Anfield’s SeatServe – American Anfield

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Ahead of Liverpool’s enthralling 5-0 win over Watford on Saturday evening, I was angered to see stickers slapped on the bank of seats promoting an app that Liverpool Football Club are now using.

This app, SeatServe, allows fans to have food and drink personally delivered to their seats before the game, at halftime, or even worse, during the game.

There are many moral issues with the induction of this skip-the-queue system. One is that it seems to be offering an advantage to those who have smartphones to be served before people who have no other choice but to wait in the long queues or miss the last few minutes of the second half.

It seems like yet another Americanism that the owners, or someone on the board, has imposed to make another quick buck by looking at their native sports of Baseball and Ice Hockey. In that sense, it should not really come as a surprise that FSG, who own Boston Red Sox, have decided to look at how the Red Sox fans have their ‘corn dogs’, popcorn, nachos (which is now on the menu at Anfield) and their colas delivered to them via a member of staff dressed as a lollipop in a paper hat.

It would also not be a surprise if cup holders were installed ahead of next season into the seats, accompanied with the strapline that it will ‘enhance the matchday experience that offers comfort and relaxation.’

At the match, I did not see anybody using this method of purchase, but the day it does and I am asked to pass along a ‘scouse hot dog’ and the box of pizzas to the modern day fan down the row, I will refuse. I refuse to participate in getting in the way of fellow fans trying to watch the game, all for the benefit of an impatient, greedy, thoughtless customer sitting in the same row as me.

Speaking to an employee who works at the bars in the concourse, serving food and drinks to fans, he expressed his views on the app being used inside Anfield. The 20-year-old, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s stupid. It’s a way to try and make more money. It’s not a restaurant, you don’t sit and dine.

“I think it should only apply to the disabled fans”.

If this system was used only for the disabled fans who are disadvantaged as it is, then it would be viewed as a thoughtful move for the less fortunate inside the ground. The fact is that the club want to exploit other angles of how to drain the pockets of the fans inside the ground as much as they can, while putting an American twist to it.

The app hasn’t been introduced into all four stands in Anfield, as of yet, but the lack of thought for workers who face a hectic rush of fans trying to get served in time, so they are in their specks for the start of the match, are now being asked to rush around the stand they work in, tirelessly walking up and down the stairs. The workers are told during their training that the customer has to be served within 30 seconds of asking for what they want. I wonder what the time limit will be from the moment the customer, tapping away on his smartphone, processes his order to them receiving their food and drinks?

Soon enough, the ‘Charge Theme’, commonly used in the NHL and Baseball, will be belted out when the ball goes out for a corner, a team is awarded a free kick or a substitution is made.

If the extremes of this are allowed to happen, the fans should respond by charging out of the ground in protest against how the ethos of the club is being torn apart from overseas owners, who haven’t been raised knowing the values and principles of the club. Owners who will never understand how our club was set up to represent the people and not to represent the interest of foreign owners’ bank account.

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  1. Hi,

    Sorry, ‘Skip the queue system’?

    App ordering systems don’t let you skip the queue. Generally when you place an order, using an app, it is prepared chronologically. While app ordering will let you ‘avoid’ the queue, I think we can look at this as a positive.

    I understand your point about lack of access to smart devices – but app ordering will actually speed up the service for the punters who are still ordering the old fashioned way – with less people queuing for food and beverages.

    Often, when app ordering system are launched ‘dark kitchens’ are opened to cater for them. A dark kitchen is one that is not open to the public and it’s sole purpose is to prepare food for app orders. These can be strategically placed around the ground to avoid congestion.

    As for the staff, this will more than likely increase the required staffing level, offering more jobs to the local community.

    You mention that you don’t want to get in the way of a fellow fans match watching, but fans are often up and down out of theirs seats during the game to get food or beverages. Having a trained staff member politely ask you pass something to someone else seems far less invasive.

    I agree it does have a feeling of being Americanised, but we shouldn’t rule change out for that reason alone.

    In my opinion an app ordering service does call into question values and principles of the club. And to say (paraphrasing) ‘fans should charge out of the ground due to the ethos of the club being torn about’ is irresponsible.

    Just remember; while our owners are not perfect – who’s are? – they’re far from the worst.


  2. Quite the over reaction. It’s simply an effort by the club to make the ordering process easier and faster for supporters. What’s wrong with that? More jobs, shorter lines, and more time to focus on the match. It may not work out but it certainly isn’t an effort to “tear apart the ethos of the club”. Get a grip!

