Come on Naples
a English perspective

I was talking to a Liverpool fan recently about the forthcoming game against Napoli. He said to me “Of course you know that Liverpool is the Naples of England don’t you”? He clearly wasn’t talking about the beautiful panoramas that Naples offers the tourist. The cities are in fact as different as you can imagine. Liverpool a grimy Northern English where it usually rains…Naples of the wonderful climate and a tourist magnate to people from all over the world. I instantly knew what this fan was talking about because I have been to both Cities and I know the people, I have been to Anfield and San Paolo..he was talking about the people and their perceptions of themselves. He was also talking about the way England views Liverpool. This Liverpool fan had uncovered a truth that somehow makes the Napoli v Liverpool match the main course on the menu. What is clear is that both cities are perceived in a certain way by the citizens of their own country. If I tell you how Liverpool is viewed by English people perhaps the Neapolitan people will see some similarities. Liverpool is a victim of stereotyping. English people accuse Scousers (Liverpool people) of laziness, criminality, of being crafty. These people fight a battle for survival against all odds…high unemployment, a high crime rate, and social injustice. Scousers can be found all over Britain and the world, they move out of the city to seek work opportunities, and it is the only major city in England with a constantly declining population. Yet Liverpool has made a fantastic contribution to England. They gave the world “The Beatles” the finest musicians our country has ever produced. Show business is full of Scousers and their comedians are the best ,simply because they use real life experiences to make laughter. They also gave England Liverpool FC and the Kop. The Kop started organised singing in 1962 and is the club that set the example for all others to follow. A full Anfield singing “you’ll never walk alone” will give you goose bumps…just the same as when San Paolo sings “O surdato ‘nnamurat”. You can see that these cities have so much in common. Naples is spoken of disparagingly by people in Northern Italian Cities because it is so easy to adopt stereotypical models. The facts are simple, every city in the world has economically disenfranchised people Napoli and Liverpool are no different. A city has good people and bad people, It has people who triumph in the hardest of conditions…and many people from Liverpool and Naples make a great success of life from the toughest conditions. Scousers are not shy people, they are friendly, very talkative, and certainly very, very humorous, and Anfield has a great record in Europe for welcoming foreign hosts. I really hope that the people of Naples welcome their English guests because that welcome will certainly be reciprocated at Anfield. Liverpool were given only 1500 tickets for San Paolo which sold out in hours. It is a great shame more Scousers can’t come to enjoy Naples, which in my view is a heaven on earth. Cities are defined by the character of their people and both Naples and Liverpool have character in abundance. If ever two cities should be twinned it’s Liverpool and Napoli, two gateways to the world. Pete Fitzpatrick

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