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.
“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.