An Open Letter To Mr. Hicks and Mr. Gillett
To The (Current) Custodians of Liverpool Football Club,
You may have noticed, if you watched the FA Cup Replay against Luton Town, that there is a growing groundswell of Kopite opinions against your tenure of our great football club.
Why? This a question you may well ask yourselves. Firstly, it appears that you have greatly under-estimated what it means to own a club like Liverpool Football Club. This is not simply a ‘sports franchise’ – the kind of which you are so used to in the USA. Liverpool Football Club is an INSTITUTION. A club founded for the people – to bring hope to the people. A club that inspires people not only in the city but around the world. A club where tradition, pedigree, values and ultimately success define our great club.
Lest you forget, Liverpool Football Club is still the most successful British football club ever. Bill Shankly turned an under-achieving club into a ‘Bastion of Invincibility’ and his legacy has been continued by the likes of Paisley, Fagan, Dalglish and now Rafa Benitez.
Besides the success then, what else makes our club so great? One word – ‘togetherness.’ As well as all of the success that we have achieved over the years, we have also suffered despair. The Hillsborough and Heysel tragedies brought Liverpool supporters closer together in a fashion not matched by any other football club. It has been well-noted that being ‘˜fair-weather’ owners, you only make an appearance for the biggest of games. Lets face it, unless it’s a united game or a cup final then it’s just not worth hopping over on a 10-hour flight is it?? But I’ll hazard a guess that you never visited the Hillsborough Justice Campaign shop? I’ll also hazard a guess that you haven’t stood in front of the Hillsborough Memorial and wondered what it REALLY means? Do you truly understand what the words of ‘œYou’ll Never Walk Alone’ mean or is it just another football, sorry soccer, anthem to you?
These are strong accusations I make. But I, and many like me, believe we have good reason to point the finger at you.
You may remember a few years ago that the Glazers took over manchester united – our most fiercest of rivals. Public opinion amongst manc supporters was very much against the Glazers. They saddled the club with over £500million of debt. In fact, opinion was so negative that supporters tore up their season tickets and the demonstrations outside old trafford bordered on being riotous at times. One group of supporters even went so far as to declare that they no longer recognised their club and formed there own football club and registered it in the lower leagues. I will confess that I, along with many others, laughed at the mancs’ ‘apparent’ poor fortunes. Not a lot of love lost between our 2 clubs as I am sure you have gathered.
So, when you both came along with your promises to respect our club and its traditions and to not go ‘the Glazer way’ and saddle the debt onto our club we welcomed you with open arms. We aren’t stupid and we knew that you bought our club to make some money – but at least you seemed to understand what you were buying into and what was expected of you by us – the fans.
Sadly, you fooled us all. Worse than that, you lied to us. Even worse than that, you are now making us the fans, and our great 116-year old club, look like fools. We are rapidly becoming the laughing stock of the Premiership.
So where have you gone wrong?
Firstly, you may have heard of the phrase ‘The Liverpool Way’. Like every club we have our problems, but The Liverpool Way is to keep our dirty laundry away from the public eye. There have been boardroom battles, player troubles and a whole host of other problems over the years but on the whole, we have kept our problems behind closed doors. You, especially you Mr. Hicks, seem to love speaking to the press and doing whatever it takes to get a headline – no matter what the cost to the club and its reputation is. Just as the controversy died down over your pathetic efforts to replace our manager with an unproven manager (at club level), you then felt it necessary to stoke the fire again and confess to offering Jurgen Klinsmann the job. What possible benefit came from this?
I truly believe that the only reason that Rafa is still in a job right now is that you totally under-estimated how we, the fans, would feel to you replacing the best manager we’ve had since King Kenny. I also truly believe that you have every intention of sacking Rafa at the end of the year. Hopefully you will both be long gone before that decision has to be made.
Going back to Jurgen Klinsmann, this decision shows that you really don’t have the slightest clue about the game of football. Sure, Klinsmann may turn out to be a good club manager, maybe even a great one, but he is far too inexperienced at this stage of his managerial career to take over at our club. What has he achieved so far? The semi-finals in one World Cup that was being played on HOME SOIL with 80-odd million Germans willing the team on. No disrespect to Klinsmann, but Britney Spears could have coached that team to the semi finals.
If Gerard Houllier, with all of his pedigree and experience, couldn’t bring the title back to Anfield then what hope would an inexperienced manager like Klinsmann have? Rafa has brought us one FA Cup, one European Cup, one League Cup final and another European Cup Final in only 3 years. He is one of the top 5 managers in the World. Sure he’s not perfect, but what genius ever is? Lets get one thing straight. WE DON’T WANT RAFA TO LEAVE – certainly not before you leave. Is he the man to bring the title back to Anfield? Maybe, maybe not. Nothing is certain in football. But his successes to-date have bought him a lot more time with us – the paying fans.
