Liverpool is not the best club to support.
Liverpool football club was founded by John Houlding on 15th March 1892 to replace Everton football club in Anfield after they vacated following a dispute over rent payments. They won the league and got promoted after one season (Wallace, 2002). In 1959, LFC appointed Bill Shankly as their manager who brought changes to the team by releasing 24 players to reshape the squad and ordered the repair of Anfield stadium grounds. A season later, we were promoted to the first division in the season of 1961-1962 and then won the league in 1963-1964 seasons for the first time in 17 years. Bill Shankly’s success came about because of the hard work, culture and discipline he instilled in the players he introduced. He was very keen to details and made sure his team was the fittest in the league, (Shankly, pp.87–90.) He became a success at Liverpool when he on to win the league three times, two F.A cups, four charity shields and one UEFA cup which was the most coveted trophy then. His successor, Rob Paisley who had been the assistant coach to Shankly continued to write the success stories of LFC. He went on to win 21 trophies in the nine years he was in charge as a manager and handed reins to his assistant Joe Fagan who won treble awards thus setting a record of the first English team to do so (Stephen, 1999). Despite an international ban of ten years which was later reduced to six, Liverpool F.C went on to be a success domestically by winning league titles and league cups. Liverpool enjoyed great success in the late 19th century with the managers that followed (Klopp, Kelly 1988, p. 172.) In the 21st century, we have won more trophies under Gérard Houllier and preceding managers like Rafa Benitez and Kenny Dalglish, Brendan Rogers and currently Jürgen Klopp. They all managed to play exciting attacking and possession football which is the Liverpool way, but off-pitch incidents have hindered their progress. Financial challenges emerged leading to the sale of the club. The new owners took over the club in 2007 as investors were later forced to sell the club in 2010 due to disagreements between them. Not much was invested in the team then. The organization became bankrupt and was sold to a Boston based company called Fenway Sports group in 2010. They inherited an average team that was highly paid and have been reconstructing since then. The new owner later admitted to not knowing anything about Liverpool and business in football before which is one of the reasons why Liverpool has had a slow progress in getting back to the glory days. The owner, Mr. John Henry promised to listen and involve fans involve which did not materialize because fans experienced high ticket pricing soon after which led to a mass walkout during a live match. This compounded with the level of the team at the time was frustrating to the fans.
Supporting LFC today is a little disappointing. The glory days seem to be bygones. The brand of football as changes from the exciting attacking football introduced by Bill Shankly and carried on by his predecessors. As a Liverpool fan, going to games or watching on TV with family and friends does not create the atmosphere of old where the spirit of Bill Shankly was felt. Football has become too modern and gone through a series of change with many rules being changed. Football has seen other clubs buy instant success by investing heavily in managers, players, and technology. As a Liverpool fan, it is frustrating to watch other teams winning trophies after investing heavily. This has led to frustrations seeing friends who support other clubs rejoicing and making fun of my club. We are better than most of this club who have no rich history like ours something I cannot keep doing because it is getting old and frustrating and slowing losing it meaning to the younger fans. It is creating a less emotional connection among fans since there is not much to celebrate apart from our past. During the glory days, we would go to games or watch from home with family. It created an environment for bonding. Today, losing too many games and playing no exciting football is something not to look forward to on the weekends. We have teams who have come from being mid-table tables to league toppers, winning trophies and leagues while we watched frustratingly on the side us Liverpool floundering. These teams wouldn’t have become instant successes if they hadn’t invested in big spending. They are buying history instantly which took us a long time to make, and it feels unfair. You will have their fans gloating and even claiming to be more successful than us. Reminding rivals fans of our success in the 60s, 70s, and 80s are beginning to sound ridiculous and tiring. This makes it very easy for other fans to laugh at us stressing on focusing on the present.
The modern-day football demands instant success hence the sacking of many managers of the period of the season or at the end. During the early years of football, coaches were given time to build teams strong enough to dominate over a period. Players are no longer as loyal as they used to be. Stephen Gerald is the last of that generation, and he has since retired. Players’ loyalty is quickly changed when a bigger and better club come offering a bigger deal; this was seen with Luis Suarez when F.C Barcelona came calling and was almost repeated when the same club wanted the services of one of our most exciting footballer Philippe Coutinho. It is very embarrassing to watch my favorite club to be reduced to an organization that is desperately holding onto to its best player sometimes without success. This is the characteristic trait of average mid-table teams who act as feeder clubs to the elite ones. This is not the Liverpool of old; this is not what should be happening. We are the biggest British club and should act like one.
The high ticket prices, unexciting football, low winning ratio and average players are not the things I want to invest my time. There is no longer joy in going to live matches. The atmosphere in the stadium has become melancholic and a time frustrating, the fans have become none animated thus the stadium feeling like it’s half-filled. Is very disappointing to have fans sat next to you and cannot be bothered with the singing or cheering. I know there are times when you want to watch in silence especially the tense moments but being mum throughout is discouraging. Derbies are no longer what they used to be. We dominated our closest rivals; Manchester United and Everton football clubs. These teams are doing well are currently are hard to beat. Manchester United has gone on and become one of the biggest clubs and have managed to match our trophy haul apart from the European cup and given their ambition it will only be a matter of time.
The management needs to revisit the club’s ambition and take it back to the force it was once was. We have become a club stuck in its history instead of dealing with our present problems. The owners should be people who are vast with our rich history and culture of dominating football, and until then, this club will not be the club to support.
Shankly Bill; Roberts, John, Shankly, 1976)
Stephen F. Kelly, You’ll Never Walk Alone 1988.
Stephen F. Kelly, The boot room boys: inside the Anfield boot room, 1999.
Kelly, Stephen F. Bill Shankly: it’s much more important than that: the biography, Random House, 2011.
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