Irish supporters of Liverpool Football Club (LFC) have reacted with concern to an article on a well-known UK fan website urging them to "get the baseball bats and ski masks ready" to "put the frightners [sic] on" the club's beleaguered American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks.
The article, posted on the popular Koptalk website by its editor, Duncan Oldham, is accompanied by a picture of a man in a black balaclava and holding what appears to be a crowbar.
A spokesman for Merseyside police has confirmed it is examining the content of the article to establish if it involves any public order offences.
The up-for-sale club is currently at the centre of a longstanding takeover battle which has led to numerous peaceful protests staged by fans encouraging Hicks and Gillett to sell their shares.
But supporters' groups here said they in "no way condone" the calls in the article for "every passionate Red out there who has a 'set' and who is capable of donning a ski mask and waving a baseball bat in a menacing manner, to step up to put the frighteners on these two and everyone they associate with including any companies that support them".
"Disruption, especially to financial institutions, is what they are scared of. And on a personal level, there's nobody in the world who's [sic] arse wouldn't collapse if someone peered over their bed in the middle of the night armed with a Texas Rangers baseball bat or two," it states. "I won't sign petitions, I won't send emails to journalists who don't care, but I will get stuck in via other methods best not written about. I don't care if I get into trouble with my words… I mean it. I mean every single word."
Oldham also stressed that while he does not believe in "anyone getting physically hurt", he acknowledged that this was "tempting" but not acceptable.
"They can cling on for as long as they want but something will give and that's why I'm fairly relaxed and confident that I won't have to do three months inside for threatening behaviour," he wrote. "Seriously, it's time to scare the shit out of them… People have died for our club. People have had their ashes scattered at Anfield."
Sarah Higgins, committee member of Tallaght LFC supporters' club, said many Irish fans of the Premier league club have taken part in peaceful demonstrations against its owners. She noted that Koptalk is an influential LFC site among supporters. "No one can condone violence of this sort at all," she told the Sunday Tribune. "I don't think it's the right message to put out at all. An awful lot of people would not get behind us if we did what is being suggested."
John Curtin, secretary of Cork-based Buttevant international LFC supporters' club agreed. "I wouldn't condone it in any way. It is bringing a violent hooliganism aspect back into something that the English FA has been working to eradicate," he said. "I can't see how any Liverpool fan would like to see that carry-on."