Spirit of Shankly – An American history

As a new season dawns and fans look at the forthcoming season’s expectations, on the pitch, hopes emerge of league title challenges, and a trip to Madrid in May. However off the pitch, it is a story of ‘Same Old, Same Old’. Tom Hicks and George Gillett remain in charge, their primary concern being the refinancing of the debt on the club, rather than moving the club forward. If past actions of the owners didn’t show this enough, including claiming £1.85 million in expenses between them, the recent media reports of how this season’s transfer budget has been dipped into to pay off a portion of the club’s debt, only further highlights where their priorities lie.

Back in February 2007, we were sold down the river by Moores and Parry, being told by the latter to “Trust Us” when it came Hicks and Gillett. 2 and a half years later, the trust, if there was any, has gone, and the idea of Tom or George being ‘Custodians’ of our great club has been tossed aside. We all have our opinions on them. We all have our ideas about what we would like to happen to the club, how we see it moving forward. But some fans are still unaware, oblivious to the behind the scenes ‘mayhem’ at Liverpool Football Club. So let’s see just a few of the things Hicks and Gillett have said since they took control:

“This is not a takeover like the Glazer deal at Manchester United. There is no debt involved, and we believe that as custodians of this wonderful, storied club we have a duty of care to the traditions and legacies of Liverpool.” Tom Hicks, February 2007.
The most recent reports suggest the overall debt due from the club and its holding companies is £410 million.

“The shovel needs to be in the ground in the next 60 days or so, and we would intend to follow that. I think you’ll see the beginnings of a great big swimming pool being dug out here in Stanley Park relatively soon.” George Gillett, February 2007.
Two and a half years later, there is no swimming pool, let alone a stadium.

“I asked why they had approached Klinsmann, because his pedigree was not one that made fans immediately sit up and take note. He claimed Klinsmann had a brilliant track record, and he had excellent marketing talent, having close links with those at Adidas, Nike and Reebok and the benefits of him being at Liverpool.” George Gillett’s justification for approaching Jurgen Klinsmann, Janaury 2009.
News of the approach to Jurgen Klinsmann was released at a crucial time in the 07/08 season, and had an effect on Rafa and team performances on the pitch.

“When I was in the leverage buy-out business we bought Weetabix and we leveraged it up to make our return. You could say that anyone eating Weetabix was paying for our purchase of Weetabix. It was just business. It is the same for Liverpool.” Tom Hicks, May 2007.
Hicks displays a startling lack of understanding about what LFC means to millions of fans throughout the world.

This is what will go down in the history of Liverpool Football Club in years to come, indexed under the titles: Hicks, Gillett, American, Ownership, Turmoil. A European Cup Final in 2007, improvement in the league in 2009, overshadowed for all the wrong reasons. Do we want this to continue? Do we want to read and watch reviews of this period, and feel what might have been, “If only those 2 weren’t in charge?”.

Well ifs and buts can be avoided. We can’t change what has happened already, but we can stop it getting worse. We can bring about change at our football club. It won’t come easy, and it won’t come overnight, but it will come – If we all stand together. If we unite behind one cause, speak together, and make sure that we have our voices heard. So at the Stoke City game on Wednesday night, we will be distributing leaflets at various points around Anfield. If you see them being given out, and don’t know what it’s about – Take one and read it. If you see them and do know what it is all about – Take one and give it to a friend, a family member, a work colleague who doesn’t. Educate them. Let them see what it is really like. Not just in your words. But in the words of Tom Hicks and George Gillett themselves. Then ask them – Do they really want these two in charge for years to come?

Spirit Of Shankly

(If you would like to help with the distribution of the leaflets in the hours prior to the Stoke City game, please indicate your availability by emailing directaction@spiritofshankly.com. Thanks