Reds hold ‘urgent’ talks over tickets protest

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Liverpool Supporters leave the Kop at the 77th minute © Connor Lynch JMU Journalism

Liverpool supporters leave the Sunderland game in the 77th minute. Pic by Connor Lynch © JMU Journalism

Liverpool FC executives are said to have held ‘urgent’ talks with the owners at Fenway Sports Group to discuss the proposed rise in ticket prices, after supporters protested against the move by staging a high-profile walkout at Anfield on Saturday.

Around 10,000 fans left the stadium at the 77th minute mark as the Reds led 2-0 against Sunderland in a symbolic protest at the recent announcement by the club that ticket prices are set to rise.

The highest band of tickets would cost £77 a game, with season tickets going up by £160 a season.

Liverpool eventually drew the game 2-2 and the protest gained widespread national and local coverage, with many backing the fans’ gesture.

After walking out, supporters amassed outside of the Kop with banners and black flags to stage a demonstration against the club’s hierarchy, as they chanted “enough is enough” and blasted LFC Chief Executive Ian Ayre for his defence of the new ticket pricing structure.

The walkout had been organised by supporters groups who arranged for the demonstration to take place as soon as the ticket prices had been announced for when Liverpool open their new Main Stand.

James McKenna from the Spirit of Shankly group spoke of the frustration that the fans are feeling after 13 months of negotiations with the club.

He told JMU Journalism: “We have tried sitting down with them, and going with the nice approach, but we really feel that we have been left with no other option but to stage this kind of protest in order to show the club that we are serious.

“I think Liverpool is in serious need of a change. The current prices, as they are, are too much as the ordinary fan is being priced out, and it’s beginning to affect the atmosphere inside the stadium. I think the club didn’t expect this kind of reaction from the fans, and I hope that they are going to start to listen to us.

“They need to stop thinking about the spreadsheet and thinking about what is really good for the club.”

Fans Demonstrate outside Paisley Gates © Connor Lynch JMU Journalism

Fans demonstrate outside the Paisley Gates at Anfield. Pic by Connor Lynch © JMU Journalism

Other fans outside the stadium expressed similar views during the protest.

One supporter, James Cutler, told JMU Journalism: “We have just signed an £8.3billion TV deal in the Premier League, and yet they feel the need to penalise the supporters, despite the fact that ticket prices are a decreasing part of the club’s revenue that comes into football clubs and we are the ones who are constantly paying.

“It’s expensive to go the the football week in week out. We make enough sacrifices as it is – it’s just pure greed.”

There are reports of further planned demonstrations in the weeks ahead, if the fans cannot come to an understanding with the club regarding ticket prices.

Liverpool FC executives are yet to make an official comment following the protest.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp, who missed the game with appendicitis, admitted today: “It’s not what we want. What I know is everyone in the club has a big interest in finding a solution for this.

“We don’t want that people leave the stadium before the game is finished.”

About Connor Lynch, JMU Journalism