Liverpool will be allowing unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to U.S.-based Fox Soccer Channel to film a six-part documentary series. "Our Liverpool: Never Walk Alone" will document the club's FA Cup final against Chelsea in May, as well as their preseason tour of North America in July. The finished product will air in the fall in the U.S., but it is being billed as a "global television event."
Fox Soccer is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. -- the same parent company that publishes The Sun, which has been actively boycotted by people in Liverpool and fans of the club since the tabloid reported vicious accusations against Liverpool supporters involved in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
The decision to do the series was the idea of the club's newest American owners, who hope it will help boost Liverpool's already considerable popularity abroad, which will then increase revenue they can spend on bringing in high-priced talents like Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson. From the AP:
''I come from a background where the more supporters get to know the inside workings of the club the more they are interested in the club itself,'' said Liverpool chairman Tom Werner, also chairman of the Boston Red Sox. ''I am not fearful of showing some behind the scenes look at what's going on because it will only increase awareness of the players.'' [...]
''I think we are interested in raising revenues so that we can be as competitive as possible with Manchester United and Arsenal and Chelsea with the other clubs,'' Werner said. ''And I see this as a mechanism to increase the club's popularity.''
But to increase the club's popularity, viewers will first have to understand what they're saying. And for at least one member of the staff, that might require a bit of assistance.
With his thick Scottish accent, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish could be hard for some viewers to understand.
''We probably will have to do a tad of captioning for Kenny,'' [Fox Sports chairman David] Hill said.
Jokes aside, that really doesn't seem necessary. Glaring at people who ask him questions should be universally understood.
The series seems like a great move for Liverpool (assuming it doesn't prove to be about the downfall of King Kenny's troubled reign) and will hopefully show other clubs that giving fans some insight into their inner workings can improve supporter relations and make them seem less monolithic. Although, Hill doesn't seem to think Liverpool's rivals at Manchester United will follow their lead anytime soon. When asked if what the odds of Sir Alex Ferguson agreeing to something like this, he put them at "100-1 against." So he's saying there's a chance...