Reds internationals round-up: Concerns as Torres injured

Various Liverpool players were on international duty last night, but at least one will return to Melwood carrying an injury, and it could hardly be anyone worse.

Top scorer Fernando Torres went off after 23 minutes of Spain’s home friendly with Spain. Some reports claim it was a hamstring injury but that’s still to be confirmed. He’ll be checked out today by the club’s medical staff but there are clear worries about his availability for the visit to Stamford Bridge on Sunday and beyond.

Xabi Alonso was a second-half sub as Spain went on to beat the French 1-0 with a late goal, Pepe Reina an unused sub for the Spanish.

Meanwhile in Wales John Arne Riise was on the losing side as Norway went down 3-0 in Cardiff. A name from Liverpool’s past also made an appearance for Norway – Frode Kippe coming on after an hour. Continue reading Reds internationals round-up: Concerns as Torres injured

Liverpool Supporters Union – A Call to Arms

The new group formed by Liverpool supporters to address the current problems caused by the current owners, with a view to addressing future problems, irrespective of ownership, have had some early success with a well-publicised stay-behind protest after the Sunderland match on Saturday. That was just the start.

Describing themselves as a supporters’ union, and calling themselves “Sons of Shankly” after the man who really set the ball rolling towards Liverpool becoming the giants they are today, they want to make it clear that this union, this gathering, this grouping, this collective, call it what you will, is for all Liverpool supporters. That’s all supporters, regardless of age, location or frequency of attendance at the game. Liverpool have a massive fanbase from all across the world and “Sons of Shankly” want you to be involved.

The following is their latest statement:

LIVERPOOL SUPPORTERS UNION
“Sons of Shankly”

You may or may not have heard of us. But here’s a little bit about who we are.

To do exactly as it says on the tin. A Union for all Liverpool Supporters.

A voice that represents us all. A platform for us all to stand together and fight for what we believe in.

It is early days, and more details of how the organisation will grow will appear over the next few weeks and months. But the catalyst for our formation…..

We want Tom Hicks and George Gillett out of our club – why?

THEY LIED & HAVE JEOPARDISED OUR CLUB FOR THEIR PERSONAL GAIN

They promised that all loans would be would be secured against their own personal assets.

THEY LIED

They have taken out a loan of £350m. £105m has been secured against the club and £245m against Kop Holdings – which owns 100% of Liverpool Football Club and has only one source of revenue: The Club.

So, regardless of the smoke and mirrors, Liverpool Football Club has to pay all of the interest on all of the £350m.

The interest payments alone for this debt will be around £30m each year. All of which will be payable by Liverpool FC – more than enough to wipe out the club’s operating profit.

Gillett and Hicks have only taken out this new loan over an 18 month contract. This is very unusual for a deal of this size; three years is the usual minimum term. Wall Street analysts believe that this is because they had difficulty in getting the banks to lend them the money. Which raises questions about:

THE STADIUM

£60m of that loan has been earmarked for starting construction of the new ground.

There is no funding yet in place to complete the stadium, nor has planning permission been granted for a 71,000 capacity. Existing consent is for 60,000, with any increase depending upon improvements to transport and car parking. With no underground car park, the new plans have less car parking than the original 60,000 design!

If they can’t borrow again in 18 months then they cannot complete the stadium. How can they pledge now that the stadium will be built? In the same way they pledged it would be well on its way to completion twelve months ago – by misleading us.

So do they actually intend to complete the building of the new stadium?

Should Hicks & Gillett get the loan to actually build the new ground, the additional interest payments will be £25m per year.

This will leave Liverpool Football Club to shoulder annual payments of £55m in interest alone. Which begs the question:

WHERE WILL THE FUNDS COME FROM FOR TRANSFERS?

When they took over, Hicks & Gillett promised to back the manager in the transfer market.

From the two transfer windows Hicks and Gillett have owned the club for, Benitez has spent £48.5m on players, and recouped £33.5m in player sales. A net spend of £15m. This is the up-to-date figure that includes the purchase of Skrtel and the sale of Sissoko.

The club brought in around £30m from the run to the Champions League Final last season alone. On top of this there is the increased TV money the club has received.

Where is the money Gillett and Hicks have backed the manager with? They’ve lied to us, they’ve manipulated the press, and some people have believed the spin. We won’t.

In reality, after all the talk about money and Snoogy Doogy, the manager has spent £15m in the last two transfer windows. How is that backing him in the transfer market?

It is about time the real picture was painted for all Liverpool fans out there.

They promised to respect the club’s heritage, history and traditions.

THEY HAVE LIED AND LIED.

