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The Great TLO Delurking - Champions Of England Edition

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As the season kicks off, lets take a minute to recognize the community that makes this place so great

FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-BRITAIN-MURAL Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Welcome to the 2020/2021 Premier League season, where Liverpool are the reigning champions of England (and the world)! Lets be honest, it has been a really weird year, and with such a short preseason, it has been a bit hard to digest the fact that the season has already kicked off. With that said, the start of the season means one of my favorite posts of the year, the Great Delurking!

When I first joined the Liverpool Offside over 7 years ago, I was a Liverpool fan without a home. I first started following Liverpool when I was a youngster growing up in Baltimore, Maryland. A family friend gave me a Liverpool shirt with JFT96 on it when I was about 10 years old. It was a few years after the Hilsborough disaster, though I didn’t know it. I just wore that shirt pretty much every day, and got to see the occasional highlight package. There were very few ways to find out about European soccer while living in the US at that point, especially if you were like me and didn’t have a cable TV package.

When I was in college, I had a friend who was obsessed with Michael Owen. We would watch Champions League games together. It was the first chance I got to watch the Reds on any sort of regular basis, and I was in love. That kid, Steven Gerrard, was pretty darn good. Liverpool won the Champions League in Istanbul just as I graduated, two days before my birthday. It was heaven.

After college, I moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where I now reside. At that point, I was obsessed with Liverpool. I watched the ESPN game casts during grad school classes. I scoured forums for transfer rumors. I stumbled across the local supporters group, and made it to a few games. But it wasn’t until I stumbled across the Liverpool Offside that I found my people.

I am so grateful for this community. It helped me through the lows of the Hodgepocalypse, and gave me a place to share the highs of the title push in 2013/2014, and finally capturing that sixth European title. I felt so lucky to be able to share my thoughts with all of you this past year, with all of the highs on the field, and express concerns and solidarity for off the field movements and events.

This place has become more than just a blog I come to for some news, tactical analysis, and storytelling. I have made so many friends here, some of which I have been lucky enough to meet in person. There are also others that we have lost along the way. One of our regular commenters, Garp’s Brother, shared his battle with cancer, and how Liverpool’s fight for the Champions League title that ultimately fell short in Kiev meant to him. He passed away just about two years ago. I wish I could have been able to share the joy of Jordan Henderson doing his tippy tap dance with ol’ big ears and the Premier League title. I still get misty-eyed thinking about how much being a part of this community meant to him.

If you are in a place to be able to, I encourage you to join me in donating to the Alder Hey Children’s Charity in honor of Garp’s Brother.

Now it’s your turn. Share with us your origins as a Liverpool fan, or what brought you to TLO.

Name/Age: Gabe, 37
Location: Charleston, SC
Social Media: twitter - @geo_gabe
Fan origin/TLO origin: See the way too many words above
Where does Liverpool finish in the Premier League/Champions League: Liverpool win the league, make the semi-finals in the CL
Who is your breakout player of the year: Curtis Jones