The 'Feed the scousers' and 'Sign on' chants

dockers_strike

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This is a good artilce by Simon Hughes of the (UK) Independent about the idiotic chants by the away fans at Anfield and everton. Obviously I cannot speak for everton on this nor their's and others, notably mancs and chelsea's 'victims' and 'murderers' chants, maybe Hughes could do an article about those?

But this piece is devoted to the endless inanne chants we get by away fans at Anfield and on our travels. Newcastle are by no means the only one. I have to say I love the people of the north east, they are one of the friendliest people I know. The support the Sunderland fans gave to the Hillsbrough cause is legion and publically at least, was far more visible than that lot across the park.

It doesnt make it right although we expect nothing better from the united fans and now they think they are somebody, also the city fans. Yesterday we had Newcastle fans signing feed the scousers. I dont get it, the West End of Newcastle has one of the biggest foodbanks in the UK. Dont get me started on the fact that the UK, the 5th or 6th richest country in the world has a need for foodbanks but how can you even think it is banter to chant 'feed the scouser's' when hordes of your own people are having to rely on a foodbank to eat?

It's the same with the 'sign on' song. If you're sat next to me in the SKD Upper, you might catch me asking the visiting fans 'is there no unemployment in your city \ town?' 'Do you spit in the face of your unemployed who have no job and no food on the table?' Of course they dont hear me and the people around me must think Im some nutter.

There's a lot of stuff recently about racist chanting and efforts to cut it out. Some may say it is discrimination so it must take priority. But, isnt taunting someone over having no job and little or no food discriminatory too?

It isnt just racial chanting that needs cutting out, it should also be these other disgusting chants too.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/liverpool-everton-news-result-fans-sign-on-chant-latest-standings-watch-video-goals-a8700481.html

Football supporters are betraying their backgrounds, shared histories and struggles, as well as the dedication of some who follow under the same sporting banner as themselves whenever they mock the poverty of other places.


Three games over Christmas, three occasions where “Feed the Scousers” has been bellowed out by different sets of fans who come from cities where dire employment rates explain deprivation and detail to a large extent why match-goers with a social conscience are leading the foodbank campaigns which have subsequently been promoted by football clubs trying to do the right thing.


When Manchester United came to Anfield eleven days ago, many had travelled from Victoria, a train station where rough sleepers try to get warm. This had been the sight, indeed, which prompted Andy Burnham, the region’s metro mayor, to donate fifteen per cent of his salary to help tackle homelessness, a feature of life in a city whose bishop, the Rt Revd David Walker, has accused ministers of “taking their eye off the ball” on poverty, warning that the crisis in Manchester is now at an “unparalleled level,” with the poorest families “torn apart” by welfare cuts that have led to destitution on an unprecedented scale.


When Liverpool went to Molineux last Friday and were encouraged – just as Evertonians had been in August – to “sign on, sign on”, it not only seemed to be forgotten that Conor Coady, the Wolverhampton Wanderers Championship-winning captain, comes from Merseyside but also the desperate fact that 34 per-cent of children in the Black Country now exist below the poverty line and the majority of those, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, live in households were parents or guardians are actually in paid work.


Then yesterday, just Xherdan Shaqiri made it 3-0 to Liverpool – just when those in the away end appeared to run out of positive messages about their own team, it came again. Behind them in the Anfield Road stand had been purple van taking food collections in a joint initiative between Liverpudlians and Evertonians and earlier that day, Newcastle supporters had made a donation as part of a reciprocal agreement between the clubs.


It is a significant and perhaps inconvenient truth that since its launch 22 months ago, the NUFC Fans Foodbank has emerged one of the biggest in the country, having taken in nearly £170,000 worth of goods which accounts for more than 30 per-cent of all donations across a city which has more foodbanks than any other in Britain outside London. While this reflects the generosity of the people that live in the north east, it also reflects the depth of the social issues that exist there, and therefore the muttonheadedness of the chanting.


