Spartans delight with ‘coup’ as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool agree to glamour pre-season friendly

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

SPARTANS chairman Craig Graham insists the Edinburgh amateurs have secured a ‘huge coup’ after announcing a glamour friendly against English giants Liverpool.

The Lowland League outfit will host an Anfield XI on July 15, with Jurgen Klopp expected to send the cream of his under-23 talent north. There is also the possibility of some senior players featuring depending on their full squad’s commitments.

Graham reckons the occasion will echo 2011, when a near-capacity crowd saw Spartans play out a 7-1 defeat against a Manchester United XI which included Darren Fletcher, Jesse Lingard and World Cup winner-in-waiting Paul Pogba.

(Pic: @spartansfc)

He said: “It’s a huge coup for everyone who has helped to make it happen and will be a wonderful day for the staff, players, supporters and wider community here.

“Looking back to when Manchester United visited, it got the excitement going among the youth clubs, the schools and brings the whole area together.

“I would imagine their first-team will probably be on tour somewhere so the discussions will be similar to the ones we had with Manchester United and, on that occasion, a future World Cup winner [Pogba], Darren Fletcher and Tomas Kuszsak made the journey up.

“Likewise, Liverpool’s young players will be among the best in the world in their age group – internationals at their level – and will be better than ours, so it will be a fantastic experience.”

It is understood Liverpool and Scotland icon Kenny Dalglish, described as a ‘friend of Spartans’, played a part in organising the link-up and Graham believes the clash is a sign of the esteem with which Spartans’ endeavours are held in British football.

The fixture will serve as part of their academy’s 10-year anniversary celebrations.

Graham added: “Our under-11s side actually went down to play a Liverpool team in a seven-a-side game at the start of December [2018] and we had really good feedback in terms of how the boys played, behaved and how the coaches carried themselves.

“So we got talking and discussions evolved. Given the the 10-year anniversary of the academy and the strong work we do in North Edinburgh, Liverpool decided it would be a good place for them to go.

“It’s fantastic recognition for everyone who works so hard for Spartans; that even clubs like Liverpool say ‘look what these guys are doing, they are worth a visit’.”

Graham added: “Our capacity is 3,500 and when we played Manchester United we got pretty close to that capacity. We’ll certainly be looking at one of our biggest ever crowds when Liverpool come to town.”

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