7 Days, 7 Guests - Being A Liverpool Fan

Today's article is a great piece simply about what it means to be a Liverpool fan. As most Liverpool fans know, supporting your club is not just a hobby, it's a part of your life. The article is written by Senaly and you can follow her on Twitter @sena16suarez.

Being a Liverpool Fan

Like most Kopites, over the last few weeks, I’ve been subjected to endless banter and mockery from Mancs who can’t shut up about how they’ve overtaken our record. Of course, the Barcelona magic shut them up momentarily, but they soon retaliated with ‘at least we’ll get to try again next season’. But in all these word-wars the one comment that hit me the strongest came from a mate who said, “Look I think Liverpool’s a good team, but Man U is a better one. Why do you support them anyway? Everyone likes to be on the winning side, so forgive me for backing a team that’s actually won the league in my lifetime!”

So I stopped to think about this...why do I support Liverpool? Well, to be honest, I first supported them because dad and uncle did! They even painted my cot in Liverpool colours! So I grew up knowing that the answer to who do you support was always Liverpool. As I got a little older, I watched the finals and major games that were broadcast here in South Africa and I took a liking to Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard. At barely 10 or 11, I liked them because I found them incredibly cute and because they scored lots of goals! I didn’t know much more about football and I simply judged clubs by wins and losses. In 2004, I took a bigger interest in football because one of my best friends was a soccer nut and I needed to be able to talk to him! In high school everyone was soccer-mad. Sadly, I don’t remember too much of Istanbul – I remember sitting around with my family, us all being very disappointed at half-time, a very fast comeback, the suspense of the penalty shootout and the sheer joy at our victory – but my best memories of 2005 were at school, running in early in the morning and just cheering and laughing at the sight of my fellow Reds, seeing lots of Liverpool shirts peeking out from under school shirts, and one boy who sat in a taxi on his way home, holding his scarf open out the window, screaming “Liverpoool!!! You’ll Never Walk Alone!!!”

The one thing that totally steeped my love for Liverpool, was the signing of Fernando Torres. I took a liking to Torres back when he was at Atletico Madrid, when his captain’s armband opened to reveal the words “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. He was wearing our sacred words! His heart belonged at Liverpool. I watched him in the 2006 WC and I fell in love with Spain because of him. I thought he was incredible, such finesse, such speed and such awesome goals! Then in 2007, Fernando signed for Liverpool FC – I was ecstatic! We still didn’t see alot of games – only Champions League games were broadcast live – but I cut out every Liverpool article to grace our papers, followed the log with intense scrutiny and watched every sports bulletin in the hope of catching Liverpool goals and victories.

I also read Steven Gerrard’s autobiography and began to understand the dynamics of what was England’s most successful football club. Over the last three years I’ve been able to watch a lot more football. I’ve been able to appreciate the magic of European nights, the thrill of Anfield games and the magnificence our Kop. Yes, I suppose that makes me a relatively new Kopite but let me assure you that my faith and loyalty to our club is as fierce as that of any age-old fan!

Which brings me back to the question of why? Well, I support Liverpool FC because of the mentality of the club, the dedication of our players and the loyalty of our fans. I didn’t have the privilege of supporting my club during its glory years – we’ve hardly won much in the time I can remember. Yet Liverpool fans keep their heads held high and rally behind the team no matter what. We don’t boo our players of the pitch when they’ve had bad games, we applaud rival goalkeepers as they run up to the Kop end, we show our victors the respect of full stadiums for a full 90 minutes. We criticise players’ bad decisions, yes, but we encourage them to do better. We admit our weaknesses and accept that our opponents were deserving winners – unlike other clubs who find fault with every tackle and every refereeing decision. Our players play fair; we don’t dive! Our players don’t throw tantrums (like a certain Shrek-faced striker I can think of), they respect our manager and they respect the opposition. They never give up – a trait instilled through Rafa’s “It’s not over till it’s over” attitude. I love our resilience, our passion, our humility and as our recent form has brought out, our joie de vivre!

I’ve been watching LFCTV and following the Liverpool trends on Twitter and I’ve learnt so much about our history. I’m so proud to be part of a club with such a rich history...I’m proud of the way in which Kenny and Marina Dalglish sacrificed their own time attending the funerals of the Hillsborough Disaster victims, the way fans around the world unite against The S*n newspaper and condemn it for its lies, the entire Justice For The 96 campaign. I’m proud of the way we put the rivalries aside and mourn the victims of the Munich Air Disaster. It’s not only about the tragedies either. I support Liverpool because of legendary footballers like Ian Rush, John Aldridge, John Barnes, Kevin Keegan, Graeme Souness and of course Kenny Dalglish. I read in awe of Bill Shankly’s Boot Room and how he reshaped the entire team. I support them because I admire the achievements of Shankly, Paisley, Fagan, Dalglish (round 1), and Houllier.

I love how Liverpool fans around the world embrace each other and welcome every fan into the LFC Family with open arms. No one chastises you for supporting a team from a city you’ve never been to or anything like that. I love the way we always believe we can pull of the impossible – lol, towards the end of the season I’d even begun to hear some slightly delusional and less clued-up fans claim that if results went in our favour, we could win the league! But that’s what it’s all about...the way in which we never stop believing in our players and our manager and the way we put our hearts and souls into every rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

That motto itself is a big part of why I support Liverpool, and in my opinion, a big part of what being a Liverpool fan is all about. What a song, what a message. Opposition fans love to hit back at our YNWA chants by saying “Real men walk alone” but what they are too naive to see is that our club’s slogan and song have nothing to do with that. YNWA is a motivation and encouragement to our players, to continue to give their best because no matter what happens they have our support. It’s a commitment us fans make to our team, a promise that we will always be there and always stand by them (or walk alongside them). Our players are able to go out there and simply play their hearts out, never fearing the wrath of the Scouse crowd, because they know, we’re always on their side.

I support Liverpool for the magic of Anfield. I love the way we play better for our Anfield crowd, the way we try to keep our fortress free of opposition goals and the way Anfield defeat hurts so much more because we view it as our temple. I love the defiance with which we say “This Is Anfield”. I love how the boys touch the sign as they run out – keeping Shankly’s famous words alive: “"It's there to remind our lads who they're playing for, and to remind the opposition who they're playing against."

Lastly, I support Liverpool FC because I love the style of football they play. The spontaneity and flair with which Spanish Liverpool played and the Pass-and-Move style developed by Shankly and the others. It’s a far cry from some of the reluctant football we’d begun to see last season and I love that King Kenny has been able to bring that back, because it’s the Liverpool Way. I’ve enjoyed the LFC games of this year more than I can really remember ever enjoying it before!

So in summary, I support Liverpool FC for the brilliant attitude and personality of our club and its players, for the fantastic history, for the family Reds all over the world share, for “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, for Anfield, and for the love of the game. Why do you support LFC?

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