Anyone who visits Anfield on match day knows that the Liverpool fans play a major role in the team’s success, creating an atmosphere that’s unrivalled in English football.
When 50,000 Liverpool fans are in full voice, the spectacle is both intimidating for opposition teams and uplifting for the home side, and worth more than a few goals over the course of the season.
Now, the club are taking steps to maximise the Anfield effect by announcing the introduction of a season ticket amnesty, to begin within the next four months.
The aim of the amnesty is to address the situation that sees around five to six per cent of the seats at Anfield left empty at every home game. With the club pushing for a top-four spot, FA Cup and Champions League glory, they’ll need all the support they can get to increase their odds of achieving these targets.
Their current odds are not too bad; sports betting site Stakers rates Liverpool as having a great chance to finish in the top four, and with the recent thrashing of Porto, their Champions League odds are not too shabby either.
At the moment, there are over 26,000 season ticket holders at Liverpool, but often the tickets are not used by the supporters who purchased them. It has become common practice for fans to pass the tickets down through their family rather than take the risk of losing them, given the enormous length of the current waiting list for season tickets.
The club are also concerned about security, and want to take steps to ensure that they know who is inside the ground on any given match day.
— Virgil van Dijk (@VirgilvDijk) March 5, 2018
The measures announced include the option to use photo ID. Initially, season ticket holders will be invited to upload a photo through the designated app or present one at the ticket office, enabling the club to identify season ticket users.
Putting photo ID on the tickets themselves would be another option, though this is likely to be controversial with supporters and it isn’t expected to be introduced in the short term.
While most fans understand the reasons for these measures and are keen to ensure that there are no empty spaces in the ground on match days, some fans are concerned that the club might be using the amnesty as an opportunity to take away season tickets.
In their discussions with fans and the media, Liverpool have been keen to reassure supporters that the main aim of the amnesty is to bring the club’s records up to date and to establish contact details for the primary owners of their season tickets.
The club has also said that they will work with supporters to address what happens in circumstances when the season ticket holder is unable to attend the game.
They are looking at a number of options for circumstances in which a different person uses the ticket. This could be as simple as a phone call to tell the club that the ticket will be used by an alternative person, or a friends and family scheme, through which season ticket holders could nominate a number of alternative users at the start of the season.
The club are also looking into a system of transferring season tickets from fans who have passed away to their relatives.
READ MORE: The history of Liverpool Football Club
Penalties for season ticket holders who regularly leave their seats unoccupied – as happens at many European clubs – are also under consideration, though this is likely to prove more controversial.
Many supporters would regard it as pretty harsh if someone lost their season ticket for leaving their seat empty three or four times in a season, and if this kind of measure is introduced, it could prove to be counter-productive in terms of ill-feeling and bad publicity.
However, while fans will have questions about how the amnesty is introduced, it seems that the club is attempting to address as many concerns as possible, and with the amnesty not due to be completed until the start of the 2019/20 season, fans will be given time to provide the relevant details to the club.
The bottom line for the club and for Liverpool fans is that everyone wants to see a full Anfield on every match day. With an average of 2,737 purchased seats remaining empty at every home game and with many thousands of fans desperate to get a ticket, it is in everyone’s interest to tidy up the season ticket arrangements and help to ensure that the Anfield roar is as loud and as atmospheric as possible!