Candidate Statements

The 2021 election of the Spirit of Shankly Management Committee is underway with voting open from 10 November to 5pm 24 November.

The election is independently managed by Civica and paid-up members of SOS, as of 13 October 2021, will be sent an online ballot to vote. There are 15 positions and each member has 15 votes: one vote per candidate per member can be cast.

Below are statements from each candidate introducing themselves. Good luck to all.

ROY BENTHAM

Comrades, Colleagues, Brothers & Sisters.

I’d like to introduce myself as a long-term season ticket holder and one of the 200 divvies as we were then affectionately known after attending that first ever Sandon meeting back in 2008 which set up the campaign to eventually oust Hicks & Gillett. At that time, I was regularly involved in all manners of direct action, taking immense pride in saving the club from possible administration.

Since then, I’ve been elected to the Football Supporters Federation National Executive and in that role helping make away PL tickets £30 whilst opposing FSG’s ESL’s proposals steadfastly as a Spirit of Shankly committee member in safeguarding the future of LFC supporters all over the world.

Walkouton77 was also another personal highlight after being at the forefront of those efforts in capping ticket prices at Anfield.

As travel officer for over 10 years, I’ve strived to make the coaches as affordable as possible for SOS members, even laying on free end of season buses when that chance has arose.

Now, being recognised as the official supporters’ trust, I’m proud we have an even bigger voice in representing fans which is what we have strived for since forming.

YNWA,
Roy

JOE BLOTT

Having been a match going Liverpool fan all my life, I am a longstanding SOS member and been on the Management Committee for 5 of those years.

I was Treasurer before being selected as Chair, a role I have undertaken the past 2.5 years.

As Chair, I provide strong, effective leadership to the Union and have steered us through some significant change and challenge.

As well as activism, this role requires credibility, negotiation and communication skills plus a high media profile.

I have led the Union on many successful local and national campaigns including:-

– LFC attempts to trademark “Liverpool”

– LFC attempts to furlough its staff

– PPV during lockdown

– Project Big Picture

– European Super League

From the ruins of the ESL, I have led our recent negotiations with LFC to reach an agreement which increases our influence with them and retains our independence. As we enter a new phase of fan engagement nationally, I am proud that SOS have led the way.

I have worked to ensure we are more inclusive and representative of our fan base and am also proud of the magnificent work we do to support our local communities.

Football can inspire many things. Solidarity, community spirit, unity, inclusion, belonging. When those things combine as they do in our Union, it is special.

I am proud to represent SOS and with your support, I hope I can continue to do so taking the Union through its next evolutionary steps.

ANNA BURGESS

I’ve been a member of SOS since the Union’s inception and have worked on the Management Committee since 2013.

Over the years that I have been involved with SOS I have held regular dialogue with LFC officials on all matters that impact supporters. In particular, on ticketing issues and cost. I understand the challenges faced within the ticketing system and the frustration that supporters feel and do my best to represent these issues with club officials.

One my proudest SOS moments relates to the £30 price cap for away tickets. I was heavily involved in the campaigns and work undertaken with other supporter trusts and Spion Kop 1906. I still work with representatives from these groups today.

I have been at the table for the recent talks with LFC, that have led us to the brink of a historic agreement where our supporters will have more influence over our football club than ever before.

I ask for your vote so I can continue this important work and help achieve something that we can be proud of for many years. It is vital that we continue to hold the club to account to maintain match going culture.

IAN BYRNE

I am delighted to be re-standing for re-election onto the SOS management committee.

It’s been an honour and a privilege to serve on the committee during a difficult few years for us all.

I’m extremely proud of how we have seen the influence of SOS grow in our communities. From its involvement with Fan Supporting Foodbanks and the funding of a mobile pantry in Liverpool 8, to the brilliant emergency food parcel delivery service which helped so many during Covid.

From the supplying of desperately PPE with the Mersey PPE Hub during the height of the Pandemic to the part funding of a sensory room at Notre Dame School in Everton providing much needed mental health support to local children and the community.

The support of SOS is recognised by the city and beyond and it’s something members should be extremely proud of and its something I want to build on if re-elected.

On the issue of supporter influence I feel we have a real opportunity with the fan engagement framework SOS have created with LFC since the Euro League debacle to help shape football for the better, giving supporters more influence over the future of our club for future generations to come.

MELISSA FALLON

This is our club.

Representing the best interests of our members during my first year with Spirit of Shankly has been a privilege. What we do is for our members and ultimately the club we all love.

As a lifelong supporter and environmentalist, I have worked on the Fan Forums since their formation to raise issues and be involved in discussions and decision making. I used my passion for our club and community to become a part of SOS in 2020. I recently became a part of the admin team, engaging with members and tackling problems.

