When more than 300 like-minded Liverpool FC supporters met in January 2008 to discuss the problems surrounding the club, Peter Hooton was one of the first on board.
Better known as the lead singer of Liverpool band The Farm, Peter has been an integral member of the committee of Spirit of Shankly and is currently in the role of UK Supporters Liaison Officer.
He said: “I was involved from the very start, from the first meeting at the Sandon. I was speaking to people in the embryonic stages.”
Since then the group has made great strides in making their voice heard and have held talks with senior figures at the club as well as accosting joint-owner George Gillett for an impromptu interview more than once.
Peter said: “As an organisation we are meeting with the higher echelons of the club. The fact they are meeting us shows they take us seriously and they would be mad not to meet us anyway.
“The latest talk with Gillett wasn’t a pre-arranged meeting, we were just told he would be at Melwood so certain members went there. A lot of what he said that day has been proven to be nonsense.”
Spirit of Shankly have been heavily critical of the American owners since they bought the club in 2007 and claim the fans have been lied to repeatedly, particularly over the proposed new stadium.
“There is no chance of the ground being built unless there is an injection of funds. They have got paper money, billions of dollars in stadiums and such but it’s just paper money, there’s no hard cash. They thought they could buy the club, leverage it and then a couple of years later sell it for three times what they paid. It’s madness.”
Peter insists the movement is not a short-term thing and argues that the group are actively involved in other issues besides those surrounding the club.
He said: “What angers a lot of members is how Anfield as an area has suffered, how it has been run down. At the moment Anfield is an ocean of wealth surrounded by poverty. That’s why even if the Americans did go, Spirit of Shankly would continue, because there are other issues.”
Despite considerable disaffection with the owners, a lot of fans do not want to protest or march, or simply do not feel strongly enough about the issues, which is something Spirit of Shankly hope to address.
He said: “Liverpool fans have never really protested before. Spirit of Shankly was set up to give the fans a voice. We have around 4,000 members now, which is an active percentage of the crowd. Of course I would like there to be more, 15 to 20 thousand but you’re dealing with apathy – a lot of people have an ostrich mentality.
“The group is a broad church of Liverpool fans. We are just volunteers and we’ve all got a love for Liverpool Football Club in common. Anyone can come along to our meetings, it’s an open club.”
By Chris Shaw, Chief Sports Reporter
Peter is passionate about the future of LFC (pic courtesy MySpace); YouTube classic: 'All Together Now'