“Sell Park Now!” or whatever the lad was saying…
So. Before you get into the main bit below, I’d better tell you that I’m a dyed-in-the-wool, born and bred Everton fan. A scouser, and a devilishly handsome one at that. It shouldn’t be important, but I know that this will automatically mean a proportion of the people reading this will instantly dismiss anything I’m about to say. Partly because of where I’m from (which is ludicrous), and partly because of my good looks (more understandable). So I’m giving you the chance to opt out from the start.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’d better tell you what this is about. As fate would have it, I’m heading abroad for work in the very near future and, as I’m in the frankly ace position of not working by choice at the moment, I’m always looking for enjoyable ways to fill my day. I stumbled upon this here site via Sabotage Times and so far, it’s ticked most of my boxes.
There was an article posted on here a couple of days ago, which I’m sure most of you have read – “Green and gold until Park has been sold” http://www.afinelung.com/?p=4394. Reading it, I felt like someone was filming my brain. It hit the nail on the head perfectly, summing up the stealthy, almost imperceptible change in outlook that has been taking place amongst the movers and shakers who show their faces at society’s latest sporting fad, the “football match”.
There’s little point in raking over the detail in that article, because it was damn-near perfect. I’m sure there were plenty of older, wiser heads nodding and saying “he’s right, you know”, but what worried me more were some of the comments that followed.
A few stuck out. I skipped over the people who focussed in on the fact that the song related to Park, and asked what he’d done to cause such offence, he’s been a good player, there’s more to football than goals etc. Irrelevant. Not the point of the article at all. Read it again, and read it better.
I also swerved the bits about people justifying singing it by saying that they were “old skool”, council estate raised, match-going since the 1950s United fans. Again, irrelevant, and the article wasn’t written with you in mind. You can tell, because there’s a massive clue in the text where it says “this wasn’t written about you”. Or words to that effect.
I also belly laughed at some of the more self-righteous, indignant responses from people who missed the whole point of the article. They’re probably the sort who moaned in Religious Education that the Bible was flawed because of its insistence on the Immaculate Conception.
One of the themes that cropped up was one I alluded to earlier – the validity of the points in the original article was questioned because, horror of horrors, some Liverpool fans actually agreed with it. I know! Imagine that!
So, before I move on, let’s get something else out in the open. I fucking hate Liverpool. Far more than you do. Oh, shut up, you people know nothing about hating them. You think you do, and you’ve got the history of hate stoked up by the media, and the recent events that have exacerbated the situation and blah de fucking blah.
Come back to me when you’ve shared a city with the despicable, spoiled little bastards. When you’ve had to literally rub shoulders with the self-aggrandising, flag waving, blame laying, Suarez idolising gobshites. For 37 years. You think you know hate, but you don’t. Not like I do. I can’t bring myself to talk football with, ooooh, 99% of them. Mates or not, I simply cannot have a sensible conversation about football with them without a reversion to type from our red cousins. So be it. That said, it doesn’t mean they can never be right. And if I can see that, then surely so can you.
The original article, put simply, was all about understanding the rivalry between not the clubs, but the two cities themselves. Granted, a game between Liverpool and Manchester United is the most obvious format for the playing out of the rivalry, but that’s just a manifestation of a deeper seated rivalry that transcends football.
The article wasn’t about the song. It was about the singers. The phonies who’ve gradually eased their way into our midst and feel comfortable singing shite they know fuck all about, versus the people who actually get it. It’s modern voyeurism. They’re peering into our heritage, our culture, and claiming it as their own. They’ve basically read “the idiots’ guide to supporting United/Liverpool”.
Now, I’m not going to tell people how they should go about supporting their clubs. Some love the merchandise and the singing, and collecting the DVDs, buying posters, wearing replikits with their favourite player’s name on it. Some just turn up. Some don’t even do that. None of them are correct or incorrect, and I won’t judge you for doing any of that.
Actually, not true. I will judge you if you’re over 14 and you’ve got a kit with a player’s name on the back. If you do that, you’re a tit. No, no, I can hear you protesting and I don’t care. You. Are. A. Tit.
But that fundamental, universal truth aside, the only other “fan” I actively judge is the one who does stuff because that’s what you’re supposed to do. I mentioned in the comments bit under the original article that I can’t stand the thought of the Essex boy on his first trip to Old Trafford giving it all the “sign on” and “in your Liverpool slums” bollocks, because they don’t get it.
I’m the same about the bells who insist that Chelsea – no, hang on, City – are the real pariahs because their money has spoiled the game. I seem to remember Everton being the Mersey Millionaires in the 70s. Spurs have always been loaded. Big clubs have always attracted big money and big players. The scale of wealth has increased, the gulf between haves and have-nots has widened, but it’s always been there and if you’re basing your hate on the fact that someone’s got rich then, again, you’re a tit who knows nothing about the history of the game.
As far as I’m concerned, you don’t have to fit the stereotypical fan profile of a club to support that club. You don’t have to be from the place, you don’t have to drink in the pubs, you don’t have to do any of the stuff that “better fans” think makes them “better fans”. You just have to get it. Get the team, the culture, the ethereal intangible essence that makes your club the club it is.
I thought about writing this, and I thought about not writing it – the latter, mainly because it’s just restating the content of an already very well written article. So I’ll wrap this up by saying that I hate Liverpool, I hate United and I hate City. Not because someone’s told me to, but because I’m a scouser. Not because I’m a sheep who relies on others to tell me what to think, but because I have my reasons. And I’ll happily take the same back from people who get the distinction, because that actually is the way it should be.
You jealous manc bastards.