Ken Early: Liverpool are a long way from socialism these days

Shankly’s club along with the rest of the Premier League are the ultimate neoliberalists

Liverpool fans hold up a banner with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn before the game against Southampton. Photograph:  Phil Noble/Reuters

Liverpool fans hold up a banner with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn before the game against Southampton. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Tradition has it that Liverpool FC stands for socialism, even while many of the legends who bestrode the Anfield turf quietly voted Tory because they liked the idea of lower taxes. The association goes back to Bill Shankly, whose line that “The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It’s the way I see football, it’s the way I see life,” became a slogan that sold a million T-shirts.

Shankly’s socialism was practical rather than theoretical: he is remembered for declaring to a crowd that, “Even Chairman Mao has never seen a greater show of Red strength,” but moments earlier he’d had to ask Brian Hall for the name of the Chinese leader.

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