Spotlight: Stu Farr

Stu with his sons Zach and Alex

Stu Farr tells us about being proposed to in KFC, less-than-sober sex-toy Santa and shafting his way to £120,000. Jim Beglin, look away now…

Personal

Tell us about your background.
Born in Macclesfield but spent most of my youth in North Wales having the world pass me by. Moved to the bright lights of London as soon as I was able, then Hong Kong 10 years later.

From a sporting sense I’ve always had a duality in my life – my Dad and his family are all die-hard Manchester United fans and my Mum’s family are all proper Reds. My brothers also consider themselves Welsh whereas I’m an Englishman so that adds some fun to proceedings!

When did you move to Hong Kong?
Same as a lot of people I moved here for two years. That was in 2009 and whilst I can’t say I’ll stay forever I can say I never want to leave.

What do you do for a living?
I’ve always been in sales, currently working in the IT industry advising on customer experience solutions.

Best part of your job?
I get to meet a lot of interesting people and they pay my bar tab indirectly!

Worst part of your job?
I often have to run meetings so late Sunday games and Champions League becomes a struggle. Always resent having to work when I’ve missed the Reds playing a blinder!

Significant others? How did you meet?
I met my wife at school when we were both 12. We’ve always been friends, although we were never childhood sweethearts. We got together years later, and she proposed to me in KFC in Llandudno. I think she meant it as a joke, but we’ve been happily married for 17 years this past August. Her major flaw is not giving two shits about football.

Favourite HK bar/club? Why?
As a previous resident of Discovery Bay it has to be Beer Bay at Central Ferry Pier 3. Not only is it a lovely spot for a beer on a sunny day, there’s space for my kids to run around so I can drink said beer in peace and, if I’m on a mission, they sell gin and tonic by the pint. Great place to start, or end, a night.

Favourite place in HK? Why?
The best thing about Hong Kong for me is the juxtaposition between nature and metropolis, so anywhere where I can be in the city whilst being surrounded by greenery. I love walking up the Peak, Jardine’s Lookout, or up to the top of Lion Rock on Kowloon side where I can be in the country but have the world’s greatest city sprawling out in front of me. I love the vibrancy of living in Hong Kong, but it’s glorious to be able to step back and put one foot into the countryside without having to leave the buzz behind entirely.

Worst place in Hong Kong? Why?
Admiralty. It’s just soulless and within a short walk I could be somewhere good. Only head there when I’m forced to.

Ambitions?
Too cheesy to say I want to watch us win the league after all these years? Last time we did it I was 10, and I reacted to the news with a smile and a shrug because that’s Liverpool did back then – we won leagues. So, I knew we’d probably win it again next year so it was no big deal. I was more annoyed that we lost the FA Cup semi final to Palace as we’d have played United in the final and I wanted to see us smash them.

When we finally win it again I plan to spend a lot of time drunk. Probably with the people reading this.

Hobbies?
Since having kids my only hobby is watching sport as I don’t have time for anything else! Most of that is dedicated to watching Liverpool, though I’m also partial to watching rugby union (not league, that’s shit), American football and cricket.

Liverpool/Supporters Club

How long have you been supporting Liverpool?
I’ve been supporting Liverpool since I was six years old. I remember the class bully telling us all we had to support Everton or he would beat us up. I went home and told my mum this as I was a bit confused – I had no idea really about Everton, or football in general. All I knew was this kid was an arsehole and I didn’t want to do as he said. Luckily my grandad was visiting and he sat me down and told me all I needed to know about being a Red. He was a Scouser born and bred and knew better than to condemn his grandson to a life of bluenosery. He told me stories of dominating England, taking on all Europe had to offer and how he played with Billy Liddell in his regiment team during the war. I still had no idea about football afterwards (some may say I still don’t), but I knew I wanted to be a part of this story.

I’m sure my Manchester United supporting Dad thought it would be a phase, but I’ve never wavered since that day. I’m taking no such chances with my kids and have been passing those stories down to my boys since they could crawl.

