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Affiliate of the month: Spirit of Shankly

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Every month the Football Supporters’ Federation features an affiliate or associate member to highlight good work carried out by fans. If you’d like to appear appear email info@fsf.org.uk . This month, it’s the turn of Liverpool’s Spirit of Shankly

“The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It’s the way I see football, the way I see life.” Bill Shankly

Those words feature at the top of our website and are at the core of everything we have done and will do.

Since the founding of the Liverpool Supporters’ Union (aka Spirit of Shankly) back in January 2008 we have gone from a meeting of 350 people angry at Liverpool’s then owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, to representing our Liverpool supporting members on a wide variety of issues from stewarding at matches to the regeneration of the area around Anfield. We have achieved this through the strength of our membership.

Supporters at all clubs need to work together and this need meant SoS helped drive forward the campaign for the reduction of ticket prices at both home and away games. Following earlier meetings by the FSF, we called meetings in Liverpool and London bringing together supporters from clubs across the country to air their views about the problems with ticketing pricing in the game, and what could be done to address the issues.

This culminated in a number of actions agreed by those supporters in attendance. One of which was brought to fruition on the streets of London on the day Premier League fixtures were announced. Supporters from clubs at all levels came together to march on the Premier League and Football League Headquarters. Supporters made their view clear in Gloucester Place as a delegation of supporters met with the Premier League.

The success of this action has been demonstrated with the allocation of £200,000 for each Premier League club for away fan initiatives and increased PR by the Premier League and its sponsors over the importance of supporters. This illustrates that strength and unity truly is power.

With all our campaigns and work we try to provide alternatives and solutions to the problems and not just be seen as angry fans shouting from the outside. When times became tough and supporters were struggling to afford their season tickets with only a one-off payment option supplied by the club we worked on a solution. We set up an award winning partnership with a local credit union to allow members to save for their season ticket. Shortly after, Liverpool offered a loan option to purchase a season ticket.

This is just one example of how a group of people working together can instigate positive change in innovative ways. That group of people is no longer just Liverpool-centric, it’s a wider supporter movement saying to the Football Cartel,  “This is our game, not yours”. We want to work with all supporters’ groups to achieve these aims and protect the game, our game, for generations to come.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • SD Europe