It will be said that songs directed towards poverty on Merseyside have happened for decades, that it is merely light-hearted “banter.” Yet the singing is a suppressant, rooted in an anti-Irish sentiment that preserves the view Liverpudlians have too much to say for themselves in the same way women with an opinion are feisty or black people who push back have chips on their shoulders.


This intensified as the city resisted the force of Thatcherism, an ideology which injected nearly all of shire Britain with the belief it was following the right path at precisely the point where Liverpool went in the opposite direction, becoming an absolutely Labour council, led by Militant. Sixteen months after the 1983 general election that illustrated this swing, came the release of the Band Aid song that gave football supporters the ammunition they needed – again, just at the point where jealousy towards Merseyside’s football teams heightened, with Liverpool and Everton winning eight out of the ten First Division championships during the 1980s.


With Liverpool on the ascendency again, perhaps the chanting will become even more audible. Perhaps it only happened against United because of old-fashioned rivalry, perhaps it only happened at Molineux because of ignorance, perhaps it only happened yesterday because some Newcastle supporters were fed up with the crap being served up in front of them, fed up with Mike Ashley.


It had taken them 61 minutes to go there, perhaps because there has been an effort amongst senior supporters to stamp out the sort of songs that are led by those without the gumption to realise how self-defeating they are, those who are not creative or alert enough to come up with something new, something that admits of or exposes a wider reality.


“Our cities are under attack and we need to stick together,” Bill Corcoran, a leading volunteer in the foodbank campaign told the Independent in November. “Those kinds of chants are divisive, nobody should be singing them.”
 

ILLOK

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The moment that betrayed just how daft the Newcastle lot are happened last season - we applauded their song about kicking Ashley out of the club and their very next chant was 'sign on, sign on'. Since then I've been rooting for them to go down, even with Rafa in charge. It's often said that Newcastle and Liverpool are similar places so to see them behaving with such disdain for a working class city is bemusing. They weren't as bad yesterday as last seaaon but those undercurrents were still there.

I've no problem with footballing rivalry and piss taking songs but these folks are the equivalent of working class Uncle Toms.
 

cynicaloldgit

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The problem is, as you say, that those who chant these idiotic things will just be excused on “banter” grounds. The fact that significant numbers of people in their own communities are either jobless or using food banks just doesn’t seem to register with them- either that or they are genuinely ignorant of what’s going on in this country.

On a related note, I cannot understand BAME people who support Chelsea.
 
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Caradoc

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Personally, I just put it down to the cranially challenged element of most sets of supporters. Its unpleasant, unnecessary, distasteful but the moment you try to work it out is the moment you lose the plot. There’s nothing to work out!

The word ‘banter’ is actually an insidious, mendacious concept. Its used to cover up and/or justify all manner of unpleasant potentially harmful behaviour towards other people - bullying, mocking, abuse.

The world can be a horrible place, is a horrible place. Club officials, supporters groups and police authorities need to work closely to try to eradicate this type of behaviour. I wouldn’t hold your breath on it stopping any time soon though!
 

FilthyBloke

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It’s just witless banter. Not original. Not funny. Like most insults it’s based on a loose stereotype. But some supporters like to bandy these insults, and far worse ones, as much as they like to watch the game they have paid money to go and watch.
 

cynicaloldgit

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It’s just witless banter.
The word ‘banter’ is actually an insidious, mendacious concept. Its used to cover up and/or justify all manner of unpleasant potentially harmful behaviour towards other people - bullying, mocking, abuse.
Have to agree with Caradoc on the way the word “banter” is used to mask a multitude of evils.
 

Hope in your heart

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This is a really excellent and also important article. @dockers_strike, you were absolutely right to put this into the media room, but I've moved it into the Albert for bigger exposure, as I really think that everyone should read it. Simon Hughes seems to be a more than decent journalist. Respect.

