The Anfield Atmosphere
With Liverpool sitting in sixth place in the league and 12 points behind the leaders, Man City, the Twitter brigade are scavenging off poor displays from certain players or the team as a whole.
Although our calamitous defence may be an issue, it is not as big as the issue which is unfolding around the stands caused by the men off the field.
After Huddersfield were served a 3-0 defeat at Anfield on Saturday afternoon, their manager, David Wagner said that he has never “seen Anfield so quiet.”
Even our own manager ‘privately questions’ why Anfield isn’t living up to his expectations, according to the Mirror.
It may not seem a problem to those who watch the match from the comfort of their living room or the pub, but those who spend their hard-earned money to walk through the turnstiles have been greeted with half-and-half scarves of Liverpool and Manchester United and fully grown men with their own name and (presumably) their age on a replica jersey, reading ‘Neil 46’, fresh from the new club shop still with the tags on.
Many lifelong fans have swerved going to Anfield and have been going to watch non-league local teams instead. And who can blame them? A football team is supposed to represent the people of its city and offer a sense of belonging to its fans. This club is not doing this anymore. Once upon a time, you were surrounded by like-minded people, who know the Liverpool way.
Bill Shankly built Liverpool into a side that represented its people. His 1965 FA cup winning team had four scousers in the team. These players represented what the people of Liverpool are about by carrying on playing with a broken collarbone.
The only player remotely near the starting eleven at the moment from Liverpool is Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The owners are not there to see what the atmosphere is like. They have an idealised view that the Kop is a mass sea of red roaring and sucking the ball into the back of the net. FSG seem more bothered about the financial side of the club. But this is obviously the case. It always has been. They bought Liverpool as an investment to make a profit. This is the way modern football is now.
In all fairness to FSG, they have brought in the local sales for tickets, the young adult ticket and they give a number of tickets to local schools to take pupils. Through this, they are recognising the need to bring through the next generation of Reds and getting Liverpool people into the ground.
However, the hospitality lounges and the ‘Carlsberg Dugout’ corporate merchants are evident in their numbers come the start of the second half. Empty seats are alarmingly visible in sections of the Main stand and the Kemlyn Road as these ‘customers’ finish off their pre-paid beverages and prawn sandwiches. Football is the working man’s game, now if you ask your ordinary working man if they would be interested in this type of ticket, you’d be laughed at.
Hospitality packages have offered the ‘customers’ a chance to ‘experience the Anfield atmosphere’. It shouldn’t be the case of experiencing an atmosphere. You should be part of an atmosphere. Going to Anfield offers an education of the Liverpool way, not a taster session.
Even a normal seat in the ground has become too expensive for many fans who have been going for years. The greed of out of town owners has priced out Dads taking their kids to the game. All you have to do is take a look at the demographic inside Anfield on a matchday now, compared to videos of the Spion Kop in the 60s. A 28,000 strong terrace full of young faces belting out songs from The Beatles is contrasting with the image of camera phones and selfie sticks.
Anfield and its loyal fanbase are screaming out for a redevelopment of the Annie Road. But not to make any of it hospitality like the new Main Stand. It needs a section to be something like a Boy’s pen of the Spion Kop. It will do the two things Anfield needs: One being young fans inside the ground. Two being an atmosphere.
Putting hundreds of younger people, say under 25, next to each other is bound to create something like an Away end. That age group haven’t seen us win a league title. A loud Anfield would be back again, spurred on by the youth who haven’t seen what the average age of Anfield has seen.
Communication between the club and fans would be vital to ensure something like this happened. The ball is in the owner’s court with whether they redevelop and what they do with it.