What about communication? If a story comes out about the two of you having a argument then the official denials come out faster than it takes for you to throw a few Euros into the air or come up with a ‘Snoogy Doggy’ quip George!! When it comes to Rafa though, you consistently refuse to back the man in public. Of course, we Koppites all know that it is part of your conspiracy to undermine Rafa and try and force him to walk rather than pay him a £6 million compensation package by sacking him. But if communication really is a problem for you, in an age of landlines, mobile phones and video conferencing THEN GET YOUR LAZY ASSES ON A PLANE AND COME OVER TO THE CLUB AND SORT OUT ANY PROBLEMS FACE TO FACE.
What of the stadium? Opinion was divided on the original plans drawn up by David Moores and Rick Parry. Many fans believed that the stadium wasn’t unique and most importantly, its capacity wouldn’t be enough to allow us to properly compete with the other top clubs. So you both came along and brought out these plans that, I have to admit, looked wonderful and ticked most of the boxes. ‘You Giveth Then You Taketh Away’. How stupid you both must be to draw up plans and then have to back out of them less than 6 months later. Most good businessmen undertake a period of ‘due diligence’ before they reveal their plans to the world. You wasted a million quid on a design that has now been scrapped. Is it any wonder that the banks seem to be stalling on your re-financing plans when you get such basic business decisions wrong? To conclude then, you MUST be stupid, us (the fans) think you ARE stupid and so does the rest of the football and business worlds.
Staying on the financial trail, how do you intend to officially break it to us that you LIED to us about the club’s finances? You said you would not laden the club with any debt. If you answer one question honestly to us then let it be this. We, the club’s fans, have a right to know. No doubt, if you survive the next few months and push ahead with your plans then you’ll find some way to put some positive spin onto it. Maybe you’ll simply say that the club’s finances are your own business and nobody elses? ‘œLying Bastards’ was one of the many terms thrown in your direction at the Luton game. Could you hear them from your comfy seats all those thousands of miles away?
One thing that is not reported widely in the press is the fact that the club itself is in turmoil. Sure, this has been generally reported in some areas of the press but what they don’t know is the full extent of the problem. Besides having to hear about all of the club’s problems in the press on a daily basis, it’s little wonder that the players aren’t performing at their best when there is such a bad atmosphere and such feelings of disarray and disharmony in every department of the club. What a change this is from the ‘family club’ atmosphere before you two took over.
One other thing¦ Don’t you dare brag to us that you spent more money on players last summer than at any time in the past. With the amount of money recouped from the sale of players, the amount you actually spent was no more than David Moores would have spent.
So what of David Moores? Well, David Moores is a man with dignity. A man who cares for the club with all his heart. A man who knew his place and truly understood what being a ‘˜custodian’ of our club really meant. I am sure David Moores truly believed that he was selling his shares to allow the club to move forwards and ultimately to be able compete financially with the likes of chelsea and the mancs. David Moores must be feeling more let down than anyone because not only did you lie to all of us, but you lied to him and he will be harbouring a large amount of guilt over this whole sorry episode.. There is a minority who will think that Moores sold out to you to make a profit. The majority, and those who know about LFC, knows that the man was one of us and realised that a big influx of money was needed to move the club forward. How dare you think you can own our club without so much as putting a dime of your own money into the club!
What of Rick Parry? A lot of the vitriol at the Luton game was also aimed towards him but the latest reports are that the boardroom, including both David Moores and Rick Parry, are firmly against your financing plans. Of course, if either man comes out and says as much in public then you’ll fire or dismiss them without a second thought.
Americans are renowned for liking a gamble. Do you really want to gamble and risk the true wrath of us, the fans though? If you saddle our club with debt and dismiss our manager in the summer then you can only wonder what our reaction will be next season. Forget about filling a 60,000 or 78,000-seater stadium. You may find it hard to half fill a 45,000 capacity Anfield. Koppites are very well organised. It’s not inconceivable that our first home game next season could be virtually empty by way of a mass demonstration. Then it really would make you listen wouldn’t it? The lines of communication wouldn’t be a problem if they were hurting your wallets!! You, Tom, would be on a plane to John Lennon faster than it takes you to saddle up and ride on down to the nearest press office with another quote or two.
So what now? It would take a miracle that Houdini himself would have been proud of for you both to reverse the Koppite opinion that is raging against you. If the rumours are true that there is a £350 million deal on the table that would allow 2 greedy Americans to walk away with roughly £40 million each then take it and don’t ever look back. You’ve got no bags to pack. Don’t say your goodbyes. Just leave.
We don’t want you any more. Make your money and move on. Don’t Walk On, move on.
Liverpool Football Club ‘“ It’s In The Wrong Hands