Liverpool vs Manchester City League Cup Final: Off The Pitch Preview
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Liverpool vs Manchester City League Cup Final: Off The Pitch Preview

Sat 27 Feb 2016 at 07:41 by Distant Echo in blog


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Ahead of this Sunday's League Cup final between Manchester City and Liverpool we caught up with two match going fans for an off the pitch preview.

In the blue corner we spoke to City season ticket holder, and that fella who's quite funny on Twitter, Macca (@the_paris_angel). Whilst representing Liverpool we spoke to Andy Hudson (@atwinny), a home and away red who is also part of the Spion Kop 1906 group.

What would a cup win mean on Sunday? Do Liverpool fans just see it as only the League Cup?

Andy: A cup win is a cup win. Lads go the game to see their team win silverware, it’s as simple as that! Plus, you get a day out at Wembley with your mates.

Liverpool have won the League Cup more than any other team so I don’t think we just see it as ‘only The League Cup’. Don’t get me wrong, if I had the choice, the trophy I want to win every year is The FA Cup but I’d take League Cup success every day of the week.

How about City? You meet Liverpool again in the league next week. What matters more to City fans? Winning on Sunday or 3 points? 

Macca: A chance to win silverware has got be better than a league game in March. If we lose on Sunday then that’s it for another season in that competition but if we lose at Anfield (like normal) then there is still an, albeit incredibly remote, chance we can win the title. 

Regardless of the relative success we’ve had in recent years, I’ve experienced getting beat in a final in 2013 and it isn’t particularly pleasant, whilst I’ve got quite used with getting beat at Anfield.

Is it a case of making a weekend for Liverpool lads or it for you lot or in and out on a coach?

Andy: We’re heading down in the morning on a 70 seater double decker so it actually might turn into a week’s trip, let alone a weekend! Lads who don’t normally go the game week in week out are all on-board so it will be good to see all the old faces enjoying the day. That’s what the good thing is about Cup Finals; everyone wants to be involved so it makes for a brilliant day. As always, the coach trip there and back will probably be better than the game itself.

And what's the plan in general for City fans? Coach in and out or will people make a weekend of it?
 
Macca: I never thought I’d ever hear me saying these words, but we actually have a routine now. The last three times we have driven down early on the day of the match, checked in to our hotel in St Albans and then got on it, and that’s the plan again.

St Albans is great as its close enough for getting to Wembley on the train/Tube no hassle but far enough away to avoid all the crowds. I do know a load who are doing it on the coaches and train there and back in a day though. Not for me that.

In 2011 for the FA Cup semi v United I went on one of the official supporters’ coaches. I only did it because I felt tight on my Dad cos he wanted to go but didn’t fancy staying over or going on the train. Never again. Sat with a load of nerds completely sober and then I had to look after my old man before and after as World War 3 broke out on the coach car park.  He’s watching it on the telly on Sunday.

Some teams will be head to toe in colours for a final. What's your typical lad wearing at Liverpool nowadays, will it be the same on Sunday?

Andy: It’s hard to say really because the demographic of our fan has changed drastically over the past few years. As always you will get the vast majority in the replica shirt and scarf which is not to my taste but completely fine.

Growing up I always remember everyone going to Cup Finals wearing red so I imagine it will be the same on Sunday. There seems to be a mix-match of fashion at the games these days.

It goes from one end of the scale to the other, even in our groups of lads. You have lads wearing Norse, Nudie, APC, New Balance and the likes, to lads wearing Kenzo jumpers and Balenciaga’s. You then have lads who are dedicated to adidas and wear nothing else and loads seem to dress like they’re climbing Snowden in their North Face and Berghaus gear.

To be honest, it’s a good mix and good to see. 

What's the match-going culture like at City? Other clubs seem plagued by tourists/new-comers/corporates etc... Looking from the outside it appears like you have more of a traditional fan base.

Macca: Where I sit in the South Stand I’m pretty isolated from all the tourists and new-comers because it’s predominantly season ticket holders but they’re definitely about.

We have City Square which is an area outside the ground with bars and food stalls where every home match there is *spit* entertainment put on. This is clearly aimed at the tourists and new-comers but in fairness it’s good for families as well. I think I’m mellowing and just realise that I need to pick my battles, and there seems to be more people into that kind of thing than not nowadays. I’m probably not the best person to comment though, I don’t even eat on match days.
 
