A common refrain, especially in these fraught times, is to leave the politics at the door. Whether it be music, film, or sport, the proponents of this specific form of compartmentalism argue that these things are meant for frivolity and the raising of divisive politics well, harsher their mellow. Never mind, though, that for many within the respective fan bases of whatever hit film, album in the zeitgeist, or even favorite football club, exist people for whom their mere existence in greater society is a political act, whereby people speak about and around their right to be, but not directly to or in acknowledgement of their humanity.
At The Liverpool Offside, we’ve even found ourselves in the breach as we’ve discussed things like economic justice with regard to raising ticket prices. We’ve also managed to have pretty great discourse over hot button issues like racism and the experiences of fans from marginalized groups. There is an ethos here at TLO that we try to follow and it is one borne out of the history of the club: one knitted closely to a working class community largely maligned by English society and rooted in communal uplift and accountability. The Liverpool Way recognizes the individual contributions to a team effort; that no one achieves anything alone. Put it differently, we are all responsible to each other.
Which is why it should comes as no surprise that, this week, the club will be hosting 300 guests from local schools and organizations to Anfield for breakfast, a stadium tour, and even a meet and greet with Mighty Red. Part of the club’s commitment to lifting the community, this initiative is meant to highlight the issue of food poverty (UK)/food insecurity (US). And while the metrics in Liverpool all show improvement relative to the worst of times, they still lag behind the rest of the country as unemployment, infant mortality, and homelessness averages are all higher in Liverpool relative to the rest of England and Wales. Food insecurity, then, is a marker of areas wherein poverty exists. And the lack of access to food is an issue that, for youth, can bring about especially harmful problems that play out later in life such as higher incidences of disciplinary issues in school which may arrest opportunities to learn. There are also physical and developmental issues that come along with child hunger. With wages also lagging behind the rest of the country, Liverpool’s commitment to both shine a light on the issue and to contribute to some measure of relief is not only to be applauded, but the mere minimum for a club that prides itself in being representative of the working class community it was born out of.
Ultimately, the actions of this club and the reflection on the state of the residents of Liverpool show that it is not only impossible to divide one’s politics from all sectors of life, but that living in the truth of recognizing one’s responsibility to the greater community can yield positives. May we seek to live out The Liverpool Way as a global fanbase by working to bring justice in our own far-flung communities as individual parts to the whole and really earn the self-appointed title of Greatest Fanbase in the World.