The Kop once famously renowned around the World of football, an institution the integral cog that would become central in construction of Shankly’s bastion of invincibility. Dragon like it would exhale fire to expel many a goal bound strike from an opposing team, only for later in the twinkle of a scouse eye to draw the ball into their opponents net whilst sucking the air out of the misty Anfield night sky.
Liverpool Football supporters are amongst the most dedicated, steadfast in the game, they are renowned for it, loyalty is a given for most, to death and beyond they will defend their heroes, at time to the detriment of themselves and the famous club that they represent and hold so dear. Passionate people more than able to be constructive and gracious toward its particular adversary, the Kop being custodians of an etiquette which would be passed down by forefathers and the like-minded masses that would inhabit the kop.
It would seem lately that Anfield appears to have become disorientated, unable to reclaim its transcendent powers, once an arena feared by lesser foes. Where visitors would anxiously step out on hallowed turf with trepidation that would see them defeated before a ball would be kicked. David Fairclough like; this would be Liverpool’s 12th man.
Fast forward a few trophy lacking years, and the changing face of football has now managed what many would think an impossible task; infiltration of the once impregnable Kop. But more importantly those foot soldiers who would stand shoulder to shoulder in defiance, in their belligerent battlefield, would today find themselves divided and somewhat conquered by adversaries, a new type of rival that would not easily be subjugated. Songs about walking through storms with heads held high, and the waving of scarves as engrossing and riveting in times gone by, for now finding its fascination has become less absorbing.
The problems encountered are not just pertinent to Liverpool, and experienced within all premier league and lower league grounds around the country. The Liverpool ethos would however sets itself apart from those lesser fervently followed clubs, having put itself upon a very unique pedestal, a reputation that would be singular to the club, and a bias toward success to boot.
Which now poses the question are Liverpool supporters really any different to those less educated, more fickle fans they have despised for many years.
The pantomime season at Anfield Road has started early, and is in full swing with the matinée performance due and audience participation a criteria for success. The booing and hissing that are synonymous with this genre will start well before the curtain call, through the medium of radio phone-ins, football forums, twitter and Facebook. With many believing that if they have purchased a ticket it gives them every right to have an enjoyable day letting off steam at the theatre.
Shouts and screams from the Kop aimed toward the once dependable Jamie Carragher “It’s behind you” as a second-rate striker beguiles him and pops the ball into an empty net, the first pantomime villain of the day. Whilst crowds bark out instruction toward Aladdin Dalglish to quickly make some magic happen with the rub of the electronic substitute’s board. Unaware that our heroes had turned into sleeping beauties poisoned by the exerts five days earlier with victory over Stoke, then becoming gradually sluggish at Queens Park Rangers as little by little the poisoned apple of three games in six days took its toll.
Having recruited heavily in the summer with a bag of magic beans from the good auld U.S. of A, fans expectation had been high, only to be quickly dashed at the realisation that a midfield more recently graced by the talents of Xabi Alonso and Didi Hamann, would now find itself occupied by their very own ugly sisters; Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam, add to the mix one of the seven dwarfs Jay Spearing himself a concoction of Sleepy, Dopey, and Bashful, and the booing and hissing gather apace.
Even the legendary Steven Gerrard has come under scrutiny from the Kop, a different role for our hero having an ever decreasing popularity from the mezzanine and the side stalls, with a memory of their very own Peter Pan the hero who would never age, flying through defences when he was big and hard, whilst passing the ball from 40 yards, the never-ending childhood ebbing away.
Dalglish having unwittingly become the pantomime villain like a King gone bad, the target for those that are unaware of their very own roles to be played, that of the 12th man, supporters, fans and not that of agitators. The Premiership form of the club and players has been distinctly poor, and for every one of those highly paid professionals suffering tiredness, there are many a fan that are not just tired, but sick and tired of the poor performance of some, and rightly opinion can be put forward through intelligent debate.
My own opinion is that this has become a “Get it out-of-the-way” season, the sort experienced by many a top club or incoming manager in the first year of transition. Remembering Rafa’s first season in the Premiership he would encounter similar problems to Dalglish; the nuance would be our away form for Benitez. Kenny Dalglish has however spared us indignity of losing to a lower league club, something that was synonymous with Benitez and Hodgson in their first season.
This is not a pantomime; we are not Chelsea, Arsenal or other fickle followed clubs. No booing or hissing ladies and gentlemen for We are Liverpool Football Club, the Kop one of the World’s most famous iconic structures, now it is your turn to once again stand up and be counted.
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