Why I Have Joined Spirit of Shankly (and why you should)

Posted: March 29, 2010 by mcdonaldtaf in Business
Tags: , , , , ,

When I was younger the walk home from school always included a dash past a house with a ‘mad dog’. Even then I was tall and my mum used to laugh at the sight of this runt of a dog chasing her 6 foot son home every day. I despised that dog with a passion and used to plot my revenge from my bedroom, however before anyone calls the RSPCA I can confirm it eventually died of old age. The realisation didn’t set in for a long time that I had other options (other than walking the long way round). I could have quite easily stood up to that little runt of a mutt or just befriended it.

The ‘mad dog’ came into mind this morning and was the last straw, as they say, towards my decision to join Spirit of Shankly. On reflection I have been as guilty with my fear or misunderstanding of Spirit of Shankly as I was with that dog. Although I’m only an hour away from Anfield, and many from North Wales count Liverpool as its city centre, I feel a million miles away from the ‘hardcore’ of reds. I am one who’s counted as an ‘out of towner’ or OOT and there is no getting away from the fact that we are looked down upon in certain quarters.

Spirit of Shankly has not always covered itself in glory. Many reds I talk to still refer to that infamous party and there remains a definite association between unacceptable yob behaviour and the union. It’s a tarnish they’ve worked to get rid of but remains in the minds of some fans I talk to. However they should rightly be proud of their continuing efforts to act for the greater good as well as working hard with the local community. After all at least they are doing something!

I could never quite subscribe to Spirit of Shankly’s raison d’être. A union whose sole aim was the banishment of the club’s owners. I reasoned with them for a long time that business and modern business practice has a key and pivotal role to play in the evolution of football. Debts are not all bad and I stand by my argument that it is far too simplistic to associate interest payments with who we might have signed. Fundamental to my argument has always been that the owners didn’t lie. Were they disingenuous? Yes. But did they lie? No. Am I dealing in semantics? Quite possibly. I originally felt that the union’s viewpoint was diametrically opposed to my business thinking, I do not believe that to be true now.

It is the things mentioned above which has stopped me joining them. Those who may have followed my blogs or tweets will know that this has been a big decision for me personally to take.

I’ve been on a journey of discovery with some Spirit of Shankly members. Some of their arguments were far too simple in my opinion and the constant dismissal in relation to the timing of the credit crunch infuriated me at times. If you conduct research on the club’s banks (RBS and Wachovia) you will see that the funding for the club stopped (and they started to claw back their millions) at exactly the same time as both of the corporate giants were brought to their knees. RBS and Wachovia were both bailed out by their countries Governments and Wachovia very nearly ceased trading altogether. All within the same time frame that the preparation work on the stadium ground to a halt. It was simply bad timing.

It would be fair to say that some of those I have talked to, who are members, have changed some of their viewpoints as have I my own. Spirit of Shankly, I have found, is not a closed community that doesn’t welcome new ideas or listen to other’s viewpoints. I still don’t agree with some of their actions or thoughts and they don’t agree with some of mine but we are willing to listen to each other.

I guess though some fans miss the point, especially those who don’t agree with the way the union conducts its business. The union is run by the collective and all major decisions are voted on. That is what has really sunk in with me over the past few weeks. I’m not saying I do but if I want to change the union’s raison d’etre, even if I want Hicks and Gillett to stay (which I don’t) well I have to join and enough like minded people have to join as well. It is a supporters’ union which is open to all fans of the club. It should be the voice of the fans and the union cannot be blamed if it is majorly represented by those from the city – the blame lies with all of the fans who don’t join. Who together as a group could make a difference within the union or come together to deal with the wider issues of the club as a whole.

So I have joined and I set a challenge to you to defy this logic…

1. If you don’t agree with some of the union’s actions, the way they are run or have cancelled your membership because of ‘that party’. Join or re-join as it is only by having a fairer spread of individuals that the way the union is run can be changed. I am not saying the union has to change but I’m saying the union is the representation of the many.

2. If you are worried about not being taking seriously as an ‘OOT’. Try it, I’m not sure what you have to lose. As an OOT myself I’ll have one voice and one vote, those who live in the Anfield area and attend every game get one voice and one vote – no more no less.

Alternatively you may not be joining because you think everything is ‘tickety boo’, wake up… it isn’t!

The fact is this. The union has the potential to become a great power which represents the combined voice of the fans. With the new initiative of internet voting it is going to be easier for you to have your say whether you are in Beijing, Colwyn Bay or Anfield – adding your own to the combined voice. That voice will be the voice of the collective (or the majority of the collective). Within that majority lies, with the right number of members, the real power. We are Liverpool Football Club but we must come together as one, the noise created from disparate groups will never be as loud as the mighty roar of the collective. I believe the Spirit of Shankly union is the right vehicle to achieve great things and I urge you to join if you want your voice to be heard.

I for one am not going to make the same mistake again. The dog doesn’t want to bite me he just wants me to join in!


  1. Sam Wanjere says:

    A Q. How does one join the SoS? Thanks.

  2. Seanxxp says:

    Only discovered you had your own blog recently. Have enjoyed reading it man. See you on TTT!

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