Liverpool won their sixth game in succession on Saturday evening, with the last five of them being by a single goal. It was yet another football match in which the referee had a low-key dreadful performance; not bad enough to catch the attention of the press, but poor enough to enrage supporters. Let me be clear: every single team’s fans believe that referees are biased against them. What every team does not have, though, is officials taking charge of their matches having grown up in parts of the country where you are effectively taught to hate the people whose matches you are officiating. Both Anthony Taylor and Paul Tierney grew up in Greater Manchester, with Taylor basically being born on the pitch at Old Trafford and Tierney in Wigan, which is spiritually far more Mancunian than Scouse. The likelihood is that they’ll have been raised hating Scousers and people from Liverpool, just as the reverse is true. They will have friends and neighbours that are very much against Scousers that they will speak to regularly.
It’s not the big decisions they get you with, it’s the multitude of little decisions.
Manchester’s finest. Sorry, Altrincham’s finest in action today.#LFC #LIVBRE #Anfield pic.twitter.com/4srAWhEQA2
— LFC Photo (@LFCphoto) May 6, 2023
Whilst we can all pretend that referees are supposed to be unbiased, the simple act of watching them officiate certain matches shows that that can’t be true. When you add into it the fallout from Andy Robertson being elbowed in the face by one of Tierney’s officials and Jürgen Klopp screaming in the face of the fourth official in the wake of our win over Tottenham Hotspur, it isn’t hard to see how the refereeing cabal might have decided to subtly work against us moving forwards. The question is, I have no idea what can be done about it. As Phil Blundell has pointed out on Twitter, we’ve been refereed by Tierney in 25% of his matches this season, In spite of the fact that there are 22 possible referees. For me, referees from Manchester shouldn’t be allowed to take charge of Liverpool matches or vice versa. There is a huge amount of history and sociology wrapped up in how people from the two areas feel about each other that will play out in subtle ways, if not obvious ones. Refereeing is dreadful enough at the moment without adding that in.
Respect Is Earned, Not A Birthright
Anyone who has been paying attention will know that I am firmly anti-monarchy. I do not believe that any single person should have the power to rule over others simply on account of the family that they were born into. As an atheist, I find the idea of god ‘saving’ anyone to be utterly ludicrous, but I’m going to steer away from the religious side of the argument here. Instead, I’m going to focus on why Scousers have been lambasted since the weekend for our decision to boo the national anthem when it was played at Anfield. For starters, I think it was really poor from Liverpool to agree to play it, knowing full well what would follow. It felt as though those in charge at the club knew that someone would be getting a bad press and they decided that it would be better for that to be supporters than the club itself. Inevitably, ‘Hillsborough’ began trending on Twitter in the wake of the booing, with the knuckle-draggers on social media realising that there was a link between the two things but not quite getting what that link actually was.
“You can stick your royal family up your…” is the chant ringing around Anfield #LFC pic.twitter.com/E8FHwjtEgb
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) May 6, 2023
Liverpool as a city has long been ignored and even oppressed by the establishment. From Margaret Thatcher’s plan of ‘managed decline’ to Boris Johnson’s declaration of it being the ‘self-pity city’, Liverpool isn’t somewhere that many in ‘establishment’ roles wish to spend their time worrying about. As children in the city were too poor to eat over the weekend, there was bemusement at the idea that we might not be all that bothered about a billionaire having a party paid for by our taxes so that he can have a jewel-encrusted hat put on his head. ‘Long to reign over us’. I don’t need anyone to reign over me, thank you very much. If we’re going to have a royal family then I’d prefer one that actively tried to help its ‘subjects’, rather than made things even harder for them during a cost of living crisis. The Royal Family has done absolutely nothing of any worth in recent times, instead directing the press to attack a black woman for having the temerity to fall in love and then protect the reputation of someone who slept with underage girls because they’re a prince.
We’re Not The Mad Ones
There is a sense from many across the country that Liverpool fans are in the wrong for being anti-monarchy. Many adorned their homes with union flags, tuned in to watch Charles have the crown placed upon his head and even went so far as to pledge their allegiance to him. Meanwhile, anti-monarchy protestors were arrested merely for turning up in London, whilst volunteers were taking into custody for having the gall to want to hand out rape alarms to those that might have a need for them; people that might find themselves alone with a member of the Metropolitan Police, for example. The things is, we’re not the mad ones. If you’re going to declare that you’re happy to be ‘reigned over’ by a random person who is in the position that they are in simply because they were the fastest sperm, you’re the one that’s a bit mad. If you’d rather see your tax money spent on the coronation of a man on account of the fortune of their birth than have that money spent helping the poor, I’m not sure you get to talk about the rights and wrongs of booing an anthem.
Liverpool fans booing the National Anthem before their game against Brentford today. #LFC pic.twitter.com/6cTmXotcI0
— Football Away Days (@FBAwayDays) May 6, 2023
Amongst the most stolen items from shops are baby formula, nappies and Calpol. There are more food banks in the United Kingdom than McDonald’s. The coronation is estimated to have cost around £100 million. King Charles’ personal fortune is believed to be in the region of £1.8 billion, not least of all thanks to the fact that he didn’t have to pay any inheritance tax when Queen Elizabeth II died. If you are able to ignore the first two facts and not be bothered by the second two, I personally think that there is something serious wrong with you. It is remarkable to me that we live in a democracy and yet the act of protest, whether that be in the form of holding up placards or in booing an anthem, has been so widely criticised. This is not my king. I’d much rather feed the poor or help the homeless. There is very little excuse for the disgusting pomp and circumstance that was forced on the country this weekend and Scousers are in the right when it comes to how we’ve reacted to the entire charade. History, I think, will show as much.