Following the fall-out from the European Super League fiasco, Spirit of Shankly polled members to agree a position on any future engagement, or not, with Liverpool FC owners, FSG. The results show an overwhelming yes to a working relationship, but one in which we have a say in how our club is run.
- FOR 89%. Yes 89%. No 8%. Abstain 3%
Engage with FSG and demand SOS representation at board level in relation to issues that impact fans and the Anfield community
- FOR 84%. Yes 84%. No 9%. Abstain 7%
Engage with FSG and demand a formal recognition agreement with SOS
- FOR 88%. Yes 88%. No 7%. Abstain 5%
Engage with FSG for LFC to join with SOS and lead the reform agenda ahead of/in conjunction with the national fan led review
- AGAINST 66%. Yes 17%. No 66%. Abstain 17%
No engagement and FSG out
The questions asked were based on SOS’ experience of working with club officials, the events of the last week, feedback we received from members and the wider community of Liverpool supporters, and our responsibilities as a recognised union.
Over the past few years, we raised concerns to potential changes to European club competition and breakaway leagues with club representatives, stating that for the majority of fans success in competition should be based on and depends on sporting merit.
Our view was “noted” and we were assured updates of any progress. We now know our views were ignored as they planned the opposite. They knew fans did not want these changes, they thought we would just accept them. They were wrong.
The actions of the owners and board have more far-reaching consequences than the relationship with SOS, the club’s fan groups and fan forums. Their responsibility always is to act in the best interests of LFC, which they failed to do. We are yet to find out if there will be penalties against the club.
What does this mean for SOS?
It means at present we cannot trust what the owners and board say when we meet with them. The relationship we thought we had was false.
But we must use this experience as a catalyst for change. Real change. In voting to continue engagement with FSG, they must now make a decision. Their actions shamed the LFC, but they can accept the values and principles of our club and react positively, Together we can lead the change for the future of our game.
We call for a reconstitution of the board that includes effective, elected and accountable fan representation, and not for members of the current LFC board to be that elected representative. This cannot be token representation, but one that has the ‘golden share’ on the decision-making process.
We believe this is both practical and achievable. If FSG do not embrace this position, we will then consider how to respond.
We must also take the opportunity to work alongside other supporter trusts and the FSA, to ensure the government’s review into football governance includes giving fans a say in how their clubs are run. A true supporters voice at the heart of decision making.
Thank you to all who took part in the survey, we will keep you updated with further plans.