After capping off what was a lackluster tour across the pond in United States with a 2-2 draw against Sporting, Liverpool flew to Scotland for another match against Napoli back in July. But, in the midst of gaining fitness and grinding out games in the intense heat, there was clear evidence that Liverpool’s popularity was growing quickly.
In modern times, highlights, news and broadcasts of Liverpool’s everyday approach to every game of the season has made it easier for fans across the world to follow with a keen eye, but there have been some negative effects to the fast rise of Liverpool’s global takeover. FSG have recently filed to trademark the “Allez Allez Allez” chant made famous by the Kop, as well as “Liverpool” itself. Is the rise of the brand ultimately worth it, or are the fans being left behind once again?
During Liverpool’s tour of the United States, they visited three of the U.S’s most iconic sporting venues. Their first stop was at Norte Dame Stadium in South Bend Indiana for a matchup against Borussia Dortmund. 40,361 fans were in attendance for the match, filling up just about half the stadium, but making up for that in noise. Although it may seem that it was a poor showing due to half the stadium being empty, it was the second highest attended professional soccer match in the state of Indiana. On top of that, the University of Norte Dame has many of the same core values as Liverpool when it comes to its football program. There is nothing more important than the history, traditions and fan base.
The second stop on this tour was at the timeless Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox and start of the sporting conquest that Fenway Sports Group (FSG) have brought to Liverpool. 35,654 fans filled Fenway Park to enjoy somewhat of an American “homecoming” for the European Champions. The atmosphere inside and outside the stadium was electric, even leaving manager Jürgen Klopp speechless. “The atmosphere was really, really, cool and a historical place playing at Fenway Park.” “I enjoyed it apart from the result.” Even Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui made note of the atmosphere in Boston for the game. “We were in Anfield,” joked Lopetegui. “So it’s a big motivation for us.” The brand exposure was on full effect in Boston.
Liverpool’s last stop was to the illustrious, albeit new, Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York for a matchup against Sporting. You’d have been fooled as a Yankees fan to see the stadium filled with red. Make no mistake that Liverpool is the only team that could make Yankee Stadium red. 31,112 gathered into their seats for an exciting, chance filled 2-2 draw between the two teams, with another stellar showing of support by the American Reds. Loud renditions of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Allez Allez Allez” rang out throughout the seats. It was very pleasing to watch historical fan bases coexist and support one another in such a manner as this. The American tour summed up the growth of Liverpool Football Club over the last ten years.
In the midst of everything going on across the pond, FSG gained popularity in the papers, but for the wrong reasons. It has become public knowledge that the ownership group has filed to trademark the “Allez Allez Allez” chant that the KOP made famous these past two seasons, but was a song adopted from other clubs that has been sang around Europe for generations. It isn’t something unique to Liverpool, but unique to football, and it should be left alone. Some of the best parts of these chants is there ability to be adopted by other clubs and other cultures with its own little twist, but still honoring the original.
FSG also filed to trademark the term “Liverpool” which has caused an uproar amongst Liverpool supporters. Many merchants set up shop and sell T-shirt’s, scarves, hats and other forms of memorabilia for relatively cheaper prices than club stores, and it’s their only source of income. Not only is it vital to their everyday life, but it has become commonplace for the Anfield faithful to purchase items from these vendors, and makes the quality unique compared to commercial memorabilia. Many famous shirts created by these street vendors have been adopted by many fans, and even some players.
It is needless to say that FSG are going completely against everything that is “Liverpool” when they made these moves. It is important that football and its clubs are exposed to commercialism and capitalism for all the obvious reasons, but it is vital that the ownership groups and sponsors don’t completely infiltrate the game and leave all that is good and real about it behind.