SHAMEFUL: Liverpool’s famous Royal Liver Building is hit by a firework. Photo: Facebook
by Paul Kennedy
Sometimes, people from Liverpool really, really annoy me.
Now before anybody from England’s northwestern city hangs me from the gallows of public opinion on social media sites, I am very much allowed to say that.
I was born in Liverpool. I grew up and went to school in Liverpool and lived and worked in Liverpool for most of my adult life.
I don’t like anyone from the outside slagging off my city, or its people, but I have no problem doing it myself when it’s deserved.
Sadly over the weekend, I was ashamed to call myself a Scouser, and here’s why.
On Friday morning I was on cloud nine, elated, buzzing, all because for the first time in 30 years Liverpool Football Club, my team, my love, my life, were crowned Premier League champions.
I get times now are very much different than in the past, especially in the UK where those in power have handled the COVID-19 crisis with the same level of responsibility as a toddler playing with a loaded Kalashnikov.
So because of this ‘new norm’, the rules have changed. But, on Thursday night UK time, it didn’t stop supporters bending them slightly and gathering in groups around Anfield and the city centre to celebrate the win.
That’s kind of okay, but only kind of. Sure, I doubt there was much social distancing but on the whole, aside from a few red flares, it was fairly trouble-free.
However what happened in the days that followed didn’t just put a dampener on the occasion for me, it well and truly drenched it with icy cold water.
Hundreds of supporters picked Liverpool’s waterfront as the venue to gather and celebrate the title. For those of you that don’t know, this area is quite simply stunning, so much so, UNESCO gave it World Heritage status.
When it received the award it was described as: "The supreme example of a commercial port at a time of Britain's greatest global influence".
Taking centre stage on the waterfront is the Royal Liver Building, a spectacular structure regarded as the most recognisable landmark in the city, atop of which sit two statues of the fabled liver bird and legend has it if they ever fly away the city will cease to exist.
I’m surprised they didn't pack their bags and take flight on Friday, because the behaviour of so-called Liverpool fans below them was nothing short of atrocious.
I don’t want to tar all of them with the same brush, and I’m sure there were plenty of decent human beings singing, cheering and celebrating Liverpool’s triumph, but they were sadly not the ones who made the headlines and brought the utmost shame to my city.
Many of these so-called supporters, probably drunk on cheap cider and high on cheaper cocaine (later a video appeared of people snorting white powder from a policeman’s hat found on the floor), behaved like animals, and that’s probably unfair on animals.
To whoops and cheers and surrounded by fools egging him on and recording his actions on their phones, one numbskull decided it would be a good idea to launch fireworks at the Royal Liver Building. And guess what? It started a fire.
Later that evening there was a serious assault and police officers wearing riot gear were pelted with bottles and other missiles during a stand-off with a 100-strong mob, 15 of whom were arrested.
Liverpool’s Mayor Joe Anderson later expressed his "sadness and disappointment" in an open letter to the people of Liverpool.
There was one, albeit ever so slight, saving grace. The next morning, as you can imagine, the area where the previous night’s antics had taken place looked like a bombsite. Litter, broken glass, beer bottles and cans turned the historic waterfront into an absolute mess.
Thankfully, a group of volunteers arrived and cleaned the place up, restoring a part of my faith in my city of birth.
I love Liverpool, I love the atmosphere, the buildings, the people, the vibe and of course I love the football team, but right now I’m ashamed to be a Scouser.
I will celebrate the title success, but I’m doing so from 6,000 miles away, in a country where fans are equally as passionate about football, but thankfully, nowhere near as stupid. — VNS