi is a player I’m going to love because Xabi is my all-time favorite Liverpool player. And I think Hendo is going to blossom into a fantastic player. Did you see the pass he delivered to Sterling for Raheem’s goal against Southampton last Sunday? That’s what I’m talking about.
If you could meet or have dinner with any LFC player/manager ever, who it would it be & why? Because I don’t know as much about him as I would like to know, Bob Paisley.
Favorite LFC kit ever? The primary Champions League kit the team wore when they returned to the Champions League in the early ‘00s after a long absence. All red of course, with a white v-neck collar and a gold crest and lettering. Very simple, very classic.
You are Owner of Liverpool for 1 day. What do you do? As of now, help Brendan Rodgers buy another striker, but only if the value and quality of the player are there and the player is a good fit for the club. Could probably use another defender or two as well. Otherwise, I would counsel patience and reiterate the following: In BR We Trust!
Where do you go to get your LFC news/info? Mostly Twitter—Liverpool Offside, This is Anfield, Men in Blazers, and of course LFC’s official Twitter feed and @LFCIndy. I also love @MostarLFC, which posts videos of goals almost immediately after they happen. Very handy whenever I can’t watch the matches live. And by the way, if you’re not following @usasoccerguy on Premier League match days, you’re missing out on one of the best parody accounts on Twitter. Picture the most clueless American soccer fan and you have @usasoccerguy, who refers to LFC as the “Liver Ducks,” Luis Suarez as “Swearez” and “the Soccer Beaver,” Martin Skrtel as “Martin Shirtpull,” Merseyside as “Mercyside,” and Anfield as “Anfield Arena.”
LFC have just won the league. Where are you going for a celebration dinner in Indy Area? First, to the Union Jack for pints with my fellow Indy Reds. Then to La Margarita in Fountain Square, which has the best little tap list in the city. Plus, owner Jon Rangel is a big soccer fan, though he’s a Mexico supporter (We forgive you, Jon). Then on to Black Acre Brewing Company in Irvington for a nightcap.
Newest Signing or Young Player you are looking forward to seeing this year play? Emre Can. I think he’s going to be a great player (Can you see that I have an affinity for central midfielders?).
Favorite LFC Goal? Hard to pick. I’ll have to go with two from my man Xabi Alonso. He once scored a goal from just behind the center circle against Newcastle. And then there’s his goal to tie up the match during the 2005 Champions League Final. That was a clinical display of why you always follow up a penalty kick just in case you miss and have a chance at the rebound.
Have you ever seen LFC play in person? Alas, no. But I’m going to Anfield to watch a match one day. No doubt about it.
What other sports do you follow or hobbies do you have? I used to watch more baseball, basketball, and NFL games, but I just don’t have the time to do that anymore. So soccer is my only true sporting love now. There’s so much soccer to watch, with international matches, the Premiership, MLS, and now Indy Eleven. Really an embarrassment of riches. I’m also big into craft beer—I write for the blog Hoosier Beer Geek, though I’m currently taking a break from the beer-blogging gig.
Best Local Indy Area Beer to have during an LFC match? Good segue! So hard to choose. If I’m at home watching a match, I’d have to go with anything from Black Acre, fresh from a growler I brought home from the brewery the night before—probably a growler of their Ol’ Fritz Berliner Weisse. And if I’m at the Union Jack, I’d go with a Scarlet Lane Dorian Stout. Scarlet Lane’s head brewer, Chris Knott, is a big soccer fan. He’s a Bayern Munich guy.
What makes you most proud to support LFC? The other Liverpool fans I’ve met. They are wonderful people and always super-knowledgeable and passionate about the club. I am always impressed by how much LFC fans know about the club and its history.
Best thing about being an Indy Red? The camaraderie. Getting together with the rest of the Indy Reds for matches is always fun.
Thank you Jim!
Now onto some LFC news:
Biggest Story obviously is the giant news that LFC have agreed to sign Forward Mario Balotelli for 16million from AC Milan. Super Mario is obviously a polarizing figure but this is an incredible bit of business by LFC. Balotelli is only 24, so he is still young & can continue to improve & grow. As for his attitude problems that he can have sometime, Rodgers and Dr Steve Peters will sort that out. Rodgers knows how to get the best out of his players. Suarez only had 21 goals in his first 2 seasons at LFC, in the 2 years following with Rodgers he had 61. BR can help make a player World Class.
If everything gets signed by Noon today Mario would be eligible to play Monday v his old team City.
Moreno should be good to go and hopefully will be in the starting lineup on Monday.
Exciting times at Liverpool. Lots of very fun players to watch. Great time to be a fan.