Fan Power

Stephanie Power
View Two, Mathew Street (30th April – 3rd May 2009)

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Being an avid follower of football I was intrigued by the prospect of seeing a photography exhibition reputedly examining the current face of the game and its relationship to the traditional fan.

What struck me most when I walked round the exhibition at View 2 was not so much the nondescript nature of the photographs but the statement pinned on the wall describing the work of the photographer concerned - BBC journalist Stephanie Power - who stated that she became interested in the politics of football in 2007. 2007!

Had she not noticed before that time the rampant commercialism of football and the abject racism at games - which is still prevalent in countries such as Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, France and Germany? 25% of professional footballers in England are black yet only 1% of football fans describe themselves as 'non-white'.

Also not forgetting the sectarian hatred spewed out at 'Old Firm' meetings in Glasgow between Celtic and Rangers; the increasing homophobia directed at players by opposing fans; the match fixing - particularly in Italy - and the tragic events which occurred at the Heysel Stadium and Hillsborough...the list could go on.

In regard to the images by Powers, I failed to see the point of most of them, or what new message - or any message - they were supposed to convey.

For instance she includes a photographs of a set of probably overpriced scarves draped on a table in a Liverpool FC club shop ready to be sold. Hmm? Supporters have a choice whether to buy football commodities such as this and replica football shirts. They are not compelled to purchase them. I make a similar point to her photograph of someone carrying two LFC carrier bags with items from the club shop contained inside.

Powers also make the trite point of fans being priced out of the game - I could not afford to watch Liverpool games twenty five years ago! - with a photograph of part of a pub outside the Liverpool ground, where supporters mass to watch the match on the telly. There is a long waiting list for season tickets at Anfield, so it is irrelevant to say that people cannot afford to buy one. Even if they had the cash they would still not be able to watch league matches at Liverpool.

As a result of the recession Liverpool have frozen the prices of season tickets for next season, and in fact will be cheaper than last season because the reduction of VAT will be passed on to this cost.

Although this is an exhibition relating to Liverpool FC - which has an illustrious history - it does not automatically mean that the artwork contained within has any great significance.

Printer friendly page

Sorry Comments Closed