As you can tell by my name on this forum I am not a scouser, don't and haven't lived in the area, never been to a game at Anfield. I am one of the "new" fans, but I started watching and supporting Liverpool in the early 80's. I've been a fan for thirty years. Why did I become a fan of Liverpool if I didn't live in the area? Because I loved football, played it as a child every single moment I could. I dribbled my ball to and from school. However, my parents didn't care the slightest amount. They never watched a game I played (fine by me) or took me to see a game. I lived in Salisbury, went to a rugby school, and never went to a professional game through no fault of my own. What I could see as far as football was a game on tv once a week, and the team that was on tv almost every week in the early 80's was Liverpool. Why? Because they were the best team in England, and possibly the world.
To this day Liverpool have the widest spread of supporters in England. The average distance of a Liverpool fan in England is further away than that of every club. The reason for this is success. However, once you become a fan, you tend to stay a fan. I'm not less of a fan than I was because Liverpool haven't won the League in twenty years. I'm not claiming to know and love the traditions of Liverpool as much as a native Liverpudlian who has been a season ticket holder for forty years, how could I? It doesn't mean that YNWA doesn't send chills down my spine, or that I don't love the applause for other teams that play well, or that "this is Anfield doesn't mean anything to me. It doesn't mean that a goal doesn't thrill or hurt depending on who scores it.
I loved seeing Kenny's reaction to a goal for Liverpool. It clearly meant as much to him as to anyone who has ever supported the club. I loved watching him play. There is no-one I wanted to succeed at Liverpool more than him. But I was 5,000 miles away in a place with no news of English football during Hillsborough. I can't possibly understand what that means to those who were around at the time, I just can't. I don't know the full legend of Kenny Dalglish and never will.
However, from my understanding the tradition of Liverpool includes ruthlessness. "Lose your legs on someone else's pitch." The support that lifted Liverpool from a local club, to a national club, to a worldwide club was based on success. Without that success there would not be that support. Without that support Liverpool would be a mid-level club. Liverpool as a mid-level club would not have that success. Liverpool would be a club that was once great but never would be again, like Wolves, Nottingham Forest etc.. Every single club thinks their club is special, with its own traditions, own style, own legends.
I suppose the point I am trying to make is that it doesn't have to be one thing or the other. It can be complex, with a range of responses. I feel bad about Kenny leaving because he's Kenny. I think the team will probably do better in the long run without him. From what I know of the "Liverpool Way" it constantly searches for success. It also thinks of the club as a collective. It also can be ruthless with regards to those who aren't achieving the requisite success. It also involves appreciation for those who have left when they return to Anfield unlike any other club I have seen. I think that ruthlessness and sentimentality are both part of the Liverpool Way. Would Bill Shankly have kept Dalglish on as manager after this season if he was the owner? Would the fans have loved Dalglish any less as a result? Is the tradition of keeping managers longer at Liverpool simply the result of great managers and fantastic results? Didn't Liverpool achieve success because of change? Did this lead inevitably to pain? Does the Liverpool Way always look backwards or does it try to move forwards? Does it do a bit of both?
Wouldn't it be great if the two groups of fans were just fans, each providing a different viewpoint to each other? Wouldn't it be great if those steeped in the tradition of Liverpool could teach those traditions to fans like me? Wouldn't it be great if fans like me could teach the perspective of modern football, how it is possible to truly be a fan of Liverpool and still understand that money matters for success and that what worked twenty years ago doesn't work anymore? The fans of the 60's weren't like the fans of the 70's who weren't like the fans of the 80's and so on. To be the most knowledgeable, best fans in the world we need to teach each other what we know, support the club and each other. Being a football fan inevitably involves pain and joy, experienced at the same time by every Liverpool fan in the world. Otherwise we wouldn't be fans.
"The socialism I believe in is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards."