‘I celebrate like every football fan!’ – blind Liverpool supporter on becoming viral hit

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‘I celebrate like every football fan!’ – blind Liverpool supporter on becoming viral hit
Mike Kearney has been registered blind since he was seven years old

There was no doubt in Mike Kearney’s mind that Liverpool had taken the lead when Anfield erupted on Tuesday night, he just wasn’t sure who the scorer was.

The lifelong Liverpool fan was born with sight problems and has been registered blind since he was seven years old.

But while it was Mo Salah who slotted the ball past Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina to ultimately seal Liverpool’s passage to the Champions League knockout stages with a 1-0 win, it is Mike’s phone that hasn’t stopped since.

Nearly three million people have watched a clip on Twitter of his cousin Stephen leaning over to tell him who netted for the Reds, sending the pair’s touching exchange viral.

“I’m like every other football fan – it doesn’t matter if I can’t see clearly, I still celebrate,” he told BBC Sport. “It was just relief that we scored.”

The 26-year-old, a regular at Anfield, has a degenerative eye condition which has got worse as he has got older.

“I wish I could see more but that doesn’t mean I can’t form an opinion of my own,” he said.

“It’s difficult for people that can see to understand, but I think of it as normal to me and I have been like that all my life. It’s just the way I watch the game.”

Mike admits he has been surprised at the level of interest following the clip being posted, with Salah’s involvement meaning even media outlets in Egypt have got in touch.

But it would have been easier for the Liverpudlian to distinguish the scorer had Salah’s strike not come at the Anfield Road end of the ground.

“It was very blurry,” he added. “Up close at the Kop End I am OK, but further away the ball gets harder to see. It wasn’t hard to work out what happened with noise.”

Mike used to use the club’s live commentary service for blind and partially sighted spectators, but now prefers to immerse himself in the atmosphere.

“It’s there if I really want it,” he said.

“I like just being involved in the atmosphere and hearing what my cousin thinks – and anyone else, whether it’s five rows back and a pleasant comment or not.

“If it’s not my cousin Stephen with me then it’s other friends, it’s just normal for us. I find it weird the reaction. It’s nice, but a little bit strange!”

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