Even before Saturday’s reaction to the national anthem being played at Anfield, an anti-Liverpool narrative was ready to be doubled down upon…
IT might be one of the worst games I’ve ever seen.
An act of attrition played out to an inevitable conclusion once Mo scored the opener. Oh, I’m taking the points, don’t get me wrong, but the game itself had little to recommend it. Liverpool won 1-0.
There’s a chippy opposite The Kop called the Sing Fong. If you’ve never visited the ground, you’d be forgiven for not knowing of the extraordinary work ethic that goes on at an Anfield chippy.
The queue might stretch out down the street outside, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in for a long wait. You’ll be at the front in no time such is the extraordinary speed of those behind the counter.
After the match on Saturday, my mate Tony looked at the options printed up on the wall. Of course most people have pretty much the same thing, but he considered going rogue.
‘Has anyone ever ordered the £35 banquet with the 11 dishes? Would they just tell you to piss off because of the queue? What if you really fancied an omelette?’
I like the idea of it. Sixty consecutive customers asking for curry, rice and chips and then one lad asking for a full banquet while half the Main Stand waits outside.
I found that whole concept far more entertaining than the last two hours I’d sat through.
Take the points, the chips and get out.
The story should have been about another Liverpool win, about digging in once more against stubborn opposition, about Mo Salah, our King, and about another appalling refereeing performance.
However, naturally, it was about a song about a man who wasn’t there and wasn’t listening and people not liking that song and making noise on the day that that man had something put on his head.
Liverpool fans booed the anthem or at least sang over it. I mean, what did they expect?
I can imagine the discussion between the club’s top brass.
‘You know our fans famously don’t like that song and sing over it?’
‘And you know those who hate us will probably hate us more when they boo it?’
‘Let’s play it.’
Did they think it’d be different this time? It’s a bit like the old Charlie Brown cartoon where Charlie wants to kick the (American) football but every time he asks his friend Lucy to hold it upright, she pulls it away at the last second. Time and again, she’d offer to hold it, he’d voice his doubts, she’ll promise she’d hold it this time and he’d fall for it.
Charlie will always end up on his arse. Liverpool fans will always boo it. We’re never going to hold the ball.
Except when the Queen died. Anfield stayed quiet when asked to and subsequently disappointed thousands of edgy columnists.
But nothing changed at this point. The people who hate us will still hate us to the same degree. No one has changed their mind based on the events of the weekend. They were appalled at the booing in the same way that they would have been suspicious had we all sung lustily along.
It’d be unfair to say that all Reds booed. Many sang the name of the club instead while others have argued that they would just prefer silence. I couldn’t do that. Silence gives consent and I’m a bit tired of consent.
The worry from some quarters was that the boos will justify the trolls shouting over the silence for the Hillsborough victims, but that’s a false equivalence. One is a political protest, the other respect for people who were killed unlawfully. The silence is not political — only the shout for justice afterwards. It’s not even close to being the same thing.
And if people suppose that politics should be kept out of football, it’s worth remembering that the decision to play the song was made by the club, not by us.
John Robins of Radio 5 Live made a good point about the hatting ceremony, albeit outside of a footballing context. Views are so polarised these days that very little time is given to the huge middle ground. The people who don’t give a toss either way. Those with no particular love for the monarchy, but can’t be arsed getting het up about it at the match.
No one speaks for them because that’s not a polemic stance.
Ultimately, everyone who was arsed got what they wanted. We got to protest and annoy people who were desperate to be offended so their hatred of us could become further entrenched. Everyone wins.
Personally, I love that we stood up and did the one thing no one else did and I don’t care if you consider that courageous or despicable. More people need to stand up, now more than ever. I just don’t like that we were put in this position in the first place, especially when there was a huge narrative already in play about the aftermath before a single throat was cleared.
The club could have just given us the option, but they chose their relationship with the Premier League over us and everyone duly went along with their role when the band started. Boo or be disgusted.
And I played my part too. I didn’t boo. I sang the name of my city instead. The name of a city that is synonymous with not taking shite like that. And shite it is. It’s a man being given an incredibly expensive hat while kids are starving. Tell me why we shouldn’t be against that.
I don’t care if we’re hated for it. I don’t care if people think it brings shame on the city. You didn’t like us anyway.
Protest is never about shame. They gave us the opportunity to protest and we took it.
Liverpool won 1-0 and we had chips.
Will you boo the Eurovision on sat because there’s millions spent on that. Do you agree with the abuse our captain received for exercising his right to support the royal family are you going to protest against any investment in the club because it comes from rich people seems a bit two faced to cheer on millionaires every week then complain about the rich just a few questions for the left wing republicans I won’t hold my breath waiting for a reply
Haters will still hate us no matter what .personally thought we didn’t boo loud enough bought a paper this morning picture of a man with a crown on his head . Lower down article about people starving . Booing should be attacking the bastards .
Opposition fans hate us but I am not seeking their consent or approval. Them and us. It’s all I know because it’s all I’ve known.
I’m a Forest fan from Nottingham and have hated your lot since the seventies. I certainly don’t now and I never will again. A city and a people with backbone.
Good article. I’m a Tranmere fan and a scouser (first live match was Liverpool V Spurs 1987, but I quickly saw the light at the other end of the tunnel). The anthem got booed at Prenton Park too, in front of Sky cameras, but no one really cares about league two.
I’ve never sang the national anthem. I’m a (not particularly left wing) republican, and though brought up Catholic (weren’t we all?) I don’t believe in God. So singing it would be completely false.
Whenever we’ve played at Wembley, I’ve stayed silent during the anthem, out of respect to others for whom it does mean something. Personally I don’t like booing any anthem (our own or others) but we live in a free country, and that includes the freedom to boo.
It is about time though that we changed to an anthem that was about the country and not a person.