Why Are Liverpool Fans Called Bin Dippers? (Revealed)

Liverpool flag

So why are Liverpool fans called bin dippers?

The name hints at a derogatory slur against the supporters, and you would be right.

As often is the case with nicknames given by fans to their rivals, it isn’t complimentary.

We will try and answer the question and delve into the history of a couple more nicknames in this article.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

Why Are Liverpool Fans Called Bin Dippers?

Opposing fans began mocking Liverpool fans in the 1970s and 1980s as the city experienced major economic problems, which lead to high levels of unemployment and an increase in homelessness. The bin dippers insult came about as a suggestion that people in Liverpool were so poor at the time they would go looking in bins for food and valuable items.

Two men wearing retro football inspired t shirts with text in between them

It Is Due to Problems the City Experienced in the 1970s and 1980s

The bin dipper nickname came about due to the poverty experienced in Liverpool during the 1970s and 1980s.

The city was going through huge economic problems, with large-scale unemployment coupled with a rising homeless population.

This all came about as the traditional manufacturing industries, which were the bedrock of the city and provided thousands of jobs, went into steep decline.

At this time the docks became obsolete and, between 1972 and 1982, the city lost 80,000 jobs and its manufacturing sector shrunk by 50%.

In 1982 unemployment in Liverpool stood at 17%, higher than almost anywhere in the country.

Some opposing fans took joy in suggesting Liverpool fans went looking in bins for food or anything of value because they were so poor.

It was taken even further was some fans adapting the words of You’ll Never Walk Alone from “walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone” to “sign on, sign on, with a pen in your hand and you’ll never work again”. 

In the UK, to sign-on means to claim unemployment benefits.

The origin of the bin-dippers jibe is also tied into a song.

In the 1960s Liverpool folk group The Spinners released a song called “My Liverpool Home”.

The song actually borrowed the melody of an old American cowboy song, The Strawberry Roan, written in 1915.

Liverpool-born songwriter and political activist Peter McGovern rewrote the lyrics and the song was soon adopted as an anthem of the city.

Its lyrics went:

In my Liverpool Home, In my Liverpool Home
We speak with an accent exceedingly rare,
Meet under a statue exceedingly bare,
And if you want a Cathedral, we’ve got one to spare
In my Liverpool Home.

But opposing fans changed the lyrics to:

In your Liverpool slums
You look in the dustbin for something to eat
You find a dead rat and you think its a treat
In your Liverpool slums

Hence looking in a dustbin for something to eat led to Liverpool fans being called bin-dippers.

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Why Are Liverpool Fans Called Wall Pushers? 

A small section of fans, made up mainly of Everton supporters, call Liverpool fans wall pushers as a reference to the Heysel Stadium disaster of 1985, at which 39 people died and over 600 were injured.

The unfounded suggestion is that Liverpool supporters pushed over a wall at Heysel, killing Juventus fans that got trapped beneath it.

The actual story of Heysel is much more complicated.

Liverpool fans descended en masse at the Final in Belgium. 

They were apparently still smarting from incidents that had occurred before the previous year’s European Cup Final when they played AS Roma.

Liverpool fans had come under attack from AS Roma ultras and were reportedly determined not to let the same thing happen again.

According to Liverpool supporter Tony Evans in this excellent article on the LFC History website, the tension in and around the stadium was palpable.

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Whilst alcohol and issues from the previous year’s Final played their part, there were two bigger issues.

Firstly there was the stadium iteslf.

Although the Heysel Stadium, located in Belgium’s capital Brussels, was the country’s national stadium it was in a serious state of disrepair.

Arsenal had played there the previous year and described it as inadequate at best.

In the build-up to the game, both Juventus and Liverpool asked UEFA to choose another venue.

Apparently, UEFA’s inspection of the stadium had lasted only 30 minutes.

The second problem was the ticketing allocation.

Both teams were allocated tickets behind each goal.

Juventus were given stands O, N and M. 

At the opposite end stands X and Y were the designated Liverpool areas. The problem came with stand Z which made up the third stand behind this goal.

This area was reserved for neutral Belgian fans.

So not only did this give Juventus a bigger allocation, but it also meant there was the possibility that the ‘neutral’ area could well fill up with many of the ethnic Juventus fans who lived in and around Brussels.

This is exactly what happened.

Again both Liverpool and Juventus had opposed the large neutral areas and warned of the dangers it posed.

Again their concerns were ignored.

The mood inside the stadium wasn’t good, as Tony Evans explains:

“At the ground there was madness. People were staggering, collapsing, throwing up. A large proportion of Liverpool fans seemed to have lost control. We met a group of mates who had come by coach. A fellow passenger we all knew had leapt off as soon as they arrived and attacked two people, one an Italian, with an iron bar.”

Liverpool fans in Stand X broke down the thin fence and charged the mainly Juventus fans in Stand Z.

As Juventus fans moved away from the Liverpool fans they piled up against a wall at the perimeter of the stand.

Eventually, the wall buckled under the weight of fans and collapsed, causing the majority of the deaths and injuries.

An inquiry that lasted 18 months laid the blame solely on Liverpool fans.

Fourteen Liverpool fans got three-year jail terms for manslaughter.

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The day after the Final, Deputy Chief of the London Fire Brigade, Gerry Clarkson, was sent to Brussels to combine his own safety report.

His conclusion on the state of the stadium to host such a game?

“Unfit. In the stanchions that supported the crowd-control barriers, the reinforcing bars were exposed. They could not have contained even moderate pressure. The piers on the wall which collapsed were built the wrong way round.”

The deaths he said were “attributable very, very largely to the appalling state of [the] stadium.”

His report was never used in any inquiry into the disaster.

Why Are Liverpool Fans Called Kopites?

Kopites is the name given to Liverpool fans who once stood and now sit, on the Kop Stand at Anfield.

They have a reputation for being the most vocal supporters in the ground and, when possible, Liverpool like to attack the Kop Stand in the second half of games.

The Kop Stand is one of four stands at Anfield, the others being the Main Stand, the Centenary Stand and the Anfield Road stand.

The Kop Stand was built in 1906 and it was the Liverpool Echo Sports Editor Ernest Edwards who helped cemented the use of its now iconic name saying: “This huge wall of earth has been termed ‘Spion Kop’, and no doubt this apt name will always be used in future in referring to this spot”.

The stand’s name came as its steep structure resembled a famous hill in South Africa that was the place of the Battle of Spion Kop in 1900, fought during the Second Boer War.

In 1928 the Kop was expanded to hold 30,000 supporters. Many stadiums in England had (and still have) a stand named after the Spion Kop, but Liverpool’s was the largest in the country at the time.

Final Thoughts

If you have wondered what do people call Liverpool fans, then there are three names right here!

Unfortunately, as is often the case with football supporters, two of them are derogatory.

Liverpool fans are called bin dippers by opposing fans as a way of taunting them about the high levels of unemployment and poverty that beset the city in the 1970s and 1980s.

The insult being that they were so poor they would look in the bins for food and items of value.

Referring to Liverpool fans as wall pushers came about as a result of the Heysel tragedy in 1985.

Whilst Kopites is a colloquial name for Liverpool fans who frequent Liverpool’s famous Kop stand.

I hope that clears things up!

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