It was the Godfather of Liverpool Football Club Bill Shankly who once said “I am just one of the people on the Kop”. The Kop is the heart and soul of Liverpool FC. A football stand like no other it has not only became synonymous with our great club but it stand`s proud as the most famous stand in world football. One of football`s great odyssey`s The Kop and Bill Shankly is in many way`s a never ending love story.
Shanks would of cringed at Stan Collymore`s recent comments about “the cult” of Liverpool fans who are holding the club back. According to Collymore, the flag waving superfan has too much of a say in how the club is run. I myself am strongly opposed to Collymore`s viewpoint.
When Collymore talks about the flag waving superfan he is no doubt referring to the loyal, passionate Kopites who support the club through thick and thin.These are the supporter`s who show up for every game and follow the team up and down the country on away days. Collymore is of the opinion that this cult should not have more of a voice than a Liverpool fan in India or New Zealand.
Now, I am not one for knocking the club`s foreign support. After all, coming from Dublin, Ireland, how could I? I am very proud of the club`s massive world-wide fan base. To me, a Liverpool fan who understands the club`s philosophy is every bit as much a Liverpool fan as one who grew up in Anfield or Bootle.
Consequently, no one can match the local Kopites for passion and commitment when it comes to this magnificent club. Liverpool FC is a very much a symbol of the wonderful city of Liverpool. The club was formed in Liverpool and the majority of it’s support on a matchday is from Liverpool. Our world famous, magical and mythical like stadium Anfield was named after the area of Anfield which is located in Liverpool. The Liverbird which is a representation of the city of Liverpool is also affiliated with Liverpool Football Club. As the years have gone by, my respect for The Kop has only thickened and deepened.The Kop`s knowledge is unmatched anywhere in England. When it comes to love for their club The Kop is unrivalled. Accused of being blind by fans of rival club`s The Kop will always back a player who give`s 100%.
The Kop`s love of their own team far outweighs their dislike of any other team. It was Kevin Keegan who once said, “The only thing I fear in life is missing an open goal in front of The Kop.I think I would die if that were to happen. When they sing You’ll Never Walk Alone, my eyes start to water. There has being time`s when I have actually being crying while playing.” Collymore should remember it was this cult who sang his name, supported him and paid his wages while he had his while documented problems at Liverpool.
No doubt this cult will be calling for the team to remain at Anfield but then again what supporter in their right mind wouldn’t? Move away from our home of 120 years and it would be really hard for any fan to remain totally attached to the club. Imagine Liverpool playing in the Pepsi or Budweiser stadium? Hence I am not one for living in the past either. Liverpool`s huge sponsorship deals with Standard Chartered and Warrior Sports have my fully backing. In fact I applaud Ian Ayre for pulling off those deals. It was great business. However when it comes to building a new stadium I remain fully against the idea. No amount of money is worth selling your soul for. Thats what LFC would be doing by moving away from our historic home.
Football fans everywhere are finding themselves more and more alienated from their club`s by the route the club`s are taking.Money and greed have became Vampire-like. They have eaten away at the heart and soul of football.Former Liverpool chairman David Moore`s came in for a battering for not modernising the club.But the thing people missed was Moore`s was a man who held the club very dear to his heart.He not only put his money where his mouth was but remained very true to his principle`s and the Liverpool way. It was not his fault football sold it`s soul nor was it his fault Graeme Souness or Roy Evans blew best part of the huge transfer kitty he afforded both men.
A lot of Liverpool`s support are no doubt anxious of the fact that Manchester United have not only matched our league title tally but went ahead of us albeit by one. Alot of fan`s fear we are danger of being left behind.I would disagree.Liverpool`s matchday expenditure might be way behind United`s but we can sort that out by increasing the capacity of Anfield (which I pray happens). Their has to be a way to make our dream of staying at Anfield a reality.One only has to watch the discovery channel to look at what can be achieved by imagination.Surely any Architect would love the challenge of redeveloping Anfield.
Like I said I am not one for living in the past but I also believe our unparalleled heritage and history must entwine with our future if we are truly to return to our former glories. It is our past that make`s us what we are today. Erase our past and we are nothing. Our legendary support has played more of a part in our success than anyone.If the club lose`s it`s support then it cease`s to exist. It`s as simple as that. And these supporter`s that Stan Collymore calls the cult have as much a part as anyone to play in what will hopefully be a brillant future. In my opinion these supporter`s should be consulted first on everything LFC. These are the grassroot fans who will be there through thick and thin. Through the good times and bad. These are the supporters who will walk through a storm with their head held high…