My take is that something should be done about it. Maybe not the clubs, but the city of Liverpool could certainly make an effort to fight against these offensive stereotypes by highlighting them, taking it to the FA or the government, and asking them to do something about it. I agree with the posters who say that these chants are badly offensive, tarnish the whole city and shouldn't be allowed, not more than any racist chants for instance.

Identify the guys who chant this kind of crap, hand them fines and blame them in front of the whole country. I think that would be enough to make it disappear quite quickly.
 
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Arminius

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This is a really excellent and also important article. @dockers_strike, you were absolutely right to put this into the media room, but I've moved it into the Albert for bigger exposure, as I really think that everyone should read it. Simon Hughes seems to be a more than decent journalist. Respect.

My take is that something should be done about it. Maybe not the clubs, but the city of Liverpool could certainly make an effort to fight against these offensive stereotypes by highlighting them, taking it to the FA or the government, and asking them to do something about it. I agree with the posters who say that these chants are badly offensive, tarnish the whole city and shouldn't be allowed, not more than any racist chants for instance.

Identify the guys who chant this kind of crap, hand them fines and blame them in front of the whole country. I think that would be enough to make it disappear quite quickly.
Really? You are not satisfied with dismissing them as idiots and moving on, so we need to provide the state with even more capacity to restrict what can be said? Restricting racist speech is itself somewhat problematic, but the demonstrable harm to individuals, and the way that fits into historical oppression to me outweighs the social cost of restricting that speech. I don't think any kind of economics-based abuse meets that test.
 

redaderry

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This is the legacy of the tory/murdoch slur on the city and is deeply rooted from the days of the fiercely left-wing Liverpool City Council who dared to defy Thatcher, particularly Derek Hatton, the deputy leader of the council. The tories vowed to close liverpool down as a thriving city and starved it of inward investment in comparison to other northern cities. There is also a deeply ingrained jealousy of Liverpool in other cities, jealousy of the cultural richness and the wealth of creative artists who hailed fom there.
Liverpool punched above it's weight through the decades, a musical powerhouse producing the likes of the Beatles who have never really been equalled in the UK.
As for the 'banter' tag, as others have said, this is merely a convenient veil to cover prejudice that wouldn't be tolerated were it to do with race or creed or gender.
The best way to counter it in the meantime is to fucking stuff their teams on the pitch.
 

FilthyBloke

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Have to agree with Caradoc on the way the word “banter” is used to mask a multitude of evils.
Which is why I described it as ‘witless banter’.
Banter is fine in the right environment. But when it’s witless it becomes nothing more than insulting.

On the other hand, Iv heard jokes about ayrton senna, princess Diana, the Indonesia tsunami...
Some people are just dicks.
 

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Really? You are not satisfied with dismissing them as idiots and moving on, so we need to provide the state with even more capacity to restrict what can be said? Restricting racist speech is itself somewhat problematic, but the demonstrable harm to individuals, and the way that fits into historical oppression to me outweighs the social cost of restricting that speech. I don't think any kind of economics-based abuse meets that test.
I think it harms the general image of the city. Even where I live, I occasionally hear people who have never been in Liverpool harp on about how poor and derelict the city is, how high the criminality rate is, how it isn't safe to travel there etc. Pure nonsense of course, and I never fail to try correcting these wrong preconceptions. But the simple fact is that they are largely based on the same stereotypes that these chants are carrying and promoting. If I was the mayor of Liverpool, I'd certainly ask myself what can be done to highlight how wrong they are. And as you are talking about economics, I'm sure that it has an economic cost for the city (less tourism for instance).

So yes, my take is that these chants should be forbidden and that any infringement should be punished with a fine. Plain and simple.
 

FilthyBloke

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Personally I think it’s nothing more than away fans trying to get a reaction.
Like when some call stoke folk all inbred.
 

mattyhurst

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Have to say I find it slightly ironic considering the problems these areas have, Hughes has a great book about northern football.

