The past month has been a turbulent one for football. The game has been turned upside down and inside out in the past few weeks with the future of the sport very much in the balance and up for debate. This week could prove a landmark one in the club’s modern history with Liverpool set to meet supporters group Spirit of Shankly for discussions about rebuilding fan relations.
FSG mistakes and the Super League
Since taking over the club in 2010 FSG have transformed Liverpool top to bottom.
The American owners have taken the Reds from the brink of administration to becoming English, European and world champions.
The club has been revamped with a focus on making the business sustainable, moving away from silly, short sighted signings and maximising commercial revenue.
Despite the owner’s great success they’ve made some serious errors during their stewardship.
FSG have persistently tried to push the boundaries of taste, seeing what they can get away with.
They tried to hike ticket prices, they trademarked the Liverbird and tried to trademark Liverpool, more recently they furloughed staff during the pandemic before being bullied into a U-turn.
The most drastic error the owners have made has undeniably been the Super League debacle.
FSG signed Liverpool up for the breakaway competition and in doing so irreparably tarnished the club’s reputation.
John Henry issued a video apology to fans following the sweeping backlash with supporters groups ordering their banners be removed from the Kop.
Many have called for the Americans to sell up, citing this as the final straw.
Billy Hogan to meet Spirit of Shankly
In the wake of the Super League debacle there have been serious conversations about the future of the club.
Spirit of Shankly (SOS) wrote to Liverpool chairman Billy Hogan following results of a fan survey which showed 89 per cent backing for fan representation at board level.
Billy Hogan will meet Spirit of Shankly this Tuesday with the group referring to the meeting as “an encouraging first step as the club attempt to restore fans’ faith and need for positive change.”
The Reds’ CEO was also enthusiastic, commenting, “It is positive that SOS has opted to re-engage with the club as it will allow the necessary conversations to take place, for views to be aired and, hopefully, for workable solutions to be found in keeping with the best interests of the club.”
Landmark week in club future
This could prove to be a turning point in the Reds’ modern history.
Sure, it is just one meeting. However, if SOS doesn’t come out of the meeting feeling as if FSG are willing to seriously engage with the fans’ demands then we could see further protests against the American owners.
If the meeting is a success then this could be the first step towards serious and positive change at Liverpool.
The reality of the situation is that we can’t expect fan ownership and if FSG were to sell then we’d likely find ourselves in bed with unsavoury characters or in precisely this situation a few years down the line.
The best we can hope for at the moment is fan representation at board level in order to prevent FSG from making such drastically poor decisions again in the future.
The owners have always tried to push their luck with the fans, fan representation could be a barrier to that.
FSG have won the lottery with the Reds, the club’s value has rocketed under their stewardship. They just need to dial back the greed and they’ll reap in further profits.