Tom Hicks and George Gillett2021-05-03T16:54:07+01:00
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Tom Hicks and George Gillett

When Tom Hicks and George Gillett strode through the Shankly Gates and promised to be the ‘custodians’ that our ‘storied club’ deserved, many of us looked forward to a bright future. The reality was somewhat different.

When Rick Parry said “Trust us” and spoke of how you only sell the family silver once, many of us felt that David Moores selling the club was the right thing. We had seen our rivals move forward whilst we lagged behind. Many supporters believed it was the beginning of a bright future.

The initial press conference promised it all. Tom Hicks told us how it wasn’t a “takeover like the Glazer deal at Manchester United” and George Gillett told us how a spade would “be in the ground in the next sixty days or so.” They promised their backing of the manager and said how they would respect the traditions of the club. We afforded them the opportunity to deliver yet within months it had all begun to unravel.

From May 2007, Liverpool FC as we knew it was changed forever. The first public protests began, but not in anger at the ownership of the club, but the continued mismanagement that resulted in the Athens ticket fiasco and farcical ballot. Tom Hicks compared our club to a breakfast cereal, “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 who was eating Weetabix was paying for our purchase of Weetabix. It was just business. It is the same for Liverpool.” Rafael Benitez said he needed to be backed in the transfer market and George Gillett promised him “Snoogy Doogy”.

Months later, the unravelling had accelerated. Sixty days had been and gone. The position of manager was undermined as Hicks and Gillett went behind Benitez’s back to speak to Jurgen Klinsmann about taking up the role, whilst Benitez showed his anger with his ‘coaching and training my team’ press conference. The cracks were growing bigger and so was our concern.

The announcement that the debt used to purchase the club was to be refinanced with the club used as security, effectively a mortgage, was the tipping point for many. Growing anger on forums, in pubs and in the ground showed something had to be done. A meeting in the backroom of The Sandon and the formation of Spirit Of Shankly provided angry voices with a banner to get behind, united in our attempts to have our voices heard and our presence felt.

What followed was unprecedented, unexpected but ultimately necessary. Mass protests, inside and outside of Anfield, before, during and after games, and action both on the streets and online, were a regular and common occurrence. Our club found itself on the front pages of newspapers, just as much as the back. No longer were conversations centred around what was happening on the pitch but what was (and wasn’t) happening in the boardroom.

The football club we all love and cherish was damaged by internal strife, a civil war between the owners and the supporters. Despite the damage being done, the Liverpool Way being smashed apart and the dirty linen being washed in public, we could not sit back and do nothing.

Our actions, as a Supporters Union, and the actions of our members helped saved our football club. We stood steadfastly behind our beliefs and our views, offering our unwavering support to our club whilst fighting to prevent its extinction.

We won that battle eventually, how is detailed in our protests section and elsewhere, but future generations of supporters will be able to look back on this dark period in our history and be grateful for all those who stood up, spoke up, fought back and helped us succeed.

Related news stories

Ten years of the union

Time tends to pass fairly quickly, and against the history of Liverpool FC, a decade isn’t much. Today, 31 January, marks 10 years since a meeting in The Sandon pub of 350 supporters. Angry at Tom Hicks and George Gillett burdening the club with debt and more, we met to discuss passionately what we should do.

January 31st, 2018|Hicks & Gillett, News|

Spirit of Shankly statement on LFC takeover

Spirit of Shankly are delighted to hear the news today that the failed ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett has come to an end. Our Union was formed to protect the Club and to specifically hold any owners to account and it is gratifying to see the efforts our members have made to removing them from their failed tenure.    

October 15th, 2010|News, Hicks & Gillett|

LFC, BarCap and Re-financing

The Spirit of Shankly Supporters' Union have received information regarding Barclays Capital and the state of Liverpool Football Club's finances over the Summer of 2010. While the original copy document is not in the Union's possession, a full and accurate copy of it has been made.

September 17th, 2010|News, Hicks & Gillett|

Spirit of Shankly – ShareLiverpoolFC statement

Spirit Of Shankly – ShareLiverpoolFC is aware of the increasing speculation regarding the potential sale of our club. We can confirm that Spirit Of Shankly - ShareLiverpoolFC (SOS-SL) have made contact with those involved in the transaction process to register our interest in acquiring a shareholding on behalf of our constituents.

August 6th, 2010|News, Hicks & Gillett|

Tom, George and the Two Bankers – Go Now!

Tonight's spontaneous protest by hundreds of fans at Anfield, organised by those angry at recent events at LFC, shows just how far our great club has fallen under the reign of Tom Hicks, George Gillett and our current board. They have all continually lied to us, broken promises, acted in their own self interests and treated this football club as either a cash cow to milk for all it's worth or a vanity project of their own.

June 3rd, 2010|Hicks & Gillett, News|

Martin, you can do the minutes

The Spirit of Shankly can confirm that their members' hard work in pressurising the Premier League to consider Liverpool FC's current predicament has paid off with Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, inviting a delegation from the Spirit of Shankly to a meeting with him at Premier League Headquarters in London next week.

May 6th, 2010|News, Hicks & Gillett|

For sale – but where now?

Spirit Of Shankly welcomes the news that Tom Hicks and George Gillett have begun the process of leaving Liverpool Football Club. This is something that we have campaigned for over the last two years - for them to sell the club and leave. It seems the cent has finally dropped with the realisation that they aren't wanted or welcome at our club. They haven't been since they broke their promises, told lies and manoeuvred the Club into its current state.

April 16th, 2010|News, Hicks & Gillett|

Leaving on a jet plane?

In another week where the name of Liverpool Football Club has become a byword for embarrassment, mismanagement and everything that is wrong off the field in the modern game, we have reports that Martin Broughton, Chairman of British Airways, is to become the Club's Independent Chairman to settle the continuing squabbles between Liverpool  FC's warring owners.

April 14th, 2010|News, Hicks & Gillett|

Tom and George – Fit and proper?

The failure by the Premier League to take into account the track record of Tom and George when establishing them as 'fit and proper' is naïve at best and criminal at worst. It is time for those who regulate the game to do what they should have done three years ago - Look at exactly who and what Tom Hicks and George Gillett are really about.

March 31st, 2010|Hicks & Gillett, News|

Frying pan and fire?

The Spirit of Shankly are aware of credible reports that Liverpool Football Club may be subject to significant investment from the Rhone Group - an organisation described variously as an "investment vehicle" or "hedge fund".

March 17th, 2010|News, Hicks & Gillett|

Direct action banners

As part of the ongoing campaign to ensure that Tom Hicks and George Gillett are made not welcome at Anfield, we would like to urge our members, and Liverpool fans, to keep in mind the need for a visual message of what we as fans want - Hicks and Gillett out.

March 10th, 2010|News, Hicks & Gillett|


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