Anfield's SeatServe - American Anfield
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.