What Has Happened To Liverpool’s Fanbase?

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Liverpool supporters pride themselves on being one of, if not the best, fan base in the world.

It is something that has been associated with the Reds throughout history, and while a certain level of bias will always be involved, I have often thought no set of fans are quite as passionate, intelligent and proud of their team.

Anfield creates European nights like no other, supporters come together tremendously in moments of adversity and managers and players across the globe heap praise on Liverpool for its dedicated following and world-renowned traditions.

All of this feels like another lifetime ago right now, though.

A summer without a major tournament drags on at the best of times, but the last month or so has been among the most unbearable I can remember as a Reds fan.

Having just qualified for the Champions League for only the second time this decade, and with one of the world’s best managers at the helm, you would have thought positivity would be in the air.

Don’t be silly.

Instead, every single day is just a monotonous, unbearable wave of negativity, mainly due to the increasingly painful transfer window that is driving many to distraction.

Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group are also taking a fair chunk of the gloom, with the ‘FSG Out’ brigade among the most bizarre set of people I have come across. Be frustrated and don’t rate them, but don’t be an oddball.

Anyway, back to the transfer window. To be completely blunt, it is one of the worst things about football nowadays, having once felt like a lot of fun. That element has long been sucked out of it.

As a football writer, it should give me plenty to report on and help keep my summer busy, but it is a two-month period that has become more tiresome by the year.

In a modern age where social media allows everyone to express their opinion – that is a good thing at times – the endless, 24/7 reaction to transfer news is genuinely sapping, with everyone seemingly both an expert and a reader of Jurgen Klopp’s mind.

It’s fair to say that Liverpool haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory so far this summer when it comes to the way they have conducted themselves, so no excuses should be made.

Both Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita were Klopp’s primary targets, but as each day passes, the more it looks as though the Reds will have to look elsewhere.

This is not good news at all, but the reaction among supporters – not all of them, there are still many reasonable ones out there if you look hard enough – has been pathetic.

Already, Liverpool’s summer is being written off as an unmitigated disaster, despite the transfer window opening just over a week ago. It is the equivalent of claiming the season is over after a win, a draw and a defeat in the opening three matches.

With rivals making inroads and spending big, the hysteria has only got worse, but let’s just see how things look on 1st September, shall we?

Where do supporters get the energy to spend their entire summer on their phone, laptop or other devices and whinge endlessly?

Perhaps it is a romantic notion in a world when technology is such an enormous part of day-to-day life, but go and enjoy the nice weather and allow yourself a bit of Liverpool-free time.

After such a productive season on the pitch, we should be so excited moving forward, with Klopp building the most exciting era at the club for years. Instead, some supporters are never happy, and never will be.

There is nothing wrong with demanding excellence from all concerned, and we should feel embarrassed about the Van Dijk situation, in particular, but some perspective is needed.

What I will say, assuming you have got this far into the article rather than hunting me down to tell me my head is in the clouds, is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

If you are genuinely fuming about Liverpool’s summer, and think the club is in a terrible place, fair enough – it just seems sad that no positives can be found from so many.

It is now just over a month until 2017/18 gets underway, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been more desperate for a new campaign to start.That’s not necessarily because of the football, but because it will mean the end of this torturous summer is on the horizon.

Whatever happens with transfer dealings, Klopp will have a formidable-looking squad at his disposal come August – believe it or not, main targets have failed to arrive numerous times in the past, and Liverpool have been absolutely fine.

It kills me to say it, but I’ve never felt more ashamed of a sizeable chunk of Liverpool supporters as I do right now, and there are many I speak to who feel exactly the same, both in person and on social media.

Such impatience and petulance are on show these days, both with on and off-field issues, and it is helping absolutely no-one.

Liverpool’s fan base has shown so many times throughout history that their influence on the team can be more positive than any in world football.

We need to remember how special we can be as a collective, and stop this childish, negative approach that has become insufferable.

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  1. Honestly, there are some huge positives from this window…after many years, we either have top players that like the idea of joining us (Vvd, Keita, Bakayoko), offered to us (James Rodriguez) or have joined us (Salah, Solanke). But the negativity of the fans is disturbing…there is no patience, no perspective, and expect club to be owned by sugar-daddies…IMO, it’s nice to have a self-sustained club which fsg have delivered as promised

  2. Would just like to say that was a great article. There is such a long way to go in the transfer market a d as klopp as said we need to be patient, I do think he will get his targets will just take time and with a bigger and stronger squad I also think we will be challenging for the league come May. Believe come on red men

  3. Remember the start of 05 was all doom and gloom a top manager can work wonders on any squad in klopp we trust.
    Remember we have to turn from doubters into believers well I for 1 sure as hell believe in klopp he will get things right and he will lead us to the holy grail. Great article by the way!!

