Shocking Display of Support from Football Fans Across Europe Blight End to Domestic Seasons

Liverpool fans leave the Kop 10 minutes before the end of the game

Call me a naive American, call me a football purest, or call me a relatively young football supporter, but some of the scenes emanating across Europe this past weekend, more specifically England’s Premier League and Italy’s Serie A, have caused football to take a minor step back as our community prepares to plunge itself upon the world’s stage in just over a month. I remain incensed.

I was shocked and stunned that supporters of any club, more specifically Liverpool fans and Lazio fans in Italy, would dare go against their own team in a display of petulant, negative energy in hopes they could prevent a rival, regardless of how bitter the feud is, from winning a title, reaching the Champions League or avoiding relegation. All that hostile energy emmitted from fans of two clubs who have enough problems of their own is an ironic, yet fitting actuality. 

And to the players across England and Europe who are payed exorbitant wages to perform up to or exceed the best of their abilities, shame on you. You make more money in a week than many citizens of your country make in a year, ten years or twenty. Your wages should be stripped for a month and donated to charity or to supporters who scrap and save to pay for your lackluster, embarrassing performance.

Supporters: This is the club that you’ve chosen for one reason or another. You’ve spent thousands or more of your hard earned money to watch them in person or on television over the course of a year. This is your chance in life to participate, to be apart of something bigger than yourself and to fellowship with like minded individuals. Don’t take for granted your opportunity to be able to support a football club and attend matches. 

Sorry, you don’t get a choice as to which match days you want your team to win, draw or lose, it’s not your say. You support your team to win and play in a positive, honest manner each and every match, regardless of who else it may affect. Don’t believe me, ask a fan of Portsmouth Football Club. As football fans, this is what we’ve signed up for when we choose to take the plunge and give our all for our team. Fickleness be damned.

The lackluster performance of players from those aforementioned clubs should be punished by the respective officials in each league. Fines and suspensions should be used as means to prevent future behavior like what we saw this past weekend from ever happening again and ultimately placing top flight European leagues in disrepute.

I’m well aware of the deep and bitter hatred Lazio fans in Italy have for Roma fans and equally the intense rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool. I get it. That’s the reason I’m writing these very words, to hopefully sway footballs fans in general to move forward in a state of football progression of your ideals and start the long process of removing yourselves from so many years of pointless hate and aggression towards other football supporters. 

The display from Lazio players at home v Inter Milan this past weekend was such a poor and abject performance that Roma’s chief Rosella Sensi was quoted as saying “As Roma president, I would have been ashamed if I had won this match“.

Ridiculously enough, Lazio fans were heard supporting Inter Milan players and cheered both Inter goals in the eventual 0-2 defeat that did in fact hinder Roma’s chances of claiming the Scudetto. In Liverpool, the vitriol that was reported when TV cameras went looking for opinions shocked and concerned former Manchester United player and columnist David Sadler, “I cannot understand any fan wanting their team to lose no matter the consequences. It left a bitter taste in my mouth”.

The bottom line here is that whenever football fans are so pleased to see their players and club perform so poorly, football indeed has a strange problem. Regardless of your opinion, remember that in this day in age when many say football is dead, predictable or ruined by money, we’ll never lose our God-given right to support the club we so desire. If the foreign, tainted mindset to hope our club loses sets in just because of some other club around the corner, we’ll slowly see the deterioration of a game we all hold so dear.

34 thoughts on “Shocking Display of Support from Football Fans Across Europe Blight End to Domestic Seasons”

  1. Perhaps Liverpool was not on top of their game because they played 120 minutes Thursday night and they have no depth on their bench because everyone is hurt. What a waste of an article.

    1. The Liverpool players on the pitch Sunday were in fact quite close to a full-strength squad. Kuyt, Maxi, Gerrard, Masch, Carragher, Agger,..

      I could go on, but it wasn’t that they looked slow or tired from Thursday’s game, as you seem to suggest, but that they looked uninterested in giving their all for one reason or another – possibly because they didn’t want to assist United in gaining a 4th consecutive title.

      That’s unacceptable.

      This idea that clubs can pick and choose when to perform at their best in hopes they’ll hinder the performance of a rival club is pretty darn close to match-fixing in its simplest form.

      Sorry you didn’t like the article.

