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No Laughing Matter

Submitted by on October 13, 2010 – 2:59 pmOne Comment

News broke this morning that Liverpool Football Club can be sold despite the objections of its owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks. The High Court ruling means that the Club’s board can now proceed with what they have identified as the preferred bid, that of New England Sports Ventures (NESV), owners of the Boston Red Sox.

Liverpool fans were present both inside and outside the court, including at least a coach load from Spirit of Shankly, the fans’ group which once had a do hijacked by Munich air disaster revelling interlopers who were no doubt nothing to do with them (see Youtube). They were obviously pleased that this may lead to the American pair being ousted… in favour of more Americans who are probably in it purely for the love of LFC.

Following a board meeting which will take place tonight at 8pm, the most successful club in British football may have new owners. They’ll receive a “cautious welcome” from Liverpool fans according to Spirit of Shankly, who have been behind a campaign of anti-Hicks-Gillett demonstrations over recent months.

Liverpool fans will be delighted to see the back of the current owners but it does beg the question about whether or not they’re going from one set of “leeches” (as I’ve heard Hicks and Gillett called several times on radio this morning) to another. NESV will arrive and say all the right things about their passion for Liverpool and the Premiership (where they believe the money is) but are they honestly going to solve Liverpool’s deep problems and are they going to be in it for anything other than to make money from a club which should never have been theirs to buy in the first place? You’d be right to be cynical.

You may ask why all this matters to United fans when in actual fact we should be simply celebrating what’s going on at Anfield, not least of all because they’re going to make our 26 year wait for a league title seem like a three game losing run. It matters a lot. I’ve read loads in recent weeks on United forums and various websites, where Reds have been making light of LFC’s plight. Seeing them lose to Blackpool is funny but seeing one of English football’s great institutions plundered like this should be a cause of great concern for any football fan. We should be amongst the most concerned at what has happened.

United stand on the brink, as last week’s reported losses highlight. Liverpool FC haven’t easily come by their £300m saviour. They’re not much behind United in terms of their “global reach” and it was still a long drawn-out affair. So, what makes anyone think that United’s billionaire consortium in shining armour are waiting round the corner ready to relieve the Glazers of their cash cow for a figure much, much greater than that NESV will pay for Liverpool? Not very much.

This may be the minority view but we should take no delight in the goings on at Anfield. Manchester United Football Club are not far from the situation which Liverpool fans have faced in the past few months. There are already worrying signs that the team will not seriously compete either domestically or in Europe and with that comes reduced earning potential, which further exacerbates an already critical situation and brings further losses. United are in a completely unsustainable situation with regards to its debt. United fans should be careful how hard they laugh at Liverpool because the sound of laughter might be coming back down the M62 before much longer.

Perhaps the most worrying thing about the Liverpool FC and MUFC situations (something that’s be hidden behind United fans’ laughter and Liverpool’s unrelenting hatred of us) is the lack of off-field co-operation between the two sets of fans. If such a desire existed, both could join forces to promote supporter ownership and change football for good. We’re clearly two of the most mobile and politically savvy sets of supporters in the country but the opportunity has been missed and communication between us is virtually non-existent. I think many on both sides may come to regret that in years to come.

For now, we wait to see how the whole thing will play out – two of English football’s greatest clubs, struggling to achieve anywhere near their former glory, in a league dominated by two clubs recently made good by plundered oil wealth. That’s no laughing matter.

One Comment »

  • LesBagg says:

    I was 27 when football was reinvented and the thought of anyone coming close to equalling the Scousers in my lifetime seemed a ludicrous sort of concept. Because of course it meant the Scouse had to have a titleless period of around 20 years just to start the ball rolling!
    But, bloody hell, I’m still a relatively young pup and it has happened and looks to continue for a good while yet.
    And hoorah for that!

    The downside is that the Premier League has just whored itself out to anyone who wants to give it one. Fit and proper to do what, exactly?
    They tell us it’s awash with money, where? in the players and agents bank accounts maybe but who are these clubs who have this money?
    Chelsea and Ciddy have a bit of spare, but it isn’t their money, it’s their pimps who are dressing them up in their tarty atire to go out to work.
    My club, Wigan Athletic certainly doesn’t have any, we have a lot of rich players yes, but the club itself has nowt and WAFC are one of the “better” (for want of a better word) finacially run clubs (which doesn’t say much for the rest!)Our Chairman, love him or loathe him (and for most it’s the latter) at least knows the value of a paound.
    None of this money that the game is “awash” with actually stays in the game. The players get their obscene wedge and the clubs are run like a credit crunch wally who has totally maxxed out on all his cards to live above his means in the mock tudor and driving the beamer.
    Sure he earns good money but he gets bugger all of it cos it all goes out in minimum payments to pay the interest on the card and loan debts that will never go down as long as that’s all he is paying back.
    Liverpool will no doubt go from one credit cruncher to another, I just dearly hope it’s the dude who has all the Manchester United “Theme Bars”, just for the sheer irony of it!

    As my byline on Mudhutters goes
    “The Premier League is choking on it’s own vomit”

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