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Why are Liverpool fans so angry

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Why are Liverpool fans so cross all the time?
Rory SmithMarch 27 2014 17:03PM

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It is dangerous writing about Liverpool. It is dangerous having an opinion about Liverpool. It is especially dangerous challenging orthodoxies about Liverpool. Not dangerous in any literal sense. Nobody will physically attack you. But they may shout at you on Twitter, which is not quite as bad but sometimes can still be quite hurtful.

This is a myth about Liverpool. It is the myth that Liverpool fans are worse than any other when it comes to shouting down those who dare to disagree, or who do not admire their club’s every action, or those who are perceived to be its critics, its detractors and its enemies.

This is not true. Liverpool fans are no worse than any other. There is not some sort of genetic predisposition among people born in Liverpool, or those drawn from all parts of the globe to support Liverpool, that makes them more acerbic, more vicious, more angry.

They are more numerous, yes. Partly that is because of the club’s popularity, of course: you are more likely to be shouted at by Liverpool fans than, say, Stoke City fans, because there are more Liverpool fans in the world. Only Manchester United and Arsenal can match them for popularity in the United Kingdom; Chelsea – by the gauge of Facebook “likes” – compete abroad, too.

But partly they seem more numerous because no fan-base, at any club, is quite so mobilised for the social media age. When the Twitter phenomenon was starting to explode, when more and more fans were finding their voice on forums, Liverpool, you may remember, were going through a protracted battle to rid their club of the two snake-oil salesmen they called owners.

The travails of the Hicks and Gillett era have been forgotten remarkably quickly by football at large; as someone who covered that story, who likes to think in some small way they might have helped highlight quite what Hicks and Gillett were doing, it is safe to say that there was a point where Liverpool flirted with inexistence. Perhaps that is a slight exaggeration. Administration was certainly a possibility. They stared into the abyss, shall we say.

The club’s fans, as you can imagine, were a mite miffed by this. They thought that the idea that two vulture capitalists could run their team into the ground in search of a quick buck was A Bad Thing. So they clubbed together to form the estimable Spirit of Shankly; they marched and they protested and they sang; they did all of the things fans – not just fans, actually, any exploited group – have always done to make themselves heard.

This being the early 21st century, though, they also took to forums, where they expressed their views to other Liverpool fans. They started opining on websites, in the below-the-line comments. And then they took to Facebook and to Twitter, where they tried to appeal to the rest of the world. In 2008 and 2009, fans of every hue had occasion to join Twitter. Liverpool fans flocked in greater numbers, because they did not just have a desire to be heard: they had something specific to say.

So that is why there seem to be more Liverpool fans than, say, Arsenal fans. But why are they so cross all of the time? This is, in part, simple. In recent years, Liverpool fans have had more occasion to be more defensive than supporters of the likes of United, Chelsea and Arsenal, the only teams who can match them for numbers, because – as you may have noticed – things have not been going so well for them. They have been, to use the technical term, a bit crap.

But there is a more complex explanation. It relates back to the episode that drove them online in such huge numbers in the first place. During Liverpool’s black period, between 2007 and 2010, the presence of Hicks and Gillett politicised the club at every level: from boardroom to Boot Room, from terrace to dugout.

There were those who blamed the owners for the problems. There were those who blamed the manager, Rafael Benitez, for not performing better given the money he spent. There were those who thought blaming one was offering excuses for the other. People chose a camp, and through the friction created by increased exposure to those of opposing views, their views became entrenched. There were friends, and there were enemies. There were the right kinds of supporters, and the wrong kind.

Every club, of course, has schisms within its fanbase. That has always been the way. It is healthy. In my younger days, sitting near the funniest fan I have ever met – the one who once spent an entire game supporting a linesman – at Elland Road, there was never any impression that supporting the club meant agreeing with every decision that was made. It certainly did not mean thinking every player was any good. With Gunnar Halle in the team, such an approach would not have been practical.

The supporter as critic, of course, is anathema in a world where fans exist in such great numbers online. You are either with us or against us. There is the right thing to think and the wrong thing. This is a great shame, because it dispels one of the great pleasures of football: that there are countless ways to see things, almost all of them as incorrect as each other.

And so at Manchester United, there are those who wish to see David Moyes sacked, hung, drawn and quartered. There are others who would give him a chance. There are yet more who see his troubles as evidence of a deeper malaise, one that can be traced back to that old issue of American profiteers. At Arsenal, some remain faithful to Arsene Wenger.

Others do not. None of them are right, none of them are wrong. Everyone has an opinion. A fanbase is not a uniform whole. That phenomenon is not unique to Liverpool, but only there are the wounds still open, the pain still raw. The rifts have not yet healed.

This is best witnessed by the fury that discussing Benitez can still prompt in some quarters, particularly among his detractors. It is four years on. The disagreements were so bitter that the taste will not go away. There are the right fans, and the wrong fans. If you were the wrong sort of fan, then you were no kind of fan at all. Supporting your opinion has become almost more important than supporting your club.

 

 

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Supporting your opinion has become almost more important than supporting your club.

 

Thats certainly true for the internet. Some people see Liverpool fans as self righteous gobshites; if you're going to say that about some of their fan sites then so are we judging by NO tbh.

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Thats certainly true for the internet. Some people see Liverpool fans as self righteous gobshites; if you're going to say that about some of their fan sites then so are we judging by NO tbh.

 

I agree with this. I couldn't post on NO, it's awful. I do wonder though, how many fanbases have a TT equivalent?

 

Also, as an aside, no forum anywhere, for any team, is as full of as many self-important fuckwits as RAWK is. It's staggering. Their moderator team see themselves as presiding divinely over a rabble of plebs* ffs.

 

They open and lock threads with statements like 'Here you go fuckers, you can all ramble on in here for a couple of hours, but as soon as someone mentions xxx, or quotes a news source that I don't agree with, I'm going to lock it and ban them. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED". That forum is one of the main reasons I despise Liverpool, and I've never even posted there.

 

EDIT - * I appreciate that we would all argue this may be the case :lol:

Edited by Rayvin

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Rayvin, you do realise that you're on your final warning on here for that 'United' quip when referring to Man U?

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

 

...you're not going to forget that are you?

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I think I could have got away with it for a while longer, but the scouser that came on here for a while saw our responses to it and grassed me up. I got a permanent IP ban.

 

Bunch of precious children.

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