Spirit of Shankly wins the day after Tom jnr’s ‘hick-up’
WITHOUT a ball being kicked, a section of Liverpool’s fans will remember January 10 as the date of yet another famous victory in Anfield’s long, illustrious history. As one put it: “One down. Three to go.”
Even in an era when fans are left feeling like little more than cash-cows, milked by remote foreign owners, with no say in their club’s future, the departure of Tom Hicks Jnr from Liverpool’s board after sending an obscene email to a fan which read, “Blow me, ****face. Go to hell. I’m sick of you”, the public can have an effect, it seems.
Just as the Premier League has given rise to a sense of impotence among fans, so it has mobilised them as never before.
Fans left feeling isolated from increasingly distant clubs have organised themselves. The internet has spawned volumes of rebel groups, none more so than at Anfield.
It is here that some distress enters the equation.
Hicks Jnr’s departure was not engineered by a mass show of strength from the stands.
Rather, it emanated from Spirit of Shankly, the club’s supporters’ union, a highly organised group who picked up Hicks Jnr’s slip of the thumb, alerted the media, prepared statements and quickly brewed the storm. Within hours, the fans had spoken.
Or so it appeared. To many Liverpool fans, SOS no more speak for them than knee-jerk callers to television and radio phone-ins.
They are the mouthpiece for the vocal minority. They only presume to echo the thoughts of the silent majority. Their leaflets are ignored. Their protests attract, at most, a few thousand.
At Elland Road this season, the travelling fans cheerfully baited Leeds fans with the name of Peter Ridsdale. The irony was lost on them.
The majority of fans, like Liverpool’s owners, dismiss SOS as an extremist hard-core, unelected, unaccountable, and one that has no mandate to demand the resignation of directors or the departure of owners.
All that matters to most, as elsewhere, is what happens on the pitch.
Anyone who disagrees is viewed as an obsessive crank.
That is always the perception of fans’ groups, whether at New-
OFFSIDE: Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks and son Tom Hicks Jr, who is no longer on the Liverpool board after sending an offensive email.