Following Tom Hicks and George Gillett’s claims that they are to open talks with manager Rafa Benitez on a new contract, the Liverpool Supporters Union, Spirit of Shankly, have released the following statement signalling their fears if their words aren’t matched by their actions:
Liverpool Supporters’ Union not taking anything for granted
Whilst reports indicate that Liverpool Football Club’s American owners are preparing to offer Rafael Benitez a new contract, the Liverpool Supporters’ Union, Spirit of Shankly, believes that supporters should judge Hicks and Gillett on their actions rather than their words.
The Liverpool Echo reports that Hicks has assured Benitez that dialogue will commence within the week. However, Hicks and Gillett have failed to act upon numerous previous promises and assurances. Spirit of Shankly is, therefore, concerned that their cavalier approach to the business of running Liverpool Football Club may lead them to once again disregard from afar, the assurances that they have made.
The Union has genuine fears that a failure to commence negotiations immediately, or any significant delay in bringing this matter to a conclusion, will impact adversely upon both existing player negotiations and the club’s ability to operate effectively in the January transfer window. It is our information that key first team players are now entering a phase of their existing contracts where new deals will be necessary in order to prevent a repeat of Steve McManaman and Michael Owen type scenarios. We are also led to believe that a number of players’ agents are reluctant to enter into negotiations while the position of the Manager remains unclear.
The instability that Hicks and Gillett have brought to the administration of the club must not be allowed to infect the playing side. We know that the Americans are actively seeking to offload the club, we know that they will have real problems in refinancing the debts that they have heaped upon the club and we genuinely doubt their commitment to ensuring that Liverpool Football Club can operate in anything approaching relative security.
This is not a case of Spirit Of Shankly supporting anyone individual over another. This is about the ongoing mismanagement at the highest levels of the football club, which has undermined the most important position at the club, that of the manager. This needs to end now, to allow the club to move forward both on and off the pitch.
Regardless of their apparent willingness to talk next week about extending Rafael Benitez’s contract, Spirit of Shankly remains firm in its opposition to Hicks and Gillett’s ownership of Liverpool Football Club, contrary to claims made elsewhere in the media. The instability that their regime brings can only be a source of weakness as the club endeavours to achieve success on the pitch. They are the weakest link, they have to go.