Seite 3: The beloved club as a voracious neighbour

The club doesn’t want us, they prefer the guys from Norway or Japan‘, Billy Jones says. Simply for one reason: we go to the sta­dium and drink one or two in the pubs after­wards. Whe­reas people from the rest of the world go buying out the fan store‘. He wears a tracksuit and trai­ners – as they call it in other cities tau­tingly: the Liver­pool uni­form. Jones smokes his ciga­rette in the hollow of his hand, he served in the army for many years. He has been loo­king through his window at Liver­pool’s sta­dium for more than four decades and was a season-ticket-holder for a long time but can’t afford it any more.

The very che­a­pest ticket for one season costs 910 Euro. Jones gets into a lather on ticket prices, the atmo­s­phere and the club owners until he shrinks back from his own rant and declares: Don’t get me wrong. I love Liver­pool.‘ He climbs onto the demo­li­tion waste in front of his home grumb­ling that they‘ had let the area become run down. They‘ could mean the city council, but also (even if he doesn’t say so): his club, Liver­pool FC.

According to reports in the The Guar­dian‘, in 2013, the club bought the houses around the sta­dium with a view to demo­li­tion and sta­dium expan­sion. Ins­tead of spea­king with the resi­dents, the club let the area decline to force other neigh­bours out. By now, a large number of houses had been demo­lished. LFC is cur­r­ently rede­ve­lo­ping one side of the sta­dium.

Sup­por­ters in the neigh­bor­hood have a vor­a­cious neigh­bour – and it is their own, beloved club. Last year, Liver­pool gene­rated gains of 357 mil­lion Euro. For most of the kids in the streets on their scoo­ters the only pos­si­bi­lity of seeing their idols like Daniel Stur­ridge is as they rush by in their sports cars, not in their jersey on the field. That changes both the image of a pro­fes­sional foot­baller and the dreams of those that aspire to beco­ming one. Hardship and luxury are just a short pass away from each other in Anfield.

Today, on the street adja­cent to the sta­dium, nearly every shop is closed and shut­tered when we visit. Faded signs of diners and tattoo stu­dios, a kiosk dis­plays screen­shots from sur­veil­lance cameras showing recent burg­la­ries. The ent­rance of one house has the dim­pled paving stones which nor­mally lie at cros­sings for blind people and – to put it this gently – are not purcha­s­able in any store.

Eileen Snell smiles as she tells about an encounter with a Japa­nese Liver­pool fan. She asked me: This all here – is it because of the war?‘ Snell, a grand­mo­ther with bleached blonde hair, has been living in Sker­ries Road beside the sta­dium for more than 40 years, these houses are also in Liver­pool FC’s ownership. Her garden is almost under­neath Anfield sta­dium.

But she is a sup­porter of Everton FC and wel­comes her sons and gran­dons at match­days pre­pa­ring sand­wi­ches for them. The match sche­dule is pinned on the fridge.

Her hus­band died at an early age because of a heart attack he suf­fered on the sofa of the flat. He had just arrived back from an Everton game. That shows what this club does to you‘. She smiles smoothly. In this city the work­wear is sup­posed to be all wet and the humour all dry.