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Football for the fans – NOT for the fat cats!

July 5, 2010

Sunday July 4th was declared ‘LFC Independence Day’ by the Spirit of Shankly Supporters’ Union.

As many as 4,000 fans descended upon St George’s Hall as the latest step in the campaign to take control of the club away from present owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks. The date of July 4 was chosen for the event by Spirit of Shankly because of its symbolic importance as American Independence Day.

Famous faces included Liverpool legend John Aldridge and comedian John Bishop along with Bill Shankly’s granddaughter Karen Gill. The event also saw performances from Liverpool musicians, including Ian McNabb, John Power, Peter Hooton and Pete Wylie.

The rally came soon after Liverpool FC announced a rise in the price of season tickets of 7 per cent. Just as working-class people are paying the price for an economic mess created by bankers, bosses and politicians, it is ordinary Liverpool fans who are bailing out owners and executives of Liverpool FC.

One thing is clear, simply transferring ownership of the club from one group of multimillionaires to another is not enough. Football clubs will never truly belong to their fans as long as they are owned by entrepreneurs whose main priority is generating profit for themselves. Football is a central feature of working-class culture and community life. Gradually we are seeing the game being killed by corporate parasites who see fans as revenue sources to be exploited.

Grassroots clubs such as AFC Liverpool and FC United have shown that models of rank-and-file fan-ownership can be successful on a small scale. Why not on a large scale also?

We believe the struggle for true ownership of LFC should go radically further than the plan put forward by ShareLiverpool and far beyond FC Barcelona’s model.

As a working class anarcho-syndicalist organisation, Liverpool Solidarity Federation advocate:

  • A campaign of direct action against LFC’s current owners.
  • Building support for genuinely democratic, accessible community/supporter ownership of all football clubs.
  • A boycott of match-day tickets and merchandise. Understandably, long-time match goers are unlikely to give up their season tickets due to the huge waiting list for applications.
  • Fill the coffers of organisations such as the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, rather than the pockets of LFC’s owners.
  • Keep it ‘unofficial’ – reject the selfinterested involvement of politicians and bureaucrats.
  • Rank-and-file solidarity action with fans of other clubs – for a non-sectarian coalition against the corporate destruction of football.
  • Working-class opposition to neo-fascism and all forms of discrimination – firm opposition to the BNP and the English Defence League.
  • Support for grassroots football clubs such as AFC Liverpool.

It was great to see so many people turn out yesterday, and especially to see a good reception for the special edition of our Wildcat! freesheet*, advocating precisely the ideas outlined above.

The question now is whether fans can take action and turn those ideas into a concrete reality.

The struggle goes on…


* Download a PDF copy of the freesheet here.

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