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
Friday 25 November 2016 at 12:50
When fixture changes are made, they are done so with scant consideration for the supporters they affect and zero consultation. The most recent raft of changes to cause significant disruption on our fans are the games away to Bournemouth, Middlesbrough and Sunderland. However, the fixture with the biggest impact is the re-arranged Liverpool v Manchester City match, now to be played at 5:30pm on New Year’s Eve.
It was glaringly obvious from the off this would cause problems – 50,000+ supporters in an already busy area on the busiest night of the year. Add to that local transport provision due to finish at the same time as the match, plus a severely reduced, or non-existent, transport timetable for those travelling further afield. It lays bare the total disregard for football supporters in favour of TV money.
Spirit of Shankly immediately contacted the club, city council and Ground Safety Advisory Group, and local transport authority to raise our concerns. We asked to work with them to find solutions for supporters.
Merseytravel have listened to our worries about how supporters and employees will get home. They will shortly announce revised transport timetables, with a small extension to trains and buses serving Anfield and the Merseyside area. We would like to place on record our thanks to the staff who have organised this and the staff who will be delivering these services on the night, and committee members on the Merseytravel board who listened to supporter concerns.
We understand that the city council and club have worked with Merseytravel to discuss local services. But, despite several emails and requests to meet, Liverpool have declined to engage with us and other supporters over this issue.
Our attempts to work with the club to find solutions for all - those who don’t live locally and now can’t make the game due to a lack of transport home to Manchester and further afield; and the impact more driving to the game will have on the local community.
SOS members and other supporters who contacted us will not have their concerns heard by the club. And the club have shown their disdain for supporter groups, including their own supporters committee representatives.
It remains a cause for concern that TV companies have licence to move fixtures with no consideration for the paying fan, home or away. We will continue to lobby with other fan groups for more meaningful discussions about future fixture changes.
We hope the club recognise this as a missed opportunity to work with their own supporters, to lead the way and use a small fraction of the vast TV riches to help them. We remain ready, as ever, to meet with the club to discuss this.
If supporters have any queries or specific questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to get answers from the club.
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