Nelson Mandela: The Liverpool FC Supporter
We had to dig deep for this one. It turns out the legendary South African human rights and anti-apartheid activist was able to meet Liverpool when the club was on tour in South Africa in the summer of 1994. Serving as the President of South Africa in ‘94, Mandela was proudly presented with a Reds shirt by John Barnes, the club’s captain.
In a 2003 interview with the FA, John Barnes admitted that he was lucky enough to spend three surreal hours talking with Mandela. Barnes said, “Even as a kid, I didn’t have heroes that I would chase for their autograph. But Mandela was different - he is the only man I have been properly in awe of… I am not ashamed to say I had my picture taken with him and it hangs proudly on my wall at home.” It was during those three hours that Mandela told Barnes that he was a fan of Liverpool FC.
The spark that led to a little research on the Mandela-Liverpool connection came from a “105 celebrity fans” article on Liverpool’s official website from 2003, which also includes the likes of Dr. Dre, Pope John Paul II, Samuel L. Jackson, Halle Berry, Elvis Costello, and Michael Schumacher…
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