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Thank God for “The Slip” and for rival fans
It’s hard to put into words just how incredible Liverpools achievements have been over the past 12 months, but it’s easier to point to a couple of the reasons we got here.
Firstly: “The Slip”. This is without doubt one of the most important events in the history of the club. It’s one of the greatest things that ever happened to the club. Believe me, if Liverpool had won the league in 2013/14, Brendan Rodgers would still be there now. In fact, he would be there as long as he wanted. Unsackable. Not only that, Steven Gerrard would be his assistant. Again, unsackable, and manager-in-waiting until Rodgers decided he wanted to leave. It wouldn’t matter if Liverpool had finished outside the top 4 every season since. He would be untouchable. Now, rival fans may try and deny this, but they’re the ones who spent years laughing about Liverpool and how “next year is our year”. If Rodgers had won the title he would be granted unlimited time to win it again “next year”. You can’t spend your time talking about how Liverpool fans are rabid and delusional, and then try and say they would’ve let a title-winning manager be sacked.
The slip set off the chain of events that brought us to where we are now. It was Liverpools “sliding doors” moment. I shudder to think of a world were Klopp is at Arsenal or Man United. If he can win the CL and PL at Liverpool, there is absolutely no doubt he would have won them at those clubs too. Sure, a title in 2013/14 would’ve put Liverpool on 19 just like now, but it would’ve been a one-off. A glorious anamoly. However, Suarez would still have left. Sterling would still have left. Rodgers would still have made his woeful signings. The situation now is one of dominance. Of sustained success. Klopp and the owners are building for the long-term. And it all started with the slip.
So when I hear the Steven Gerrard slip song, it genuinely makes me happy. It’s a bit like if you know a guy that you don’t really like and he goes shopping with his last £10 in his pocket. On the way he drops it but doesn’t notice. So he gets his shopping in and when he gets to the till realises he doesn’t have the £10 on him and has to leave, embarrassed. As he’s walking out he finds £2 in his back pocket that he didn’t realise he had, and in a fit of pique buys a lottery ticket. That night his numbers come in and he wins £10m. You know all this, you know he’s now a millionaire, yet when you next see him you genuinely try to wind him up about that time he lost £10, which was actually the best thing that ever happened to him. You’re singing about one of the greatest moments in Liverpool’s history. Singing at the best team in Europe about how they became the best team in Europe. You’re actually celebrating Liverpool’s road to success.
Speaking of rival fans, they are the other main reason why Liverpool are now where they are, and it isn’t just because of their reaction to the slip. This is a club built on working class values in a city widely looked down on by everyone else. From Harry Enfield’s “Scousers” to tiny tears Tim’s email the other day, it’s decades-old descrimination. But again, what you don’t realise is that without you, none of this would happen. For example, Jose Mourinho likes to try and build an “us vs them” mentality at his clubs. Hell, even Sir Alex Ferguson did it at United when they were far and away the most dominant team in the country. But at Liverpool there’s no need to try and create that scenario, because rival fans have already created it. It’s real. It truly is “us vs them”, and if there is one manager in the history of the game who thrives on that more than any other, it’s Jürgen Klopp.
Laughing at the CL Final defeat to Real, the second place finish to City, LiVARpool, biased media, feed the Scousers, tainted title: you’re literally throwing petrol on a fire that you’re trying to extinguish.
Remember when Liverpool “celebrated” their 2-2 draw with West Brom? Klopp said after it was to get the message to the supporters that the team will never give up and they should stick with them to the end of every game, but rival fans just wanted to laugh at the supposed “celebration”. Well, since then, guess which team has scored more goals, and rescued/won more points in the final 5 mins of games than any other team in Europe? It’s a perfect example of how you laugh at the club and it just helps them become better.
Previous managers have tapped into this widespread dislike for the club and the city, and have channelled it via the squad and fans to bring success (eg Benitez), and ex-players from other countries have also “got” it and thrived on it (Reina, Garcia, Riise, Torres, Agger etc) which is why they remain fans of the club to this day, but none have managed it like Klopp and these players. Someone like Jordan Henderson knows rival fans don’t rate him and hate Liverpool in general, and his response was to use that as motivation to win the CL and PL. And it’s not just him, it’s all the players. They all have that mindset, and in today’s social media-driven world it’s easy for them to see the Liverpool hatred. It just makes them try harder and win more.
The most delicious thing about this season is that not only have rivals helped create it, but there is a story for all of them. You have Liverpool destroying Palace (no touch of the ball in Liverpool’s area, a PL first) to setup the title win (think: Crystanbul). You have Roy Hodgson, the man who helped take Liverpool to their lowest point much to the glee of the rest of the league, on the end of it. You have Everton fans, who somehow tried to claim Liverpool “lost” the league at Goodison last year, suffering months of mental anguish with the fear that Liverpool would win the league at Goodison this season. You have United hovering around 6th place, with an average squad and poor manager, playing Europa League games in a dilapidated home stadium. Sound familiar? Look at the game that clinched the title for Liverpool: a mistake on the half way allowing a player to run through and score, before Willian scores a late 2nd to win the game. Again, sound familiar? You have Man City, who celebrated last seasons title win by singing about Sean Cox being put in a coma, now forced to give Liverpool a guard of honour at their own ground. And finally, guess which game Liverpool will finally lift the PL trophy at: that’s right, Chelsea at Anfield. Karma really is a bitch huh?
