Shrewsbury Town chairman Roland Wycherley hits out at Liverpool over FA Cup snub

Shrewsbury Town chairman Roland Wycherley has taken a swipe at Liverpool for their actions around Town's FA Cup replay at Anfield two seasons ago.

Salop booked an historic first trip to Anfield courtesy of a thrilling televised comeback in their fourth round tie at Montgomery Waters Meadow in January 2020, which earned a replay for the following month.

But Jurgen Klopp stated immediately after the Jason Cummings-inspired fightback that both he and the Premier League leader's and European Champions' first-team squad would not be present for the replay, which clashed with the inaugural Premier League 'winter break', in the same period.

Sam Ricketts' Town lost 1-0 to a Liverpool under-23s team at a sold-out Anfield featuring around 8,000 travelling Salopians. Chairman Wycherley, speaking in the notes of the club's yearly accounts published this week, claims the Reds' snub cost the League One club a minimum windfall of £500,000, as the replay featuring Liverpool's youngsters was not televised and ticket prices were slashed.

Shrewsbury reported Liverpool to the FA for breaching FA Cup rules but their appeal was thrown out by the governing body, a result which left the club in shock.

Wycherley said: "I am sure this (first) match at Montgomery Waters Meadow will live long in the memory of our supporters.

"Much has been written and said about the ill-fated replay at Anfield, not only were we outdone on the pitch by a VAR decision which to this day we still dispute, but off the pitch the treatment of our club was at best 'disappointing'."

Boyhood Liverpool fan and Town favourite Shaun Whalley was denied an opener in front of the packed away end by the tightest of VAR calls, which drew ire from Shrews as the technology was not in place for the first tie at the Meadow.

But the costly decision for the Premier League champions-elect's manager and senior players not to attend the replay, held just a month before the pandemic brought lockdowns to the United Kingdom, is one which still rankles with the club.

Town chief executive Brian Caldwell wrote in an open letter to Shrewsbury fans last year that Klopp 'ruined what should have been a wonderful moment for our club'.

Wycherley's notes continued: "As soon as their manager announced immediately after the initial tie that he would not be in attendance at the replay, and the match would be utilising their u23s team, instead of a big windfall estimated at a minimum of £500,000 – which would've included a live TV replay which all clubs in the lower leagues dream of receiving – we were left with no alternative but to reluctantly agree to drastically lower the agreed admission prices due to playing their u23s team.

"When we reported Liverpool to the FA for breaching the FA Cup rules and 'not fielding their strongest team' we were astonished that the Professional Game Board at the FA did not uphold our complaint, much to our solicitors' shock."

A second consecutive run to the competition's fourth round and live Meadow tie against the Reds did boost Town ahead of the pandemic's arrival in March, but Shrewsbury still posted a loss of more than £700,000 in their accounts ending June 2020, the first time in five years the club have made a loss.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News