WHY DOES LIVERPOOL SING “YNWA” (You’ll Never Walk Alone) THE STORY OF LIVERPOOL’S RECENT UNITY
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
Liverpool FC have now become the new talk of the footballing world in the last six to twelve months. They’ve done so with the style of play that they are winning games with at a nonstop rate, also the unity and love that’s being spread from all positions within the club. It’s one thing to be a great team and win trophies but it’s another to capture hearts of rival fans, casual fans and disconnected fans and somehow manage bring it all together and get the respect of all the masses. Liverpool have always carried a aura of community and togetherness but this current squad representing the club seems to have even upped the level of unity. After fixtures you hear The Kop stand at Anfield singing with passion, players hugging Jurgen Klopp (the manager) with smiles plastered across the faces of everyone shown, one would ask where did this all really come from? Yes, people usually work better and seem happier when they are successful but it does seem everyone apart of the club is working for each other to achieve something great in the near future and that they won’t back down to any challenge. It’s almost unexplainable to describe what’s being witnessed and what this team is achieving and how their doing it and the connection their building with the supporters. In recent years prior to the Klopp Era at Liverpool the club was known as a banter club losing its edge at the top with a number of slip-ups in title races, mid-table finishes and a overall disconnect with players, staff and fans leading to a unknown direction at the club. Despite all that Liverpool is still known as a massive global club that still is in touch with it’s fans even the Brendan Rodgers era as manager they still showcased moments of unity even with ups and downs. The question now is where did this aura come from? Why does Liverpool FC really feel like a community? Is it just Klopp or has it always been around?
Liverpool FC and its supporters are famously known for its association with the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” but the question that a lot probably aren’t thinking or haven’t crossed their minds is where did it come from and why does it bring such magic when sung together? In last years Champions League semi-finals Liverpool again showcased why “This Means More” (This Means more” being the club’s motto) famously at Anfield coming back from a four goal deficit on aggregate to advance to the tournaments final and later be crowned Champions Of Europe. After the fixture the players and staff were praised with the famous song by supporters. Even before that historic night at Anfield the song has had other moments that have turned significant. Another prime example is the 2005 Champions League Final which is now regarded as one of the most exciting and memorable finals to date. In a bright night under the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Liverpool were able to come back from three goals to win the finals on penalties but prior to the comeback Liverpool’s travelling fans sung the motivational song at halftime to encourage the team that wasn’t performing well. Whenever the Reds are down and beaten supporters seem to lift their spirits with the song. Other massive clubs across Europe have adapted YNWA song in tough times and in tradition.
Celtic FC also have their own method of singing the song by singing at Celtic Park before every home fixture in any European Fixture. The boys in green and white from Glasgow took the song in after a semi-final for the Cup Winners Cup in 1966 against Liverpool. Also several German clubs have also managed to take the song into tradition, but most famously Borussia Dortmund. German Giants from the North Rhine region embraced the song when a local band from the area covered the song and eventually played it at the stadium the marriage between the two was final. Now back to the history of the record, the song was made in 1945 for the musical Carousel and later covered by Liverpool band “Gerry and The Peacemakers” in 1963. The song reached number one on the UK charts splashing in popularity with Liverpool fans singing it all over the streets. At the time Liverpool fans would sing famous Pop songs and specifically ones from the area as northern England had it’s fair share of good music coming out at the time. The song spent weeks at number one and even several more weeks in the top ten. Despite the popularity of the song dwindling and it falling off the charts it was still being sung through the terraces at Anfield. As Liverpool was one of the first English grounds with a DJ they constantly had music played before fixtures. By 1965 the song was cemented in Liverpool culture by being sung before the FA Cup final win over Leeds. The TV commentators went on to claim it as “Liverpool’s signature anthem”. Subsequently played at first simply because it was a big local song that gained popularity that was sung for no reason turned into a song that was being sung in the club’s big moments.
Eventually the song was sung in moments of triumph and most importantly when the team needs it’s spirits lifted. Liverpool’s influence with the song has spread as previously mentioned after cup finals between Dortmund and Celtic which ultimately saw them both find their own variations and traditions in relation to the song. One example that really shows Liverpool’s influence is with Dutch club FC Twente who had the song given to them by a former Anfield stadium announcer in the clubs final game at Diekman Stadion in Enschede, Netherlands. The mutuality and duality between song and football has almost become universal, it seems you can’t think of that song without thinking of Liverpool or the sport. The clubs spoken of prior in this article aren’t the only ones who have adopted the song. As the song has spread across Europe around the world and all levels even smaller club FSV Mainz 05 also taking the song in as a pre-match ritual. The trend that Liverpool have started has becoming so engraved into the supporters culture even Asian clubs such as FC Tokyo of the J League and Indonesian Giants Bali United have their own versions. The one thing these clubs really do have in common it seems is unity and a real connection between supporters and the staff. Klopp has managed Mainz and Dortmund (both teams having their own versions of the song) in which have similar cultures to Liverpool and with his teams across Germany showcasing a strong sense of family it wasn’t too shocking to see the German head over to the red part of Merseyside. Despite this success and unity not being downright to surprising as Klopp had been known for building teams up while developing real connections at clubs. What was most surprising is how far the feelings stretches throughout all levels in Liverpool. From the cafeteria staff at the training ground, stadium stewards & staff, to the laundry room workers cleaning the socks and kits. It really does look like everything being done is being done for a bigger goal and most importantly as a unit from top to bottom. Everyone looks to be carrying smiles and have good spirits, now it leaves me to wonder if this is something that Klopp is to attribute for or is it just the overall culture of Liverpool and similar clubs who sing the song. Part of me truly believes Jurgen Klopp is partially the reason as to why this rise is occurring. This recent rise of quality within the actual style of play and the improvement of players and supporters attitude of the club.
Prior to Klopp coming The Reds struggled with multiple mid-table and uneventful years also to not to forget to mention the infamous 2014 title Slip Up. Despite support being dampened the support although was never lost, even in challenging times nobody have turned their backs on each other the way some clubs have and let themselves get toxic. Dortmund still manage to get eighty thousand fans even when they aren’t performing well and Liverpool is always known for having some of the strongest support in all of England.
I’m not saying clubs adopting “You’ll Never Walk Alone” the song will magically and instantly gain unity and any level success that’s not what this article is about. But now multiple examples of the correlation between the song and a clubs fans maybe indicating that with the right people behind the team and certain rituals and traditions adding to the culture behind the club you can really build a movement inside and outside the stadium. One indication that there’s truly something special behind the song is when you look at all the teams who have adopted it and the outright unconditional support they receive in and away from home and that alone is a indication the song maybe really does have something special behind it that ultimately can bring a team to success. Now with Liverpool FC and specifically this one looking like a family ready to take on any challenge together, the guarantee is success but the question is how much of it can they do all together but another for sure thing is the fans won’t let them walk alone through it all.