Jürgen Klopp built Liverpool to buy into the idea that Unity Is Strength, but ticket price division threatens that in his final days…


I WAS in Liverpool on Thursday.

It’s been a hard spring – my personal favourite of the four seasons.

Spring is said to reflect transition and remind us that change is both natural and normal. Ideal, one would think, for what’s to come.

But the rain is incessant on Merseyside and beyond. It made a day of promising effervescence and buzz from Aintree’s Grand National festival and Liverpool’s Europa League quarter final a bit, well, damp.

There are other factors, of course. Liverpool is a city which emanates from the shadows. Where pockets of light and sound can explode out of nowhere.

Where a trudge to Anfield can manifest into bursting splash of red and green, accompanied by primal, bristling collaboration.

Losing 0-3 to Atalanta was a collective night off. The lineup was disjointed, but then so was the performance, the changes, the atmosphere and the general vibe. There were things on the mind, from Manchester United to Crystal Palace.

Here we are, caught up in this big rhythm. Tinseltown in the rain.

There’s the natural inquest and a tendency to deviate towards inevitable questions pre-match about the ticket increase and Spion Kop 1906’s decision to remove flags and banners from The Kop.

Divided opinion is increasingly becoming a social pariah – because of its politicisation across the spectrum – whereas it should be a platform for encouragement, growth and perspective.

Where it jars with Jürgen Klopp’s ethos is that he needs everything and everyone to be together. Whether that was at the start of his reign and the £77 walkout in 2016, or this issue at the very end of his tenure.

But we are entitled to think that two per cent is too much. As are those who seemingly believe two per cent is not enough in comparison to the rising cost of living.

Oh, men and women. Here we are, caught up in this big rhythm.

Two per cent was a number the club probably deemed inconsequential. But two per cent for two consecutive years, doubled with being in the third year of UK inflation outpacing wages.

Tripled by the fact Anfield remains one of the most reliant on community and local governance to help it from years of negative equity and opportunity.

Quadrupled by the reality that if the club were to simply announce their ticketing plan for the next five years it would make them seem more trustworthy, it leaves many feeling like they’re being slightly had off – a feeling no Scouser reacts well to.

Like it or not, that ultimately becomes the club’s responsibility in some way. They can assume that streams of content littered with comments about buying the best players, and lamenting them for not doing, should equate to the collective being happy to chip in with an extra few quid on their tickets.

Ultimately, this once again becomes a wider question about football and the vacuum it exists. That money is so absurdly skewed as a concept that when the mirror of average income is held up the whole thing shatters.

Until football can collectively begin to reverse the disease of unrealistic revenues, those invested will continue to view transfers, wages and other assets as a fictional concept which doesn’t impact them. Until it does.

The one thing Liverpool Football Club and others like them know unequivocally is that we will keep coming back. That despite me having poor customer service or almost zero input on my experience, I will happily hand over my inflated season ticket balance in full before the deadline in May for 2024-25.

Like most of the previous nine years, the manager forms a huge part of this conversation. For all of this to work he needs everything and everyone in unison. It has been his greatest attribute since arriving and will arguably be the thing we miss most when he leaves.

A short-term solution may be found before we congregate in L4 once again this Sunday. We might have apprehension about legs and fixtures. We might think differently about issues of the day. But there is a league title available, viable and within grasp.

Isn’t that romantic? Isn’t that what the football club markets? Perhaps they should think about keeping that somewhat sacred and making it one aspect not solely driven by income growth.

We should all care and do, in our own way. Sometimes incessant wet and gloom is hard. We ultimately just need to see a place and team in its best light again.

One day this love will all blow over. Time for leaving the parade.

Tinseltown in the rain. Oh, men and women.


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