      1. Jesse,

        You’ve been using this term uninterested over and over again for weeks now. It is, of course, completely subjective. Perhaps they’ve just run out of patience with Rafa. I couldn’t blame them. It’s a lazy descriptor really. “Gee, I don’t know what’s wrong with Gerrard. He’s uninterested.” How do you know? Are there any quotes that could even remotely back up that assertion?

        Liverpool looked no better or worse than they have for most of the season. They’ve been crap all year, except for a handful of matches. We can all speculate on what the reasons for that are, though I bet there is no answer that will be agreed upon.

        Your suggestion that they didn’t want to win because of United’s potential claim on the title has no evidence to back it up and is unfair.

        1. Clampdown,

          In short, Gerrard is a world class player playing for a team who has had a pretty rough season yet seems unable or unwilling to place Liverpool upon his shoulders and do anything about it.

          If you can honestly tell me Gerrard’s performances this year and on Sunday were anything but uninteresting, I’d glady listen and accept your feedback.

          Is he injured? Does he wish to move on? Is he trying to prove a point to Rafa? I’m unsure, but for me, not a player who looks to be interested in playing his ass off for his club.

          It’s all rather simple in the end. Thanks for your feedback.

      2. Liverpool have proven in the past that they wouldn’t throw a game (Blackburn 95) just to hinder their rivals.
        A full strength Liverpool team would not have beaten Chelsea on Sunday and the pre-match soundings form the fans were merely a sideshow.
        If a team throws a match, it will be for one reason and one reason only: cash.

      3. I didn’t feel that Liverpool was guilty of anything more than playing poorly. They’ve looked pedestrian on several occasions this season against far poorer teams than Chelsea. As recently as last week, their first half display against Burnley was pretty dire.

        Performances at this time of the season are always unpredictable, particularly with teams that have nothing left to play for. Couple that with the midweek disappointment and you get a largely uninspiring display by Liverpool. It’s not anything to rewrite the rule book about, it just happens.

        I think most fans understand this and often the atmosphere at the last home game reflects it.

        It may be convenient to try to interpret the resulting performance as something very sinister, but I just don’t think it stands up.

  2. I don’t know why you think being American has anything to do with your naivete. I can totally see Yankees fans rooting for the Yanks to lose if it could somehow prevent the Red Sox from making the playoffs. I certainly would(unless the Yankees needed a win). Or the Knicks to lose to hurt the Celtics or LA? Hell yes! Hatred is an elemental part of fandom, and has inspired one of the greatest book titles ever:

  3. I stopped reading the article as soon as I saw lose spelled “loose”. You LOSE all credibility when you can’t even spell.

  4. famous example, when the Boston Celtics were about to lose the opportunity to face the hated LA Lakers in the NBA finals, the crowd started to cheer “Beat LA!”
    Not exactly the same, as they were not dissing the Celtics, but when it was clear the Cs were out of it, the cheering was against the hated rival.

    1. Of course, we are talking about Boston fans; I don’t think you can base your argument on a bunch of chowdaheads.

  5. Every single Liverpool fan I have talked to, and I mean every single won, would have wanted to smash Chelsea even if it meant giving Fergie number 19 and beating our record. Most fans I know would rather have Fergie win it so the Manchester United fans can stop comparing us and really the pressure is off us as a club.

    1. Exactly, Chris. I don’t know of a single Liverpool fan/supporter/whatever term you choose who cheered for Chelsea to win on Sunday. That’s not to say there weren’t some. But, man, Jesse is completely blowing it out of proportion when he uses as evidence one quote from a former Man U player. I didn’t hear Liverpool fans at Anfield roaring in support of Chelsea or jeering their own players (as the Lazio fans did).

    2. The more I look at it, the more Liverpool look as if they are stuck in the past, rather than preparing for the future which is about to occur.

  6. I can understand to a certain degree why supporters would want their team to lose to spite their rival, as long as there was nothing to gain for the team they support. But however understandable that is, I would never think it is ok to outwardly cheer against your team. If it’s something you may want, it has to be kept inside, and can’t ever be shown to the players.

    However, the big problem I do have is if the players are letting another team win. They are paid to play 100% every game, whether there is nothing at stake or not. I absolutely agree, Jesse, it’s unacceptable. They have the responsibility to the fans, the manager, and the person who writes their check to bring it every game. The player has nothing to do with the rivalry (mostly) and shouldn’t even care what the situation is, they have to play to the best of their abilities at all times.

    I’m interested to hear what people would think about this situation: Would it be acceptable for all involved, supporters and players, to lose a game to prevent a more difficult rival from reaching the playoffs so that a team that’s easier for them to beat does? This goes more for American sports, but do you think this would be a valid reason for a team to intentionally lose or at least sit star players?

