The desire of Liverpool fans to see the back of the club’s owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. is no secret, with the duo unsurprisingly scapegoated for the dire financial situation that the Anfield side find themselves in. Although the diabolical pair announced their decision to sell in April of this year, their wish to sell the club for a sizeable fee means that the sale of the club is likely to be a highly protracted and drawn-out affair. Crippled by debt, the club’s increasing inability to compete financially has detrimentally affected the side’s performances on the field, with fans eager for new investment to rejuvenate the Merseyside club.
Mirroring the behaviour of rival supporter group IMUSA (Independent Manchester United Supporters’ Association), Anfield supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly have suggested that fans of the club are considering action to help oust their owners. Speaking to Goal.com, S.O.S. spokesman James McKenna revealed that an organised boycott may be on the cards, stating that, “Fans are considering giving up season tickets to the games next year if Hicks and Gillett are still in charge.” Alluding to the gravity of the situation at Anfield, McKenna further added, “We are aware we could go down the path of Leeds United if the debt can’t be paid. When you are losing money, you can’t move forward. It’s a very scary thought.” The passion of Liverpool fans is unrivalled, and it is unsurprising to hear that they are considering measures to alleviate the mess at the club. However, the success of any boycott rests on a knife-edge, and such conduct could plunge the Anfield side further into trouble on and off the field. Are the Liverpool fans unwise to consider this form of action, bearing in mind the financial predicament of the club?
The intent behind a potential season-ticket boycott is admirable and understandable. In an ideal world, such strike action would starve the owners of their cash flow, forcing them to sell the club immediately, paving the way for fresh new investment. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the way that such events would pan out at Anfield.
Due to the incredible demand for season-tickets at Liverpool (at a recent tour of Anfield, I was informed by a club representative that the waiting list for a season-ticket at Liverpool is SEVENTY years), the club would have no difficulty finding replacements for those who have defiantly relinquished their match tickets. As such, S.O.S. would struggle to galvanise the requisite level of support to substantially affect Hicks and Gillett’s match-day revenue cash flow.
In the instance that a boycott received a substantial amount of support, it is likely that the owners would make up for this deficit in cash-flow by cashing in on the club’s most saleable assets, further increasing the likelihood of the likes of Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano leaving Anfield. This once unforeseen scenario, a terrifying prospect for Liverpool fans, would cripple the side on the pitch, leading the club further towards mediocrity.
Whilst the intentions of these aims are laudable, it remains to be seen whether or not they would substantially aid the club in its hour of need. At present the fans need to support the Anfield side more than ever, and I can’t help but feel that turning their collective back upon the club will further contribute to Liverpool’s plight.
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