They say that football without fans is nothing, and to borrow that sentiment: Liverpool without rival fans wouldn’t be anything. You helped create this, remember that. There’s also a saying that for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. So, when we see how utterly delighted you are when Liverpool lose finals, or narrowly miss out on trophies, then we know that you are utterly devastated when they do win them. Lives ruined. Your “not bothered anyway” guff doesn’t wash. So please, embrace your hate, keep up the songs, and keep helping drive Liverpool on to greater and greater things.
Winning is a valley
While I don’t want to begrudge any team who wins a trophy their celebrations, I do think that “this means more”, as proposed by an element of Liverpool fans when they win something, or are close to winning, is a flawed concept. Does Liverpool’s 19th top flight title win mean more, if it’s even possible to measure such a thing, than either Leicester City or Nottingham Forest, whose sides overcame remarkable odds the only time either of them have ever lifted the trophy? Does it mean more than when Manchester United won their 19th, to claim the record for the most English top flight titles?
On the other hand, it’s reasonable to think the difference between a great side and an all-time great side is that the former wins something once, the latter wins it repeatedly. There’s also more likely to be something romantic about a side who has a brief spell of greatness, while a dynasty always feels a bit mechanical. One of my summer sporting highlights is watching the Tour de France. As an individual achievement (acknowledging the huge role of the whole cycling team), there is surely no tougher way to prove yourself the best in the world than winning a grand tour, an event where even the last-placed finisher overall attracts admiration and minor cult hero status. Winning the Tour de France is special, but it seems like the only thing more special is winning it the most times of anyone. In a strange way, Stephen Roche’s sole victory in 1987 makes him more fondly remembered than Greg LeMond, even though the American won three Tours in the space of five years. Similarly, since Chris Froome’s first victory in 2013, his three subsequent wins have felt more like steps on the path to eventual greatness than spectacular achievements in and of themselves.
Over time romanticism has cleaved out a valley in the mind, with the first championship atop a hill on one side and a mountain on the other side, representing the record for titles. Get to the top of the hill and you’ve achieved something; climbing to the top of the mountain is something only the very best can do. Crossing the valley is necessary, but somehow less of an effort than reaching the peak on either side.
Ed Quoththeraven (this is what being a Palace supporter does to you, kids)
Are Liverpool fans really unbearable?
When Liverpool finally won, I’ve read some emails saying it’s going to be unbearable because of Liverpool fans. As a neutral, I’d like to hear some opinions why (not trying to start a war). I’m not from England and in my experience Liverpool fans were the most entertaining one I’ve met. Here are some highlights from random conversations that I recall quickly at the moment:
We were speaking about wonder players.
Me: “Not Messi, not Ronaldo, I am the wonder player. Was born with 2 left feet but I can play only with right”
Fan: “Just like Lovren”
(All of us ended up in hilarious laughter)
The Fan had one drink too much and then dozen more. He was singing with such a joy song “Steven Gerrard Gerrard, he can kick ball 100 yards, he is big and f****** strong, Steven Gerrard Gerrard…(repeats forever)” Sound of his voice was not following his joy, so it wasn’t the most pleasing birdsong you might hear.
Me (friendly mocking): “Hey man, you can’t sing a song about him. He is not that cool. Some time ago he went to a bar and knocked down a supporter.”
Fan (Spreads the smile, raises hand and gives “thumb up”): “It was a United fan so it’s ok”.
To this day I do not know was that a real song or he just made it up his ass 🙂
Since I am a HUGE fan of Telford United (CM and FM thanks to you), I wanted to buy official t-shirts for me and my sons.
Me: “I went to online shop to buy Telford United shirt”
Fan (Opens eyes wide and looking in disbelief): “What shirt?”
Me: “Telford United”
Fan (Still not following): “Who’s that?”
Me: “Club from Conference North, Vanarama North at the moment”
Fan (in disbelief): “Whaaaaaaat?”
Me: “Anyway, I wanted to buy the shirts, and you know what – 32 POUNDS! For a shirt! VAnarama north! 6th league! 32 pounds!! You can watch premier league game for that money”
Fan (Delightful voice): “A bloody bargain! Buy dozen of them”
32 pounds for 6th league club shirt? Are they serious? Can anyone explain me this?
Fan was working as a bartender in a small bar. Would often take mic and crack some jokes.
Me: “Can I have a bear?”
Fan: “If you say please”
Me: “Can I have a bear please?”
Fan (takes the mic): “Hey, this guy over here said please when ordering bear. Where’s your manner boy?”
Shortly after that some other guy order small Guiness.
Fan (in huge disbelief, and disappointment): “This guy just ordered small Guiness”. Shaking his head while putting the mic down.
The whole bar goes like “Noooooooooooooo” with huge booing.
Not to mention singing some cool songs at random times during day or night. Can’t say that I understood a word they were singing, but it was awesome.
