The trust of Liverpool and the club’s official supporters, Spirit of Shankly, is approaching an agreement that will ensure that the consent of Reds supporters is required before major decisions are made that affect the club’s traditions.
Following the fallout from the European Super League debacle, of which Liverpool was a significant part, SOS made an effort to engage with the hierarchy of the football club and the owners Fenway Sports Group to reach an agreement that would give fans more influence when it came to big decisions such as ESL in their football club.
SOS met with Liverpool CEO Billy Hogan back in May in an attempt to find some common ground and ensure that such a step is taken to join a breakaway league from happening again.
FSG supremo and Liverpool chief owner John W Henry had recorded a video apology to fans less than 48 hours after the ESL launch back in April, where they took the blame for the move, declaring that he intended to heal some of the division that was caused by the decision to enter into the new venture.
Talks between Hogan and other FSG representatives back in May were declared “positive” at the time. And fast forward six months, it looks like a binding agreement needs to be made.
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With the government’s fan-led review of the future of English football published on Wednesday, with a particular focus on the club giving a ‘golden share’ or veto to supporters on decisions like ESL, Liverpool and SOS have already made progress, as the report, carried out by Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, seeking to have adopted in English football.
“I think we’re ahead of the curve,” Spirit of Shankly chairman Joe Blott told ECHO.
“We met with Liverpool shortly after the Super League plans and there has been some genuine remorse and a desire to find a workable model that would allow for greater supporter representation.
“We have not called it a ‘golden share’ or a veto, we have referred to it as ‘consent’ and it is something that will be written into the statutes of the football club and will mean in matters such as joining a breakaway league or leaving Anfield, we as supporters’ trust would have to give consent to such a move.
“It would be something that would be written into the articles of association, which means that whether it is the current owners or new owners in the future, it will remain binding. It would be part of the business transfer.
“We have had many discussions with Liverpool and the owners, and to be fair it is the owners who have driven this forward to find a solution and it is a proposal that we believe is good for both club and fans and a proposal , which we will recommend to our members for approval when we meet for our general meeting this weekend. “
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Manchester United are among the clubs that have taken some steps towards giving their fans more influence, but should the proposal go through at the SOS General Assembly, it would represent a major milestone in the relationship between club and fan and give supporters more power.
It is something that SOS has been pushing for and something they believe will help preserve Liverpool’s traditions for generations to come.
“We were clear with our expectations when we met with Liverpool in May,” Blott said.
“We wanted meaningful fan engagement. They showed remorse and leadership and a commitment to change the principles they had taken away through the Superliga plans.
“They have recognized the need to anchor democracy through supporter trusts, whether it is us now or someone else in the future. Having this in the statutes would be extremely strong and it should be welcomed. It is ahead of the curve and an agreement is on the table, which we believe is the best deal for us fans.
“Hopefully, after this weekend’s general meeting, we can start moving forward on a new path.”