(CNN) Liverpool have confirmed they will play ‘God Save the King’ ahead of their game against Brentford on Saturday to respect the coronation of King Charles III, although the club admits many supporters have ‘strong opinions’ on the matter.
Liverpool fans are used to booing the national anthem, most recently before last season’s FA Cup final at Wembley – many also booed Prince William when he appeared on the pitch.
The decision comes after the Premier League requested that the national anthem be played before every game this weekend to celebrate the King and Queen Consort’s coronation services, which take place on Saturday.
“Before kick-off and in recognition of the Premier League’s request to mark the crowning glory, players and officials will gather around the center circle when the national anthem is played,” Liverpool said in a statement on Friday.
“It is, of course, a personal choice how those at Anfield on Saturday will mark this occasion and we know some supporters have strong opinions about that.”
Why are the fans booing?
So why exactly do Liverpool fans have a habit of booing the UK national anthem? The answer has everything to do with the history of the city itself.
Liverpool suffered from the deindustrialisation of the British economy in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1981, dire economic conditions, combined with tensions between the police and the Afro-Caribbean community, led to nine days of rioting in the city .
In the aftermath of the troubles, the government of Margaret Thatcher spoke of a “controlled decline” of the city.
During this decade of Tory rule, the people of Liverpudlian came to see themselves as outsiders, separate from the rest of the country, and the state’s handling of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 further reinforced these anti- establishment.
National anthem boos at football matches when the team played at Wembley – which was common given Liverpool’s dominance of English football at the time – became widespread and remains so today.
Many fans had the same reaction during the Carabao Cup final in February 2022 and the FA Cup final in 2012.
Booing the anthem is a way for some club supporters to voice their opposition to the establishment, and this is a chance 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 which is now affecting the whole of the UK.
High inflation, years of stagnant wages and the sudden and steep rise in energy prices have left millions of Britons on the brink of poverty.
At the same time, the British government is spending tens of millions of taxpayers’ money on a lavish celebration.
Social and economic inequality is something that continues to irritate many in the left-leaning city of Liverpool.
Significantly, it was Liverpool and Everton supporters who started Fans’ Supporting Foodbanks in 2015, an initiative that aims to tackle food poverty in the UK.
Jurgen Klopp’s comments
Asked about the club’s decision to play the national anthem on Saturday, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said “the position of the club is my position”.
“It’s definitely a topic that I can’t have a proper opinion on. I’m from Germany, we don’t have a king or a queen or that sort of thing,” he told reporters. reporters on Friday.
“I’m pretty sure a lot of people in this country will enjoy the coronation, some may not really be interested and some may not like it. That’s it. It’s all over the country.”
Many feared Liverpool fans would disrupt a minute’s silence for Queen Elizabeth II after her death last year but, on this occasion, only a few isolated boos were heard.
And, in an article written on Friday, football journalist Dominic King suggested Liverpool fans could simply sing the club anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone” instead of “God Save The King” on Saturday.
CNN’s Ivana Kottasová contributed reporting.