    1. Depends on you perspective. As a fan, yes, absolutely, and I salute Lazio fans ability to keep their eyes on the ball, with a bit of humor as well. Of course, it would be totally illegal since it would mess up the gambling lines.

    2. From a fan perspective, it seems perfectly reasonable to lose/rest players in order to engineer an easy passage into a play-off scenario. However, professionals will surely take the view that they are able to beat any given opposition and wouldn’t contemplate such thoughts.
      I guess that’s one of the fundamental differences between those who make the grade in sport (winners) and those that “could have been contenders” (whiners).

  7. I have no problem with Liverpool fans wanting Chelsea to have won on Sunday – they hate United , its in their history and future. My best mate who is a lifelong Liverpool fan wanted Chelsea to win – Liverpool had nothing to gain from a win – that said he didn’t watch it either as he didn’t want to watch his team lose.
    I’d be the same with Spurs, I don’t want to see them make the top 4 and would prefer to lose to get them out of it if we had nothing to play for because at the end of the day – no-one will remember or care about the result; just where you finish. Its in the team’s hands at the start of season and if that team has to rely on other results then that’s tough. United lost at home to Chelsea and that’s what really caused all this.

    That said Liverpool didn’t throw the game – Liverpool just aren’t that good a side right now and didn’t have the motivation to win – bit different had Liverpool had a CL place to play for but they had nothing at all – look at Arsenal, losing all over the place right now as they haven’t a lot to play for.

    Its one thing to watch the EPL as an American, but to have grown up in England and have a bunch of mates and people who you cant stand all around you who support your rivals might change your outlook.

  8. Why not cheer for another team if it hurts your perspective rival? If there is nothing to be gained by your team winning, and alot to lose for your bitter rivals, I would be ok with my club losing on a certain level. There can be side benefits that actually benefit the long term future of your favorite club by actually losing, such as forcing a managerial change, or the like.

  9. just shows how dumb those scousers really are!! they root against their “beloved” club.

    and you’ll never get a job….

  10. One of the fabled worst actions by home fans was in 1968 when the Philadelphia Eagles booed Santa Clause. Sure Philly fans have the rap of being an angry bunch, who get tasered, vomit on each other, throw snowballs and batteries, and cheer injuries. But boo Santa Clause… that is surely the worst sin ever.

    But why did they boo Santa Clause? Well they where a horrid team, had won a few late season games and where on the verge of losing the first pick in the upcoming draft. The player they lusted after was OJ Simpson. As the Eagles went into the half with a lead the last game of the season and silver lining of getting the top pick faded, in rode Santa. And was thusly booed.

    Was it right? who cares. it was build up vitrol, that was better cast on a guy in a red suit then on each other or opposing fans. Did it hurt anyone? nope. probably made that pointless win feel better.

    I’ll boo my home team if they don’t live up to expectations. Why wouldn’t I… I may blindly follow them, but will hardly remain voiceless.

    My name is Patrick and I was born in Philadelphia. I support West Ham United.

  11. EPLtalk has abandoned even the thin veil of impartiality with which it cloaked its articles and openly adopted a pro-Manu stand.This is Chula’s 2nd article in as many days lambasting LFC(and a total of 5 articles by various writers in a week).Not surprisingly all these articles have made an appearance after this weekend’s loss to Chelsea which has strengthened their chances of winning the EPL inspite of Liverpool not playing any more badly than it did on numerous occasions earlier in the season.The author has turned a blind eye to the numerous problems that Liverpool has to contend with – playing 120 minutes on thursday night,injuries to Torres, Johnson, Aurelio, Skrtel and Maxi(during the weekend match) and a lack of depth in the squad which led to a bench comprising of Ayala, El Zhar, Pacheco, Degen among others. Admittedly quite a few of these problems are of Liverpool’s own making but the situation was bad for the entire season and not just for a weekend, so this sudden torrent of articles deriding liverpool and its players, managers and supporters is completely unwarranted. I am flattered if you think that Liverpool could have beaten a rampaging Chelsea with the squad they had at their disposal.As for crying hoarse over the deterioration of the level of football and bringing disrepute to European top-flight leagues, no such voices were heard when Wolves rested 10 first team players for a match against Manu at Old Trafford or when Fulham ‘rotated’ half their first-team in their quest for European glory. Only two sets of supporters can truly understand the importance of winning the 19th League title – ManU and Liverpool. So if some Liverpool supporters decided that retaining the record of winning 18 League titles was more important than a mathematical chance of qualifying for the CL next year, it is entirely within their rights to make such a decision(for the record, i am one of these ‘fickle’ supporters). To think that the opinion of some supporters influenced the outcome is ludicrous and to accuse Liverpool of throwing away the match is completely unwarranted and supported only by comments made by a former ManU player. In the end i would like to point that the entire piece contains not news or analysis, but an opinion of a thoroughly biased fan and thus unworthy of being posted on this site.

