It is difficult to be a supporter of a club who has world-wide notoriety. In this age of technology and globalization, the world has become very small and the the footballing world seems even smaller. It is easy, however, to forget how perspectives are affected based on demographics and location.
Considering the vastness of Liverpool fans is something we simply are not capable of doing. Maybe that is why some have decided that real fans are only the ones who show up on the weekend at Anfield. Even though if it were not for a global support base, the team would be at best a Championship side. When reading comments on Twitter, blogs, or Facebook, we tend to try to compartmentalize those involved. There are insta-fans who want big spending, whatever the cost to have success now. There are Rafa cultists who will never be happy until the Spaniard is manager again and is given megabucks to build his squad. There are the go-alongs who will put blind faith into anything the manager or owners are doing because any other action seems futile. And then, there are the analysts whose opinion shifts based on results and actions taking place. Those are just a few examples, but there are countless other segmentations we attempt to categorize people in.
Within all of those groups where it seems so easy to draw a line to separate people are lines that are not so easily distinguishable. Two people might share opinions on an issue like player transfer policy, but what if one is a woman and the other man? Perhaps one lives in Bootle and the other in Malaysia. Maybe one grew up working class and the other never had to worry about living paycheck to paycheck. All of these differences shape our personalities and points of view to be truly unique. I know we have readers from around the world. I have seen links from Russia, Macedonia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the UK, and the US to name a few. I wonder what is being lost in translation and what idioms are not being understood? Hopefully, my main point comes across and that is we are all different and for good reason.
I write this because times are difficult at the club right now and I find myself also guilty of trying to segment people and choose sides. I get very frustrated at those fans who seem to have only short term memory and even more frustrated at those who possess nothing but long term. I get frustrated at those who want success yesterday and also at those who are willing to wait another 20 years. There is only ‘us’ and ‘them’ and ‘us’ consists of people who agree with me. That is a terrible point of view to have. Because the ‘us’ is probably a very small collection of individuals. Instead of becoming frustrated at those who disagree with us for whatever reason, let us start looking at what positives we can take from them.
One particular example is Spirit of Shankly. I do not always agree with what they have done or the position they have taken, but it is important to remember that like all supporters, SoS is not one person. I do, however, like the official stance and suggestion that FSG should appoint a Liverpool based chief executive so there is an ownership presence on Merseyside. For me, that seems to be something lacking and I can get behind the idea. Others may not agree and will never like FSG, but that is fine, that is their opinion.
We all want the club to enjoy more success so that we can stop pointing to the past as justification for calling Liverpool the greatest club in the world. What prevents us from getting along like one big happy family is we do not all agree on how to get there. What everyone has to realize is that it is okay. It is okay to not agree with one another and to have productive discussions. However, the infighting amongst supporters that has been taking place for far too long must stop. There is no reason to think another person is of lesser value because of the opinion he or she holds. When those opinions are different from our own and offend us, we start to look for anomalies to rationalize why the other person is so unlike-minded from us; they must be from the US or they must not be someone who has a season ticket. Maybe they’re Welsh or an insta-fan. It really does not matter. Stop with what is being said and start asking why. When is the last time someone disagreed with you and instead of getting defensive you asked, “Why do you think that way?” Talk to each other rather than at each other. Have a discussion, don’t have an argument. At the end of the day when the dust settles, it is okay if you agree to disagree.
The phrase, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” used to mean something more than just being in someone’s signature. I have seen some really nasty comments where an individual ended by typing YNWA. The next time you type YNWA or hear the words sung by the Kop on matchday, think about what they really mean. Do you embody the phrase? White, black, yellow, brown, European, Asian, South American, northerner, southerner, working class, impoverished, rich; if you’re reading this, you are all Red. That does not mean we have to get along and always share the same opinion, but we are all family. You do not have the fortune of choosing who your family is. Like it or not, you’re stuck with us. Let’s find a way to get along.