The Modern Day Liverpool Fan

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Mark Simpson provides some advice for following Liverpool during the transfer window – and beyond.

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Supporting Liverpool Football Club is funny ol’ thing. It’s getting more strenuous with every season that passes. Not because of the results, not because of the style of play and not because we haven’t seen Champions League football since 2009. The reason why is because of the “modern day fan”. Nowadays you can’t turn anywhere without finding them.

They are the modern day “Full Kit Wankers”!. You have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Talk Sport & BBC Five Live phone ins; you have websites and blogs; you have the fans that go to the game and your mate down the pub so depressed with the results and style of play that it makes you want to end your trust in football all together.

Hopefully this blog will help you identify these creatures and avoid them. My aim is to prevent you from losing your sanity, or worse becoming one yourself.

Liverpool is one of the biggest football clubs in the world; only a select few clubs can rival our history. The result of this, obviously, is that Liverpool Football Club is one of the most supported. Millions of fans that have access to the internet, all with their opinion to share at an instant; uUnfortunately a lot of them without thinking first.

In the written press you have journalists who are willing to share exactly how they feel with their personal opinions. These journalists have almost become celebrity figures, with so many people hanging on their every word waiting to press the ‘RT’ button and spread what they think of the latest result or transfer link in 140 characters. And, to make it worse, there are plenty of ex-pros in the media waiting to give their penny’s worth as well.

It is so easy to get caught up in it all. We have all been there, after a Liverpool win the first thing you do is go on to twitter, scroll up to get the latest feeds and sit back and bask in the glory tweets about how well Liverpool have played; stats coming in from Opta accounts and the Four Four two app, you pour over how many passes Liverpool have completed, how many players Suarez has nutmegged and finding out that Liverpool have broke the record for the most amount of touches in the 6 yard box in the space of 10 minutes. Every small detail is analysed and published within 10 minutes of the final whistle.

Then there are the games when the red men have drawn or, God forbid, lost. You reluctantly take your phone out and hit the refresh button to get tweet-upon-tweet about how the club should not have got rid of Dalglish, about what Rafa would have done, the need for a complete change in style of play and questions on whether Rodgers is good enough for to succeed. You keep hitting that refresh button, waiting for some good news, or a stat, which you can grasp on to.

When you want to bask in glory, Liverpool Football Club is splashed everywhere for you to take it in, share it and gloat to rival fans. When you want to hide from it, when you want to get away and turn your laptop off and forget about it until the next game, you get constant reminders on your phone; notifications of people mentioning you on Twitter, commenting on your Facebook wall or, worse, the text message from your mates who support that rival side.

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Matchday

The modern Liverpool fan is a strange specimen, going to Anfield now is like going to a party where you’re not allowed to have any fun. Everyone talks about that fantastic special Anfield atmosphere. I have witnessed it myself on those European nights, but recently I have never known it to be this quiet. To put it to the test, I have made sure that I have sat in every stand. The Kop is obviously the loudest, but compared to what it was is an issue.

You get the old fellas who have been there since the 70’s and 80’s, who keep going because they don’t want to lose their season tickets. Then you get the day-trippers, the fan that takes more photos on their smart phone (or even worse, iPad) than actually properly watching the game.

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t everyone, but the ratio from day-trippers and moaners is fast catching up with the normal football fan that is walking into Anfield wanting to watch their team play football and enjoy it. Going to football, watching your team play, is meant to be 90 minutes of escape from your reality. It is your release from mundane 9-5 working life. When you start to not enjoy it, it is when you should not be watching football at all.

Silly Season

Then comes the transfer window, which is where we are right now. This is when Twitter takes over so many people’s lives. It is when, if you allow it to you can end up spending hours just scrawling through your Twitter time line, hoping to see if Liverpool are any closer to landing a new player. All of a sudden so-called ITK’s (in the know) pop up wanting their 15 minutes of glory and take advantage of this fact. Spouting out lies and false links, which get swallowed up by thousands of football fans all over the world. It seems to me that Liverpool FC have more alleged ITK’s then any other club. Every day there is a new account popping tweeting “Confirmed by sources close to the club XXXX is wanting to sign for #LFC”.

Every day so many people buy into these false rumours and share it to the masses within minutes. Some even make it into the newspapers, which I find amazing. So many arguments spawn from these tweets. It is crazy at how angry people get over a transfer story. Take the Mkhitaryan saga for example. This was reported in the press and on Twitter from the off. The club were obviously happy for the fans to know, and confident a deal could be struck. However what they didn’t account for was that the player himself was going to choose to go to Dortmund, which is fair enough.

Dortmund have Champions League football and are a great club. If you look back on it now, so many people were getting worked up. Firstly when it looked like the transfer was going ahead stating how we are going to win the League with this player and how Ayre was a mastermind. Then when it flipped on it’s head and he joined Dortmund, Ian Ayre was the cancer within football all of a sudden. People like Tony Barrett of the Times, James Pearce in the Echo, Ben Smith from the BBC and some random Armenian journalist who none of us had heard before June, were all getting it in the neck saying they had spouted lies from the off.