  12. P.S – Just a suggestion. It would a good idea if the authors mentioned which clubs they supported so that readers would be aware of any bias beforehand.

    P.P.S – I reside in Delhi, India and have been a relatively new Liverpool supporter.

  13. Phew – this article and some of the comments really get me agitated!

    I think the author and some people are taking too a simplistic stance for me here.

    First, I don’t know if you’ve been watching Liverpool this season but that is all we have. If you have any questions about the players effort, please refer to… well just about any game we’ve played this season. I feel like people are assuming Liverpool had the option of winning or losing this game. Are you kidding? We were always going to lose this game.

    I didn’t see anyone at the Liverpool game openly cheering for Chelsea (there were some funny signs though). If we had won, nobody would have boo’d or been upset with the team. This will, however, probably go down in the fan’s minds as one of the most acceptable loses we’ve ever had. Did you expect the fans to come out cheering in full voice for a game that means nothing if we lose and would give our biggest rivals the title if we win? If so, please step off your high-horse and join the rest of us.

    So by not being too upset about a loss that means nothing to us but will cost our rivals the title, are we really contributing to the “deterioration” of football or just understanding the big picture and wanting what is best for our club? For me, that could be seen as a bigger sign of passion for one’s club than blindly cheering without any concern for your clubs place in history past or present.

  14. I know this is an EPL blog but I’m going to comment on the Lazio game rather than the Liverpool one.

    The Roma v Lazio rivalry is one of the fiercest in the world and I think that Lazio cheering against their team was totally fine. They had nothing to gain out of the game and if their team had been Inter, Roma would undoubtedly have gone on to lift the title.

    Look at their histories – this isn’t United v Liverpool where the clubs have tasted 18 championships. Lazio have won three in their history, Roma only three. If Roma goes on to win this season it is a massive moment for the two clubs, an opportunity to gloat remain champions in the local peoples eyes for many, many years.

    Lose one game on purpose to prevent years and years of mockery? Easy decision. Football is bigger than other sports because the results mean so much to the people and this occassion I think it’s fine.

    As for the players efforts or lack of professionalism, they received threats from their supporters as they played. The goalkeeper was booed for making saves. What were they suppose to do?

    I think you summed it up at the start when you said “call me a naive American, call me a football purest, or call me a relatively young football supporter”. I don’t mean that in an offensive way at all (I am also young and happen to live in Australia) but football is the greatest game in the world because of its history and ability to affect people in strange ways, and I wouldn’t change it for all the purity in the world.

  15. For the record, I’m an LFC fan.

    I don’t need your approval. I’m going to show you my point of view, and if you still end up thinking I’m fickle, so be it. I’m an American as well, and I have (in my mind) some perfectly good reasons for wanting Chelsea to win.

    1. We had nothing to gain. Wasn’t it the general consensus that fourth place was between Tottenham and Manchester City at that point? Liverpool were pretty much assured of Europa League. In my many years of playing the sport at a fairly competitive youth level, I assure you it’s hard to summon motivation for a game when you have nothing for which to play.

    2. I do not want Manchester United to win another title. Ever. Plain and simple. It’s called a rivalry, folks. Now, I’m not exactly the type of supporter to go around stabbing rival fans, but I do harbor a fair bit of dislike for Mancs.

    3. Do you really think Liverpool could’ve won even if they were playing for Champions League? Hell no. Right now, they’re a depleted side with about as much depth as a kiddie pool. And Chelsea’s the best team in EPL. So, I don’t believe they threw the game.

    I didn’t watch the game, actually. It was a lose-lose scenario, and I couldn’t bring myself to openly cheer for Chelsea. Still, in my heart, I knew who I wanted to win. Does this mean I love Liverpool any less? Does this make me a fickle fan? I don’t think so. And I don’t believe you can truly imagine this sort of situation unless you’ve been forced to experience it.

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