Being Liverpool: Why Fox TV Show Is Awful for the Club's Reputation

Neri Stein@neristeinFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2012

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30: Steven Gerrard of Liverpool runs alongside Luis Suarez during the UEFA Europa League play-off round second leg between Liverpool and Hearts at Anfield on August 30, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Being: Liverpool is four episodes old, and Fox Soccer's behind-the-scenes look at one of England's most storied clubs still has fans scratching their heads. 

Why would a club like Liverpool with 18 league titles and five European Cups need more publicity? Why would they want it like this?

Being: Liverpool cameras followed the club around during the North American preseason tour and the early action of the Premier League season, and they also paid visits to players' homes to see what the stars are really like. 

For American fans, the concept is nothing new. 

We've all seen Hard Knocks, and a handful of us have probably watched Showtime's The Franchise. And after Khloe and Lamar, many professional athletes have decided they need people to see just how interesting their lives are off the field as well. 

Cameras have been in NFL and NBA locker rooms and beyond for years whereas in the UK, reporters are rarely allowed in locker rooms, period. 

For the fans on the other side of the Atlantic, Being: Liverpool had to be a relatively new concept, and you had to wonder, why would Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers allow his training sessions, locker room speeches and more be filmed for weeks? 

Well, it was clear from the beginning that this show was the idea of network and the club's American owners, Fenway Sports Group. 

Liverpool and Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner told the New York Times that his manager was initially a little hesitant but after watching some episodes of Hard Knocks and The Franchise, he thought the behind-the-scenes access to his club could possibly bring in new fans and show existing fans a new side of his squad.

I do have to wonder what episodes he saw.  

Being: Liverpool premiered on Sept. 13, after Liverpool's disaster of a transfer window and with the club already sitting with one draw and two humiliating losses to start the Premier League campaign. 

Andy Carroll was hard to miss in many of the previews, while Charlie Adam and Jay Spearing also playing some key roles in the early episodes, before each of them was offloaded. 

Four episodes in, the show has been interesting at times but on the whole, quite dull. There's a reason Hard Knocks has chosen teams like the Jets and Miami Dolphins. They were teams in turmoil. Liverpool is a team in turmoil, but unlike their NFL counterparts, the players are all perfectly ordinary.

Much like when Showtime selected the San Francisco Giants as their first stars in 2011, they were hoping the reigning World Champions, who were known as a "band of misfits", would provide some comedy and drama given all the characters on the team. Unfortunately, Brian Wilson wasn't enough to carry the series.

Liverpool doesn't have anyone as wild as Wilson to keep the show interesting. Maybe they should've followed Carroll during his Newcastle days.  

A couple things that have saved Being: Liverpool are the narration by long-time Liverpool fan Clive Owen and the show's intro. Famed Liverpool playwright and fan Dave Kirby wrote a wonderful lyrical poem about the "special place called Anfield" that reminds Reds fans of the glory days. 

Despite mostly dull moments, the fact that fans already know what is coming and that the behind-the-scenes access to the manager and staff tells little of what was actually going on, Being: Liverpool has its fans. 

United States women's national team midfielder Carli Lloyd always makes sure to tune in, and some of her Twitter followers agree. 

“@mousaissa16: I am officially a Liverpool fan after watching just about every episode of Being: Liverpool!!!” Agree! It's awesome!

— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) October 15, 2012

While the show is mildly entertaining, it is just trying to make something out of nothing. 

Liverpool FC is going through a big transition again, as the previous transitions in recent years just haven't worked, and all fans want to see are wins. 

As for attracting new fans to the sport and club, who are they kidding? Despite the dip in trophies in the last decade, Liverpool is one of the most famous football clubs in the world. A lesser-known club may have benefited from a series like this, but LFC just didn't need it.

Brendan Rodgers has his team playing better now, and maybe that's because the cameras have gone away.

Besides, there's really only one halftime speech Liverpool fans are interested in seeing at this point—Istanbul


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