Are We All in This Together?

Are We All in This Together?
September 20, 2017 Chris Rowland
In Free, Personal Thoughts, Talking Point

By TTT Subscriber Joe Bloggs.

I’ve got a genuine question here for all, as again, as while the result is disappointing and against the run of play, the thing that I simply can’t abide anymore is Liverpool fans. I used to be able to just be able to give and take a bit of banter from rival fans, which is what this tribal game is about, in some ways. Putting a meaning to the result of one group of men trying to put a leather ball into a net more than the other. The manner in which they do it, and the group of men to which they do it or have done to them creates a narrative for the entire process, which can be anything from genuinely compelling to an overused trope, or stereotype.

But now the one group of people who I should be able to see eye to eye with, that group of millions of individuals who are interested along with myself to see the same group of eleven men placing that ball in a net, are seemingly the ones I can relate to least. And of course a lot of that is due to amount of exposure. If I was a United fan in the post-Ferguson era, up until recently I would have probably grown tired of the negativity by now, or if I was an Arsenal fan, seeing people to my left and right chanting for the manager to be sacked after a record of consecutive top four finishes I would probably be exhausted. But all I can say is what I know, and that is that I’m tired of our fanbase. I’m tired of the snap judgements. I’m tired of seeing people go from being on top of the world to livid in the space of a week after some unfortunate results. I’m already tired of seeing the best manager this club has had in *decades* be told he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and the constant stream of fans who believe that they know best, and more poignantly, ‘better’ than the manager.

If the job was so easy that you consider yourself more knowledgeable in the running of a football club than a man who has won two league titles against a titan in world football so successful in its league that it almost coasts to victory, year in, year out, then my god, you should drop everything, your 9 to 5, the mortgage can wait, the wife and kids will understand, because you are a visionary that can claim to stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest minds in the modern age of football.

When I read people telling Klopp that he can ‘Piss off’ after stating there aren’t five better options at centre back than what we have available it genuinely shocks me. To take this at face value, without taking the Occam’s Razor approach of assuming Klopp is obviously protecting his players and deflecting attention away from the players and towards himself is absolutely preposterous. I suppose with this we can consider nuance dead, both in written and spoken language alike. The fields of literature and language can pack their bags and go home. Both rhyme and reason are a thing of the past. Poetry and fable are a collection of words with a single meaning. Politicians only tell the truth, and everybody says exactly what they mean, always, and in any and all contexts.

I love this site, and the community that it is comprised of. We all self-regulate one another, and even provide insight and genuine, thoughtful responses to those we disagree with. We do it because it’s the right way to act, the only way, to remain open-minded. To allow for self-improvement and internal reflection on the reasons behind our opinions, what underpins them, and what biases we are prone to. For all the love I have for this community, I lately have begun to feel that I shouldn’t limit myself to this site as my only way to interact with the Liverpool community. Our fanbase is more than a selection of intellectual, moderate individuals, and I felt that I was not truly engaging with the fanbase if I were to limit myself to that bubble. I still agree with this mentality, and will, I hope, until the day I die, as I feel it is the only way to fully appreciate a situation from every perspective. Throwing yourself out of your comfort zone and in among the crowds that simply think differently.

However, despite all my best intentions, I feel this experience has only served to tarnish the sport, and our aforementioned fanbase as a whole, for me. It would be one thing if what I was experiencing was a small, but vocal minority, but this is not the case. At least in terms of Internet presence (and these days it is even breaching into radio/traditional media), I’ve realised that this community (or sanctuary, as it is sometimes known) on TTT is a rather peculiar outlier that sits on the edge of the supporters of this storied club. It is honestly almost a miracle that it has survived this long, given how few in the fanbase seem to value the virtues of patience, modesty and understanding. I know many here have come from the world of Twitter/forums/Reddit or at least observed it from a distance and I must ask how it makes you feel. As a fan of football, our club and even as a human being? To me it feels incredibly isolating, and it is now clearer than ever to me why you shut off social media, Paul. The bad simply seems to outweigh the good.

Of course I can distil down my experience of supporting Liverpool as a whole. From taking it all in, back to only TTT. In the most extreme case I could simply watch the games, maybe a few player/manager interviews etc, and leave it at that, but at the same time I feel a certain guilt, because football is inextricably linked to the people who make it possible, and the interactions between those fans, our club, and the clubs and fans of other clubs. I feel a fanbase, especially for something that should be unifying, such as a football club, should be welcoming and a place for like-minded individuals to share opinion under a common appreciation for the sport, and the players that wear our crest. It is clear to me now that this is not the case, and I’d be interested what the opinions are of the posters here. I could honestly extend this to a concern about society and the way we interact with one another (primarily through the internet), and how it seems to be shifting with time, seemingly not always in what I would consider a good direction. But this is a football site, and a discussion about the fans is already entering that first degree of separation.

I think to preserve my sanity, my only option would be to use TTT as a one stop shop, both as a news source and a way to interact with the community. But at the same time I feel the need, at least this once, to address my feelings about the community as a whole. I am citing a single instance based off a quote by Klopp, but of course there are hundreds, if not thousands of varied opinions about why X should be sold, Y should be sacked, and Z should not only pass the ball horizontally or back to the keeper.

I know this is a terrible rant, and at the very least I’ve most likely been condescending and at most, probably offended some people, but I feel I really had to get this off my chest, and am genuinely interested in both how the guys and gals here view what it means to be a supporter, and what we should expect of one another in this space (that being the entire community). Do you dabble in it and simply allow the garbage to pass through, like a sieve, do you completely remove it from your daily routine, or is your approach entirely different?