Liverpool, a club I support for over 40 years, has become the champion of England. He became a master in installments. Due to the huge point advantage, things were obvious for a long time, but it was about a moment when even theoretically winning the league by another club will not be possible. The pandemic delayed this moment, nevertheless it met – as for a sports event after all – with an extremely extensive reception all over the world. All important news sites published information with an explanation in the second sentence. that Liverpool have waited 30 years for this title. A few weeks later there was a formal moment of celebration, but there was no real fan fete, and so far it cannot be. So my reflection also comes in installments.
Though this sentence – that Liverpool have waited 30 years for the title – is, in fact, a statement of a view. Many other English clubs have also not won a championship in a very long time, including Everton to give an important example, but no one says they are waiting for the championship. Such a sentence at least indirectly speaks of the common view that Liverpool deserve such a title in a sense, that the title “belongs” to Liverpool, that it is only a matter of time, hence a kind of surprise in this thirty-year wait.
There is certainly an expression of universal sympathy and friendship for this club, and not by sworn fans, because they usually have their own choices, but it is well known that Liverpool is the most important club of second choice, i.e. the one that is chosen after the one who is most favored. On a global scale, Liverpool’s popularity is unique, especially considering the fact that the club has not been able to permanently play a leading role in the world of football for many years, which is always necessary to maintain global popularity.
Where does this widespread, often not fully realized sympathy for Liverpool come from? Our associations often lead us in the right direction even if we don’t know exactly where they come from. Liverpool is a left wing club. Transferring simple political cripples onto the reality of sports obviously does not make sense, but nevertheless the symbolic layer of publicly significant organizations or institutions is clear. Of course, Liverpool’s left-wing spirituality cannot stand in the way of participating in the billion-dollar highly commercialized business, but as in many other cases, it is a condition of entry, a condition for spreading value and accessing a mass audience. The players, the coach, not to mention the owners, are millionaires on a scale beyond the imagination of most people who support them. Nevertheless, clubs participating in the same billion-dollar game carry different values.
The color is not accidental, its choice comes from a time when it meant something different than it does now, and especially for people living in countries crawled by real socialism, when it was a common choice of people of different classes seeking equality and social justice. Liverpool is a club with a declared anti-discrimination, equality and socially sensitive appeal. It is no coincidence in the least that such a club attracts players such as Salah and Mane, who, with their astronomical wealth, are involved in social projects and do not necessarily tell about them on their own.
There is a common feeling of equality in Liverpool – black players play everywhere because they play better than others – but in Liverpool they seem to be in a better place. At the moment, Liverpool have literally a handful of white players, most of them being different variations and mixtures of human races from all over the world.
Clubs, conscious clubs understand who they play for and where their social importance comes from. The creator of Liverpool’s power was Bill Shankly, a former miner, declared leftist, promoting an equality vision of the world at every opportunity, left-wing in every inch, in so much and language.
The club promotes diversity not so much in words as in its entire existence, in gestures and attachment to the red tradition. It is undoubtedly a leftist spirit, a red spirit, a spirit of open understanding. The local audience, with all the club’s multi-million audience, remains the main point of reference.
This widespread acceptance of Liverpool comes from all sorts of sources. Liverpool is a rather small city, at least compared to all the big cities whose clubs dominate the major league. It is a city that lives largely for football and at the same time maintains the much-needed myth that everything that is most important is available to everyone, if only they try.
The local fan base, of course, no longer working class, because there are not so many workers, rather the class middle class, is clearly politically oriented. I remember such a discussion on the Liverpool website, the vast majority of participants were against Brexit, one of them said in a post what he would say to a conservative supporter when he meets him at Anfield, to which another replied that he had little chance of meeting a conservative in the Anfield stands.
The world, of course, is afraid to be leftist, because those who determine its fate fear that leftism will deprive them of everything they have. In other words, a lot of people spiritually would prefer to embrace a fairer world, but consider it risky. Not only by giving away some of your welfare, but also by having to take into account views that are very different from ours. Therefore, it is easier for many of us to advocate for the symbols of leftism and equality than for the radical change marked by this historically hated direction of politics.
I am also probably easier to opt for symbols than for a real change of everything towards a more just world. However, it seems to me that a certain state of consciousness is a necessary starting point, because to make this world a little better. Liverpool FC is such a state of consciousness.