On a personal level my enjoyment is more or less as it ever was. I sit next to my Dad and I’ve got great mates I go on the sauce with most games. It’s a cliché but I genuinely don’t know what I’d do without it.

It's got to be worse at Liverpool? Just how much has the match-going culture been effected at Anfield?

Massively. You seem to be outnumbered, especially at Anfield. I don’t know where they come from, it’s like a massive ship lands on the morning of a match and they get off rigged out from head to toe in their LiverWorld gear.

Growing up, you always looked up to what the other lads wear wearing, how they acted and what they sang. If you’re a kid growing up going the match now you’re probably looking up to a fella who’s got a replica top on with some stag-do type name on the back, a pair of boot cut jeans wide enough to fit 3 fella’s in and a pair of trainees from the sale rail of Sports Direct.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not got a problem with day-trippers and it doesn’t matter to me where you are from but there’s certain traditions and cultures at Anfield that need to be protected and every year they seem to be getting faded out.

I’m just glad that there’s still a good few lads going week in, week out who know the score.

Is everyone sorted then for the final or was it a scramble for tickets in Manchester? 

Macca: Most of my mates who aren’t season ticket holders have missed out and are still on the lookout but from my point of view it’s a fairly simple process nowadays, boring even. Go online, pick a seat, buy the ticket. When we were at Wembley in 1999 for the Play off final I queued up at Maine Road for 10 hours and ended up that bladdered on cans I was barely able to stand once it got to my turn at the ticket office. The good old days.  

And at Liverpool, are all the regulars sorted for the final?

Andy: The majority of us are all sorted. You’ll always have the odd one or two who aren’t arsed about going who are just there for the day out. As I said before, they’re just happy getting on the coach and having a good bevy with the rest of the lads.

LFC's walkout over ticket prices caught national attention recently. How much of a concern is it for match-going City fans. It seems like you get a fairer deal than most at home? 

Macca: It’s a mixed bag really. The Category A prices are a joke for home and away fans and season ticket prices are seemingly going up £50 every season now. The positive last season was the new South Stand third tier which allowed people who were seeing their season ticket prices rise to unaffordable levels relocate. Fair play to the club for that because it meant some of my mates didn’t have to walk away but the fact is that the club are still forcing people to relocate because they see certain areas of the ground as ‘Premium’ seats for the wealthier ‘customer’.

I’m genuinely fearful of what will happen if we had to move. I’ve stood and sat with my Dad at the match since 1984 and we’ve had those seats at the new ground since the day it opened. My Dad’s in his seventies now and if he turned round and told me he was done with it – it would genuinely crush me. 

I was made-up with the walkout because it showed what can be done.

When STAND started I did an article regarding capping away ticket prices and was keen to campaign for lower ticket prices in general. I had to take a step back though. The opinions I was seeing and the responses I was getting on Twitter drove me up the wall. “Yeah but we had to pay this at your place.....We’ve been paying those prices for years and you weren’t bothered then....It’s City’s fault anyway because of all the high wages....You don’t have to go etc etc etc...”. People seemingly couldn’t grasp that the issue of ticket pricing was not tribal but the tide is definitely turning and the Liverpool fans should be applauded for that. Let’s hope others now follow suit.

The group you're involved in, Spion Kop 1906 organised the incredibly successful walk out at Anfield recently which caused Liverpool's owners to back down on price increases. Whats next in the campaign?

Ticket-protest
Andy: We’ve got to sit down and think about what we do next. It’s about being smart. I was quick to say when the news broke that we had won the battle, but we have not won the war. 

It’s going to be something we need to sit down and speak about with other groups and see how we progress. We’ll still keep banging the drum about the prices of tickets, especially at Anfield,  because as it stands, it is still far too expensive.

If anything good came out of the walkout it’s that it got national press and everyone seemed to be talking about it. I believe it’s now time for other lads at other clubs to stand up and make a stand, hopefully that will make the Premier League listen. As we’ve said all along, all we want is fairness but all we see is greed. Hopefully the walk out against Sunderland will be the catalyst to bigger and better things.


With thanks to Macca (@the_paris_angeland Andy (@atwinny) - enjoy Wembley lads.