Hello! Not sure if this is the right place to post this, or the right thing to post tbh, but maybe someone else is in the same boat and gets what I’m on about, so let’s do it, yeah?
I was born into a Liverpool-supporting family, but didn’t properly come to following the game until last year. My dad was the supporter in the family but my older brother didn’t care for football at all, and by the time I came along we lived too far away from Anfield to even be considered wools, so between that and not affording Sky to actually see the games my support was a bit like the box you tick for religion on the census - part of your culture and family history but not really a church you regularly attend. Then last year I was sick, spent a lot of time in bed with Five Live on because the sound of live football was really soothing when I was feeling terrible, and the quadruple chase pulled me in. So basically I’m coming to this in my forties not really knowing what’s what or who’s who, but also spending my sick leave watching all the Inside Anfields and goal replays and ‘Dear Liverpool’ videos on YouTube and thinking ‘yeah, I get it, I get what YNWA is all about’. After only really engaging with live football during international tournaments in a period where the England team was often quite dislikeable, it was great. When I was younger I watched A Hard Day’s Night and it was clearly meant to make me as a teenage girl fancy The Beatles but instead I actually just wanted to be a Beatle because it looked like the most fun in the world. (This is probably why Hendo leaving in the way he did felt genuinely quite upsetting, but that’s another discussion.)
Anyway. To keep things short, I was off sick because the serious mental illness I was diagnosed with and medicated for since my twenties turned out to be a misdiagnosis and what I actually had was ADHD and autism. Finding this out at my age was a bit of a mindf**k to say the least, but it also has me thinking differently about how I feel and react to things, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot as I’ve recently attended my first two matches EVAH in pre-season. Maybe because I went along on my own, and I had a good time even though I can find crowds overwhelming at times, but I feel a bit like I don’t belong - I don’t know the songs yet, I don’t know if I’m allowed to be there because I’m still figuring out how everything fits together, I don’t know whether I can just chat to other people there or whether they’ll think I’m a big weirdo; when I go on the Liverpool subreddit the Proper Football Men are intimidating and know much more than I do and I wonder if I’m too positive and not cynical enough, when I go on Twitter or Insta and see people slagging off players, sometimes directly to them, I feel like an idiot for feeling weirdly protective over young guys I don’t know who won’t see it anyway, lol. So…I feel like I don’t know how to be a fan if that makes sense? Is this what autism is, the constant imposter syndrome and worrying about not doing the right things, or is this just what happens when you get into something thirty years after everyone else? If you’re like me, how do you find things like going to matches etc?
Feel free to also take the piss out of me writing an essay about FEELS on a football forum, too, I guess - I’m still tired after getting the nightbus back from Deepdale last night.
Hiya @JiveBunny, don’t be thinking that you’re not a ‘proper’ fan. Fan bases are made up of all kinds of folk. Some that you could happily engage with and others who you’d cross the road to avoid. In my opinion most Reds are sound. That’s not to say that we don’t also have divvies follow us as well. Like in everyday life you’ll know which ones are sound and which to avoid.
As for feeling protective of the players? That’s just your nature don’t change.
As for the song? You’ll learn them. I admit that when we start singing a new song for a player it’ll take me a while to learn it. The same goes for our history. You’ll pick it up on your Reds journey.
Welcome aboard, @JiveBunny (terrible band, btw). There is no such thing as a better fan- everyone supports the club in their own way. Just enjoy the ride- it’s never straightforward where LFC are concerned.
Don’t let social media make you question how much you support the club. The likes of twitter are essentially cesspits where the worst of humanity get the license to be themselves without much fear of repercussions.
I wonder if your ADHD/autism diagnosis has actually helped you get into football? Presumably, you are now able to make more sense of how things affect you and get more enjoyment out of them?
My kids are all adopted and a couple would fit into the neurodiverse category - not autism but there are some similarities including ADHD which one of them is now treated for. With him he now has an obsessive love for all things Doctor Who. We always watched that as a family but it was only after receiving treatment for the ADHD that it became an all-encompassing passion.
In terms of being a proper fan, I wouldn’t worry about it. The one thing I have always liked about Liverpool is the fact that it is welcoming to everyone regardless of background. I’ve been a fan since early childhood and attended matches regularly in the 1980s. This dropped off after I moved away from Liverpool and my interaction was limited when the matches were televised on Sky (I avoided this for years when it was owned by Murdoch). Oddly enough I now rarely miss a televised game as I live in Germany which, perversely, has better Liverpool TV coverage than the UK!
In my experience it’s tough to not feel an outsider when trying to get involved in new things. I’ve been a Liverpool fan for over three decades, I know how to do that in a way that works for me.
I have been to a few diferent non-league clubs just for the experience. Although I had a good time I certainly felt like an outsider despite having a lot of experience watching Liverpoool and football in general.
I’m sure if I went even semi regularly to any of them for three decades then it would be a very different story.
Nobody knows anything at first, but keep at it and you’ll be much more at home in no time.
This forum is probably one of the best ones to help you find your feet! Though you still might find the occasional person who think you aren’t a proper fan if you don’t hate the owners. Best off just to ignore them.
That’s interesting to think about - in my case I thought it was because I was no longer taking medication that slowed my brain down and left me with a lot more space to think about other things. I definitely had obsessive love for things as a kid as well, very much an all or nothing kind of person.
Yeah…the FSG OUT thing seems a bit removed from my day to day enjoyment of it, though having lived in Manchester during the proposed Murdoch takeover and then the Glazer protests I can get my head around it. I do find the clamour to replace the owners with a petrostate a bit weird though, I’m not sure people realise what they’re wishing for there.
I tend to stick to very specific niche subreddits that are more like forums, and use Twitter to chat to my friends about old nonsense, so whenever I pop my head outside of that I’m really surprised.
My trick for Reddit is to never ever go on any politics forums or anything touching on relationships/feminism (whatever your own views on any of these topics) - I once looked at a sub called LifeProTips and it was all things that are only a novelty or revelation to teenage incels who have never left their midwestern suburb. There’s a big tendency on most subreddits to assume everyone else is a white male straight American, which explains a lot of the ‘well, every single person here would move to Saudi for more money’ comments that came up this summer.
Subreddits where people talk about abandoned malls or make beautifully photographed layouts of all the parts of a machine, though, they’re fine.
One of the positive things subreddits can do is demonstrate people are all complex and multifaceted and hopefully one upside of not having a top down canon informed culture is we all become a little bit more tolerant of difference. Thats the rose tinted spin on it anyway…