At the time of writing, LFC is still chasing the quadruple – (League, F.A, Premiership and Champions League cups) – unprecedented in football’s history. During this year’s FA Cup final, which saw Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties, Liverpool fans booed the national anthem, the hymn Abide With Me and Prince William.
In response to the right-wing press’s outrage, the astute Jurgen Klopp posed a question:
“…It’s always best to ask the question – why does this happen? They wouldn’t do it without a reason.”
Liverpool fans boo the national anthem
Fans’ boos caused much outrage amongst those who feel the future King, country and their mythical ‘Empire’ have been insulted, by a section of the crowd articulating what an increasing number of people beyond the crowd feel – sick of the bizarre spectacle of royals recreating our colonial past, by descending like Jupiter on a cloud, to confer handshakes and the thaumaturgic touch on mere mortals.
But booing the national anthem was not only about protesting the spectacle of royalty and patriotism – it was also about justice for the Hillsborough 97.
LFC fans have historically booed the national anthem – and with good reason. The government’s victim blaming and shameful cover up of the Hillsborough Disaster of 1989, and Thatcher’s ‘managed decline’ of Liverpool in the 1980s, are often cited as factors. The banner ‘Scouse not English’ regularly seen at games sums up many fans’ feelings – Liverpudlians’ and ‘wools’ alike.
The Telegraph triumphantly wrote that Boris Johnson had “slapped down” Jurgen Klopp with his response, with the statement from Johnson’s spokesman that there is never any need to jeer the national anthem:
“It was a great shame that as we were making 150 years of the FA Cup that brings people together that a small minority chose to act in that way.”
Majority of fans booing
The lie that it was a “minority” of fans booing, was challenged by an anonymous fan (not a Scouser) who was amongst the Travelling Kop at Anfield South on Saturday. He said it wasn’t a “minority” of fans booing:
“We only found out Abide With Me was played afterward – we were still booing the National Anthem so loud… The vast majority were booing, it wasn’t just a few…”
Also present at Wembley, was TikTok’s largest Liverpool fan account, LFCLive, who explained:
“The fans booed an anthem representing a nation that gives them stick everywhere they go, Joe Gomez was booed by England fans at Wembley for being a Liverpool player who was assaulted by Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling. I can understand why the fans have no time for patriotism.”
Perpetuating the lies of the right-wing media
Liverpool fans have had to endure chants from opposing fans, for years, mocking them for poverty, calling them ‘bin-dippers’, ‘dole-ites’ and even mocking the dead of Hillsborough.
Rival fans are doing the dirty work of the sneering shills of the right-wing press, every time a chant perpetuates the lies of The Sun and the Spectator.
To understand some of the history, we need look no further than a now infamous Spectator column of 2004 edited by Johnson, where Simon Heffer wrote:
“[Liverpudlians] see themselves whenever possible as victims, and resent their victim status; yet at the same time they wallow in it. Part of this flawed psychological state is that they cannot accept that they might have made any contribution to their misfortunes, but seek rather to blame someone else for it, thereby deepening their sense of shared tribal grievance against the rest of society…”
The Spectator described Liverpudlians as having “an excessive predilection for welfarism” – a view which can be heard on the terraces with chants from rival fans. One example is:
“Sign on, sign on, with hope in your heart And you’ll never get a job You’ll never get a job.”
Sung to the tune of LFC’s iconic anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone.
The Spectator piece, whilst not Johnson’s, was given a free pass by him, as editor.
Worse still, the piece reiterated the vile and blatant lies first aired by The Sun (still, to this day banned from Anfield Road and from LFC pressers):
“Liverpool’s failure to acknowledge, even to this day, the part played in the disaster by drunken fans at the back of the crowd who mindlessly tried to fight their way into the ground that Saturday afternoon. The police became a convenient scapegoat…”
Which is so obscene, I only repeat it here to drive home just exactly where the far right is coming from. The Spectator’s words are echoed in footage of rival fans walking through Liverpool, singing: “The Sun was right, you murderers”.
Response to a feudal and unequal society
In reality, Liverpool fans are the voice of many who need to boo a feudal and unequal society, where politicians draw a large wage and best part of a quarter of a million pounds in expenses in some cases, yet deliver homilies on how we should be able to budget for food with 30p a day. A 21st-century country where royals re-enact colonialist visits to Commonwealth countries, standing atop Land Rovers, as if it were 1953.
The 97 still have not had justice. Some of those directly responsible for what happened all those years ago are still walking round as free men. The government of the day has not shouldered responsibility and our current government has at its head a former Spectator journalist who signed off on those reprehensible words.
Millions of ordinary people have been caught in the crossfire of a culture war started by the far right to fan the destructive flames of Brexit in 2016 – the managed decline of the 1980s turned into the imposed-as-class-war austerity of the 2000s. They can’t expect us not to fire back.
Those on the right are happy for English fans to boo players who take the knee. Yet, these libertarian champions of ‘free speech’ condemn the booing of their jingoistic shibboleths.
Justice for the 97.
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