Banners and football. Football and banners. What is it about those two things that make them go together like Theresa May and disastrous economic policies?
In recent years, the banner has been a phenomenon at grounds up and down the country, from majestic 60-foot displays to plaintive bedsheet missives.
But one club’s fans in particular have excelled in all aspects of bannerising: Liverpool FC. Frankly, they’re on another level. While some supporters make do with holding up A4 pages with hand-drawn ‘[Insert Manager] Out’ messages at matches, the Anfield faithful know what it takes to be elite:
Liverpudlians with two banners at
"Make us dream"
"We go again"
Best team,Best fans
UP THE REDS
— Kop-Ice (@kopice86) April 18, 2014
And, in the lead-up to the Champions League final against Real Madrid on Saturday, Reds have upped their game once again, rolling out masterpiece after masterpiece in an effort to communicate just how much they love Liverpool FC.
It’s really wonderful stuff, and definitely not gratingly saccharin, no matter what the haters tell you. Here’s how we feel about some of the best offerings.
The ‘Real Madrid check your kecks’ banner
Marvellous. This combines the Dada-eque avant-gardism of early Duchamp with the linguistic creativity of Beckett at his peak.
There is scant regard for grammatical convention and yet the concept of structured narrative remains intact. Non-sequiturs are employed to give a sense of place and time, while the teasingly provocative invitation to the bourgeoisie of Real Madrid to ‘Check Your Kecks’ fits with the clearly deliberate Dadaism of the artwork.
A well thought out piece with a playful side. 10/10.
— CASUALS ON TOUR (@CasualsOnTour_) May 23, 2018
The ‘UK Raine’ banner
Magnificently lyrical and highly imaginative, this banner is a triumph of creative inspiration and imagination. ‘Me Bird’ is not in fact a declaration of avian self-identification, but a clever and hilarious reference to the Liver Bird, which features on the Liverpool FC crest. In UK parlance, a ‘bird’ is also a totally acceptable and not in any way dismissive term for a female human being. The metaphor is therefore complete: ‘me bird’ equals Liverpool FC.
As if that wasn’t enough poetic punch packed into eight square feet of cheap rayon, the final line of the work features a truly iconic play-on-words. The entire piece is a setup for this crescendo, with the ‘travelling to far away places’ actually being a cunning allusion to Liverpool’s European campaigns and ultimately their final clash versus Real Madrid in Kiev.
Kiev is in Ukraine, which, if broken into syllables, gives you ‘uk’ and ‘raine’. The author ingeniously converts this into a reference to the perceived high level of precipitation in the United Kingdom. Liverpool are therefore the author’s escape from bad weather.
Shite banner going to Kiev pic.twitter.com/yleqF0K4yI
— LFC flags & Banners (@LFC_Banners) May 22, 2018
The ‘James Miliner (sic) 30%’ banner
Witty yet informative, this is pure poetry in motion – but also serves as an insightful lesson in physical geography.
It’s a little-known fact that 70% of the earth’s surface is comprised of either salt or fresh water. However, the remaining portion is not, in fact, covered by a very limited English utility midfielder, but rather by land.
Hence the subversive genius of this banner. It reels one in with a seemingly banal fact, but then sensationally corrupts one’s anticipation of another fact swiftly following by throwing a James Milner-shaped spanner in the works. The creators have been surely influenced by early Tarantinian genre-busting.
The ‘I’m Sorry Luva XXX’ banner
Some say Romeo and Juliet is the finest love story ever written.
Wrong. The greatest love story ever written is the tale of the fiery liason dangereuse between this Liverpool fan and his club.
So girded are the author’s loins by the alluring prospect of eloping with an illicit lover that he has simply gone ahead and done so. And yet, his integrity is such that a confession must be made.
When it comes, it’s laced with confusion, joy and sorrow – a veritable explosion of Kafkaesque uncertainty and expression. The author makes his ecstasy apparent, but cannot hide from the fact that he is still to fully understand its nature.
The artwork is stark and simple – yet colourful. A perfect complement to a body of text that seeps with emotion.
How's this bastard got a ticket!!!
Hope this gets robbed pic.twitter.com/prypdu8bsE
— LFC flags & Banners (@LFC_Banners) May 17, 2018
The ‘Red Arrows’ banner
Sorry, but this one is just tragic.
It's a shame Liverpool don't reach as many finals as they use to, the banners that their fans produce are hilarious. pic.twitter.com/BbQlZ2Mx3G
— Stu (@Deeney_mcfc) May 22, 2018