In just under twenty four hours’ time, Liverpool FC will take to the pitch at the KC Stadium. It’s a regular run-of-the mill Premier League match. Off the pitch, and in the stands, it is anything but regular. Instead of the usual packed and boisterous away end, full of the club’s loyal supporters, there will be empty seats. The usual defiant stand taken by supporters will be just a stand, bare and quieter than usual.
The defiance will be elsewhere. Tomorrow evening, it will be at Anfield and outside the Premier League. A loud and clear message that enough is enough. Our arguments for reductions on ticket prices have been well made. Now is not the time to repeat them or labour a point. Our protests tomorrow – at Hull, at Anfield and in London – is our opportunity to tell the cartel inside football clubs and the Premier League that this is the future that awaits them.
None of this is a threat. We aren’t threatening more boycotts. We aren’t threatening to withdraw our support. We aren’t saying give us what we want or else. What we have is a promise. That if clubs continue with the morally questionable pricing policies, that if they continue to see football ticket prices as nothing more than an item on a spreadsheet, that if they keep trying to hide behind each other and that if they see us as nothing more than consumers then they will be responsible for the empty stands. That they will be responsible for the lack of atmosphere at stadiums around the country. Not because we want it but because they simply we wanted more and we just couldn’t afford it.
We don’t expect tomorrow to change pricing dramatically. The football cartel won’t run for the hills, they will try and ride it out, hoping the anger we all have fizzles out. But tomorrow is an opportunity to make them sit up and take notice. To further enhance our arguments for a change in policy. To build on the momentum we have with more and more people speaking out. And to show them that enough of us care, that it is a growing number of us and that we won’t be going away until they change course or until it is just too late.
We have had plenty of support so far – from the Hull City Supporters Trust, supporters of other clubs, from our own supporters throughout the world and from journalists, pundits and players. When Steve Bruce, despite the constant songs about the size of his head, and Mark Lawrenson speak out in support, then you know you are on the right side. And there are sides to this – the side of the football cartel, the people who want to keep the vast riches to themselves, who think we should put up and shut up. Or the side of ordinary supporters, loyal but seen as a cash cow, increasingly squeezed for every last penny.
There are some who have a ticket and are planning to go. Some are still considering and some have recently changed their mind, deciding not to go despite the paid for adult ticket. All of this is an individuals choice. All that we ask is you consider what this choice might mean. That the football cartel will try and exploit ‘divisions’. That they may stick to their mantra of greed is good because some just keep on paying. Our choice is solidarity. Sticking together, not just because you can afford it but because others – mates, family, the familiar faces with which you sharing a knowing nod at matches – can’t. Because your future generations and theirs will be priced out if we let it carry on. We appreciate it is a hard choice for supporters. It is one, that for those who have made this difficult choice have done so with a heavy heart. But one with a greater good at its root. If you are going, we just ask you to be sure you think it is the right thing to do.
For those who aren’t going, who will leave their seat empty and their songs unsung, do try and join us – at Anfield or London – and make it clear to those in charge that enough is enough and that we won’t be slowed in our pursuit of affordable football for all.