Just a theory I'd like to test out on you. Last night, I watched the match on French television. They did a little piece before the match as to whether ‘neutrals’ wanted City or Liverpool to win the league. They did brief, very superficial, interviews with people, in what appeared to be some sort of café, in London, I would have said, going on the accents. The majority opted for Liverpool. In Europe, by the way, Liverpool are loved by anyone who hasn't had to actually deal with them. That's been my experience. French journalists, and I suspect Spanish, Italian, German ones, have no idea whatsoever that “You'll never walk alone” was not originally a Liverpool song, and certainly wasn't exclusively their song through the sixties.
Here's the thing. My firm conviction is that, among people who don't support a follow a football club in England, who just sort of watch the game casually, on tv, who don't have any deep knowledge of the game, and certainly no real knowledge of its more-than-a-hundred-year old history, a majority like Liverpool and generally want them to win both in Europe and England. Without being aware of it, they've bought into the relentless bigging up of good old LFC by the press and media, along with how tragic Hillsborough was (without there ever – and I mean ever – being any mention of Heysel by that same press and media). I've got a friend who answers exactly to that description. He doesn't attend matches and isn't really what I would call a football fan. As I say, he just casually watches matches on a screen from time to time. He says he likes Liverpool, with no particular explanation. He's never been anywhere near Anfield, of course, or even set foot in the city of Liverpool, as far as I know. He's certainly never had to walk across Stanley Park as an opposing supporter at 5 pm after full time, watching his back like a hawk for a brick being hurled into it.
But my equally firm conviction is that amongst proper supporters of other clubs there is an almost universal hatred for Liverpool, because they've had actual contact with Liverpool fans and have had direct experience of what they're like. We're obviously resented among many of those fans, we know why, although many will concede that the older City fans they've met are sound; but there's a special and unique level of hatred for LFC. I don't have a single mate who actually knows his football, whichever club he supports, who doesn't intensely dislike Liverpool. And I don't think they're saying it for my benefit.
Well let’s see what Parisian’s think of them by the end of the month…..