Advertisement
Opinion

Maybe Liverpool fans wouldn’t boo the national anthem if there was a level playing field

The outpouring of anger towards Liverpool fans is misdirected, and ignores the wider issues we all face, writes Big Issue editor Paul McNamee.

The booing of the national anthem at the FA Cup final continues to echo. To recap, ahead of the match at Wembley Stadium between Liverpool and Chelsea, God Save The Queen was sung. Some fans booed. There was some other booing when Prince William was presented to the players. In the grand scheme of things, it was not a big deal. But opprobrium followed from some quarters. 

There were furious newspaper headlines. Karen Bradley, the MP for Staffordshire Moorlands and one-time culture secretary, urged the FA to take all necessary action and “pursue those responsible”. She hasn’t said yet if she wants people sent to the Tower.

It was clearly not a personal attack on the Queen and her grandson. This is a wider societal issue. Liverpool fan groups explained they had done the same before this season’s other cup final at Wembley (the Carabao Cup), and as far back as the 2012 FA Cup final. 

Subscribe to The Big Issue

Support us

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work.

“Maybe look into why Liverpool fans act this way,” said John Gibbons from Liverpool fan podcast The Anfield Wrap. “They feel a disconnect from the country… It’s a city that wants to be vocal about how we think this country should be and how we should live in a fairer society.”

Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, said similar. “It’s always best to ask the question – why does this happen? They wouldn’t do it without a reason.”

Klopp has a point. Context is everything. The booing shows two things. One is how potent Liverpool fan anger remains. It goes back to the late ’80s when they felt left behind by Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, and then blamed for the Hillsborough disaster by a press they felt spoke for her side. Liverpool voted strongly to remain in the Brexit referendum. 

Advertisement
Advertisement

But it’s also emblematic of a nation at odds with itself. If politicians and leaders genuinely want to listen to what people are saying, about how they find themselves in Britain today, worried about the cost of everything, about the division between the wealthy and the poor, the rulers and the ruled, then they have an illustrative microcosm right there. It isn’t enough to trot out the old canard about what we’re hearing on the doorstep when you stand with your fingers in your ears, or castigate those who have views opposed to yours. Denial and ignoring is not addressing. It’s a bit… snowflakey. 

Support The Big Issue
Each of our vendors buy their copies of the mag for £1.50 each, selling them for £3 and keeping the difference. Visit our interactive map to find your nearest vendor.

The faultlines in British society are wide and widening. This is not a new reveal. But it is important to listen, even when what the other side is saying is uncomfortable. Otherwise, all will harden and nothing will resolve. 

The morning after the FA Cup booing hoohah, a man walked up to the newly unveiled Margaret Thatcher statue in Grantham and threw three eggs at it. One of them hit. Which says more for his ambition than delivery. I don’t know if he’s a Liverpool fan.

Paul McNamee is editor of The Big IssueRead more of his columns here.

@PauldMcNamee

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income. To support our work buy a copy!

If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

Advertisement

Every copy counts this Christmas

Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Christmas. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Christmas.

Recommended for you

Read All
I've spent Christmas in prison and on the street - finding recovery saved my life
Peter da Silva

I've spent Christmas in prison and on the street - finding recovery saved my life

Scotland has the perfect antidote to ex-prisoners' reoffending rates
Opinion

Scotland has the perfect antidote to ex-prisoners' reoffending rates

Sam Delaney: 'I thought I was too good for my local jazz club. Not any more'
Opinion

Sam Delaney: 'I thought I was too good for my local jazz club. Not any more'

The Banshees of Inisherin is a curious tonic for these bleak times
Opinion

The Banshees of Inisherin is a curious tonic for these bleak times

Most Popular

Read All
'Robert Smith isn’t people’s perceptions': Stories behind classic photos of The Cure
1.

'Robert Smith isn’t people’s perceptions': Stories behind classic photos of The Cure

David Jason: 'I find it difficult to believe that Del Boy is so beloved'
2.

David Jason: 'I find it difficult to believe that Del Boy is so beloved'

Postal strikes dates: When are the Royal Mail walkouts this December 2022 and why?
3.

Postal strikes dates: When are the Royal Mail walkouts this December 2022 and why?

All the amazing things Sadio Mané has done for charity
4.

All the amazing things Sadio Mané has done for charity