Issues on Saturday

Liverpool FC’s first home game of the season, in front of a full house for the first time in 18 months, was a positive 2-0 victory. A great start on the pitch, not so smooth off it, with many of Spirit of Shankly members reporting confusion and disorganisation.

The new ticketing system had caused apprehension for fans following difficulties getting into Anfield at the two pre-season friendlies earlier in the month. SOS took all concerns to the club in the interim period, before the game with Burnley, and were assured new measures had been put in place to allow for smooth entry.

To guard against any ‘first-day’ glitches the club also asked that supporters arrive earlier than they might do normally, and as an incentive reduced the price of Carlsberg inside the ground. It is now clear that despite efforts made by LFC, there are still substantial problems accessing the stadium. And for many fans once in there was overcrowding on the concourses and it was impossible to get served in the refreshment areas.

We have logged members’ feedback and supporters’ experiences and compiled the following list of questions and concerns to discuss with the club this week.

Accessing the Ground

  • Why did it take so long for everyone to get in?
  • What were the main problems?
  • Going forward, is it going to be physically possible for everyone to get in in an acceptable time (ie not asking people to get in early) with the expected rate of flow?
  • There were were stewards helping to guide the queues, but not enough. Some turnstiles had queues of 200-plus, others were virtually empty, but those waiting behind didn’t know this.
  • Some tickets on phones had 404 errors. They were eventually sorted after queueing at the ticket-office, but are there assurances this won’t happen again?
  • Transfer of ticket needs time to download – one bought Saturday morning caused a problem for the recipient getting into the match in time for kick-off.
  • An OAP supporter had trouble with their phone not scanning and was sent to a help point where the helper didn’t know how to use the scanner.
  • Fan travelled from outside Liverpool on Thursday to check their phone and ticket would work and was assured it would. On Saturday it didn’t and they didn’t gain entry until 40 minutes into the game.
  • Some were told to present their phone to the reader (as shown on the club’s help video), others told to go into their wallet and get the barcode up to place on the reader. Why both as it slows down the process?
  • Why weren’t all the ticket-office windows open for those experiencing problems?
  • Do the club need to upgrade the readers?
  • Have other clubs who are now using this system updated their turnstile tech?
  • How many turnstiles per 1,000 fans do LFC have compared to other clubs?
  • Which areas/stands were the most badly impacted for the Burnley game. How many turnstiles? What was the match demographic?
  • Did the Burnley fans, who had paper tickets, all get in on time?

Concourse crowding

  • There appeared to be zero measures in place considering we are in the middle of a pandemic, including very little, if any, air con.
  • The queues made it dangerously overcrowded and fans have to wait so long to be served as each alcoholic drink is poured only when ordered. Surely it is basic catering to have drinks poured and ready to go – this happens at many grounds.
  • It’s not just about alcohol, it’s virtually impossible to get a coffee or a bottle of water in the space of half-time.
  • Fans were asked to get in early yet there seemed to be no extra staff to deal with the crowd.
  • In 205 in the Kop, some drinks had run out by 11.50am. There was no beer / lager at all by half-time.
  • Food ran out.
  • Supporters advised to pre-order half-time drinks but they ran out so now those supporters have to email for refunds.
  • They had run out of cups for drinks before kick-off in parts of the lower Sir Kenny Dalglish stand.

We will update our members and supporters after our meeting with the club, and ask for no repetition for the Chelsea fixture on Saturday 28 August.