The Football Association is to write to Liverpool for an explanation into the orchestrated support shown for the jailed fan Michael Shields during Monday’s 0-0 draw with West Ham United at Anfield.
Officials at Soho Square are considering whether to bring disciplinary charges after taking exception at the manner in which Liverpool have publicly backed a man who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for the attempted murder of a Bulgarian waiter, Martin Georgiev, in May 2005.
Another Liverpool fan admitted being responsible for the crime before later retracting his confession and Shields’ case will go before a high court review tomorrow. The FA, however, is alarmed that Liverpool should openly use a live televised game to try to influence the matter.
Rafael BenÃtez’s players wore T-shirts bearing the slogan Free Michael Now during their pre-match warm-up and the actress Sue Johnston was invited on to the pitch with Shields’ parents to make a speech calling for the justice secretary, Jack Straw, to “do the right thing”.
A mosaic was held up in the Kop spelling out Free Michael Now and the match-day programme contained an article declaring the 22-year-old’s innocence. “Liverpool fan Michael Shields should be here at Anfield for tonight’s game,” it began. “Instead, he will be sitting in a prison cell.”