  3. How is it more time to focus on the match when you have bits of food passed down the row, people standing up to reach over and get it and the blatant use of a mobile phone at the match just to order food.
    Yes it is tearing apart the ethos of the club. Match going fans like to keep the culture of following the reds traditional, not american

  4. Jimmy, it’s just one element of what the club is becoming. It’s a brand now. A money making machine with no consideration for customers. They haven’t made this app for fans convenience, it’s for their profit as they believe more fans will get food and drinks because of this.

    The fact they only put it in the main stand, which is more corporate says it all. The idea doesn’t sit well with fans who want to go the match and watch the footy and create an atmosphere.

    It isn’t a mountain of a molehill when you see what the club is becoming.

  5. It’s not giving more jobs it’s giving the staff more jobs to do. They have a breather during the match but with this app they are expected to serve hundreds of fans at half time and before the game and then run up and down the main stand during the game? The reactions that suggests the app is a good thing is coming from people who do not go the game, do not get the match going culture and to put it nicely, these are the opinions of people who do not understand what it is like to support Liverpool as a match going fan

  6. I have never heard of this app before or ordering from your phone. As an American who goes to Fenway and Yankee Stadium multiple times a season I have never seen this. If “Americanizing” is blaming my country for for infecting your precious sensibilities with progress then I think the problem lies with you. Let me repeat myself again; Americans haven’t heard of this app or seat ordering inside of a sporting event. I am sure your 10 minute google research of this app tells you that it is used in American stadium x, y, and z. I am also sure it told you that the average fan hasn’t a clue about this, but disregarded that because it doesn’t suit your narrative. I am sorry you hate my country, I myself am not exactly proud of ourselves at the moment. However, it is 2018 man. Quit looking outward and to the past. Start looking inward and to the future. Blaming strawmen… you’d make a great politician here.

  7. There seems to be quite a comparison here. Local fans, who the club was founded for agree this is terrible for the match going fans, whereas american, who arent really fans, just spectators of a brand they come across on advertisments, dont see a problem.

    You cant deny you have people working at baseball parks walking up and down the rows selling food. This is very similiar and it wont be tolerated.

    Nothing is to suit my narrative. It is all to suit FSG’s revolution of a club thats losing its local touch

  8. @Luke – while I appreciate that match going fans are vital to LFC, the club is so much bigger than the 50k-60k that get to attend.

    LFC is a brand now. As it should be. If we are to compete at the top level on a regular basis – growth, progress and ingenuity are required.

    You say the club is losing its local touch because it’s introducing an app ordering system – get a grip.

    Let’s be honest, the entire article is a vessel for you to voice your anti FSG agenda.

    FSG are revolutionising Liverpool Football Club. What else would you have them do?

    You seem to want LFC to be a small local club? How are we meant to compete with that mentality? Prior to FSG(& Klopp) we were getting left behind.

    They’re building something for the future… App ordering might be the first step.

  9. @luke – also, while you may be a match going fan. The club was not founded for you – unless you’re pushing 125y/o

    Just because you attend matches does not make you any more a fan than anyone else.

    Again, this is a small club mentality.

  10. Theres nothing wrong with moving n with the times so we bring in more money etc. They have done this through sponsers, building a new stand, which a lot of it is hospitality seats, partnerships.

    Im not having a small clu mentality. What foreign fans seem to forget is that the club was not built as a ‘brand’ but as something for local fans who want to go and watch some footy.

    Foreign fans seem to have an issue with wanting to keep club traditions and principles intact.

    This was not an anti FSG piece. It was an anti wine and dine Anfield piece

  11. “Foreign fans seem to have an issue with wanting to keep club traditions and principles intact.” This is a made up argument. Foreign fans love the club in large part due to the club traditions and principles. You are confusing xenophobia with tradition.

  12. Foreign fans seem to forget LFC was a club before the Premier League was set up and we won the European Cup in 05. My point is everyone around the club before these times new what it meant to be apart of the club. Nowadays we have fans who dont care about what the club really represents and they just obsess over stats and hairstyles of the players

  13. You seem to forget the spice boys of the 90s. I remember Kevin Keegan was more than a bit of a celebrity. Your revisionist history is inaccurate , and your attitude is silly.

    Why don’t you amuse me and tell me what the club really stands for. Clearly there is some secret that us foreign fans can’t possibly understand.

  14. Bill shankly once said everyone should share the glory. Meaning everyone involved is equal. So then why do the club bring in an app which allows one fan to be served to his seat, yet the man next to him who can’t afford a smartphone so has no choice but to queue doesn’t get this service.

    The spice boys were post premier league era. Read what I said properly

  15. Luke, I’m really disappointed with the tone of some of your comments and the implications towarda foreign Liverpool fans. As a 40 year old living in Australia I’ve supported the Reds since I was a small child, well before the premier league era, and have a large network of friends in the same boat. We talk about and live for LFC on a daily basis, and also bring our families and friends on board, thereby helping to expand the network of the club. Every now and again I see or hear comments from local liverpool supporters that implies that we ‘foreign’ fans are somehow less valid than fans born in liverpool. I understand your frustration at the loss of tradition, but I think a balance needs to be struck between maintaining those traditions and progress, on a number of fronts. It was that kind of refusal to see the changing nature of the world and capitalise on it that led to us falling behind Man United when tv rights came onto the agenda in the early 90s. We allowed them to get a jump on us through failing to grasp the both local and global opportunities, and we’ve been playing catch up ever since. All true reds supporters would love nothing more than for things to still be the way they were in the past, but we all have to admit things have changed and get on board with these changes or risk being left behind. And local fans need to realise that LFC is an international club, with international supporters, and that while we may not be local, we are just as important. And that same inteenational sentiment goes for our owners, who most true supporters acknowledge as actually being pretty great, notwothstanding that they’re American. Without the international supporters and business interests I’d hate to think where we’d be right now. And if despite all that, you still think you’d prefer the Reds were a club for local supporters and business interests only, then maybe you should look at those mid to lower table English clubs going nowhere and think again.

  16. Yes global fans are important. But you can’t say the global fans are just as important as local fans. The club was made for the local fans, the club has been built by the local fans and the local fans are the ones who organise all the flag waving and get the atmosphere and that is fact. If you don’t like this fact then support your own local team. The images and videos of the flag waving and singing on the kop that is generated by the local fans is looked at worldwide and the global fans from wherever cream their pants over can’t compare fans across the world to the ones inside the ground. It’s us fans inside the ground who drag the team through games, intimidate the opposition and make anfield the fortress. There is no argument to suggest international fans are benefiting the club apart from the revenue for when grown men from indonesia or Australia or Norway buy replica shirts from the club website or shop that they will wear over their jumpers when watching the match with a glass of red wine in their front room. End of discussion. Local fans are what make Liverpool, not the Asian or Australian or Eastern European or yank cheering on behind a tv screen.

  17. No stratos, I won’t go and support somewhere else. I support my local team. You say you wish times were like how they used to be too. If they were, you wouldn’t be a fan of Liverpool.

  18. Clearly the local fans are more important than international fans. Don’t act like international fans don’t have a valid voice and important role in the club. I have been to your country and city more than once. Baseball hats everyday and American football jerseys every fall Sunday. Do not act like your neighbors don’t appropriate American teams. Do not act like your local team is beyond outside fan support. I wouldn’t be a fan of your club if the local fans aren’t who they are. Well done. Have some beer and help the players get results. I seriously think you are the best. You should know that whether you like it or not, us fans from outside the UK are with you through and through. Not every international fan is great and clearly from the comments on and the dumbass article itself, not every local fan is clued in. Just look outside your window to see how much your city and the world is changing. Quit raging against it over trivial crap like phone apps. I don’t know whether you don’t see it or just don’t care, but the xenophobia and misplaced righteousness is a terrible look.

  19. You’re missing my point, it’s not trivial to the fans who spend their time and money on the mAtch and to see it change for them without their own input to whether they want the change or not

  20. Honestly man, it is refreshing for me to have a dialogue with a fan and writer who cares as much and more than i do about Liverpool. I accept that yourself and local fans are active in the club and have a right to demand that the club acknowledge your matchday culture. I think the reason your article prompted my response and a few others is because we don’t like the idea that our cultures and businesses are to blame for unhappiness at the stadium. All we do is love the club. Many international fans bond over their passion for the team with the good-humored, blue-collar (lack of a better word) manics from Beetles town who willed their club and city to domination over Europe. We also love how despite tragedy and failure, the fans demand greatness and passion from LFC. It is insulting that those same fans who we identify with, blame us directly or indirectly for the “rot” at the stadium. I don’t think that I miss your point, but if you don’t accept my description as at least half true then I do believe we are irreconcilable. Thanks for the chat, and kudos to you Luke for backing yourself up.


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