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#SoupKitchen23: Using poverty as a subject for chanting is a stain on modern football

In 2023, fans singing about rival supporters enduring hunger remains a blight on the game that we all love.

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Football fans by their very nature often share a range of good-natured back-and-forth banter during games, usually at each other’s expense.

It’s generally taken in good humour and put to bed not long after the final whistle, but there are certain topics which, when used as a stick with which to beat opposition fans, shows people up as the lowest of the low.

One of these is poverty-themed chanting, and mocking the fact that people in certain towns or cities are struggling to feed either themselves or their families is sickening.

Merseyside-based clubs are often on the receiving end of ‘Feed the Scousers’. Both Liverpool and Everton FC have been subjected to this for many years and it’s never been ‘banter’, as much as some football fans would try and make you believe it is.

On Thursday night, there were instances of a very small and narrow-minded group of Newcastle fans singing the song from the away end at Goodison Park.

To support a team from a city in which food banks and soup kitchens work hard to help people struggling and then sing this shows either a lack of education, awareness or just downright cruelty. Many Newcastle fans have called it out on social media, and it needs to be continued wherever and whenever it’s heard.

Liverpool and Newcastle are cities built on the blood, sweat and tears of the working class.

As with every town and city across the country, the people in greatest need are often overlooked or have slipped through the cracks of social and governmental institutions that are - at least in a normal nation that cares for its population - supposed to provide support.

FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-NEWCASTLE Photo by PETER POWELL/AFP via Getty Images

Being from the North is often used as a reason for abuse.

Jokes about being ‘poverty stricken’ and ‘how nobody in the north has any money’ are tired and boring. Aiming these sorts of chants at each other, as highlighted by Manchester United and Newcastle fans towards Liverpool clubs, is beyond shocking.

The sad thing is that the play on the ‘Band Aid’ song Do They Know It’s Christmas? in support of those in poverty in Africa has been adapted for decades.

In 2023, we’re a country that continues to fail those most in need, save for the work of a hardcore group of volunteers who save lives out of nothing more than the goodness of their hearts.

We should have a basic instinct to support each other and if you can mock those who’ve been kicked to the curb by an often-unloving society, it paints a very clear picture of you as a person.

This is the time of year that people often find hardest. Loneliness and financial pressures can be difficult, and mocking people for their struggles less than three weeks before Christmas is something no one needs.

If you’re one of the few football fans who’ve sung chants that mock poverty or hardship, you’re a disgrace. It’s 2023 and that sort of stuff only goes to show how despicable a person you are.

Millions of people across the country are being pushed to the brink as the cost of living rises with little sign of respite, and using this as a stick with which to beat opposition fans isn’t edgy and it’s not ‘banter’ - it’s sick.

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