They asked to be judged on what their actions. Well they have failed to make a start or produce the funding on the stadium, the major reason why David Moores looked for investment, they have failed to back the manager in the transfer market. They have not put one single cent of their own money into this club and they have undermined the traditions of the football club and the office of manager.

They have, however, managed to create huge debt for LFC to pay off without any end product.

How, exactly, is the football club in a better position now than it was twelve months ago under David Moores?

After the Sunderland game, we staged a 15 minutes stay behind protest at the end of the game. We intend to do the same again.

During the protest, Steve McManaman commented on Setanta that the Americans had backed the manager in the transfer market, secured their new loan bringing money into the club, and we should all forget about it and move on. We don’t blame McManaman, a fair number of good Reds have been won over by their spin, so why shouldn’t a blue?

So it’s time to spread the message and get the real goings on from within Anfield to a wider audience.

It’s about time the truth was exposed.

Hicks and Gillett have to be forced out of Anfield before they wreak more havoc.

Keep a look out for sonsofshankly.com which will be going live in the next few days. We’ll be handing out flyers at the match with details of any future events.

We’ll announce any future meetings on our website, everyone invited, all opinions welcomed.

Please send this announcement on to everyone you know. And keep an eye on our website for further updates and how to get involved.

The next meeting is scheduled for The Olympia at 12pm on Saturday 16th February – before the Barnsley game.

The Olympia
99 West Derby Road
Liverpool
L6 2AF

Map.

Everybody welcome – See you all there.

“Liverpool Football Club, Is In The Wrong Hands”

“The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It’s the way I see football, the way I see life”

LIVERPOOL SUPPORTERS UNION
“Sons of Shankly”

Remember – this is for ALL Liverpool supporters. If you can’t get to the meeting then get on the website when it opens. Don’t fall for the PR-agency spin put out by the owners, or at least from the one owner who’s not hiding. If we all stick together, we’ll win.

Report: Sheikh was childhood Red, DIC still pushing to take over

The latest article in the Liverpool Echo on Liverpool FC from Tony Barrett is unsurprisingly well-written and once again quite revealing.

Entitled, “Gillett and Hicks, one year on; from hope to despair,” the article serves as a review of one of the blackest years in the club’s history.

In it he discusses the form of the club, and also the transfers that have gone through since the owners came along – and estimates the net cost as just £19m, which of course is less than the income the club received from the Champions League run alone last season.

The stadium, on which the owners promised to start building work last April (it still hasn’t begun), is mentioned, as are their shameful actions in terms of financing their takeover. He also talks about the damage the club’s reputation has suffered from the very public way the truth about the owners has emerged, pointing out: “Three major demonstrations by fans at a club which had previously had none tells its own sorry story.”

One interesting point covered is the relationship between the two owners, and although Barrett stops short of actually confirming there are problems between the two, he does point out the rumours that have been circulating for some time, and the significance of the absence from the most recent refinancing statements of Gillett’s name. He also points out that Hicks has tried to build bridges with Rafa but that Gillett has done nothing of the sort.

The most revealing and interesting part of the report is possibly under the heading “The Future”. In these four paragraphs Barrett raises hope for many Reds. We know that The Dubai International Capital takeover could turn out to be still somewhat short of our needs and expectations, but we know that it can’t be any worse than the mess Gillett and Hicks have put us into. Continue reading Report: Sheikh was childhood Red, DIC still pushing to take over

Parry: Please try to ignore the mess

After a spell of statements, interviews and sound-bites in November, all denying the various negative stories related to the club’s owners or their treatment of the club, Liverpool FC chief executive Rick Parry went a little quiet.

One co-owner – George Gillett – disappeared and the other – Tom Hicks – took over the job of spinning the truth, glossing over the facts and in some cases telling what it would be difficult to describe as anything other than lies. When that started to backfire he got a PR company to do his dirty work.

One of the denials issued by Parry related to the relationship between Hicks and Gillett, which had been reported to be far from rosy. The denials went on, although Hicks now admits that they have had disagreements, but rumours persist that Gillett and Hicks are completely at odds with each other. One rumour has Gillett feeling betrayed almost as much as Liverpool fans at how Hicks went back on his promises, but if Gillett is so unhappy then perhaps he ought to own up to that scenario rather than hiding in Colorado, refusing to answer questions on the situation.

Hicks is already taking on more responsibility in the “running”, for want of a better word, of the club, alongside commercial director Ian Ayre. Ayre, Hicks and Hicks’ son Thomas Junior are the three representatives of the club at the next Soccerex event which takes place at Wembley in April. Hicks is interestingly listed as “owner” rather than “co-owner”, but of course it’s easy to read too much into these things. Gillett isn’t listed, nor is his son Foster who was originally intended to be based in England full time.

