Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Tale Of Two Cities

It takes quite an effort to provide a crashing comedown after making the European Cup semi-finals for the third time on four years (or whatever), but Liverpool's ownersm seem, somehow, to have managed it. Tom Hicks' letter to Liverpool's chief executive Rick Parry, in which he asked him to resign, doesn't carry any weight. In fact, if anything, it demonstrates little more than the extent to which relationships have broken down between Gillett and Hicks over the last twelve months or so. Parry's decision to not take Hicks up on his very generous offer to walk away from the job that he has been doing reasonably compentenly for the last ten years or so does, however, offer an insight into how dysfunctional those running Liverpool Football Club are at the moment.

In the red corner, you've got Gillett, Parry and Rafael Benitez (who was, of course, angered by Hicks' open courting of Jurgen Klinsmann). In the, ahem, blue corner, you've got Hicks. Neutered by the fact that his 50% ownership of the club doesn't allow him to make any decisions without the approval of the man that is now, to all intents and purposes, his enemy. One suspects that Gillett is blocking any hopes that Hicks has of selling his half of the club because he would like to own it himself, and all the time DIC are waiting on the sidelines, making statements of varying degrees of helpfulness. The key thing for Liverpool supporters that aren't interested in AFC Liverpool to remember is that they have absolutely no control over this whatsoever. They chased the yankee dollar with admirable tenacity last year, and this is what they have ended up with. Other clubs looking at investors that are on the outside looking in whilst seductively waving wads of banknotes should take note.

One hundred miles south at Birmingham, the police have got involved by arresting David Sullivan and Karen Brady over reported irregularities in tax money paid to two players a couple of years. This, according to the press, has "shaken the world of football", to which I would say only this. No it hasn't. I have no idea whether English football is corrupt or, if it is, the extent to which it is. I would say this, though - I wouldn't be "surprised" if it is. More worrying for Birmingham supporters is the news that the club has been suspended from the Alternative Investment Market (the stock market on which they are floated). The club should really be issuing a statement to confirm exactly why this is.


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