Spirit of Shankly has recently submitted evidence as part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into the governance of football in this country.
Our evidence, which we are awaiting for permission to release to our members, centres around our experiences of Tom Hicks and George Gillett’s ownership, and how we believe problems such as these can be prevented in the future.
We are only too aware of the current pitfalls that allowed our previous owners and those similar to them, to come in and run football clubs without suitable governance. Whilst the governance of the game remains as it currently is, leveraged buy out merchants and those using football clubs as a vehicle for their own greed are relatively free to do as they wish.
As the Premier League told us back in May 2010, they are “ownership neutral”, and the objective tests completed for Directors and Owners means that Tom Hicks and George Gillett would be free to buy another football club at any point. The attitude of the Premier League was that the debts on LFC were acceptable because assets were available to liquidate and ensure survival.
The Premier Leauge interests lie in those they serve and protect – the football clubs and their owners. It’s a private members club, and they decide the rules. Those who govern it do not side with supporters who bear the brunt of ownership decisions and greed, or consider the influence of television on changing football fixtures regardless of the impact this has on supporters. They are only interested in those they represent – the owners.
Whilst supporters have different allegiances to many football clubs, it is clear that for the benefit of all supporters, the rules need to change.