@SteveTaylor71 discusses the history and background behind the ‘Scouse not English’ story that has hit the headlines in the past week.
So, as the international break is upon us, it has been interesting to see the ‘Scouse not English’ debate raise its head again. Highlighted and discussed by a national sports radio station coupled with a minority of England fans heard to be chanting ‘We hate the scousers’, prior to the recent England game have stirred the pot once more. So, what is the background, and why do so many Liverpool fans prefer club over country?
Liverpool as a city has always seen itself as different, and to a degree the people who live there believe that too. There is a solidarity and a sense of community that binds people and makes them proud.
As the port grew in the 1800’s, the city became a melting pot of cultures and to this day the Liverpool community still reflects that. Around the 1980’s, after the decline of the port, the government started to try to strangle the life out of the city. Unemployment was rife and the people fought back. And in tandem with the people, our football team played with a swagger that swept us towards trophy after trophy. Increasingly, Liverpool felt detached from the south and the events of Hillsborough and subsequent revelations have fuelled the dislike of the Tories and their London powerbase even more. Sporadic events reignite that detachment such as Boris Johnson’s ridiculous article in the Spectator, and the sad fact is, he actually believed those comments were true when he wrote them. Even being awarded the Capital of Culture tag in 2008 brought sniggers from elsewhere in the country, but in Liverpool itself, it simply brought pride. The city is a proud place and it’s people are proud people.
Are we Alone?
The lyrics of our famous song say that ‘You’ll never walk alone’, and in choosing our club ahead of country, we aren’t alone.
There are many examples, but to name a few, Marseille and Istanbul are also proud of their heritage and their identity. In particular, Marseille have a phrase very similar to our ‘Scouse not English’ phrase and they too are proud of their city and feel that it is different from the rest of France. What is it that drives this? Could it be that they are ports like LIverpool? The simple fact that they too are a melting pot of cultures and look outwards and not inwards is a likely reason.
What about the rest of the country and teams? If asked, most of the big teams outside of London would say they prefer club ahead of country. The fact that the England team feels so detached with Wembley as their base increases that sense of club loyalty. Even Man Utd fans prefer their club, especially following the treatment of Beckham after the World Cup in 98 with the now famous burning effigy.
There is an even bigger debate going on in Spain too. Barca fans see themselves as Catalans rather than Spanish and highlights again that we are not alone in this. Even Cornwall would argue that they aren’t English!
The England Team
What about the England football team then? Let’s face it, it’s boring. The team lacks identity, and at times it is like watching paint dry. Liverpool fans yearn for the Premier league to return during every international break, and we place an injury free return of our star players ahead of any result. The fact that international qualification is a procession of results that has seen England unbeaten in 10 years of qualifying games brings a sense of anti-climax. Beating the likes of Kosovo and the Faroe Islands is expected.
When we do qualify, the tournaments are a media frenzy as they approach the event. And let’s be honest, England disappoint every time. The last world cup was seen as a success for reaching the semi-final, but actually England had an easier draw than Man City did in last year’s cup competitions. And even with that easy set of games, England lost 3 of them! The only games won were against a poor Sweden side, Tunisia and Panama. No comparison to some of the clashes Liverpool have played in recent history and our famous European nights.
History, politics and geography have combined to create this sense of Liverpool being different. And it is different.
A lot of Liverpool fans do in fact watch the International tournaments, and enjoy the buzz that is created, and the atmosphere in the pubs at the time. Others though, don’t, and I can see why. Liverpool football club and the city itself are immense, and maybe others are jealous of this sense of belonging that Scousers have.
With all things considered, it’s really clear to see why some people call themselves ‘Scouse not English’.