Thursday, January 11, 2007

Reclaim The Kop

Reclaim the Kop
It was a dark and quiet Sunday night in the heart of Anfield. Twenty-or-so lads were gathered in The Albert Pub, which sits adjacent to the famous Spion Kop stand, to discuss some worrying trends amongst the club's current fanbase.

The Spion Kop at Anfield used to chant "you got your education from The Kop". A sign of our elitist supremacy over the fans of other clubs. Sadly this is no longer the case.

From a position of such unique grandeur, and the pinnacle of terrace culture The Kop is now a meagre image of it's former self.

Saddened by the demise and seeming plight of our support a fans group was formed in October 2006. Under the umbrella of Reclaim The Kop (RTK) a group of ardent Liverpool fans aim to promote the tradition values of The Kop, reignite the atmosphere and ensure the "new" Anfield is not a soulless bowl.

Saturday 6th January was the first official RTK flag day – The game was live on the BBC and served as the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the fight for justice, as well and letting the world know we're still the greatest fans about.

It was time to make ourselves seen and time to make ourselves heard. A flyer campaign was in operation on the day of the game, highlighting the plans for the 6 MINUTES FOR THE 96. A banner was held aloft at the front of the Kop for the first 6 minutes of the game, with non-stop songs of Justice for the 96 until the banner was dropped.

It was the perfect start to maintaining an eye opening atmosphere for the rest of the game. RTK also arranged a crowd mosaic in The Kop. The BBC showed the game live and simply could not overlook the power of the protest.

The Mosaic was a reaction to former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie, who was responsible for the despicable lies published in the newspaper in question following the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster, when 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death in the FA Cup Semi-Final.

The same individual continues to put forward this insensitive and wholly inaccurate argument even to this day. Hillsborouth is an unspeakable tragedy which we, as Liverpudlians, will never forget. The memory of loved ones who never came home lives on in the eternal flame that now burns alongside the iconic Liverbird as the enduring symbol of Liverpool Football Club.

The headline The Sun paper chose to print were the same words as those contained in the mosaic. I was sat on seat one on the far Kemlin Road side of the stand, and saw nothing of the opening minutes of the match, but the protest, and the commencement of the RTK campaign was the focus of the day.

It even overshadowed the match for many, including the Liverpool team, who were well beaten by a clinical Arsenal team.

The Gunner's captain said in a BBC interview after the game that he has "So much respect for the Liverpool ground and for their supporters", a comment made in reference to the RTK protest. What started with a low-key meeting of a handful of Kopites could be set to change the face of the social fabric of our supporters.

It's our Kop, let's reclaim it.

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