Like most major clubs, Liverpool has a bevy of celebrity fans. One of them, Olympic gold medalist and world record holder in the men’s 400m sprint, Wayne van Niekerk was on hand yesterday to see Liverpool keep their record perfect in the league yesterday.
“To be back at Anfield was such an incredible experience – and for the team to get such an important win made it even better” said the South African speedster.
While Van Niekerk is a world class athlete in his own right and has to deal with high pressure situations, he was still just a nervy fan like the rest of us yesterday. When potential cyborg James Milner stepped up to take the last minute penalty to ice the game, Van Niekerk couldn’t bear to watch.
“I couldn’t look, so I recorded it on my phone and I looked at it afterwards,” he said. “But obviously before that I heard the noise of the crowd and started celebrating. I’m so glad it went in and we got the win. Liverpool never make it easy!”
We know exactly what you mean, Wayde. Glad to know we weren’t the only ones feeling ready to pass out waiting for Milly to take the kick.
While he may be a fan just like us, Wayde did get some special access yesterday. The Olympic sprinter got to go behind the scenes at Anfield after the final whistle.
“It’s somewhat surreal because I wouldn’t expect the likes of a Virgil van Dijk or Bobby Firmino or Mo Salah to come up to me for a chat as if we’ve been friends for years. I had to pinch myself.”
If you only had to pinch yourself, Wayde, that’s pretty good. I have no doubt I would have made some unintelligible noises before blushing so hard I passed out.
“Also, the love and acceptance I got from the boss as well was amazing, so I am really grateful and feel really blessed to have had the experience I did at the club I had today and it’s an honour to be a fan of this great club,” said van Niekerk of meeting Jurgen Klopp.
While van Niekerk shared some thoughtful platitudes about being a Liverpool fan, he also managed to convey to true nature of being a Liverpool fan when he described watching the Champions League final last May.
“My best friends were there watching with me, but none of them are Liverpool fans. Maybe one or two were on my side, but the rest weren’t supporting us, so it was nice to be able to rub it in after the final whistle.”
Up the insufferable Reds!