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Athens Here We Come!

For the intrepid bunch of UAE-based Liverpudlians who are the Dubai Reds, not even the imminent birth of a child for one of them can stand in the way of a Greek odyssey.

  • Joy Of Six: Brumby and Stanton are sure Liverpool will add to their five Champions Cups. Image Credit:XPRESS/Virendra Saklani
  • Red roar: Liverpool fans in Dubai get in some pre-Athens singing practice. Image Credit:XPRESS/Virendra Saklani

Luck saw Graham Brumby and Gary Stanton win two tickets to next Wednesday's Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan in Athens following a competition organised by ART Prime Sport.

Whether dame fortune flashes her smile or not at Rafa Benitez's team in six days' time, the two fanatical Reds supporters believe Europe's most prestigious club trophy already has Liverpool written all over it.

"There is no danger!" said Brumby. "We will beat Milan and equal them on six Champions League titles."

The duo are part of the Dubai Reds, a club dedicated to Dubai- based Liverpool fans and when you throw in the fact that they are true-blooded Liverpudlians, it appears they were destined to be heading to the Greek capital.

"It's crazy, sheer luck of the draw!" remarked a clearly jubilant Stanton.

"I bought some champagne to celebrate and I think it probably costs more than the ticket," he quipped.

His fellow supporter still had to come to terms with reality. "I was still at the office when they announced the winners so Gary is probably more emotional than me at the moment as he was present. It hasn't yet sunk in for me," said 48-year-old Brumby.

Liverpool fans are renowned for their undying passion and that could not be epitomised better than by Stanton and Brumby, the latter pledging his love with a crackerjack declaration. "I'm Red till I'm dead!"

Brumby will be joined by three of his brothers as well as his son who are all in the UK but he is especially excited to be taking his 79-year-old father along.

"My dad lost his father during World War Two in Athens and this will be his first visit to his father's grave," explained Brumby.

For 32-year-old Stanton, May 23 could end in joy for another reason. "My wife is due to give birth on that day as well," he said excitedly. "But the Champions League final is like giving birth to a baby so I just cannot miss that."

Insisting that his missus could not be happier for him, Stanton further justified his Athens trip saying: "This will be our second born. If it was our first and I was away she would have killed me."

Stanton and Brumby were part of that glorious night in Istanbul when Liverpool fought back from three goals down against the same team they face this year, AC Milan, to win the Cup on penalties.

"At half-time, I just hoped the score would not get worse but when Gerrard scored our first, that's when we started to believe," recalled Brumby.

So does their supreme confidence ahead of Wednesday stem from Liverpool's amazing record in European Cup finals where the Reds have won five out of six summit clashes?

"No. It just comes from the city of Liverpool," replied Brumby in matter of fact fashion.

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Dubai Reds: Going Underground

The club was set up last year by two passionate Liverpool fans, Bob Kabli and Russell Overy.

The two learnt web design to create a website and were endorsed officially by Liverpool FC in March 2006. They now have 50 paid members.

Member benefits include a Dubai Reds Polo Shirt, and a membership card which gives discounts at venues such as Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Yo! Sushi and Magniflex Mattresses.

The club's rapid growth has surprised Bob and Russell, with over 250 people turning up at their home venue – The Underground at the Habtoor Grand Resort and Spa in Dubai Marina for both legs of the Champions League semi-final.

Dubai Reds are not just fair weather supporters, more than 20 will be making the trip to Athens to watch Liverpool try to lift a sixth European Cup.