I work with the FSA alongside our chair, Joe and attend meetings with senior LFC staff, this is just the beginning of my journey with Spirit of Shankly.

My Aims:

– Represent Women and Young Supporters at board level

– Improve connectivity between the Union and our members

– Improve transport for supporters and kick off times

– Improve Sustainability in Football

This is a historic period for the Union.

I would like your vote to become a strong voice for our members and ensure that we have the ability to tackle issues and work towards solutions that are representative of all supporters.

JOHN GREEN

I am 67 years of age, and currently live in West Derby. I have been a season ticket holder since 1971, (currently in the Kop), having been to my first game in 1964. I retired after 42 years in local government in 2013, but for the past six and a half years have worked as a part time tour guide at Liverpool FC. Supporting and travelling to watch Liverpool FC has been a huge part of my life.

I would welcome the opportunity to become a part of the Spirit of Shankly Committee, to work as a team to continue to actively engage in all matters that affect us as supporters of our Club. I believe that I could offer valuable and well thought out contribution on any matter that may be put before us. I strongly support the SOS on such issues as ticket pricing, future FIFA/UEFA plans for competition as well as the eradication of all forms of discrimination, as well as the tremendous community work undertaken.

In closing, I have admired as a member the work of the SOS, and would welcome the opportunity to have an input as a committee member.

PETER HOOTON

I’m a founding member of the Spirit of Shankly and helped organise the first mass meeting in the Sandon pub in January 2008. I’ve served on the committee ever since and been involved in numerous campaigns.

I’m a season ticket holder in the Kop and get to as many away games as I can on the SOS coach. I’ve written 2 books on Liverpool FC ‘When Football Was Football’ and ‘The Boot Room Boys.’ I also helped produce the documentary ‘Nature’s Fire Bill Shankly’ which was broadcast by the BBC in 2018.

Former CEO Christian Purslow ‘allegedly’ banned me from all LFC outlets during his tenure, after I was named in the ‘dossier’ produced by a club employee. I was called an ‘enemy of the club’ for campaigning against the Hicks/Gillett regime. I helped organise the Independence Day rally at St George’s Hall on July 4th 2010 and proposed and helped arrange the march on the Premier League HQ in 2013 that brought fans from all over the country together to protest against extortionate ticket prices.

I’m part of the SOS social media team and I present a podcast called ‘Allez les Rouges’ for the Blood Red channel (Liverpool Echo).

MARK JOHNSON

I’m from Liverpool and I’ve supported Liverpool FC since I can remember. I’m a Kop season ticket holder and I’ve been a season ticket holder for 28 years. I also attend away matches.

I’ve been an SOS member pretty much since its inception. I attended the anti-Hicks and Gillett marches and I took part in the 77th minute walk out in protest of increasing ticket prices.

In my capacity as a Liverpool ECHO journalist, I’ve written stories which have focused on SOS initiatives (e.g., the Twenty’s Plenty campaign).

I’m an NUJ trade union rep (volunteer) in my workplace which has been important in securing decent pay and conditions for union members.

As a volunteer, I’ve collected food donated by fans outside Anfield on match days.

I believe SOS is a fantastic organisation and as a believer in solidarity and equality, I would like to be involved in what it does for Liverpool supporters going forward.

I believe I would help to build on the great work that has already been done by SOS. I would bring my professional skills and skills learned as a volunteer with me. I would also bring my experience of being a match-going Liverpool fan.

STEPH JONES

Coming from Anfield, unsurprisingly, LFC have been part of my life from day one. SOS came later but I was at the inaugural meeting in the Sandon in 2008 and have been on the committee for eight years. I’m a Kop season-ticket holder and travel to as many away games as I can on the SOS coach whenever I can.

I’ve been actively involved in union campaigns from the start. From leafleting, demonstrating, marching during the Hicks and Gillett days and supporting Michael Shields’ fight for justice to fundraising for Sean Cox and helping organise the Help is Here initiative, where the union stepped in to send food to the most vulnerable when the pandemic hit last year. From taking up individual causes alongside issues affecting thousands like ticketing, furloughing and Pay Per View, influencing decisions that affect not just the matchday experience of our members but the day-to-day lives of the wider Anfield community.

As one of the SOS media team, I help make our voice heard and our message reach the wider public, imperative to our standing, reputation and growth.

PAUL KHAN

I was brought up off Anfield Road and have been a season ticket holder for 38 years. My passion is education and community activism. I am the Chair of The Greenhouse Multi-Cultural Play and Arts Organisation, based in Toxteth, a board member of Fans Supporting Foodbanks and been involved with SoS for over a year.

