Liverpool have for many years had a difficult relationship with the English establishment. From calls for the city to undergo a “managed decline” to the Hillsborough cover-up, many have with some justification felt targeted by those with power in the country.
Chants mocking poverty and dead Liverpool supporters that continue to this day around opposing Premier League grounds have only added to a sense of injustice and anger—anger in the past which has often been shown by the booing of the national anthem.
The death of England’s longest serving monarch, then, makes for a difficult moment, the establishment calls for national shows of unity and grief at the death of their figurehead sitting awkwardly with many who have been wronged by that same establishment.
For many, though, including some involved at the club who won’t have grown up on Merseyside, the sadness at the passing of the only English monarch many have ever known will be real, and most are expecting a respectful if grudging response before kickoff.
“Before moving on to the game-at-hand, I would like to pass on my sympathies and condolences to the Royal Family,” noted captain Jordan Henderson, seeking to help set the tone for Tuesday night’s Champions League game with Ajax in his pre-match notes.
“It is important we also remember amid the national outpouring there is a family who are grieving. None of this is about football, but following the announcement of the Queen’s death I saw an old picture of her presenting the FA Cup to Ron Yeats in 1965.
“This was our big moment as a club, one that happened almost 60 years ago, and Queen Elizabeth was part of it. It’s great that our younger fans get to see this photograph because it really is beautiful.
“Maybe it means more to me as captain because Ron was one of my predecessors and I’ve come to learn how special it is to lift trophies at this club, but to lift a trophy like the FA Cup you need someone to present it and I can only imagine how much pride Ron felt at that moment.
“Everyone in the country will have their own memories of the Queen and this is one of ours as a club—we will always be grateful for that and for all of the other duties that she performed which touched the lives of so many.”