Despite the sniping & jeers, particularly from those who are in no position to pontificate, yesterday's Spirit of Shankly (http://www.spiritofshankly.com/ ) rally against the ruinous reign of Hicks & Gillett (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/10501143.stm ) has to be judged a success by any criterion. A finely-balanced event, the droll one-liners from John Bishop adding to the quips from MC Neil Fitzmaurice injected typical Scouse humour into the proceedings. The musical guests couldn't be faulted, a pugnacious Pete Wylie & an amiable John "bad hair day" Power perhaps the stand-out acts.
All, however, were trumped by the appearance of Karen Gill, Bill Shankly's granddaughter. She waited a few good minutes to speak as the crowd on St George's Plateau repeatedly sang her grandfather's name.
Any qualms about the day? Well, perhaps there were a couple of instances where the anger voiced at the lying duo was couched in terms that could have been construed as anti-American. That said, I witnessed no attempts to set the Stars & Stripes ablaze, something predicted by those content to carp & sneer from the sidelines. The event was impressively handled, organised & stewarded. The address by senior Spirit of Shankly spokesman James McKenna was perfectly judged; short, punchy points about the mess Hicks & Gillett now preside over were accompanied by a recognition that SoS' message should go beyond the ownership issue, stressing the need to regenerate the entire Anfield area. He also acknowledged the mistakes SoS made in the past which hostile media elements eagerly seized upon. Candour & transparency are just as important as organisation & planning.
Spirit of Shankly's campaign took a major step forward yesterday. Liverpool FC's chief executive Christian Purslow, who has derisively called SoS "sons of strikers", needs to recognise that.