What was the first game you attended?
My dad took me to my first game at Anfield under sufferance when I was 12 against Wimbledon. We sat in the Anfield Road end and watched Wimbledon go 2-0 up after Grobbelaar went wandering into no mans land and got lobbed right in front of us. The Reds stormed back to level up at 2-2 before half time and I was convinced that there was only going to be one winner. And there was, it was Wimbledon as they won 3-2.

Despite the result I fell in love with the Anfield atmosphere, it felt like hallowed ground and I knew I wanted more of it.

How will Liverpool’s season finish?
I say every year we’re going to win the league. Sometimes I even believe it. But usually I have to talk myself into why this year will be the one we finally get there. This season, I don’t need to talk myself into anything. This team is amazing – we have the world’s best keeper, centre half, two of the world’s best fullbacks, a front three that makes any defence lose sleep and oh, we’ve not mentioned Gini, Fabinho and Henderson yet.

If we don’t win it then City will have played another blinder of the season and hats off to them. But unless they are perfect, the title is ours.

Favourite ever Liverpool goal?
Jermaine Pennant against Chelsea in 2007. It was Cech’s first game back after his head injury so he was debuting his headgear. I was sat in the Kop and from where I was sat the instant it touched Pennant’s boot I knew it was in. The buzz after that game was electric, we knew we were going places.

Honourable mention to Neil Mellor’s late winner against Arsenal. It was my birthday, I was in a pub in London and the guy next to me just smashed his full pint on the floor in disgust. Loved it.

Heroes?
I’ve always had a thing for players that come from abroad and just get what we’re about. So for me I’ll always have a place in my heart for Torres, despite how it ended. We asked him to play for Roy Hodgson, for God’s sake – who could deal with that?! Plus he had the best song ever – we should sing it more for a laugh!

Villains?
Hicks and Gillett. I was once lucky enough to spend some time with Martin Broughton during an event and he explained just how close we were to becoming insolvent under those two cowboys. The idea of Liverpool disappearing down the league under a cloud of points penalties and lack of finance makes me shudder even today. FSG may not be perfect, but compared to those two charlatans I think we’ve landed on our feet.

Fondest football memory?
Benjamin Massing absolutely levelling Caniggia in the opening game of the 1990 World Cup. One of the most chaotic fouls in the history of football and still makes me smile thinking about it now.

From a Liverpool point of view, Origi scoring past dinosaur arms against Everton last year after they let off a flare will take some beating. I love a bit of needle.

What football law would you change?
I’d hand control of VAR to the managers in the form of challenges rather than the shitshow we have now. That way, if a team waste their challenges and are then on the end of a shocker they have no-one to blame but themselves. The current system is far to obsessed with calculating hair’s breadth offsides and not with actually overturning blatant errors.

Favourite current Liverpool player?
Virgil. I just love how cool he is and how he makes everyone else on the pitch better, even when he’s playing badly.

Favourite past Liverpool player?
I know it’s a cliché, but it has to be Gerrard. All my other favourites over the years have left us as some point, Stevie only did because the club wouldn’t keep him on. The epitome of a home town captain.

Favourite non-Liverpool player?
Always loved watching Thierry Henry; he could just create something from nothing. He always seemed to play well against us and the ball seemed magnetically attached to his foot at times.

Worst player ever to play for Liverpool?
Nowhere near the worst, but no player has had me shouting profanities at the TV like Milan Baros and his head-down runs to nowhere. Great skill, but the footballing intelligence of a concrete bollard.

How did you find out about the Hong Kong Reds?
Shit answer, but I can’t remember to be honest!

What does the Supporters Club mean to you?
Without a good group of people to enjoy the game with, it is just 22 men kicking a ball around. Yes, we all sometimes watch alone but it’s never optimal – supporting a team is a social pursuit and without the Supporters Club I don’t think I’d have enjoyed watching Liverpool anywhere near as much over the past decade.

I’ve followed Liverpool all over Europe, been to League Cup, FA Cup and European Cup finals and yet one of my favourite Liverpool games was the pre-season friendly in Hong Kong against Leicester in 2017 because we went as a Supporters Club. Don’t remember anything about the game, but do remember the singing and cheering and the fun I had just being there. Same thing as The Lockhart 88 – sometimes the best games are the ones where we’ve won by half time and just have a natter.

