It’s been something of a tradition for years among Liverpool fans to hang around the main gates at Melwood and wait for players or the manager to come through. They mill about hoping to land an autograph or a selfie, but mostly they’re content to get a look at their faves through the car window. For the most part it’s been a harmless daily ritual.
But the practice also exposed one occasional problem with Melwood— it’s in a residential neighborhood. For the most part, crowds haven’t been large enough to cause a nuisance or otherwise disrupt day-to-day life in the quiet West Derby community. But that’s been changing in recent months, with growing numbers of fans hanging around and jockeying for face-time with players is starting to disrupt traffic. Add in some minor incidents among fans this season and the previously-harmless practice started developing into a public safety issue.
And so the club have decided to be proactive in dealing with any potential problems. Starting on Monday, Liverpool players and staff members will be asked not to stop to interact with fans at Melwood. The club hopes this will clear up traffic blockages in the neighborhood and dispel any possible public safety concerns as crowds inevitably taper off.
Most of the fans who wait by the main gate tend to be kids, and there are legitimate concerns about what the club plans to do to reach out to younger supporters. Liverpool officials apparently plan to do more local school visits to compensate, although nothing firm has been articulated in an official capacity.