Craig Johnston says tonight’s clash between Melbourne Victory and Liverpool FC at the MCG will be a proud occasion.
Former Liverpool FC great and Newcastle football legend Craig Johnston says tonight-s clash between Melbourne Victory and Liverpool FC at the MCG will mark a proud occasion.
Raised in Newcastle, Johnston played 190 league matches for Liverpool, scoring 30 goals. He won five First Division titles, a FA Cup, two League Cups and a European Cup during his time in Merseyside.
Johnston-s success at Liverpool is a major season for the Club-s strong following in his homeland, which saw tonight-s match at the 100,000 capacity MCG sellout within a matter of minutes.
“They-ve filled the MCG and not many events do that,” Johnston said.
“It-s a very big match and I don-t think people realise how many Liverpool supporters there are in Australia.
“Since this game was announced, it has dawned on me that a lot of Australians are Liverpool supporters because I played for them.
“It-s a bit strange to think about it like that, but I-m happy to claim some of the responsibility for the big following that Liverpool has in Australia.”
Johnston said he expects to get goosebumps when Liverpool make their way onto the field with the Club-s anthem playing in the background.
“When they play You-ll Never Walk Alone at the MCG with 90,000 plus people in the stadium, it will feel to me like a couple of cultures colliding,” Johnston explained.
“I feel like I know the language of the Scousers and I-m an Aussie and a Newcastle boy, so it will be a big moment all round.”
On a recent visit to Newcastle, Johnston took the opportunity to visit a coaching clinic with local juniors.
The 53-year-old said the Hunter community still holds a place very dear to his heart.
“It-s where I come from, I-m a Newcastle boy. If you-re from Newcastle, it stays in your blood,” Johnston said.
“It-s a working class town and people here don-t have any airs and graces like they might have in other big cities.
“It-s always rewarding to come back home.”