During this time, I have helped SoS/FSF set up a purpose-built sensory room for children with mental health difficulties at Notre Dame school and a mobile pantry at our Greenhouse Project. The pantry is funded by SoS, and I provide management support every week. Since its launch on 21st May, we have provided food for just over 4,500 people.

During the time LFC were considering re-locating the ground to Speke I led the movement to prevent this. Campaigning with fellow red’s we gathered over 6,000 signatures and I was fortunate enough to make a presentation to the then LFC, CEO , Rick Parry, and fortunately we have remained at our spiritual home.

I can help SoS in a number of capacities given my knowledge and experience and would do so in the most positive and passionate way. Your support will be much appreciated. 

Thanks
Paul

STEPHEN MONAGHAN
KOPITE

I’m a founding member of the Spirit of Shankly that was formed in the Sandon pub in 2008 and have served on the committee since then.

A season ticket holder in the Kop, I travel to almost every away game in Europe and domestically where I help to organise the SOS coaches.

Over the years I have been active in the union’s biggest campaigns, including ticketing, furloughing staff, anti-trademarking the city, Fans Supporting Foodbanks, Help Is Here.

I have organised fundraising events for Micheal Shields and Sean Cox and am in the process of organising the Shankly Cup, a yearly tournament that will see four kids’ football teams from Liverpool competing with four teams from Ayrshire – birthplace of Bill Shankly.

JOHN NICOLSON

I have served on the Spirit of Shankly committee since March 2019. As well as generally being involved with all issues taken up by the Management Committee, I specifically look after the Membership database and administration.

If elected again I have volunteered to fill the vacant Treasurer role.

I am a Kop Season Ticket holder and attend all home games including cup ties and the odd away game from time to time.

LIAM O’FLANAGAN

It would be an honour and privilege to represent you as a member of the Management Committee. As a lifelong Liverpool supporter and fan, I would have taken an active role in the union initiatives going back to its founding days

My background skillset is IT/Technical at senior management level, and I have championed many high-tech projects in my professional career. As we have seen this season the changes the club introduced has had a profound impact on the match going fan with their introduction of NFC.

I believe I can bring a logical discussion and gain understanding of their process which in turn opens debate for alternatives that makes going the match a simple process where we can get back to normal ways of enjoying the day. I also bring operation management skills to the table that will ensure that if a process is introduced that all potential pitfalls are highlighted to the management committee and the club itself.

Most importantly I will be a conduit to you, our union members to be able to listen and support you on issues relating to Liverpool Football Club. We are nothing without the collective strength or unity and I am honoured to be in the position to potentially serve you, our members.

CHRIS OWEN

An SOS Management Committee member since 2019, I regularly attend SOS meetings and contribute project work.

I’m a member of the communications team who, along with Steph, Peter, John and Joe, take responsibility for the Unions communication’s work.

I volunteered to develop and build the SOS website, supported by a few friends and members. I now manage the site and support with the Union’s social media accounts.

I’m currently part of the SOS team negotiating the fan engagement strategy with the LFC, which should lead to the formation of a supporter’s board. I’m also a part of the SOS team working on the Government Fan Led Review alongside LFC and the Government panel.

I produce the presentations given by SOS including LFC strategy, Club Engagement Model, Government Fan Led Review, AGM’s and member presentations.

I have represented SOS at Premier League and European fan meetings, SOS’s visit to Celtic, Glenbuck and events in support of Sean Cox.

I recently supported the launch of the SOS funded Greenhouse Project Pantry with flyers and a banner.

A Kop season ticket holder since 1994, match-going since 1981, I have watched the reds across the UK and Europe. I live and work in Liverpool.

JOHN PARRY

I am currently working in education but also have a passion for football and fully believe that fans should be treated with the respect they deserve and live by the ethos that Bill Shankly set out for this club and this city. I am currently a member of the SOS committee after being asked to join after leading on a number or projects.

During the pandemic I was part of setting up Merseyside PPE hub with several volunteers to manufacture over 45,000 PPE visors for the NHS and wider sectors. Working alongside SOS and Fans Supporting Foodbanks we manufactured and distributed across Merseyside but also completed a solidarity tour across the country supporting other fan groups with PPE which included Newcastle, Huddersfield, Man City and United and Westham.

We also completed the first ever socially distanced run to raise over £12,000 to support the PPE manufacture which was backed by a range of Liverpool players including Jamie Carragher.

I have been an active volunteer for Fans Supporting Foodbanks collecting over 3000 of items of food last year during the pandemic to support our communities when food could not be collected at Anfield and Goodison. I have also been a volunteer at the mobile food pantries set up by FSF.

