The grandson of the legendary Bill Shankly says the former Liverpool manager would be “spinning in his grave” at the club being involved in European Super League plans and declared he would “happily see the statue” of his grandfather removed from outside Anfield.
Shankly is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the club’s history, having taken them from a Second Division outfit to three-time title-winners in the top flight, as well as European success with a Uefa Cup triumph in 1973.
Beyond his accomplishments from the dugout, though, he instilled a set of virtues throughout the club which have become synonymous with Liverpool, echoed through his famous quotes on collectivist socialism, the importance of supporters and honesty being a fundamental necessity in any line of work.
Among other issues, some Liverpool fans feel those values have been wiped aside with the club being at the forefront of the Super League and Shankly’s grandson, Chris Carline, has expressed his disgust at the moves the Merseyside club have taken.
“It’s not an understatement to say he would be spinning in his grave at the current situation because it couldn’t be further removed from his ethos,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“Given the chance I’d happily see the statue removed [from in front of the stadium].
“I’m appalled and embarrassed. When you talk about Liverpool Football Club and its history and its roots, you could reference seven, eight or nine of grandad’s quotes which are all appropriate to the current situation – socialism, greed and the Holy Trinity – but I also think about one of the less well-known comments. It’s from his book, when he spoke about wanting to bring the football club closer to the fans and the fans closer to the football club. And he achieved that.”
Both stood firm in their overall opposition to the move, but there has so far been no word at all from the upper hierarchy of the club who are driving the proposals.
Carline, who is involved with the Shankly Foundation charity, feels the lack of a local presence at the top of the club hampers their ability to truly connect with and understand what drives the supporters at Anfield.
“I feel sorry for Jurgen Klopp, for the players because they have not been consulted about this and obviously the fans haven’t been spoken to. The owners have met in secret and have come to this decision based on greed.
“The loss of [former CEO] Peter Moore was a big disappointment. He made decisions based on the best interests of the supporters and whenever he was involved in a decision he used the mantra ‘What would Shanks have done?’
“This current CEO doesn’t even live in Liverpool and doesn’t visit the area. They don’t care. They are happy to replace fans who have devoted their lives to the football club with new corporate fans who will happily fly in and out for occasional games.”
Carline said he would not “walk away or boycott” the club.
The owners have previously come under fire from supporters for attempting to raise price tickets to £77, as well as for initially accepting the government furlough scheme last year before backtracking after fan protests.
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