Watching Jürgen Klopp run onto the pitch to celebrate the late winner against Everton is one of the greatest celebrations by a Liverpool manager that I have ever seen. When I look back through my memory I can recollect celebrations by Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier when critical goals were scored. Other managers were often a bit calmer. It doesn’t mean that they weren’t passionate, people just handle things in different ways.
Up until my late twenties, when Liverpool scored against say Everton or United, I would often snap out of my celebration and discover that one of my legs was hooked over the seat in front of me while one of my hands would be placed on the guy in front’s shoulders as I pushed him back and forth. A moment of joy and elation which the lad in front would always understand. It’s not how I’d behave outside the stadium but for some reason, us football people lose the plot when big incidents take place in front of us. Today, I’m far more reserved. I tend to sit quietly, a bit like you’d expect Rafa to, and inside my head I’d be saying: ‘Nice one! F*** you!’.
It’s all about passion and that’s all the boss was displaying during the Merseyside derby. He rightfully accepted the charge and I completely understand why the Football Association had to pull rank. However, I absolutely hate that players and managers are often charged for displaying passion that most supporters understand and want to see. It’s the kind of behaviour I want to see week in, week out and to be honest, had Klopp run and stood in front of the Everton supporters and bared his arse to them, I’d have welcomed it even more.
I know we can’t have players and managers inciting rival supporters but isn’t it a sorry state of affairs when supporters cry about the behaviour of opposition players and managers? This includes our fan base too. As soon as Klopp was charged, I saw some of our supporters demanding that Jose Mourinho should be charged for smashing a crate of water bottles to the floor following Marouane Fellaini’s late winner over Young Boys. As much as I can’t stand Mourinho these days, I’m glad that UEFA opted not to discipline the United manager.
Staying with United, Gary Neville used to incite the Anfield faithful off camera all the time when they were in town. It wasn’t just him either. Beckham would be at it, as would Schmeichel, but Neville always used to run his mouth and hands without fail. I used to love to hate him for it. It’s what I wanted to see as a football supporter. I didn’t cry to the police after the game saying I was offended or feel the need to call a radio station to moan that my young daughter had seen inappropriate behaviour from a footballer who ‘should be setting a good example’. No, I didn’t need to waste the time of our already stretched police and I’d just tell my daughter that ‘Neville was just a c*nt’. Parents should be setting a good example to their children, not footballers, and as you can see, my words to a young Charlotte back in the day proved I always did just that!
Man the f*** up! (I’ll say it!) Whoever you support! The game is nothing without passion. These rare displays of frustration create memories and enforce rivalries. Should Everton manage to turn us over in the not too distant future (LOL), you can expect plenty of Evertonians to rightly hurl abuse at Klopp along the lines of: ‘Not running onto the pitch this time are ya, y’c*nt!’.
In a game in which many fans feel distant and detached from their footballing heroes, we should praise them and our rivals when they lose the plot and act as passionately as us ordinary fans do.
Without passion, without anger, without rivalry, the game is nothing.
Never change Jürgen and for those of you who feel the need to bitch and moan about celebrations and displays of passion, have a word with yourselves you miserable cretins.
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