When pool fans are in mood, it’s guaranteed laughter, drinks and stories. It’s really easy to get in the group, start a conversation, and feel like you’re buddies for years.
What does ‘This Means More’ mean?
I mean, the triviality of the debate aside, there is an obvious difference between the tone of “theatre of dreams” and “this means more”. One is just waffle about having a nice stadium and the other one is a literal qualitative statement saying you are inherently superior (not at football, which you clearly are in the moment, but just in a general sense).
“Theatre of Dreams” as a statement, isn’t denigrating all the other perfectly nice, just as special in their own way, stadia. In much the same way that Sunderland aren’t suggesting that everyone else’ stadium will give you eye strain.
They aren’t equivalent. The equivalent to “this means more” could be “the theatre of better dreams than your dreams, you know, because your dreams are a bit shit compared to mine…”.
Having said that, you know, when all is said and done, who really cares – I’d rather have won the Premier League than the “least obnoxious marketing slogan” prize – that really does mean more!
So in summary, well done Liverpool men’s first 11, not so well done marketing department!
Man Utd fan here. First off congratulations to Liverpool – well deserved for the amazing consistency and quality shown this season – but like most football fans on here I’m not here to talk about football.
First off – saw the mail fromDave, Reading – attributing the “Theatre of Dreams” to Bobby Charlton rather than the marketing but let’s not forget the commercial and marketing side still decided to monetize it – likewise Liverpool with their Title slogan. It’s all the same depressing thing to sell merchandise and nothing else.
Second – has tribalism in fans Gone so far and become so mind numbingLy depressing that we need to argue about whether one clubs marketing dept. is less shallow than another clubs? Really people- I despair 😩
Red tom Netherlands
Liverpool’s triple title claims
In response to Nikhil, LFC, Chicago, perhaps a little clarification on my question of holding multiple titles is needed. Using the Liverpool scenario as an example and for the sake of simplicity let’s say the Premier League was won in the final game of the season. Is it correct to refer to that team as reigning UCL and PL champions for 3 weeks til the next CL final?
At the end, it boils down to a matter of opinion and my opinion is this: There’s a reason a treble/quadruple, no matter the significance of the trophies won, is regarded as the pinnacle of achievement for a team – they’re won in the same season.
Raoul, Sunny South Africa
A little harsh on Parker there. Chelsea were notoriously buying players so as others couldn’t, and had a fair few excellent players in midfield at the same time.
When Parker joined Spurs Modric became an even better player. A terrific reader of the game, distributor and all round good egg. It was considered a shame he left the backroom coaching staff to join Fulham, and you’d have to walk far and wide to find any supporter who says anything other than how good he was, and how we wished he’d of joined a year or three sooner.
Bentley on the other hand…
Loved the piece on the top 10 stars to thrive after big 6 struggles. I don’t know if other F365ers are like me, but I assumed the piece was about current players, and tried to predict the 10 before reading.
For what it’s worth, my list (not on yours anyway) included Jonny Evans, Jonjo Shelvey, Oliver Norwood and Ben Mee.
Have I missed any other current players?
Another fantastic article from Will Ford, this time about “Ten Best Premier League Players who struggled at the Big Six”, one name that could be an honorable mention would be Darren Bent, I know at the time Spurs were not a Top Six side, however they are considered one now so I am going to be cheeky and mention his name, he was decent at Charlton, moved to Spurs which didn’t really work out but when you have the likes of Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane ahead of you it was never going to be easy, he then moves to Sunderland and was solid again.
Scott Parker certainly brought back memories, I was roughly 10 years old when he joined Chelsea and I remember the hype surrounding his move in a football magazine I would buy weekly called Match Magazine (not sure if anyone remembers that publication, I wonder if it is still going?) never worked out at the Bridge for him, but at least he was a success at Spurs and West Ham afterwards, two fierce rivals yes, but Scott Parker was a great personality, a top leader on the pitch and deserved the success.
Mikey, CFC (Does anyone read any football magazines nowadays or are they of a bygone era?)
Favourite statistical oddities
I can’t properly explain it but, in terms of niche stats, I really like the fact that there have been two teams to win a Premier league fixture 9-0. In both cases, the team that won 9-0 lost the reverse fixture by a single goal. Let’s be having your inexplicably favourite stats.
The fallout from the title win…just wow
Catching up on a few missed mailboxes.
I knew the celebrations would come. I knew the backlash would come. But, just wow.
From Fathers sadly passing away, through marketing nonsense to BAME representation. It’s been a rollercoaster.
Keep up the good work everyone.
p.s. the thing I’ve enjoyed most is the discussion of Liverpool’s ‘ageing squad’. The revelation that footballers age has blown me away. Someone best tell Jurgen, quick! He will never have seen this coming.
Name and shame…
In response to Mikey CFC, Dion Dublin could play with Bohemians, Shelbourne, St Pat’s or Shamrock Rovers.
With Barnes FC long defunct, permission may be granted to John Barnes to take Putney Bridge across to Fulham FC.
Bob Paisley could manage St. Mirren in Paisley, Scotland.
And of course Diego Costa would have to play with Scunthorpe United.
Big D, Luxembourg