Liverpool fans' protests force ticket price back down

February 19, 2016

Liverpool fans at Anfield protesting against ticket price hike.

Owners of English Premier League side Liverpool FC have caved to fan protests against rising ticket prices, backing down after raising tickets to £77 and apologising to fans.

On February 6, 10,000 Liverpool fans walked out of their team's home game against Sunderland in the 77th minute in protest against the planned ticket price rise.

The Morning Star said on February 8 that, before the game, supporters held up banners bearing the words: “Football without fans is nothing,” and “Enough is enough”.

Liverpool fans' rights group The Spirit of Shankly — named after the club's legendary socialist manager Bill Shankly — have been spearheading a campaign to make ticket prices fair and affordable to the club's working-class fan base.

Spirit of Shankly chair Jay McKenna wrote on The Anfield Wrap fan site: “This was the opportunity to ensure the sustainability of our current and future support.

“The opportunity for the club to tell supporters they were on our side. The opportunity to say that for all the club markets itself on the back of our support, it values it.”

The Morning Star said an expanded Main Stand at Liverpool's Anfield Stadium, plus extra TV money, meant that the club had the chance to give something back to the supporters. But it chose to ignore fan groups, raising the most expensive tickets to Liverpool games from £59 to £77. Season tickets went above £1000 for the first time.

At the game, Sunderland fans applauded their support for the unprecedented supporter action, the Morning Star said, noting: “The home fans gave a rousing rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone — normally belted out in the final minutes of a game — before thousands left the stadium.”

Associated Press reported: “Within hours, Liverpool's owners backed down and accepted the supporters' concerns in an open letter to fans.

“'It has been a tumultuous week,' said John Henry, Tom Werner, and Mike Gordon, who also own baseball's Boston Red Sox. 'On behalf of everyone at Fenway Sports Group and Liverpool Football Club we would like to apologize for the distress caused by our ticket pricing plan for the 2016-17 season.'”

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