Wolves started it 2 minutes in, which I found more depressing than a fan base 3 down doing it.
 

redaderry

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Personally I think it’s nothing more than away fans trying to get a reaction.
Like when some call stoke folk all inbred.
That's exactly what it is. The point is though that this mindless stuff simply perpetuates the slur on a city and it's good people. And ridiculously , those fans are often from cities in a worse position.
 

liver1

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Indeed its all about trying to get a reaction from people. Just ignore it.

For example if they started the exact same chants at Chelsea the people there would be like WTF? Your reaction determines how insulting something is.

The chants just go back to the days when there were massive strikes which meant the city went on hard times because people were striking but thats long gone. If you look at the highest poverty boroughs in the UK theyre in London. Tower Hamlets is the most impoverished place in the UK as the cost of living is so high.

Its a similar situation as well in terms of racism. If you dont react, racism doesnt work. It just doesnt.

If people say something really racist and no one reacts to it, it doesnt work. It becomes meaningless.

If someone calls you a prelubzybun and I tell you thats the most racist word ever created by man, and you look at them completely perplexed and have no reaction whatsoever because it means nothing to you, then it really does mean nothing to you.

And the person trying to be racist is as baffled as you are as to why you havent reacted. And then it becomes meaningless.
 

FilthyBloke

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That's exactly what it is. The point is though that this mindless stuff simply perpetuates the slur on a city and it's good people. And ridiculously , those fans are often from cities in a worse position.
Because it’s witless.
Iv heard people on various forums (not sure if this is one) that, everytime we play Cardiff or Swansea, describe them as sheep shaggers.
Or share negative comments on their thoughts about stoke and it’s people.
Brighton has had its fair share of various discriminatory chants.
Some people are just dicks. It’s a sad fact that a lot of societies are full of them.
It’s an easy insult. Like bullying the kid with with big nose at school.
They can hide behind banter or comedy or just fooling around but either way it’s how a lot of people go about looking for a reaction.
 

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Caradoc

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This is a really excellent and also important article. @dockers_strike, you were absolutely right to put this into the media room, but I've moved it into the Albert for bigger exposure, as I really think that everyone should read it. Simon Hughes seems to be a more than decent journalist. Respect.

My take is that something should be done about it. Maybe not the clubs, but the city of Liverpool could certainly make an effort to fight against these offensive stereotypes by highlighting them, taking it to the FA or the government, and asking them to do something about it. I agree with the posters who say that these chants are badly offensive, tarnish the whole city and shouldn't be allowed, not more than any racist chants for instance.

Identify the guys who chant this kind of crap, hand them fines and blame them in front of the whole country. I think that would be enough to make it disappear quite quickly.

Really? You are not satisfied with dismissing them as idiots and moving on, so we need to provide the state with even more capacity to restrict what can be said? Restricting racist speech is itself somewhat problematic, but the demonstrable harm to individuals, and the way that fits into historical oppression to me outweighs the social cost of restricting that speech. I don't think any kind of economics-based abuse meets that test.

I think you’re right Armninius but I understand where Hope is coming from.

He’s right to point out that the perception that is created becomes ingrained, a stereotype and has knock-on effects and consequences not just for the football clubs but the city itself. Liverpool relies on tourism and people visiting the city and spending money there. Matches are televised all over the world and the reach and exposure is limitless. Any negative image of the city that is projected to the wider world is really not helpful to the city way beyond the confines of Anfield or Goodison.

Where you are correct is what exactly can be done about it both legally and practically. Like most such issues there is no black and white ........ no simple, straightforward solutions.
 
