The Local vs Global Divide - My Frustration as a Liverpool Fan
“Your opinion doesn’t matter. Go and support your local team”. This statement, or at least a variation of it delivering the same bone-headed message, is one that makes my blood boil.
The first part of it, in all honesty, is a fair comment when taken at face value. To many people your opinion actually doesn’t matter. At least, it doesn’t matter any more than the next person’s. And in the context of supporting your football team, the chances are that your opinion alone doesn’t matter to the club. However … and this is a big however … the insinuation that your opinion doesn’t matter because you are not local to the club in question, is quite frankly the biggest pile of shit that can come out of the mouth (or from the fingers) of the ignorant fools making such a statement.
Let me take a moment to educate the numbskulls whose verbal diarrhea leads them to so loosely and flippantly come out with such nonsense:
Liverpool Football Club is an institution. It is so much more than your run of the mill football team. It is a global community that reaches out to every corner of the world and unites people – irrespective of language, race and religion.
When discussing the redevelopment of Anfield, Liverpool FCs chief commercial officer Billy Hogan claimed that club research had revealed that the Liverpool has a global fanbase of 580 million people. FIVE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY MILLION LIVERPOOL SUPPORTERS WORLDWIDE. Now whilst the accuracy of this figure may be debatable, what isn’t debatable is that the level of support that our club garners is in the hundreds of millions.
The reason that Billy Hogan was at pains to point out this figure is the relevance that it has from a business perspective. Commercially having so many fans ploughing their money into the club enables Liverpool FC to compete at the highest level. Make no mistake about it, in the absence of billionaire backers, the income generated through sponsorship, merchandising and tours – in a nutshell exploiting the club’s global appeal – is crucial in allowing the club to operate at the level that it does.
Therefore if you are gleefully riding on the crest of the Liverpool FC wave, enjoying watching the top quality, exceptionally well paid players that represent our club and compete at the top end of richest football league in the world, then you should at the very least acknowledge and appreciate the support that ALL Liverpool fans show for the club.
But you know what? It runs deeper than the money. So much deeper.
It is a great source of pride for me that through the medium of social media I have been able to connect with so many fellow supporters from all over the world, discussing views and exchanging opinions on all things Liverpool FC. One such medium that taps into and utilises the global identity of the club is the Anfield Index website, which unites fans from all countries by giving us a voice. Irrespective of where people are from, the extensive variety of podcasts and the opportunity to write articles provides a platform for so many people to express themselves and share their thoughts with the rest of the fanbase.
As a consequence of my association with Anfield Index, coupled with the experience that I continue to enjoy when discussing the club on Twitter, I can say unequivocally that the knowledge shown by some of the people who I have seen being told that they should “support their local team” as their “opinion doesn’t matter”, far surpasses that of the drivel that comes out of many the self-professed “proper fans”.
Some of these supporters are up watching Liverpool matches in the middle of the night or in the early hours of the morning. Others are spending copious amounts of money travelling to see the team play and on as much club merchandise as they can afford. Some are doing all of the above. They care. We all care. And we all deserve the same level of respect from one another.
You have no choice where you are born. And some have no choice who they support – they are born into it. But those who aren’t born into supporting the club and who do make that choice are no less important, no less relevant, than anybody else.
We all support Liverpool Football Club. We all want the club to succeed. And the significance of our opinions are all as important … or irrelevant … as one another as supporters. We are equal.
So in closing, I’m offering some advice to those idiots who disrespect other supporters and tell them to “go and support your local team”: If you are too precious an individual to acknowledge, respect and appreciate the worldwide support for the club. If you actually believe that your opinion is more important than the opinion of those whom you spout your bile at. And if you claim that you would rather Liverpool FC be in the lower tiers of English football for the sake of the club being more localised …
Then I suggest that you “go and support your local pub team”.