Often Partisan

Texas Courtroom Massacre

Liverpool. I’m not a fan of the city nor the club that takes it’s name if I’m truthful, and it’s hard for me to feel sympathy for the fans whilst they endure the current circus freak show mockery their board is making of their club. When news broke last night that Tom Hicks and George Gillette had got a Texan court to grant a temporary injunction against the sale of Liverpool to NESV, I had to laugh. I guess for the masses of scousers on the red half of the city, it’s not a laughing matter.

The whole sale of Liverpool has become a bit of a farce. Essentially, after the decision in the High Court of London yesterday, control of the club had been taken out of the hands of it’s owners and placed into the hands of the banks. I can kinda understand why Hicks and Gillette might be a little pissed; they’ve been told they have no choice in the matter and that they’re going to make a loss on the whole deal. Some would say this is what you reap when you saddle something you purchase with enough debts to possibly send it into administration; I would probably agree with that. Where did it all go wrong?

I think the problem Liverpool had is similar to that of Leeds United in the nineties; they were a successful team in Europe as well as the league, and when Hicks/Gillette bought the club I think they thought that they could continue to project revenues based on these successes. Football doesn’t work like that though; you’re only as good as your last game and it’s a folly to try and make money off projected success. To maintain those kind of levels within football requires constant investment, as players age and get injured. It also requires your manager to continually make good purchases, as a couple of expensive flops can cause a club to lose several millions, if not tens of millions of pounds.

Thus you get into the situation where the revenue you expected to get from league placing and European placing doesn’t come in, and you’re still paying the high wages for the players you have brought in to try and keep the success coming in. This turns into operating losses on the balance sheet, and into negative feelings on the football pitch as players decide that they want to play elsewhere, for a more successful team. For instance, there has been talk this season of Fernando Torres exhibiting body language that he doesn’t want to be at the club, and I must say that when I saw Liverpool play Birmingham City he in particular looked very off the pace. Torres is one of the real lynch pins of that Liverpool side, and without him firing they look a very ordinary team.

I suppose the next question is, will they slide down the divisions in the alarming manner that Leeds United did? I don’t think this will happen; whilst Liverpool are in a position of having a pile of debt they do have people coming in who are looking to buy the club. They have sufficient backing in the stands to maintain high gate receipts, and with a bit of luck (and less interference from Texan courts), they should have new owners in place fairly soon. However, I think the time of Liverpool being in the “big four” is finally over, and the fans should accept that for now, they have to aim for mid table mediocrity and stabilisation again before they can go for the top. Chasing the stars might be fun for the fans in the short term, but I don’t believe that the fans of Liverpool football club will be happy if chasing those dreams ends up with the nightmare of relegation.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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