Liverpool: Game of Our Lives Episode 5

In the fifth episode of Game of Our Lives, host David Goldblatt heads to Liverpool, England: a city with a rich history of social and political activism around football.

    According to Bill Shankly, a Scottish football player and the former manager of England's Liverpool FC, there's a holy trinity to every football club.

    "The players, the manager and the supporters," said Shankly. "Directors don't come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques."

    Among Shankly's famous quotes, none better describe how Liverpool's fans view the club's owners.

    Watching a live game in England, especially a Premier League match, is a costly venture. Season tickets to watch Liverpool are among the most expensive in the league, according to the 2017 BBC Price of Football survey.

    The club itself is steeped in wealth. Anfield stadium, the home of Liverpool FC, completed a GBP75m ($106.5m) redevelopment just in time for the 2016-2017 season.

    Phase two of the expansion is expected to cost around GBP40m ($57m).

    Once inside the stadium, there's no lack of luxury: skyboxes, high-end dining options, and meetings with the LFC players are all available to buy.

    Football's price tag is a sore spot in cities throughout the UK, but especially in Liverpool, a political football city like no other with working-class roots and a deep history of social rights movements. 

    "It's the kind of place where football fans take on their team's owners," says Game of Our Lives host David Goldblatt.

    In 2016, Liverpool FC's owners and management, Fenway Sports Group, increased the price of match tickets by 30 percent.

    In response, the city's football fans took to the streets. Thousands walked out of a match in a coordinated protest, chanting "enough is enough, you greedy bastards, enough is enough".

    It was the first walkout in the stadium's history, and it was only a matter of days before the club's owners apologised and announced a compromise.

    "Football's a global game now, and with that comes vast riches," said Jay McKenna, chairperson of Spirit of Shankly, an organisation of Liverpool fans that was instrumental in the protest.

    "How do we make it affordable, but also how do we make it fair."

    In the fifth episode of Game of Our Lives, Goldblatt heads north to watch his beloved Tottenham Hotspur take on Liverpool FC at Anfield.

    He then heads into the city to visit activists from Spirit of Shankly and Fans Supporting Foodbanks, who do their work outside the stadium in the name of the game.

    You can hear the full episode in the player above. Then, visit Game of Our Lives to read more about Goldblatt's experience at the Boot Room at Anfield Stadium, and the social and political activism around football in Liverpool.

    Follow the show on Twitter and Instagram at @gameofourlives.

    Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also listen on our Facebook page.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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