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Why hated, not adored?
This past year has been an eye opener. Seeing how rival fans have reacted to Liverpool’s success has been revealing.
Please note I do not refer to all rival fans here in this letter just those who openly voice their hatred towards Liverpool, I know and realize the majority of football fans are decent and normal people living lives just like anyone else, but there are those others…
One would think a club founded on solid football principles, owned by some of the least nefarious owners around, managed by one of the most lovable and admirable manager ever to manage and with a squad of players dripping with decency and virtue would be tolerated and respected at the very least by rival fans, even in this age of internet fueled rivalries and tribalism. But Liverpool appear the be a common enemy that a lot of people can agree on. I’ve asked myself why a lot this year and told myself not to care but I like most football fans am human, I love being loved. I love my club and its players I want us to win and don’t expect rival fans to love us, that can never be, but the white hot hatred I have felt at times this year has surprised me.
We are often told it is our detestable fans, our victim hood our sense of entitlement, but sometimes that just a feels like overgeneralisation, justification for what really is just dislike.
Seeing Virgil roundly booed the last night provided an insight into the mindset, they hate him cos he represents Liverpool, nothing more, there’s nothing more to hate there, the fans are all English, he as a person is nearly beyond repute and yet they hated booed and jeered.
And then I think I saw. Maybe it’s because Liverpool isn’t really English. When I started supporting the pool back in the eighties I saw this first in John Barnes and the criticism he drew for substandard England performances. He turned up for Liverpool but not England the narrative rang. We saw it in its full brutish and malevolent force in Hillsborough and the sun “coverage”, basically stoning a city in mourning with their filth. We see it today on social media and in the letter pages, anyone but Liverpool. Yes Manu had that too but only when they were winning, Liverpool get it regardless of 30 years of underachievement.
So maybe that’s the answer, they hate us cos we’re different. They hate us cos we’re not English, we’re Shankly, we’re socialist, we look to Europe for inspiration, tactics and honors, as a kid I always heard Liverpool were a team built for European competition, the records bear this out.
And so like Barcelona and their representation of Catalonia we too represent Liverpool, it’s city, it’s people, it’s values, it’s community and football and people all over the planet connect to what that means, to you’ll never walk alone, to a brotherhood and a sisterhood not defined by country race color or gender, like a modern religion, it means everything to the believers and looks frankly ridiculous to the outsiders.
And that’s ok by me. I think i see it now. Liverpool as a city, a club, owners, manager, players and fans will never be liked by those who hate us no matter what we do, no matter how good, humble or generous we are. If we crawl on the ground in front of these people they would hand us a shovel and say dig.
So why not stand tall and proud in the face of the hatred, let them hate, let them attack and lie and scorn, eat it, feed off it and grow stronger together. We are different, we are Liverpool, we’ll never walk alone.
…So Noel Gallagher is obviously jealous of Liverpool’s sizeable KFC, and so he should be, but here are a few more things (well six to be precise) that he may want to consider adding to his list:
Six European Cups (which, even with their bottomless pit of oil money, it’s unlikely that City will ever emulate, Pep – post Barca – being a serial choker at this competition)
A massive worldwide fan base built up over decade upon decade of trophy laden seasons (which Noel and the plastic flag waving hordes at the Emptyhad can only dream of)
Eighteen league titles (even with sugar daddy/playstation cheat mode engaged, Gallagher’s lot could not reach this until 2031-and that is assuming they keep a nose ahead of the resurgent Mighty Reds each and every one of those years)
The ability to throw a proper soddin’parade, with three quarters of a million people, flags, flares, unstoppable madness and unbridled joy (which Noel and his light blue cohorts can literally not hold a candy striped candle or a mass produced flag-ette to)
A no-nonsense, granite-faced, bitter, back-biting rivalry, forged over many years of spite and schadenfreude (yes … with those Ole-helmed Pogba-tastic Red Devils .) We will always be each others’ nemesis and will continue to measure our successes and failures against the Old Trafford lot, despite you Johnny Come Latelys jumping up and down and shouting ‘No, No No!!! Don’t hate THEM…hate US!!!’ outside the window, for all eternity
And finally, a band that wrote great Beatles songs, namely…the frigging ACTUAL BEATLES (as opposed to a dodgy combo churning out pound-shop sub-Ringo knockoff stuff with lyrical content barely above Ladybird book level!)
