Date: 15th January 2013 at 5:30pm
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WHAT does it mean to be a ‘big’ club?

Daniel Sturridge recently commented on is delight at joining a club that has no Premiership rival ‘bigger’. A sentiment which was completely lost as a different translation was seen and stated by various idiots.

Their translation read more like joining ‘the biggest club in the World/Premiership’.

Now Liverpool FC is a great football club that I follow passionately, but the translated version of Sturridge’s words felt insulting. Was I being humble, strange, defensive and not recognising my own club’s greatness, or was I being patronised and reacting accordingly? Or is any such talk of ‘biggest’ just like juveniles screwing up their fresh faces and shouting ‘my dad’s bigger than your dad’, till they start to swing tiny fists?

What makes a club ‘bigger’ than another?

Stadium size? Anfield is the 7th largest stadium in England. There are 6 teams with bigger stadiums. Does that make six clubs ‘bigger’ then Liverpool FC? If we include Scotland, Anfield is 10th, including Wales and we are 11th. So there are bigger stadiums, but that does that necessarily mean a bigger clubs?

What about world following?

We all know Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have a huge global following. Who has the largest? How do you tell if someone living in Hong Kong, India or Peru prefers Liverpool to Man Utd if they don’t buy anything and just keep up with scores and catch the odd game on the free-to-view TV service provider? Personally, without any prejudice, I couldn’t care less how many fans Liverpool have in Honduras, Singapore or anywhere else!

Figures for 2012 income places Liverpool 4th, amount paid in wages we’re 4th but all the different figures collected by The Independent place other clubs higher.

If media coverage and scrutiny is anything to go by then I have to agree with Sturridge; no other club has got more attention in the UK than Liverpool over the last few years. Every minute there are approximately 255 babies born in the world – almost as many as the number of ‘things’ written about Suarez! (Some of the pieces sound like the babies actually wrote them.)

History – our favourite measuring stick? Man Utd have one more league but Liverpool have been Champions of Europe twice more. Nottingham Forest, Leeds, and Aston Villa are all big clubs historically as they have won leagues and/or European Cups…but where are they now? Aston Villa have won the league and won in Europe but there are few (outside of the Villa faithful) who cling on to claims of being a big club or the biggest. Such history gets superseded, forgotten and can become irrelevant over time.

Present – our least favourite measuring stick? 2005 we won the Champions League and 2007 we were so close. Liverpool haven’t challenged for the league since we came second in 2009, and there are around seven clubs above us in the league today and at the end of the season I expect five clubs to be above us, unless we suddenly and dramatically improve on the pitch.

Maybe heavy investments today (e.g. Sneider and Villa etc) are needed as much as a continued investment in tomorrow (Shelvey and the youth). As we’ve seen from Arsenal, if you focus on the future you don’t have a present as the foundations crumble before the project. If Arsenal had been able to get some quality experienced additions I think they would have won the league over the last seven years. In doing so they would have held on to the multitude of talent they unearthed, developed and lost to teams who actually wanted to win enough to go on and do it.

The future – who knows? But I feel we clearly need to improve or resign ourselves to the history books as once-upon-a-time also-rans. The stadium is ridiculously small for a club with our fan base. Why oh why do FSG want to start on it in 2014? All the time spent in talks about a new stadium over the years has been enough to build it 20 times over!

Fergy called Newcastle small, yet had a tantrum, foaming at the mouth at Rafa when he called Everton small…as usual, hypocrisy from old Purple nose.

A few clubs can claim to be bigger than Liverpool due to success over the last 20 years, but only one has a serious case as far as I am concerned and that’s Man Utd. As long as the sum total of European and League top dogs is in Liverpool’s favour there is always an argument to be made that no club is bigger. While we can argue, we will. While we can breathe, we can argue!

Finally, I don’t care who’s ‘dad is bigger’; Liverpool is my club and that’s all that matters. We’d support them if we were in the Championship, and below. After Man City and Chelsea I can understand Sturridge wants supporters to like him immediately. Daniel, if you’re reading: Relax, work hard on the pitch and don’t say anything stupid off the pitch. If you conduct yourself with dignity and most importantly, keep scoring and scoring and scoring, we’ll love you like Fowler (well almost, after all he is ‘God’).


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