There were bound to be some days where Liverpool and life in LA would overlap.
Liverpool FC made some exciting and sort of under the radar news on Tuesday. Exciting because of the content, under the radar because it was sent only to the heads of the Official Liverpool Supporters Clubs, or OLSCs.
The message started out with a minor announcement that the fixtures for the Women’s team had been mostly finalized and could be found on the website through the link provided. (If there were ever a time to think that domestic competitions were rigged, this would be it).
They continued with: “From feedback we have received from various OLSCs, we know that OLSCs want to get more involved and engaged with LFC Women, so this will be the first of regular alerts updating you on LFC Women Team News.”
Now, of course, this is exciting. This is probably even due in no small part to a woman named Jo Goodall who has started an official Liverpool Women’s Supporters Club and has been doing the hard work of raising awareness and giving fans a place to come together around the Women’s team. This is the club actively, finally, taking a step towards working to integrate the Women’s team into the supporters culture.
If one were to take it at face value, that’s all it would be. Exciting in that they were finally encouraging the OLSCs to engage and get more involved with the Women’s team. Finally.
If one were to dig a little deeper, they might have to hold onto cautious optimism as I am.
My boyfriend, myself, and a few others actually run the Los Angeles OLSC. He’ll be humble about it if you brought it up to him, but he does most of the work and we take things off his plate as we can. It’s no secret, as well, that we’re both huge supporters of the Women’s team and have always bemoaned the lack of engagement we’ve been given with them even as an OLSC.
Last season, when the Women’s team played their Merseyside Derby at Anfield, we created an event for our supporters club to watch the game at Joxer Daly’s, where we regularly meet for Men’s team matches. Eugene, our hero and bartender, streamed the match for us and it was great.
Only two other people from the group came.
It’s an ongoing struggle, to get the groups to engage with the Women’s team but that’s because the system makes it so difficult. Again, it is hard to stream the matches (and even harder now) and the club has always given them less coverage - period.
So this message, this bit of news from the club, that they are going to include Women’s team news in alerts to the heads of the OLSCs, can and should be a big deal. Excitement about the Women’s game is growing here, in Los Angeles because of the new team, but across the country. The NWSL and FA WSL are finally being streamed in accessible ways to everyone with CBS and NBC respectively picking up those rights to show those matches.
Of course, there is still the caution. There is still the little gremlin inside me that is growling and telling me not to get my hopes up, not to get too excited because they still have to prove themselves. This could be the pre-season tour all over again, with the late announcements and very little follow up to benefit that fan-team relationship.
Bill Shankly once famously said that he believes in the Holy Trinity - the manager, the team, and the fans. For years, decades, generations, that relationship has been nurtured on the men’s side. Encouraged, engaged. Women’s team fans have not experienced the same benefits, when their games are hard to get to or scheduled against the Men’s teams, or even the ticket prices are so low that it’s free for an Official LFC Member to get into the stadium — if you can get yourself across the river to Prenton Park. Sure, free tickets should in theory encourage people to show up, but it could also potentially send the wrong message.
We don’t think this team is worth paying more than £5 to watch.
This is just the first step, of the club finally nurturing that relationship between the fans and Women’s team. It’s incredible and exciting and… well, I’d like to not get too carried away, either. There’s plenty of ways they could make this work — making the matches available to stream through LFCTV GO, for one — and there’s plenty of ways to encourage us as fans to engage with the Women’s team.
Just give them the same space, time, and effort you afford the Men’s team. We will come around, because we love this club. So many of us love this club, entirely, both squads, and want to support the Women’s team. Even three thousand miles away, like we are in Los Angeles. We want to help this team be successful, because we are part of that Holy Trinity.
The Women’s team are part of it too. It’s about time that Liverpool have started to recognize that.