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RED ALL ABOUT IT: NEWS ROUND-UP
FIGHTING FOR OUR FUTUREEFFORTStoousthatedownersTomHicksandGeorgeGillettfromLiverpoolFootballClubhavesteppedupanotchfollowingthe sacking of Rafa Benitez.
Membership of supporters’ union Spirit of Shankly (www.spiritofshankly.com) has swelled to more than 6,000 and SOS believes member numbers were also boosted by former owner David Moores’s decision to publicly criticise Hicks and Gillett in The Times and call for the pair to sell the club. More than 5,000 fans turned out for the ‘LFC Independence Day’ rally on July 4 at St George’s Plateau in Liverpool (right).
SOS launched a credit union scheme on the day – a first step towards the goal of fan ownership of the club (see page 50).
Bill Shankly’s grandaughter, Karen Gill, ex players John Aldridge and Howard Gayle, comedian John Bishop and Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram were among the speakers on the day.
The LiverpoolEcho, too, has turned on the owners. After adopting a relatively neutral stance in recent times, the newspaper finally retrained its sights on Hicks and Gillett following a barrage of criticism from fans.
A front page in May called for Hicks and Gillett to leave: “The message today to American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett is blunt, passionate, and heartfelt. For God’s sake, get out of a wonderful, treasured football club which so many of our readers, plus millions more around the world, love and cherish so deeply.
“And get out now – before you kill their beloved Liverpool FC.”
Liverpool politicians are also taking the fight to the Americans. Rotheram tabled an Early Day Motion asking the House of Commons to:
• Express dismay at Tom Hicks and
George Gillett failing to be responsible stewards of LFC.
• Note the departure of Rafael Benitez. • Regret the failure to provide a new stadium.
• Support talks with supporters’ groups.
• Look to an early change of ownership.
Rotheram, supported by fellow Merseyside MPs Alison McGovern, Maria Eagle, Dave Watts, Derek Twigg, and Bill Esterson, said: “I am a Reds fan but this was started by Peter Kilfoyle who is a Blue. This is not about Liverpool FC, or even the stadium. Both the clubs are in my Walton constituency and this is about the negative impact this impasse is having on certain areas of Liverpool.
“I don’t know if this will be debated but someone told me I could do this so I did. It’s just one way of putting pressure on the owners which is something we all should be doing.”
Rotheram also used his maiden speech in the Commons to claim the actions of Gillett and Hicks “threatened the club’s existence”.
He said: “England’s most successful football club is slowly being drained by the greed of two American asset strippers and this is having a negative impact on regeneration projects for the whole area.”
A CAMPAIGN designed to complement the work of SOS – Help Save Liverpool FC – has been launched by fans from the Red and White Kop website.
A website for the campaign – which has the motto: “To bring Liverpool FC fans together, educate about the situation the club is in, and update members on what we can do to try and change that situation” – has just been launched: www. savelfc.org
You can also find out more on Twitter (twitter.com/ saveliverpoolfc) and Facebook (facebook.com/ helpsaveliverpoolfc).
An alternative kit (below) has been designed to help a boycott of official merchandise, t-shirts have been produced and a protest song has also been released with proceeds helping to fund the campaign. MarchoftheSonsof Shanklywas adapted from the Irish/Mexican protest song March of the San Patricios.