Censorship & Threats of bans

*Update* - 15th November 2013

We've been contacted by Liverpool FC about this matter. We have been told by Ian Ayre and Ged Poynton that neither of them were aware of the threats made to supporters regarding the 'Supporters Not Customers' banner and it did not come from senior officials at the club. They've said that banners which are deemed offensive or inappropriate would face censure, however they believe this banner does not fall into that category. They have apologised and have said they will look into this matter internally and take action. We would like to thank them for their swift response to us and for taking this matter seriously.

Original Story - 12th November

As part of the ongoing campaign against high ticket prices, a number of supporters held up a banner at the end of the West Bromwich Albion match which stated “FAO Mr Ayre – Supporters Not Customers”. This banner, with a simple message, explained precisely how supporters feel – that the management of the club would prefer to treat them as customers, something we oppose.

Before Saturday’s home match, a Deputy Head Steward told supporters on the Kop, who he felt might have been responsible for the banner, that if it was seen again at any point then the owner of the banner and those holding it up would be thrown out of the ground and banned. The steward in question refused to say on whose direction this instruction had been given but it is safe to assume that if such a threat was made it would have come from at least one senior official of the football club. 

Yesterday, we wrote to both Ian Ayre and Ged Poynton to try and get to the bottom of this matter. No supporter should face censorship nor a threat of bans for expressing views and opinions on important matters to supporters and ones which do not contravene ground regulations. It is worth pointing out two hypocritical elements of this threat to supporters:

1. The supporters threatened are the same group of supporters, operating under the Spion Kop 1906 name. They are responsible for the vast majority of flags and banners that we see week in, week out, home and away. The same flags and banners that LFC use to promote and market the football club.

2. During the Hicks and Gillett days, senior officials at the club had no objection to the many banners that spoke out against our then owners. No supporters were threatened with bans. If such banners were allowed then, over a much more pressing and significant issue, why not now?

We have this morning received a response from the football club who have told us they will look into this matter as the official concerned was not aware of this matter. They have said that they will come back to us shortly once they have sought answers raised in our letter to them. We will keep you updated of what LFC have to say on this matter and will ensure that the views of supporters are both seen and heard.


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