To celebrate the Asian Liver Bird book – On Saturday October 11 there was a celebrity charity match at the Liverpool Football Club’s academy in Kirkby between a Liverpool Legends XI and an Asian Celebrity XI.
Famous faces included Liverpool legend Alan Kennedy, Eastenders’ Adam Woodyatt, (Ian Beale), Juggy D, H Dhami, Shekie and Sham, Jinx and the author of The Asian Liverbird, Mohammed Bhana.
Furthermore, over 200 youngsters from across the country were selected via special competitions in ethnic media and were put through their paces by Liverpool academy coaches during the day.
Most of the Asian XI had not even met prior to the match.
However, the game was played in a great spirit and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
So why then, can the Red side of Merseyside boast such a dominant presence in the British Asian community? Mohammed’s answer is emphatic: Bill Shankly.
“It’s the Shankly way,” says Bhana. “When the massive influx of Asians came to Britain in the 1960’s, Liverpool were on top and Shankly was the man in charge.
“But it wasn’t just the trophies. Shankly had this great family-orientated view and that really touched a lot of people and the message soon spread and that message still lives on in Asian households today.
“We live in such a secular / multi-cultural society but if there’s one thing that can bridge any divide it’s football.”
Reds legend Kenny Dalglish agrees with Bhana and believes this all-conquering period in the club’s history gave birth to a whole new breed of Liverpool fanatics.
“The fact is that the club has tremendous support worldwide, mainly because of what we achieved in the sixties, Seventies, Eighties and early Nineties and much of it stems from our European exploits,” Dalglish writes in his foreword to the book.
Adam Woodyatt who has played the Ian Beale character in Eastenders for 20 years was more than happy to play for the Asia XI: “As soon as Mohammed asked me to play I could not turn the opportunity down.
I had my photo taken with the European cup and my son also received a great deal of training from the dedicated Liverpool coaches. Mohammed should be proud as he has written an absolutely fantastic book which is aimed at everyone in the Liverpool family and he organised a great event.”
UK Bhangra artist, H Dhami believes the club has taken a palpable lead in accepting Asian fans institutionally and as a Liverpool Fan, he says he aims to tell everyone about his love for the Reds!
The Asian Liverbird is an enthralling new book written by acclaimed journalist Mohammed Bhana and officially commissioned by the club which explores the rich Asian history of Liverpool F.C and investigates the who, what, when, wheres and the whys behind the club’s stiflingly large Asian fan base.
Buy the Asian Liver Bird from Liverpool FC’S Official Online Store: