Feature by Luca Brasi
Updated Wednesday, 4th April 2012
I think that one of the things that has killed me most during the last two seasons, and the current one, is the speed with which we as supporters have become mediocre, average, just the same as any other set of "supporters".
I am saddened that a couple of fixtures a season and European nights/ occassional cup ties aside we have meekly surrendered our status as being unique, different to everyone else.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this has happened overnight. The malaise began a long, long time ago. I remember watching games at Anfield in the 1990's in near enough silence, but our ultimate demise has hastened these last 3 years.
I remember vividly how awful this forum was in Rafa's final season, constant fighting and bickering, as reds struggled to come to terms with the fact that a team, so close to the title a few months before, had capitulated so meekly.
The thing that got me about the forum that season was the fact that what I was constantly reading did not correlate with the education bestowed upon me by my dad about how we do things and how we conduct ourselves as Liverpool supporters.
And yes I know, it's easy to look back nostalgically at the past through rose-tinted, but somewhat blinkered spectacles. After all, when the present is bad we yearn for the past.
But I'm not reciting a myth that never happened when I recount the knowledge my dad instilled in me; we always clap the oppo keeper, we always show our appreciation of a team that wins away at Anfield (blues and mancs aside), and if the team is struggling we sing and cheer even louder to push them on, we certainly never boo them. If I ever asked my dad why we did one of these things his answer "because at Liverpool that's what we do" was sufficient, and as you mature from child to match going adult you realised and appreciated just how unique and special that made us.
I'm not a scouser although I was lucky to spend what were arguably the happiest 6 years of my life living there, and I've seldom felt as much pride as i have done watching the team I love in the city I adore above all, feeling part of a set of supporters that have always been envied and admired from both far and wide, and as such I feel real sadness that we've lost our identity somewhat in recent years.
I look for reasons; had reds stopped educating their offspring (unlikely) and I guess you could point a little to the influx of new supporters that arrived after 2005, expectant of Champions League titles on a yearly basis, unable to come to terms with the fact that they weren't able to get gold premier league badges on their replica shirts for the 2009-10 seaon, and of course there's the fact that the modern supporter has evolved into an absolutely impatient twat.
Anyway after that 2009-10 season I thought that that was probably as bad as we'd ever see it (I honestly thought Hodgson would do a decent job after the opening game against Arsenal) because I genuinely believed that the haste with which people turned against Rafa, a man who gave most of us some of our greatest nights as LFC fans, was unlikely to be repeated, and we as supporters would also get our own house in order, and remember the thing we do best, namely support the team.
And of course there's been times when we've still had our mojo, no other set of supporters would have seen off Hicks and Gillette, but even then there were many reds who missed the point that we all needed to throw our weight behind it, who didn't see that it was their fight too; like the fans in Anfield who don't sing a note during the game and then moan about the lack of atmosphere, it always seems lately that it's somebody else's job.
But to see the vitriol aimed in the direction of our greatest ever LFC legend in the last month or so has shown me once and for all that the shite against Rafa was not a one off, and when it's fired in the direction of Kenny Dalglish, the man who came back when we were desperate, steadied the ship, gave us a trophy, a man who should have the benefit of the doubt for years to come, you really do see the terminal nature of the detrimental change in our support. It breaks my heart because as other members have alluded to in recent posts, this Liverpool isn't the one my dad taught me about, and I guess that Liverpool has shuffled on.
One plus that came out of the 2009-10 season was the fact that, like in any crisis, like minded people rally round, and stand up to be counted together. It was a shared understanding of what Liverpool FC was, and the defence of that ideal in the face of negative and often unfounded criticisms that led me to form ongoing friendships with some great people on here (well when I say great I don't mean all of them- one of them doesn't even watch films you download and burn onto dvd for him), people who are still trying to preserve an ethos many seem to have lost sight of, or sadly never grasped in the first place.
But then after the Wigan game, and drowned out by the booing, I saw pockets of reds who did indeed clap Wigan on their victory.
And then I look at my son who like many other children out there, is going to get the education about our club from their dad, just as my dad passed onto me, and I wonder if there might be hope for us yet.