I must admit this is where I have the upmost respect for any journalist who has a Twitter account during the transfer window. Anytime they pop their head up to give a slight update, they are bombarded with, “Is #LFC going to sign XXX?”, “What’s happening with XXX?” “You don’t know what your talking about!” The list goes on.

In the transfer window every fan would love to see a “marquee” signing, however some take it too far. If your club doesn’t go out and buy that big name player then there is a social media up roar. This summer I have even seen a #RodgersOut hashtag, which is madness!

You have to look where Liverpool sits right now in the world standings. When you’re after the likes of Mkhitaryan and players of that ilk; players who have worked hard to get them selves on all the scouting reports, players who have established themselves in another country by winning player of the year awards and titles. They will have a choice of teams to choose from. This summer Liverpool can’t offer Europe, so why should that player who has no emotional ties to the club choose Liverpool when they have other teams who are after them that can?

Yes Liverpool have an amazing history and to play at Anfield is something that is a big draw, but players don’t sign for the history, they sign for the present and the future. Yes you could throw money at it and give them a bumper contract, however do we want to be giving players big contracts from the off. Surely they should be hungry enough to sign for Liverpool, perform and then earn their bigger contract. This is how Liverpool and FSG are currently operating. Sturridge took a pay cut and Aspas is reportedly on £25k a week. Both will be on performance incentivised contracts, which is the correct way to run your club when you are trying to get back to where you want to be.

Our current market right now is the up and coming star and the Europe elite clubs reject. Hungry players who want to make a name for themselves at a club that is trying to get back into the Champions league and in the worlds eyes once more.

When Liverpool are linked with unknowns it can go one of two ways. They fish out clips online and drool over him (Normally attacking players) or they write him off before he has kicked a ball.

The prime example is the proposed signing of the Benfica left back Lorenzo Melgarejo. When his name was mentioned thousands of the modern day Liverpool football fan took to Twitter to say he is shit and shouldn’t be signing for Liverpool. I have never understood this personally, how can you make your mind up on a player when you have never seen him play for Liverpool FC. Surely you have to give him 6 months before you make this assumption, not 6 minutes of YouTube footage.

In June Neil Jones wrote an excellent piece about ITK’s and the transfer window in the Liverpool Echo. If you have not read it yet, go and do so. (After reading this of course.)

It is so easy to get caught up in it all. Take last season for example, from the start of Rodgers reign every Liverpool fan I saw on Twitter was asking for him to be given time – for Liverpool fans to get behind the manager and the team. They understood that this was going to be a season of transition and they accepted this. I wish I had saved those tweets at the time because those same people are now the ones who are saying that Rodgers needs to be sacked and that the team are worse now than they were last season, after every poor result.

Yes, we all love to see Liverpool win football games and every fan would love to see their team go a whole season unbeaten, but unfortunately the chance of this happening are very slim.
Last season was all about transition and although it was hard to see Liverpool finish 7th in the league, it is all about patience and progression.

I know that we can’t wait forever, but what you need to remember is that Liverpool FC is a club that is rebuilding after the disastrous ownership that was Hicks and Gillett.

Positives

The positives are there for all to be seen, just look at the image below. This was taken from the Liverpool official website.

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For a season where Liverpool were known for their goals, they actually only conceded 3 more goals then the season prior and kept more clean sheets.

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In attack they scored 34% more goals and had a higher rate of assists and conversion rate.
The signs are there, and with a few more decent additions to the squad who knows where Liverpool could go form here.

Football is football and getting too caught up in it can drive you insane.

Advice

So, this is my message to the modern day Liverpool fan: follow these 5 simple steps and you will live a happier life.

  • Don’t take Twitter too seriously, don’t take every thing in, and don’t rise to rival teams who are waiting for you to take their bait. In fact, do what I do and don’t even switch on Twitter after a game. You feel much better for it. Also, think before you type, because once you have laid out your 140 characters and pressed send there is no getting it back. Above anything else, don’t get disappointed when Liverpool don’t sign someone who 1 month ago you had never heard of before, let alone spell.
  • Follow the right Liverpool football Twitter accounts, @ThisisAnfield complied a list of the best Twitter accounts to follow which you can find here.
  • Stay clear of the likes of IndyKalia, ‘The Moose’ and Adrian Durham from TalkSport. They are just there to wind you up. Purely in the public eye to make money on the fact that they love to cause a stir. You don’t need them in your life.
  • Read articles online from quality websites such as The Anfield Wrap, The Tomkins Times, The Bib Theorists and This Is Anfield. Download Podcasts from @5Timesco, @TheAnfieldWrap and @Thebibtheorists.
  • When you go to a game, enter the stadium knowing you are going to enjoy watching your team play. Don’t be ashamed to join in on the songs, belt out You’ll Never Walk Alone louder then you have ever sung it before; you want to be leaving the stadium at full time with a hoarse voice, drained after mentally kicking every ball and making every off-the-ball run.
    • And finally, perhaps the most important thing to do, is remember this saying: “If you can’t support your team when they lose or draw, then you shouldn’t support them when they win”

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