So dream on Noel, (you’re not the only one, La)
Is Bruno Fernandes the next Mkhitaryan
Why are people so certain that Bruno Fernandes is worth 70m+?
The game’s evolved over time and these days players move into bigger leagues at a much younger age than in the past. Its extremely rare to see genuinely talented players stay in the Portuguese league until their mid-twenties, with practically all of the best exports moving to bigger leagues by no later than 21-22. I don’t know much about Fernandes barring a few youtube montages, but so far nothing about his achievements in Portugal scream a player who’s worth nearly double the highest fee ever paid to transfer a player out of Portugal. Maybe someone can elaborate on why I’m underrating him so much, or save me the embarrassment of agreeing with Woodward on anything (assuming he is genuinely hesitant about this deal). But the way I see it is that this is a player who’s still playing in a B league even though he turns 25 a few games into next season, and his only real achievement is 1 very good season but still a season thats been played in the Europa league/Portuguese league.
Before anyone points at his goals/assists tally this season as evidence for why he’ll be a success, Henrikh Mkhitaryan had 23 goals and 32 assists in a far more competitive environment (Bundesliga/champions league) before coming to the premier league. I don’t need to remind anyone how that worked out for United or subsequently at Arsenal.
A concerned fan
Bronze for Trent
The best compliment I can pay to Trent Alexander Arnold is that he is clearly the new Lucy Bronze.
P Nev’s clobber
Phil Southgate? Can’t believe he has gone for the 3 piece. Surely that has to be earned now?
Give it a try
Great article by Daniel Storey about the past, present, and future of women’s football. I’ve always enjoyed watching the women’s game and as a US fan and citizen, we’ve obviously been successful in years past. Will never forget going to a local brewery for the 2015 world final and venue being at capacity. Scenes.
To all of those mansplainers going on about “speed” and “strength”, I encourage you to just watch a game. Try to rid your mind off preconceived notions and prejudice and just watch a game. Any game, really. I’m certain you’ll come away impressed, if only for one reason: the Women’s game has integrity. There’s no diving, play acting, simulation, conning the ref, general dark arts, etc. You won’t see a Sergi Busquets-type pivot get a hand brush to shoulder and go down holding her face like she took shrapnel in the trenches. Nor will you see Mo Salah level leg drags to initiate contact in and around the area. It’s just doesn’t happen and my word, it’s bloody refreshing.
The irony of the critics of the Women’s game is, in general, the very things they complain about the men’s game (what they see as modern plagues that ruin our game) are fully remedied in the women’s game. Full-blooded challenge in the middle of the field? You’ll see those in droves in the women’s game and they’ll get on with it after the dust settles. Defenders perpetrating a little argy-bargy in the box off corners? Please keep an eye on Becky Sauerbrunn, the Nemanja Vidic of the women’s game. Men, I implore and encourage you, give it a shot. You’ll be impressed by the purity and integrity. That’s not even to mention there will be bangers galore. In no other tournament will you have the highlight reel of half volley stunners and 30 yard worldies.
Game of the Tournament – potential quarterfinal between hosts France and world #1 USA. Easily the two best squads in the tournament.
Dark Horse – the Dutch
Top Scorer – Eugenie le Sommer
Player of the tournament – Wendie Renard
Winner – France
Seth, Birmingham, AL, USA (go, go USA!)
…I’ve been watching the women’s world cup with interest. I haven’t previously been able to follow women’s club football but I have been excited about the world cup and so far it hasn’t disappointed (except in the sense that the African teams are getting their asses kicked).
I’ve seen all the games so far which I hope is a decent enough sample. What’s stunned me most of all is the positive spirit of the play I’ve seen. I haven’t seen players diving, rolling around and pretending to get injured. I haven’t seen players yell insults into the ref’s face or throw tantrums when decisions go against them. It is pretty surreal watching football being played this way .
Something else that’s fascinated me is that teams have tended to work the ball from the back rather than long balls forward to launch attacks. Whether this has been inspired by the men’s game or if it evolved independently in the women’s game is something I would love to know more about.
Turiyo Damascene, Kigali, Rwanda
Salah to Barca?
