It’s a rather tedious chant we often have from away supporters at Anfield, with the occasional ‘is this a library?’ thrown in.
If you look at Twitter, the atmosphere at Anfield, according to many of our supporters, is not what it used to be. But is this correct and, if so, why?
I’m not sure I’ll have the answers and indeed may actually give more questions to be answered than solutions. I have, however, found the atmosphere, and contributing factors, really interesting.
We all love an amazing atmosphere; it’s not as if half the crowd want to go to a quietish game on at 3pm on a Saturday, so why does it happen? A better atmosphere is not only more fun, but pushes our boys on and intimidates the opposition.
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Anfield under the lights’ bandied around by pundits, and it appears to be true. There is a magic seeing Anfield when dark, but why on earth is that? Is it some poorly understood phenomena a bit like a cricket ball moving around when it’s cloudy, or is there something scientific? Any psychologists please feel free to enlighten me!
Are there less ‘active’ supporters attending now? We all talk about ‘tourists’ coming to visit; the club probably love them as they spend a fortune in the shop. Oldies such as myself have even been labelled ‘legacy supporters’ and are not spoken about favourably. I’d like to think that if I were to get tickets, I’d still have plenty to give – I’ll sing my heart out and give those who want it the benefit of my over 40 years experience!
Of the ones who do attend, even locals, I’m amazed how many appear to be filming moments of the game rather than watch it. Mo Salah steps up to take his penalty – a mass of iPhones are suddenly raised up. My issue is that every game is televised, and their videos are generally rubbish! I wonder if this detracts from our atmosphere?
To be honest, the differential in levels of atmosphere has always been around, although the quiet games are quieter now. In my opinion there are a few reasons. The Kop has always set the pulse for our atmosphere and, back in the day, the Anfield Rd stand was also pretty noisy, and seemed to have a heart of their own. The Annie Road now, while not lacking totally in atmosphere, has plenty of ‘hospitality’ as well as child/family areas. Don’t get me on about ‘hospitality’ I paid over £300 for a ticket for me and my lads on two occasions. Got a rubbish dinner at The Hilton, John Aldridge giving out the same stories both times, and a ticket in the Annie Rd.
There are less in the singing areas these days. Both the Kop and the Annie Rd were ‘chocker’ back then, so I presume less people, less atmosphere.
Now everyone has a ticket for their seat, they get in later. The Kop bar is generally full until five minutes before kick off, even on Euro nights! Back in the day, you’d get in early to get your treasured spec. I’d get in an hour before kick off, when now I’ll be frequenting Georgie Porgie Pie shop and then the bar. The Kop would be full easily 20 minutes before kick off. If you didn’t get there early, you might even be locked out.
The singing would start; by the time the players came out, the sound was already booming. There used to be a ‘Rangers/Celtic shout and reply. I generally chose Rangers. It was almost a tuning up of the voice for the shouting to come.
When at the game, there are ‘instigators’ and ‘followers’ of singing/chanting. I’ve started a chant a few times (and been dead proud of myself) , but you really need two or three of you, a very loud voice and a certain ‘presence’ which I seemed to lack! My ‘go-to’ is to try and initiate ‘Oh when the Reds’ almost begging for a mass reply. Only slightly embarrassing when no-one answers!
It’s so difficult when the atmosphere is dead to try and force it. Even the songs are sung totally in isolation with no crowd ‘buzz’ between songs. The ‘instigators’ try their best, even with occasional calls of ‘come on lads, sing’ but for some reason, you don’t quite feel it. It’s such a balance; the crowd inspire the players and vice versa. I’d love to understand why we feel like that as a massive group; any crowd psychologists out there?
It’s interesting that this feeling of inertia is rarely felt at away grounds. We sing in the stands, we sing in the concourse. I love away games. There’s a sort of holiday feel, with more of an outward showing of who you are and the pride you feel. It’s a bit like when I’d wear my Liverpool shirt with pride on my teenage holiday in Magaluf. Maybe we should put a ‘This is Old Trafford’ sign over the Kop bars! They could even serve us prawn sandwiches to make us feel we’re actually there.
Not really. I just love Anfield. Whatever the atmosphere is like, It’s my spiritual home. It’s the comfort of having nothing to prove, being in total comfort in the surroundings.
‘Oh when the Reds..’