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Statement on Flags and Banners on The Kop

Update - 24th November 2015

Since this statement was released, there has been speculation about whether a meeting was agreed between supporters and the football club. This is not the case.

Last week, an official from LFC responded offering themselves to meet and stating that reassurances were the same as had been offered during the dispute about accredititation being required to wave flags. It was pointed out to them and the club that this matter required senior officials to meet and address all of the supporters concerns which had arisen since then as set out in the statement below. Despite several emails, LFC did not do this. It was only late last night that LFC proposed a meeting time and date for today but said that some of the issues raised would have to be addressed via the Supporters Committee. This was not acceptable to the supporters involved and isn't the positive engagement they were hoping for. As such, supporters have decided that they will not have their flags out on Thursday evening. 

Below is a statement, hosted here, on behalf of the supporters responsible for many flags and banners as an update to the current situation.

Last weekend, supporters from Spion Kop 1906, On The Kop forum, the owner of the large Kop surfer flag and others responsible for the majority of flags and banners, met to discuss the recent issues that ultimately led to the removal of flags and banners prior to the Crystal Palace match at Anfield last week.

That decision had been taken by Spion Kop 1906 and was supported by all others, as sign of disapproval at recent events. Many have sought to pin this decision to one incident, but as was discussed on Sunday, this was in fact the culmination of a number of incidents that supporters felt left them with no choice.

It is a matter of record that at the final home game of last season, a supporter was involved in an incident with another supporter which has recently led to a supporter being banned from all football matches for three years, fined and subject to a curfew via electronic tag. Many have commented on this matter and the severity of the punishment for an incident that many have previously bore witness to, both inside football stadiums and elsewhere. 

However, not previously discussed are the incidents that contributed to this matter and have subsequently taken place which has left supporters angry. These include:

  • Ahead of the Crystal Palace match, the club indicated their willingness to do a mosaic to mark the last Anfield appearance of Steven Gerrard. They spoke to Spion Kop 1906 about this and the supporters planned the mosaic along with subsequent banner displays to take place. This was agreed with the club. On the day of the match, stewards were unaware of the plans. The club had failed to communicate the plans to stewards ahead of the match and there were various disagreements and arguments that took place with threats made by stewards. Many feel this was a contributing factor to the incident that occurred
  • During the summer, Spion Kop 1906 were invited to a meeting with the club. They understood this to be a discussion to rectify the stewarding issues at the Crystal Palace match. The supporters were accompanied by a Spirit Of Shankly representative and it became apparent that the meeting was to discuss the incident at the Crystal Palace. Supporters were confronted and asked to name the supporter involved as the matter had now been passed to the police. The club later apologised for how the matter had been handled. 
  • One of the supporters involved in Spion Kop 1906 was regularly contacted by Merseyside Police, asking for information and applying pressure to name the individual, with threats that Spion Kop 1906 would find their names in the local paper and would be linked to a disability hate crime. This was particularly concerning and offensive to the individual who has a relative in a wheel chair.
  • Even after the individual involved in the Crystal Palace incident had spoken to the police, Spion Kop 1906 were asked to meet with Merseyside Police’s Football Intelligence Officer. They met in the police cells within Anfield stadium and were told that they should be grateful for being allowed to do the flags. They were also told that the police had been asked to speak to the supporters but would not say who by. It is assumed that as this meeting took place on club property, the club were aware of it.
  • There was the subsequent proposals for supporters with flags and banners to be ‘accredited’ which were later dropped after a meeting with the club.
  • The supporter involved in the Crystal Palace incident, was banned by Liverpool FC, following two complaints from the other individual involved in the incident. This was ahead of any court hearing. The supporter was banned without any contact from the club and was informed by letter. When he contacted them to discuss this, the club refused to enter into dialogue with him and said they would not take representations from him and that this matter was separate to the court case ongoing at the time. This has caused concern for Spirit Of Shankly and the club have so far failed to respond appropriately to discuss this matter to put in place a fair and transparent process for supporters.

The above incidents have left some supporters angry and with a fear and threat of being unfairly targeted and even banned if they find themselves in a disagreement with a supporter or if the club do not like what they are doing. It is worth remembering that all these supporters produce these flags and banners in their own time and often at their own expense or from contributions from other supporters. They plan and choreograph displays, often arriving in the ground early forsaking activities that may take place pre-match. These images are used by the club, framed with sponsors logos around the Kop, to sell merchandise and a vision of Anfield - a spectacle to come and marvel at, the traditions of Anfield and LFC in full flow. Supporters are now left questioning if LFC value them, or just the image they provide.

Supporters feel these issues need addressing if they are to continue to provide one of the few remaining high points of an Anfield atmosphere. It is with this in mind that they have contacted LFC to ask for a meeting to seek a positive resolution, one that gives them the reassurances they need and deserve so there is no repeat of these incidents moving forward and the club can learn lessons.

Supporters plan to bring back the flags and banners providing LFC respond positively to the request to meet. 



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