“You’ll never walk alone” … at least if you’re a Liverpool F.C. supporter in Arizona.
The Rose and Crown Pub in Downtown Phoenix is home to many Liverpool F.C. supporters in the Valley.
The pub opens at 11 a.m. every day, but for Liverpool fans, that opening time often gets moved up.
“The owner is now a full-blown Liverpool supporter; he opens for all of our matches,” said group president Alfonso Gonzalez. “We’re here for every match. There’s been a couple of times where it’s been an early kickoff and we were jammed packed in here.”
While the state of Arizona doesn’t allow alcohol to be served until 6 a.m., that doesn’t stop the fans from coming in early.
The bar even has a special breakfast menu for the group during those games.
“They don’t normally have breakfast because they open at 11 a.m., so they have the Liverpool Fry-up,” Gonzalez said of a meal that consists of eggs, bacon, sausage and potatoes.
Don Phillippi, one of the owners of The Rose and Crown Pub is pleased with the business generated from match days.
“Today we played Manchester City, which is a pretty big rivalry. In dollar amounts, today we probably made an extra $2,000,” Phillippi said. “It’s considerable over the course of the season if you throw in the different trophies that they’re going after. It’s probably close to $75,000 a year.”
Phillippi is astonished by the following that the team gets in Arizona, especially the crowds that show up even before sunrise sometimes.
“It’s amazing that they’ll show up because we can’t even sell liquor until 6 a.m. They’ll show up at 4:30 a.m. and hangout until we can sell beer and wine,” Phillippi said.
“We open for every single Liverpool game, no matter what time they play. I would say we average during the week 20-25 people that’ll show up. On the weekends, depending on who they play, anywhere from 50 to I think our biggest game was 175 people.”
The Rose Crown and Pub isn’t exclusive to only Liverpool F.C. fans. Soccer fans from all over the world have found a place to go as well.
This means Phillippi has his hands full year-round.
“The World Cup is obviously coming up this summer,” he said. “A lot of these supporters have different countries that they follow so you’ll make other revenue off of that.”
“Just in general they know that they can come here and watch the sport of soccer.”
London native Ali Sharif frequently visits the pub when he’s in town. He’s been a Liverpool supporter since he was 7 years old and he’s been going to games back in Liverpool since the mid-80’s.
Even with those experiences, Sarif is still impressed with the environment that he sees at The Rose and Crown.
“I’ve visited lots of Liverpool bars but the atmosphere here at The Rose and Crown is one of the best I’ve seen,” he said. “This includes bars back in Liverpool. It’s amazing; there’s people from all over the world here. There’s a lot of knowledge and they know all the songs.”
The group has even turned casual supporters into die-hard fans. As was the case for Lauren Villa, who is now a frequent visitor to the pub and avid member of the group.
She now has a place to call home every match day.
“We live and die for Liverpool,” Villa said. “We’re together all the time and we bleed red. We all believe in our team, we know our team is going to win. We share the same successes we share the same defeats.
“We are a family.”