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

Protests and investors

Following  the Management  Committee's recent meeting with Christian Purslow, and the controversy over Mr Purslow denying the Committee's minutes of that meeting,  we would like to clarify our position regarding protests and potential investment.  

February 5th, 2010|News, Hicks & Gillett|

SOS comment on Christian Purslow

Members now have the chance to review the two versions of the minutes of the meeting the Union Management Committee had with Christian Purslow on the 21st January. While we welcome the dialogue we have with the senior management at the Club it was disappointing that time on the evening was limited and the Club was not able to agree the minutes in good time or at all, afterwards.

February 2nd, 2010|News, Hicks & Gillett|

Tom Hicks Jnr – Resign Now!

Spirit of Shankly, the Liverpool Supporters Union,  are calling for the resignation of LFC Board member Thomas Hicks Junior after his foul mouthed response to a Union member's polite enquiry about the funding challenge facing Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez during this transfer window.

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

LFC – The next Leeds?

Competing in the Champions League, reaching the semi-final stages. Doing well in the Premier League. An ownership of the football club, that has borrowed heavily against its success, reliant on its continued appearance in the lucrative Champions League and on money from ever-increasing television deals to service the debts.

September 21st, 2009|News, Hicks & Gillett|

SOS and LFC accounts

The Spirit of Shankly have studied the information that has been released in the last day relating to the accounts of Liverpool Football Club and its associated companies. The picture is alarming and underlines what we have said from the creation of the Union, namely that Tom Hicks and George Gillett are not fit or proper custodians of our Club.

June 5th, 2009|News, Hicks & Gillett|

Rick Parry leaving LFC

Spirit of Shankly welcomes the news of Rick Parry's imminent departure from Liverpool FC. Although Rick has worked to build bridges with fans over the last year, the sad fact is his handling of the Athens ticket fiasco, the sale of the family silver to the tragicomically inept Americans and his part in the ongoing civil war at the club meant his position has been untenable for some time.

February 27th, 2009|Hicks & Gillett, News|


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