The Fans' Protest Movement Is Growing

You might think that as supporters, we can do little to change the game. But the chaps at Stand AMF think it's possible for protest to work for us...

Last Updated: 30/06/13 at 13:58 Post Comment

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Football fixtures day. The one day in a major tournament-free summer when you can legitimately bang on about football all day, ringing all your mates, planning all those away days, waxing lyrical about your side's easy run-in.

This football fixtures day just gone though, things were a little bit different.

On Wednesday, June 19 around 300 or so football fans from around the country descended on Gloucester Place, London, home to the offices of the Premier League and Football League, to protest about the spiralling cost of matchday ticket prices.

To us, at the Stand AMF (Against Modern Football) fanzine, this felt like the visible culmination of the very visual stirrings of discontent that could be seen around football grounds up and down the country and indeed, across Europe during the 2012/13 season. Of course, protests are nothing new, and moaning about the amount of money is costs, on average to attend a top Premier League game is something that's been around since, well, its inception in 1992.

What was different this season however was that fans from opposing, often rival teams have been coming together to finally say 'Enough is Enough'. We started the fanzine last summer and have so far produced four issues (three are sold out) aiming at providing a vehicle for football fans to express their concerns, share ideas and generally bring the European construct, 'Against Modern Football' to a wider audience in this country.

That 'Enough is Enough' wording comes of course, from the banner held jointly by Manchester City and Liverpool supporters at the Etihad in February, which again made the newspapers when it was brought, along with other infamous amateur artworks to the march on June 19.

The protest march, organised by the Spirit of Shankly group of Liverpool supporters following meetings held in the north-west and London, ably assisted by groups from Tottenham and Arsenal may have been small but it was seen by many as groundbreaking. For virtually the first time, you had disillusioned match-going hardcore supporters from all the big clubs: Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton, Arsenal, Tottenham as well as countless others all in agreement on the single issue of ticket pricing.

Indeed, it is collective fan power that has proved successful elsewhere - particularly other club ownership rules in Sweden, protecting the 51% rule, and away ticket prices in Germany. If the same movement can build here - and we think June 19 was a strong start - then with the eyes of the world watching, who knows? The Premier League and other authorities may have to listen to us.

Something is definitely in the air. And we think they know it - look for instance to what representatives of those groups attending the march were told at a meeting held inside the Premier League Offices whilst the noise of the march was going on outside. The Premier League made it clear that it is only through the individual clubs that make up its membership that something such as ticket pricing can be changed. They were told that it would be up to individuals to lobby their own clubs. In reality, we believe collective protest, fans uniting together can provide a louder voice, one which all clubs have no option to ignore.

Building on the work that the supporter groups mentioned already, and also the work carried out by those official avenues of mass fan representation, such as the Football Supporters Federation and Supporters Direct, we at Stand AMF want to help build on the successes of the June 19 march.

To start with, we want to better focus what we at Stand AMF, ahem, stand against. To that end, and to capitalise on both our success this season and of the wider movement, we are holding an event in association with local promoters, BOSS Night at the Black-E venue in Liverpool on Saturday July 6.

The event, given the moniker 'Ale, Music, Football' will see us hold three panels to debate what we, as football fans can do going forward and will feature guests from supporter-run clubs such as FC United and AFC Wimbledon, football journalists and representatives from both the FSF and Supporters Direct.

After the debates (which incidentally start at 3PM - on a Saturday!) there will be further chance to mix with other fans over a pint and well, stay and enjoy the party to the early hours. We have lined up some live music from up and coming band Mercury 13 and will have DJ sets from The Beat Boutique DJs as well as Bez and Vince Vega of Happy Mondays fame.

You can buy tickets for the event here. They are priced at £10 and give you access to the whole day. All profits, along with all ideas and decisions made during the debates will go back in to supporting future Stand AMF activities.

For more information about Stand AMF, visit their website or follow them on Twitter.

William Biss - follow him on Twitter.

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