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Limiescouse

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I'm always reluctant to argue from the perspective that it "was different back in my day", but I do think the increasing ubiquity of this sort of chant is a reflection on the way the world is moving in general. Online interactions tend to promote more mean spirited discoursed and so the more we use that as our way to interact the more accustomed we are to experiencing it. It then becomes more normalized and works its way into more situations, football crowds being just one example. Football crowds have always been a place for hive minded actions, and so I think this is just an example of that - people engaging in mean spirited rhetoric as part of a large group already doing so because "that's just what you're supposed to do", without particularly thinking too much about what you're saying other than insulting people with "Banter".
 
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Red over the water

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Great post Dockers Strike, and thanks for sharing the excellent article in the Independent.

The press picking up on this sort of thing is a good step in the right direction. Hopefully more will follow suit. The problem is tribal, territorial nastiness, mixed in with a dollop of fans going with the flow and not really being mindful of what they are doing. The remedy is education.

The more journalists that pick up on this the better. And the positive influence of the more thoughtful match going fans, who intentionally do not join in, will help.

It’s not quite the same as racism but there are similarities. There was a time when racism was open and rampant, but largely through education it has now diminished. People still engage in it, but I’d like to think they are outliers, and disapproval is usually quick and widespread (though potentially, from reading the likes of Sterling, Collymore, and the erudite John Barnes, it’s still a big issue and I’m understating it, and society needs to tackle it and win).

Education. Journalists picking up on it. Match going fans showing their disapproval. All these things will help.

And in the meantime batter their team on the pitch.
 

LFC4EVR

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This whole topic smacks of Fearless by Pink Floyd, a song that throughout has YNWA playing. When researching this a little more the theory has it Roger Waters whilst an Arsenal fan respected the socialist nature of Liverpool and its people. Its this sort of respect for Liverpool's deep seated culture we need to foster and have like minded respect for - which used to be the case with Newcastle. But Newcastle has lost their way and need educating. As for cyber bullying, they think they can get away with behaving this way by being anonymous online. When actually they're caught, same with racists where fans are getting banned when playback of footage is reviewed. But being an idiot is a far lesser crime but still very hurtful and disrespectful and football is being forgotten.

I think all here have good and valid points, but its not racism and there's an inherent danger in branding behavior as something its not. As Arminius points out its idiots or just the ill informed, that when educated would realize they're hurting their own cities just as much as the people of Liverpool.
 



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Football rivalry like Songs are a wellcome culture in Football world
even me beeing from germany was tought the couple of first ever words in english via a song starting with; we only hate mancs…:tongue: which i really do like a lot!
But i think ist no room whatorever even to think About it insulting People why are in Need for whatever reason in life.
I don t get in the minds(logic) of everyone of them who even dare to say it instead of trying themselfes to help thee.
Emotions are what makes up to human we Need them as much as our objective Kind of view in life, but rasism poverty Kind of staff where some People seems to enjoy themselfes having a go at are not only idiots ist beyond that. No tolerance for that whatorever!
p.s. been poor in Terms of Food or other material Things is a case wher ealways someone will come to help BUT beeing poor in mind and Soul well even God ll give you up!
 
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Bonus

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Speaking a non scouser, and I don't think my attitude to this, would be different if I was a born and bred Liverpudlian,

but all this name calling, and songs full of hate and bile, I just think fuck it!
If the opposition fans want to lower themselves to this level to try and get a reaction, then shame on them,
I just find at embarrassing..

But the real sad thing about it is, there is not much you can do to stop it.

If LFC were to get the FA involved, I think it would just make it worse, as fans will know that it upsets us
and they will be more louder and prouder with their chants,

Trying to educate opposition fans wont work either, as there are always a small group of arseholes who will sing these songs,

Up here in Scotland, the police, football clubs, SNP government and charities have tried to get rid of singing of offensive songs and chants
sung at Celtic and Rangers fans (I know there is a lot of history to this hatred) to no avail,

I thinks its just the way some people are

For me the best response to these chants is for LFC to spank the living daylights out of the opposition on the pitch
and give our fans something to sing about and to sing much it louder than opposition with their shit songs.