BRIAN PICKSTOCK

Being born and bred in Walton as the middle son of working class parents, Brian Pickstock always understood the values of respect, hard work and dedication. His working life has mainly been as a Project Manager in the highly regulated Automotive industry. Recently he has been working for a Health and Wellbeing company as a software project manager.

His ability to understand complex issues, organise sessions and negotiate with multiple stakeholders has developed his career. Brian believes that these skills are ideal for the types of issues SOS are involved with, from dealing with the local community through to Government led reviews and the various tiers of club ownership and football governance. He attributes his success to understanding the conflicts between the various stakeholders and producing a robust plan to deliver all requirements.

Brian has been involved with SOS as part of the delegation that lobbied the FSE congress in Lisbon July 2019 to support the campaign for fairer ticket allocations and facilities at European finals. He was also part of the team that re-designed, developed and launched the new look website.

Brian enjoys drinking craft beer, travelling and watching LFC, when all three happen together it’s another European adventure!

MOHAN RANDHAWA

“Football without fans is nothing” is the simple truth and without fans the football industry as we see it would not exist. No big TV deals if the fans who fund everything are gone.

We need to recognise our collective worth and stand up for ourselves. I’ve been going to Anfield since 1989 and over the years have taken on the likes of Rick Parry and Ged Poynton (former stadium manager) on issues that effected myself and other season ticket holders.

Recently a group of us who sit together have with the help of SOS, been liaising with Phil Dutton on a situation effecting our seats. What I can say about myself is I’m a fighter, if I believe something is wrong I don’t stop until it’s right and that’s what I would do for any Liverpool supporter if I’m asked to.

I am actor by profession and being disabled I have experience of being on the Equity BAME and Diversity committee where I helped members with issues not to dissimilar to what we face at LFC.

Overall I would like to see the day where the future of Liverpool Football Club rests in the safe hands of it supporters.

LUCY RIMMER

So much of my life has been shaped by football. I’ve been immersed in grassroots, Sunday league and top flight football in one form or another virtually my whole life. I’m a 4th generation supporter and have been going the match over 30 years. Liverpool FC is part of the fabric of my existence.

I firmly believe that football is one of the bedrocks of our city and in a lot of ways defines who we are from culture, fashion and spirit. I believe in protecting the traditions of the Club and upholding our core values of solidarity and unity.

I have a track record of standing up to the Club on important issues and tackling them head on, most notably the Trademark dispute, but also on the furlough scheme, super league and supporter issues. Independent traders receive my support and I’ve also campaigned and fundraised for grassroots football.

I want to assist in finding solutions to current issues affecting supporters, as we navigate new technology and policies. Fans will always be at the forefront of my work for the Union. I’m honoured to be considered for the Spirit of Shankly Committee and work to support fans and the community.

PHIL ROWAN

I am a regular at home, away, and European matches. I have been on the Committee for 5 years, a long time member, and in fact remember the talks among various groups I took part in, during the build up to the union being formed, about what it might look like.

Looking back now I think it turned out be more successful than I imagined. But we should always be trying to improve, and build the membership, while keeping the same militant outlook we have always had.

I am very proud to have played a part in helping to achieve some big victories like the £30 price limit on away tickets, after the boycott of Hull, and victories on home tickets, and other things the union have won.

Actually behind the scenes there are far more things we have managed to stop the club doing, for the good of supporters.

In my normal day job I am a full time industrial representative for the RMT union, so my day to day role is organising rank and file members and negotiations with management. These are skills I bring to the SOS on a regular basis.

I am asking for your nomination to carry on representing you as we secure an agreement with the club, giving genuine and real powers to the supporters, to a degree that we have never seen before in this country. It really is an important and exciting time coming up and I would ask you to give me the chance to help me continue to play a role in this.

GRAHAM SMITH

I have been a member of the SOS Management Committee since 2008. I am currently Secretary and Vice Chair.

I have attended games since 1968 and have been a STH for forty years.

I have contributed to the following issues:

– Hicks and Gillett campaign;

– Ticket price campaigns;

– Fundraising for Michael Shields and Sean Cox;

– I am one of the main SOS representatives for police liaison for high profile matches;

– I sit on the Liverpool City Council Ground Safety Advisory Group;

– I was Chair of the former Liverpool Supporter’s Committee;

– I have been part of the negotiating team close to completing a ground-breaking agreement with LFC to legally embed supporter engagement at LFC;

– Represented SOS at the representations made to the government’s Fan Led review;

– I have met almost every owner and senior executive at LFC since 2009;

I am a solicitor who has worked in the City on and off for thirty years and have the best interests of all LFC supporters at heart.

I want to carry on and complete the engagement work we are finalising with the Club and continue to contribute to the improvement of LFC and its supporter engagement at all levels.

Join
Renew
Donate