On the pitch, Liverpool move into yet another European semi-final. Off the pitch, we move even further into a financial unknown, with more twists, more speculation and more actions that leave questions rather than answers.
In a hastily arranged trip, Tom Hicks and George Gillett arrived at Anfield in midweek, having been forced to London to talk about the club’s finances. Their even hastier departure, ten minutes before the match ended flanked by their now obligatory bodyguards, to avoid a Spirit of Shankly “Not Welcome Here” protest, along with the public display of disharmony sitting in different parts of the Directors Box, underlined again that the whole mess needs resolution.
Following their talks with Royal Bank of Scotland and legal advisers, it seems that the solution put forward is for a new chairman to be appointed, with Tom and George standing down, but retaining ownership of the club. How long that ownership will last is anybody’s guess as the media speculates about Barclays Capital being appointed to seek a sale of the football club.
To supporters, many questions are left unanswered and even bigger questions are posed about just what is happening in the boardroom of the club. Just who is appointing this new Chairman – Is it Hicks and Gillett, to act in their best interests? Or is it RBS, making the appointments to make sure they get back what they care about most – their money?
Recent comments from Fernando Torres and Rafael Benitez show, that despite the claims to the contrary by Tom, George and Managing Director Christian Purslow, all is far from idyllic in the Liverpool transfer spending department. Torres has talked about us having to sell players “I want to be fighting for the Premier League, the Champions League or the Europa League, but to do this we need signings to come. We need four or five top-class players to compete, players better than the ones we have.” Benitez has talked about the lack of investment and its impact “I agree with him (Torres) that we need to sell some players and bring in some money. We need an investor so that we can challenge in a better way. It will be difficult to make the next step forward if we don’t have new investment. Hopefully things will be easier because we balanced the books this year”.
At a time when a manager should be beginning plans for next season, he has the job of not only managing the team, but managing the finances and fronting a sale of the club. Having met Rhone and seen that fall through, the voices of concern from the playing staff suggests they want the situation resolving just as much as supporters.
So where is the investment they and us want? Christian Purslow told us it would be the turn of the year, and then he said it would be Easter. Those dates have come and gone, and with Rhone having walked away from the table, just where is the investment? Is this why we may see a new look for investment from Barclays Capital? Where does this leave his position, considering he told us his job is to get the £100 million investment? We are still waiting for answers from Mr Purslow and rest assured we won’t be accepting his contempt for fans.
Royal Bank of Scotland has demanded their £100 million and Liverpool FC have to give it to them. Whilst they remain publically silent, Labour MP Jim Cousins has urged fans to keep up the protests, and questioned whether the debt on our club is that bad that it is considered “toxic”. It is time for RBS to tell fans what is going on, and recognise the interests of those who contributed to their bail out.
And what of the Premier League? They sit quietly; protecting their brand and counting supporters’ money, letting the long term future of the game suffer.
When will they sit up, take note and decide enough is enough? Sooner rather than later we hope, and if you haven’t already, get in touch with them and make it clear what you expect of them. If you have already, get in touch again, remind them we won’t go away, and remind them, if we don’t get answers, we are already planning to be at their door. (https://spiritofshankly.com/news/Tom-and-George-_-Fit-and-Proper–q–.html).
This isn’t about who plays left or right back, who should or shouldn’t be in central midfield, or when substitutions are made. It isn’t about who is or isn’t in charge of the team. It is about the future of our football club.
It is about protecting and preserving our history, our heritage, and our traditions. Not just for ourselves, but for future generations of reds that follow. If we don’t stand up now and do something to stop what is happening, when the dust settles, and the mess clears, just what will be left?
We can win what has seemed like a never ending battle. We can and will get answers to our questions. We can get what is best for our football club. All it needs is the desire and the commitment. Think of our past and look to the future – It’s worth fighting for.