What’s the best part about being an LFC fan?
We don’t do anything the easy way do we? Liverpool is all about being counted out, the last minute winner, coming back from 3-0 down to win. No other team goes through the rollercoaster ride we do and comes out on top as often as we do. Other teams may win trophies, but nobody writes stories and builds legends like Liverpool FC.

What’s the worst part about being an LFC fan?
The other side of that coin – we always have hope. So when we don’t make the impossible possible there’s a feeling of emptiness that rational thought can’t fill. We have high expectations because of who we are, but sometimes they’re not realistic and we are disappointed when they aren’t met.

Why is The Lockhart 88 a good venue for the Supporters’ Club?
Mainly because the right people come, but to be honest it’s perfect for us. It’s the right size so we can own the space without rattling around on quiet nights, the beer is good and reasonably priced and we can watch the game from outside if we want. If only they’d let kids in…

How does it feel watching games so late at night, especially mid-week games?
I’ve got used to it to be honest, but in many ways it’s a blessing. Having two young kids means that I just wouldn’t be able to watch as many games if I was still in the UK, so having them late means I can still hang out with my boys during the day, have dinner with my wife then head off out after she goes to bed! The midweek games are a bit more challenging, mainly because I can’t come to watch in the pub and not drink and if I have meetings in the morning that rules me out. But when I can, I love the atmosphere those early games have.

What’s different about a HK-based LFC supporter?
Not a lot to be honest. We’re a group of people brought together by a love of a team mere yards, tens, hundreds or thousands of miles away. Whether you’re in Hong Kong, Hanoi, Hull or Huyton – we’re all Reds.

However, if you were in Hull or Huyton you wouldn’t have to put up with the dulcet tones of Jim Beglin on commentary, so I suppose that’s different…

All-time favourite LFC moment?
This is like asking who’s your favourite kid! Probably the 2013/14 run in – it felt like we were walking on air and nothing could go wrong, until it did. But what a laugh we had along the way.

Ask me again this time next year and I’ll say coasting to the 19/20 title.

Favourite Supporters Club moment?
Failing spectacularly in a boat race at Amici and getting the piss taken out of me for weeks – I kept telling everyone I had an off night. A few months later I was back and nailed a four way race like a fucking boss – hope Paul still has the footage.

The Important Stuff

What’s your favourite food?
I love food in general unless it has cauliflower in it, but if forced to pick one it would be good pizza in a wood-fired oven.

What would you like to chuck into Room 101?
Jim Beglin. Headfirst, with some form of concrete in afterwards to stop him escaping.

What’s in your pockets?
Only ever wallet, keys, phone and headphones.

Do you have any superstitions?
I hold my breath when the Reds get a penalty from the moment the player places the ball to the moment it goes in (or doesn’t).

Are you allergic to anything?
Oranges, caffeine and chocolate. Hence why I’m picky about the free shots sometimes!!!

What’s the best thing you’ve ever won?
I once won GBP120,000 on a quiz show hosted by Robert Kilroy-Silk. I had to be a right bastard to win as well, but luckily it was never shown on TV so I got away scot free! Yes, I still have a copy.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?
When I fell into a pop-up stall selling sex toys in a bar in Central, dressed as Santa Claus whilst on a charity pub crawl. My wife was present, pregnant, sober and not amused. I was obviously wasted and made a complete twat of myself. I was hurried out of the club whereupon my wife took me to Tsui Wah to get noodles, which I couldn’t eat because I was too drunk. I then wandered off and slept on a bag of concrete in an alleyway because I couldn’t remember where I lived. Happy days.

Most visited website?
Probably The Guardian. I’m a liberal at heart so I’m looking for confirmation bias.

Yoga or pilates?
Seriously, do I look like somebody who does either?!?

What time do you wake up?
Whenever my darling kids decide I should be awake. If I’m lucky, it won’t be dark.

Full English breakfast or Dim Sum?
Full English, no contest. I don’t normally eat breakfast at all, but if I’m going to do it I want a proper fry up. Dim sum is more of a lunch thing for me.

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