Liverpool supporters groups Spirit of Shankly and Spion Kop 1906 took the decision not to take any of their flags and banners into Anfield for the match against Stoke on Saturday as part of their ongoing protest against ticket prices.
The two groups are, at the least, seeking engagement with the football club and owner John W. Henry. They have written this very pertinent letter to Henry:
Dear John W Henry,
You may already be aware, but in case it escaped your attention, there was a visible demonstration today which was focused on rising, and already expensive, ticket prices. However unlike the Black Flags protest at home to Hull City, we revealed a glimpse of the future – a normal Kop. Instead of the usual pre-match flags and banners, a tradition of supporters and the Kop, there was nothing. No surfer. No flags celebrating triumphs. No wavers celebrating club legends. No colour. No ceremony.
This isn’t merely a withdrawal of our ‘support’. It’s because we support the team and this football club so much that we persist in protesting. No, this is something much bigger. It is a warning of what is to come. Not because the support won’t be forthcoming but because the support will be priced out. The tipping point for many is approaching and for others it has been and gone. Supporters who face the heartbreaking decision to walk away and stop attending agonise over it so much because they know once they have taken that step, there is no going back. Until we get proper and direct engagement from yourself and the club on this issue, the flags and wavers will remain furled and unwaved.
We don’t do this just for ourselves. This is not merely self preservation. It’s about the long term future of our support, our culture and our traditions. As our current owners and custodians you have a responsibility, a very significant one, to preserve and safeguard the future of this football club. This does not just exist on a spreadsheet under profit and loss – it is about the future of our support and ensuring that the things that have made the club famous and successful in the past continue into the future. The current generation of support face being priced out, so how can we expect a future generation to take their place? It leaves us asking a worrying question – just what will our support be like in the next five, ten or fifteen years?
It’s with the importance of such questions hanging over us that we come to you direct. We are not asking you to find the silver bullet or expecting you to wave a magic wand. All we ask is that you meet with both organisations, and begin a conversation that will see us working together to develop solutions to the problem of ticket price increases. It is an opportunity for us, as a football club to lead the way again. To help show how the whole of football can tackle this growing problem.
If we do not begin to tackle this now, the question we will be forced to ask ourselves is:
Just what is important to OUR football club – the colour of our flags or the colour of our money?
We look forward to hearing from you soon
Spirit of Shankly & Spion Kop 1906
With a huge Champions League match against Basel coming up in less than a fortnight, the sight of the Kop minus it’s famed flags and banners is a bleak prospect and one which FSG must avoid.
Perhaps if more Premier League clubs supporters were as willing to protest against the rising price of Premier League football, more clubs would be forced to take action and costs lower across the country.
Similarly, if Liverpool were the first club to lower ticket prices, others may be forced to follow suit.
Apathy among fans over the cost of football needs to end before a generation are priced out.
Worth A Read: How supporters became the new villains of modern football (The Daisy Cutter blog)