Just reading your story on how the big six buy and sell – you alluded to Mo Salah being a logical next sale to Barcelona. Ordinarily I’d agree. But not at this time.
Correct me if I’m wrong here. But I’m 99% certain that the Coutinho deal included a clause whereby Barcelona pays Liverpool a 100m penalty if it signs another Red player before the 2020 summer window. On top of any sale price.
So while I think Salah might have his maximum currency at this point, it won’t be to Catalonia right now. I’m guessing Madrid or PSG for 200m this window, or Barca in a year. I don’t believe ownership will be overly bloody minded if the price is right and a replacement is available.
De Ligt dross
F365’s vitriol on PSG is starting to become pathetic. How dare teams from outside the conventional big 4 leagues try and compete and spend money? Ian Watson’s article that De Ligt should avoid PSG at all cost is utter dross.
Firstly, the claim that Ligue 1 is equivalent to Latvia’s first division is not only insulting, but it’s wrong. Teams like Lyon, Lille, Marseille and generally Monaco are strong teams that have competed at the highest level and been excellent in Europe in the last few years, bar Lille. No one is claiming that this is a similar level as to the Premier League, but is the level really much poorer than Serie A or the Bundesliga? Additionally, De Ligt would be teammates with Thiago Silva, Verratti, Mbappe, Neymar and many more world class players. Players get better by playing and training with the best . Also, this may be childish but we have more world cup winners in our league.
Secondly, the claim that no top European League is as one-sided as Ligue 1 is massively inaccurate. It seems Ian Watson forgot that Montpellier won the league in 2012, and Monaco in 2017 during Qatar’s ownership. During that time, Bayern won 8 of the 9 league titles, Juventus all of them and even Barcelona 6 of the 9. De Ligt’s “challenge” would be just as paramount at Juve or Bayern.
And finally, we get to the laughable idea that De Ligt’s progress would be better served at United. This is a team led by an unproven manager who’s only previous note of role was relegating Cardiff, a squad full of world class talent like Jones, Young, Matic and Lukaku. So good that the only players with market value have left (herrerra) or are reportedly on their way out. No offense to United fans, but this is a club who doesn’t seem to have any vision and have generally failed to take young players to the next level from promising talent to world class (see Rashford and Martial, players capable of brilliance but unable to maintain it throughout a season). Finally, this is a team that is unlikely to play in the Champions League the season after next as well. But they play in the premier league, so obviously it’s better for him.
The hypocrisy that it’s ok for Man City, or even Newcastle to be owned by a foreign state because they play in England, whereas PSG are obvious cheaters is ridiculous.
When in doubt
Just had a brilliant idea. I know a lot of people really enjoy the VAR disallowing a goal because somebody’s big toe or kneecap was offside, but I don’t. It just doesn’t make sense to me, especially as the attacker doesn’t gain an advantage by being offside by half a millimetre. However, I understand that if you draw a line and said kneecap or toe is offside, the VAR doesn’t have a choice. Offside is offside, whether it’s by a millimetre or a couple of yards.
So, arriving at my brilliant idea, get rid of the line when reviewing the offside situation!
If you cannot be certain that the attacker is offside (without help of a line drawn across the pitch), then the goal should stand. So, basically, when in doubt, the goal stands. We then revert to ‘the attacker has the benefit of the doubt’ situation as was the case before the VAR was introduced. What’s there not to like (unless you enjoy goals being disallowed because somebody’s kneecap or big toe was offside)?
G Thomas (did I tell you that Frenkie…) Holland
…I say this as someone who regularly watches other sports that have had VAR for years now. I have both benefitted and lost out due to decisions made by such systems many times over. In fact if I think about it I have benefitted more than I have lost, and yet…
I’d rather argue over incorrect decisions made in a split second during the heat of a match, than debate bazar calls that had the benefit of slow motion replays and multiple angles. It’s bloody tedious.
Matt Wright, Gunner in Aus.
RIP Justin Edinburgh
Just heard the devastating news that Justin Edinburgh has died. Our thoughts are with his family. At times like this football is irrelevant. He will forever be remembered at Orient as a true hero and gentlemen.
Thank you and you will be sorely missed.
Luke Dubai Os