Jay McKenna has been involved with Spirit of Shankly since the very beginning. He has served on the committee in all that time and is currently Chairperson, Jay is standing down at the forthcoming AGM.
“I really never had any intentions of getting involved with Spirit of Shankly. I went along to the first meeting in The Sandon as I, like hundreds of others, were concerned at what was going on. I intended to just listen and then did that thing I have discovered I do – opened my mouth. Still though I didn’t plan to do anymore than support from afar. I was asked by Dan Nicolson, who I credit/blame, to get involved and come to the first few meetings. Eleven and a bit years I am still here.
I must admit though, it’s been quite a decade. I’ve grown up, literally and figuratively, inside SOS and I am very grateful for all it has given me. I’ve learnt so much, that’s helped me in work and helped make a difference for supporters. I would say to anyone who is thinking ‘Should I get involved?’ that yes, you absolutely should.
No one needs me to run through all that has happened in the history of SOS but it would not be an exaggeration to say that we have made a real difference for supporters. We’ve given a voice when needed and used force when necessary. But ultimately, we have put supporter concerns and issues on the agenda locally, nationally and internationally. We’ve tried to use our voice and presence to improve things and I think we’ve done that.
I’m proud of lots of what we have done; we won against Hicks and Gillett when no one thought it was possible, we changed ticket prices home and away (saving supporters thousands of pounds each in just a couple of seasons) when no one thought a boycott or walkout was possible, we’ve gone from a gang of militants and 200 divvies that now has an automatic seat on all club forums. We’ve stood by people when they needed it; Michael Shields and his family, Sean Cox and his. And we’ve stood up for others when they needed it; the Anfield community, whether it’s through setting up Fans Supporting Foodbanks or respecting the area.
There’s more too, but it has only been possible because of people who are part of, and have been part of in the past, the SoS Management Committee. People giving their time, knowledge and experience. And in doing so, have achieved all that has been done so far.
After so long involved, I have made the decision to step down from the committee. There’s a few reasons – partly because I want to see what it’s like to go the match and think more about the match (as impossible as that might be!) but primarlily because it’s right that the union refreshes and new people take forward current and new issues. I know I will probably miss it and I won’t be able to resist commenting on supporter issues. But I am looking forward, as a member, to seeing the union continue to grow, thrive, and importantly win for supporters.
I would encourage any member to get more involved and help to continue to this work for the next decade or so. If you’re thinking that you can help or might have something to offer, then do put yourself forward or get in touch and have a chat about it. You will be surprised to see how much that you can make a difference. And there aren’t many better feelings than knowing you have helped change things with, and for, supporters.”