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Liverpool Give Fair Play Award Back to Fans

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Anfield can be quiet as a library—as Stoke fans noted mid-week—but having won a fan award from the league, Liverpool have given back to young supporters in the hopes of improving the atmosphere.

Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

These days, £20,000 doesn’t get much. At least when you’re talking about a top flight football club with a stadium that seats 45,000. With Liverpool earning Barclay’s Fair Play Fans of the Season award for 2014-15, though, the club received just that.

They decided that the best way to give back to the fans and encourage better atmospheres at Anfield would be to give it back to match-going fans aged 17 to 21, which when everything’s said and done means a £75 rebate is on the way for those young season ticket holders.

"We are proud that our fans have been recognised for their passion and support," began a statement from supporters’ committee president Karen Gill. "The youth of today are the lifeblood of the club and we are pleased to put the money awarded by the FA to great use."

Making the game more accessible to younger fans is necessary over the longer term if Liverpool are to maintain their reputation as one of the world’s best supported clubs. On recent evidence, though, more help is needed than just a token rebate for those already at the match.

Even following the appointment of Jürgen Klopp, Anfield has been quiet far too often. The travelling Kop can be relied upon to put in a solid performance on the road, and are often louder than fans of any clubs they visit, but the home atmosphere has been disappointing.

There where times against Stoke City this week, in a cup semi-final and with a trip to Wembley on the line, when the only people who could be heard at Anfield were Stoke fans pointing out that Anfield, including the Kop, was as quiet as a library. This after Klopp pleaded for noise.

It’s a far, far bigger problem then divvying up a league award meant to be divvied up can hope to solve. Or even begin to make a dent in, really. The choice of how to spend the £20,000, though, does at least show that the club are aware that Anfield has an atmosphere problem.

That's an important start, as encouraging and engaging a younger generation of fans is the only way to begin addressing the problem. Even if there needs to be more than just a £75 per young season ticket holder reimbursement for things to really begin to change.