A mural on the end terrace wall of Anfield’s redbrick Sybil Street perhaps best encapsulates Liverpool’s image as a club of the people. It depicts Trent Alexander-Arnold beside the words: ‘I’m just a normal lad from Liverpool whose dream has just come true’.
The creation also acknowledges the work of the foodbanks Alexander-Arnold has ardently supported and it is this kind of link to the soul and the struggles of a working-class community which many Liverpool fans feel make their club different. It helps that Anfield sits at the beating heart of precisely such a place.
‘One thing seems different about Liverpool compared to other teams,’ writes one of the creators of the Redmen TV YouTube channel, to which nearly half a million people subscribe. ‘It’s that people buy into the culture of the fanbase. So many fans from outside the city help the same causes that we champion as fans from Liverpool.’
The mural of Trent Alexander-Arnold on Anfield’s iconic redbrick Sybil Street
This sense that Liverpool has a socialist core goes back to Bill Shankly, of course.
‘The socialism I believe in... is everyone working for each other, everyone helping each other and everyone having a share of the rewards at the end of the day,’ Shankly once said.
The club’s former chief executive Peter Moore said in an interview with El Pais last year that ‘when we speak about the business questions, we ask, “What would Shankly have done? What would Bill have said in this situation?”’
‘Christ Almighty. No. Don’t do this,’ would have been his answer, where the latest move by Fenway Sports Group (FSG), Liverpool’s American owners, is concerned.
Bill Shankly and John W Henry had opposing philosophies on the subject of Liverpool
That is the move, spearheaded by FSG’s John W Henry and Manchester United’s Joel Glazer but rejected by the Premier League yesterday, to embed the decision-making power of top-flight clubs, and a far greater share of the income, in the Big Six.
In the world that Project Big Picture wanted, the wealthiest were to get four times as much basic income as the sides in the league’s low reaches. There would have been more TV revenue for Liverpool, with clubs permitted to sell eight games on their own platform, to the detriment of smaller clubs, for whom the collective broadcast deal would bring in less.
No more of Leicester, Wolves and Everton hammering at the door of the elite. The pay-off was