  4. Its quite simple as to what happened to the fanbase. The local men women and children that were the lifeblood of our club have just been priced out of going to the matches as the preference for clubs is to get in the bigwigs that will spend more at a game than the price of a pint n a pie n maybe a shirt. The passion at matchdays is slowly being eroded by the tourists that come with their mobiles and cameras or whatever and spend half the game taking pics of this and filming that instead of doing what they should and watching the game and becoming involved. I fear for the future of our fans that truly want to go and watch a game as they simply cant afford it anymore. Whats the point if it is all about what a club can make in profits instead of what a club can gain from vociferous support. In the future they may well play in an empty stadium as matchdays will be all about tv and the immersive future of being there without actually being there. Bring back the locals and you bring back the passion which means pricing the tickets accordingly and not just selling tickets online for the plastics to come and have a tour but to sell them at the gates cheap enough so there is more chance for kids to actually see a game without having to spend a week of dads wages

  5. I am 55 years old and was fortunate to grow up in an era when Liverpool were a great side, arguably for a period the best club side in the world. There is nothing I would like better than to see Liverpool win the league title again, even if only the once, before I get too old to be able to go anymore.
    I am not a whinger I am a realist. To date FSG’s major investment and interest in the club has been to fatten the calf. I don’t want to pigeon hole people here but I think most people would agree that your average American businessman/woman has only one long term goal in mind and it’s called profit. If you total the transfer outgoings and incomings since they’ve been here they have spent nowhere near the amount of money required in modern day football to make a team seriously competitive. The countless failed transfer negotiations during the tenure at the club are ample evidence of owners who put cash before success.
    In the last January transfer window Liverpool were, points wise at least, still in with a chance of winning the title but it was obvious to me and many other people I know that we had had was merely a very good streak of form which had flattered the strength and ability in the squad. The general consensus amongst my group of friends was that without strengthening in January we might struggle to even finish in the top four.
    Thankfully we did manage a top four spot but not without some angst along the way and the fact remains that the club was not prepared to spend to give ourselves a chance of challenging at the very top.
    Football is now all about cash. If you discount Leicester as the exception that proves the rule (it will never happen again) then the stark truth is that the clubs who win the title will be the clubs who through mega rich owners are not afraid of losing money to do it. FSG do not fit into that category.
    John Smith once said something along the lines of “LFC exist only to win trophies”. But under the current stewardship many of us do not believe that is the case anymore. So where does that leave me. I do not consider football to be entertainment. I have lived and breathed it all my life. I can’t remember my first game – I was far too young when my father started taking me. To me it’s all about winning or at least seriously trying to win. I get annoyed when people who criticise are branded disloyal or fickle. The thing most people love most in their lives are their family and kids but one of your kids was consistently misbehaving or doing something that wasn’t right you would want to stop it and not encourage them on to making the same mistake over and over. The same rule can be applied to your football club.
    Criticism can come from love and at the other end of the scale absolute badge grabbing “get behind the club” fanaticism can be borne of an ego which says I am a better fan than anybody else. Most of this type of fan would enjoy relegation because it would give them more reason to prove just what superfan they are.
    I will be there next season and as ever I will support the team on match days and confine any negative views till after the game. I hope, quite genuinely, that I am wrong , that over the next couple of weeks we spend enormous amounts on top quality footballers and give ourselves a real chance but I am not holding my breath.

  6. Mate, I’m a bit older than you and I can remember my first game at the age of 9. Anyway, like you I’m a season ticket holder, and a realist but unlike you I supress any negative thoughts. I hear enough of them around me (mostly from locals by the way) on the Kop.

    I honestly believe this constant negativity that’s infected the club is seriously holding us back. FSG might be money men. Guess what, most owners are and that doesn’t stop them winning trophies. But do you really think Klopp would countenance bogus bids for players just to make the owners look good?

    Actually I think whatever happens we go into the new season with an improved squad and a great manager who would rather work with what he’s got than take second or third best. Come on buddy, put your ego to one side and “get behind the club”.

  7. Frank – its got nothing to do with ego. Having a view is not egostical and as I say I keep any negative opinions I have for outside the game itself.
    I need lessons from no one about supporting the team on the pitch.
    You are correct that most owners are money men but `guess what` the ones whose clubs will win the title are the ones who don’t mind losing a bit of money in the process of doing so.
    I never mentioned “bogus” bids so I don’t know where that came from. I simply stated that failure to get transfer targets over the line points to reluctance from the owners spend the cash needed to improve.
    I am also quite curious about the notion the `negativity` expressed away from the match day itself about the performance of the owners is holding the club back. Do you somehow think that because some fans are concerned about the overall intentions of the owners that this somehow stops FSG forking out the money we need to improve? I think its probably true to say FSG don’t give a monkeys about what the average fans thinks.
    If you are talking about people not getting behind the team during the match then I agree with you. During the game everybody should be behind the team. Away from the game itself supporters have the right question the way things are going.
    Anyway lets hope your belief in our owners is justified and at the end of the season we are celebrating a long overdue title. I say this quite genuinely – like I said in my first post nobody would enjoy it more than me.


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