Are England’s football loyalties divided?

By Sarah Kelsey

The World Cup finally kicks off tomorrow after months of build-up.

England will play the USA on Saturday, flags are already out all over the city and fans are busy preparing to enjoy a whole month of football.

But veteran sports journalist Ken Rogers has claimed on the official Liverpool FC website this week that fans may experience divided loyalty between club and country.

He said: “If you believe everything you hear then you could be forgiven for thinking Liverpool fans won’t be supporting England at this summer’s World Cup. Reds supporters are fiercely proud of their team’s history and it is a common feeling that when it comes to the country’s fortunes on the international scene, Merseysiders go by the motto, ‘We’re not English, we’re Scouse.”

He believes some Liverpool fans have gained a reputation for being unpatriotic.

And supporters in the city centre interviewed today by BBC Radio Merseyside may prove him right.

Vish Patel, a Reds fan and businessman, said he would be “very happy” if Liverpool striker and Spanish international Fernando Torres scored a few goals against England.

Kieran Wells, out shopping with his wife and children, agreed “I’d rather Liverpool won the league than England the world cup, obviously. We’re Liverpool, not England.”

Fans of fellow Merseyside club, Everton, will also face a difficult choice. They’ve spent all season cheering goal keeper Tim Howard, so how will they react when he appears for the USA against England?

Toffees fan, Tony Nash, has decided to support his country. “I’m blue through and through and it pains me to say it but I’d rather England won the world cup. That takes some saying that does!”

Emma Hale, Everton fan and fitness instructor from Kirkby will be supporting England. She said: “I want them to win the world cup. For a change.”

For many, it all depends on who Fabio Capello decides to have in his squad.

As Liverpool fan Mikey Leam admitted “Gerrard being England captain has definately made me patriotic this time round.”

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