I‘Il Die A Liverpool Fan, Says Adebayo | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


I‘Il Die A Liverpool Fan, Says Adebayo

Posted: Jul 25, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Uzor Odigbo,  Lagos


His connection with sports is huge, aside being a golfer, he is an ardent Liverpool fan and makes no pretends about it.

Tunji Adebayo is a renown philanthropist of and wants Nigeria football administrators to emulate the quality of football administration in Europe, excepts-:

Which local or international club do you support?

Internationally, Liverpool, ‘You never walk alone’, that is our song/slang.

Have you tried to find out why they coined that slang for the club?

No, I have not. But it has been there for long. I have been supporting the club for over 40 years. So, all my life, I have supported Liverpool, so the song is like our national anthem.

Besides, in those days, there were no planes. So, when people travel overseas through the ship, your first stop is Liverpool, so obviously, Liverpool has been there until the planes came in and took over and people started landing at Heathrow and Gatwick. So, that is the D stop for Britain. We have a lot of followership which has not diminished because those of us who are hardened, still follow them, come rain, come shine.

What informed this kind of support for 40 years?

When it comes to being honest and supportive of things I feel are right and makes me happy, I am a staunch conservative, I scarcely change. When I tell you one, you meet it one in the next 100 years, that is my nature. Some weeks ago, Liverpool didn’t do very well. I had my children and friends all over the world calling to tell me, ah! Daddy, e pele o (sorry o). When we play well, they also call to congratulate me. It’s a club that has been on my mind, I am going to remain and die a Liverpool fan. I am not moving. If you go to my room, you will find Liverpool shirt, Liverpool towel, hat, muffler and others. As much as I don’t like red things, I still keep Liverpool things.

Why has Liverpool not done well in Europe these past years?

We had a change of ownership, we have not been playing very well and we need a new stadium. People that promised us a new stadium, came in, and relented without building that stadium up till now. We had another buyer from America who owns Red Socks, the baseball team in USA, they are always a winner, so we think when he comes to Europe, he is going to make us win. But lack of money and good players, has made us to be behind, for a while.

How do you feel when your club loses a match?

I don’t talk to anyone. I close my door and nobody comes to me including my wife. They know, so it is not a question of how do you feel. The last time they played very well with Everton, unfortunately, luck wasn’t on our side, we threw 1-1. But that was okay. If we had lost that game, hmn, I am not a loser; I want to win all the time. It is a typical Nigerian syndrome, we don’t want to lose. Football is not a winning all the time game. Sometimes, you play your heart out and still would not win. But personally, I hate losing.

So, when you win, how do you respond?

Anybody around me gets what they want. At that point in time, either my son or anyone else will say, Daddy is in good shape, let’s go and meet him. The last time we won, my sons in-law from Vienna and other places called to congratulate me.

 Do you have any favourite football club in Nigerian league?

I don’t because we don’t have a league. When I came back from abroad, I wrote a paper on these leagues, stating that rich Nigerians should start football leagues. And we wrote to Abiola, Dangote and others. Abiola and Iwuanyanwu started, but the administrative logistics wasn’t there because for you to start a football match, you have to have a rented or bought over stadium.  A city that has an Iwuanyanwu should have a stadium whether owned by him or rented. They have to have an administrator that is impartial, whether they call him chairman or whatever. This is private and doesn’t have to do with any government. They will select whoever will be the president, with executive administrators and the owners as trustees on top.

In this our Nigerian situation, trust is not there, we don’t trust each other. Then, we wanted to start with seven teams, who will play against each other; and run a referees, coaches and executives associations. Look at our referees, how many of them are FIFA’s registered. How many of them have you seen in the World Cup to say, this is a Nigerian referee, tell me why we don’t have them. Because we are not honest and fair! A situation where you have a Cameroonian and Ugandan going to FIFA as referees and we as giants of everything cannot even have one referee to go to the World Cup. It is a situation where the management is bad, greed is there and selfishness is there. People that start these football teams do not have the time to run them and those who will run them will have to be well paid.

I remember those days when I was supporting Stationery Stores, there was ECN also, those were good teams that we could die for. I leave my job everyday to go and watch them. My senior brother was an ECN supporter. After Stationery Stores, I decided not to support any team in Nigeria. It was started by Adebajo Babes, things were going on well then, we supported people like the Customs and others, these days its either they are fighting or sacking the chairman, next day FIFA sanctions us, two days, we start running around. That is not how to run a club that is why after Adebajo Babes which is Stationery Stores, I don’t support any team in Nigeria.