Liverpool has confirmed it will play “God Save the King” before its match against Brentford on Saturday to honor the coronation of King Charles III, despite the club admitting many supporters have “strong views” on issue.
Liverpool fans have a history of booing the national anthem, most recently doing so before last season’s FA Cup at Wembley – many also booed Prince William when he appeared on the pitch.
The decision will come after Premier League requested that the national anthem will be played before every match this weekend to celebrate the coronation services of the King and Queen Consort, which will take place on Saturday.
“Before kick-off and in recognition of the Premier League’s request to mark the coronation, players and officials will gather around the center circle when the national anthem is played,” Liverpool said in a statement friday
“Of course, it is a personal choice how those at Anfield on Saturday mark this occasion and we know that some supporters have strong views about it.”
So why exactly do Liverpool fans have a history of booing the British national anthem? The answer has to do with the history of the city itself.
Liverpool suffered during the deindustrialization of the UK economy in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1981, dire economic conditions, coupled with tensions between the police and the African-Caribbean community, resulted in nine days of unrest in the city.
In the wake of the unrest, Margaret Thatcher’s government spoke of the city’s “managed decline”.
During this decade of Conservative rule, Liverpudlians saw themselves as outsiders, isolated from the rest of the country, and the state’s handling of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 further reinforced those anti-establishment feelings.
The playing of the national anthem at football matches when the team played at Wembley – often given Liverpool’s dominance of English football during this period – became widespread and remains so today.
Many fans had the same reaction to the Carabao Cup final in February 2022 and the FA Cup final in 2012.
Booing the anthem is a way for some of the club’s supporters to express their opposition to the establishment, and this is an opportunity to do so in front of a global audience.
The King’s coronation on Saturday also comes at a time when many are feeling the devastating effects of the severe cost of living crisis now affecting the whole of the UK.
High inflation, years of wage stagnation and the sudden and steep rise in energy prices has left millions of Brits on the brink of poverty.
At the same time, the UK government is spending tens of millions of taxpayers’ money on a lavish celebration.
Social and economic inequality is something that continues to anger many in the left-leaning city of Liverpool.
Notably, Liverpool and Everton supporters started the Fans’ Supporting Foodbanks in 2015, an initiative aimed at tackling food poverty in the UK.
When asked about the club’s decision to play the national anthem on Saturday, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said “the club’s position is my position.”
“It’s definitely a subject that I can’t have a proper opinion on. I’m from Germany, we don’t have a king, or a queen, or things like that,” he told reporters on Friday.
“I’m sure a lot of people in this country will enjoy the coronation, some won’t really be interested, and some won’t. That’s it. That’s all over the country.”
There were many fearful Liverpool fans who could have interrupted a minute’s silence for Queen Elizabeth II after her death last year but, on that occasion, only a few isolated boos were heard.
And, in an article written on Friday, football journalist Dominic King suggested Liverpool fans could sing the club’s own anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone” instead of “God Save The King ” on Saturday.