Time tends to pass fairly quickly, and against the history of Liverpool FC, a decade isn’t much. Today, 31 January, marks 10 years since a meeting in The Sandon pub of 350 supporters. Angry at Tom Hicks and George Gillett burdening the club with debt and more, we met to discuss passionately what we should do.
From a suggestion in the room that night, a vote was taken and a decision made – we the supporters would start our own union. Spirit of Shankly was formed.
The past 10 years say so much about our club. From the depths of despair brought on by the previous ownership – the record on the pitch and sorry state of affairs off it that a club of such history and standing as ours had to endure – to us, the supporters, having a voice.
We no longer have to put up with what we see as wrong, we can speak up, raise concerns and, most significantly, we have influence. We as a body have helped shape the club these past 10 years and we can continue to do so in the present and future.
From campaigning to rid the club of Hicks and Gillett, through joing forces with other supporters for an away- ticket cap of £30, we have achieved so much. We’ve been sharing some of our highlights on Twitter today.
We won’t pretend it was easy. Committee members, past and present, have given their time as volunteers to give the fans a voice. Members and supporters turning out at meetings, on marches and at protests have ensured we made an impact. Everyone of you should be thanked and acknowledged for the part you played. You truly made a difference. ‘The noise’, as Hicks once referred to us, refused to go away.
Of course there were and are naysayers. People at the club who wrote dossiers, those who talk down our achievements, or others who think we played no part in these changes. We made mistakes, but they were honest and well intentioned.
Will we make mistakes again? Probably. That happens when ordinary people come together and go up against the might of a global corporation – in our case our football club – vested interests, and the industry in which they operate.
If you would like to help and have ideas on how we can progress, please get in touch. The more passionate and willing supporters and volunteers we have the better. If you can’t spare the time but support our efforts, then please join SOS or ensure you renew your membership. We know we can be better in this area, and it’s something we will strive to do. You can do this at the toop of the page.
Our intentions this coming year and in the future are to continue to make a difference. For members, for supporters, for all. Football without fans is nothing. Football fans with a voice is massive and we can ensure those in charge know it.
To the sceptical we ask: is it so wrong that we the supporters wanted a voice, wanted a say in what was happening to our club? Just think, where might we be now had leveraged buyouts gone unchallenged?
As we celebrate 10 years of SOS, we’d like to say a big thank-you to all of you who have been part of the journey so far. Here’s to the next 10.