Whether or not that list of representatives from the club will change by then remains to be seen. Despite DIC’s reported interest in buying out Hicks having gone fairly quiet in terms of press coverage, the interest is believed to be still there and as strong as ever.

Amidst all the off-field turmoil Liverpool have been slipping up on the field. How much of an impact the off-field troubles have had on the on-field situation is impossible to gauge – but to say it’s had no impact would be rather naive. Cue Mr Parry: “It is time to look forward; there can be no question about that. The whole focus for the second half of the season has to be on football and the games we need to win. Everyone must pull together and there has to be a realisation that there is nothing the ownership can contribute to the winning of games.”

Nothing the ownership can contribute? Or nothing the ownership will contribute? Continue reading Parry: Please try to ignore the mess

Kenny: Time to get behind the manager

Kenny Dalglish: back the managerLiverpool legend Kenny Dalglish last night called for everyone to get behind manager Rafael Benitez in the midst of the club’s troubles.

Liverpool’s owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have undermined Rafael Benitez since they went back on their word regarding transfers last year, and in lining up a replacement for him, then admitting it, ensured he would have a much tougher task than he should have. They’ve told lies, they’ve spun the truth and they’ve shown that, as the song goes, Liverpool Football Club is in the wrong hands.

Speaking at an awards ceremony in Liverpool Kenny said: “The troubles at the club that have been well documented in the media have certainly not done the manager or the players any favours. It is time for everyone to get right behind the manager because there is only one person who should be in charge at the football club and that is the manager.”

Rafa’s had his critics since before the new owners came along, and with a few exceptions those critics are the types who enjoy the sound of their own voice on phone-ins, and the reaction they get from other supporters on message boards or at work. But every time a point is dropped a scapegoat is needed, and in the absence of John Arne Riise it seems Rafa is getting the blame more and more.

The season started with the owners trying to give the impression that their summer investment was much higher than in any of the previous seasons before they came in, yet it didn’t even match the Champions League prize money after sales had been taken into consideration. Still they used their false fee for Fernando Torres (quoting at least £6m more than they’d paid) to put the message out that Rafa should now be challenging for the league. Yet there was no reason why Rafa should be challenging any more than in the past three seasons – they’d not put the money in to help him get the squad on a par with current Champions Manchester United. A challenge was something fans could just hope for, not expect. Continue reading Kenny: Time to get behind the manager

Midfield trio looking to the future

Despite the off-field problems and the various threats to manager Rafael Benitez’s future at the club, Javier Mascherano is still hoping to get a long-term deal signed up sooner rather than later.

His advisors jumped the gun somewhat on deadline day by saying a deal had been done when it was still no more than a verbal agreement. Lawyers are inspecting the terms and all concerned expect an announcement next week at the latest. Mascherano spoke recently of maybe having to consider a move to Italy if the deal didn’t go ahead, but now he’s confident of staying: “It’s not finished yet but I am hoping to stay here. I have a lot of confidence that after the next week I will be able to say, ‘Everything is right and I am staying here in Liverpool.’ We now need to wait. We are very close but we need to talk again next week. I think everything will be okay. I’ve waited a long time, so I can wait one week more.”

He says the supporters are one of the factors in his desire to continue his career at Anfield: “The fans like me and I love the fans. They are great and that’s the reason I want to stay here.” Continue reading Midfield trio looking to the future

Result: Liverpool 3 Sunderland 0

Barclays Premier League – February 2nd 2008 – Result

Liverpool 3 Sunderland 0

Liverpool fans left Anfield with smiles on their faces tonight as the Reds finally brought their run without a league win to an end. And a sizeable number of them left well after the game ended, as the planned 15-minute stay-behind protest was a clear success.

Defeat for Manchester City and a draw for Everton meant Liverpool went into this game knowing a win would regain some of the ground lost in recent weeks, and a side showing more confidence than Reds supporters have seen in some time managed a 3-0 win, all the goals coming in the second half.

Peter Crouch was given another chance by Rafa to show why he should start more often – and this time he took it in style. His goal got the Reds on their way, but his all-round performance was a vast improvement on the anonymous display we saw against Havant last week. Fernando Torres was back on the scoresheet too, and looked dangerous throughout. The third goal came from a Steven Gerrard penalty, probably on the eve of his being announced England captain, after Jermaine Pennant was fouled in the box. Continue reading Result: Liverpool 3 Sunderland 0

Teams: Liverpool v Sunderland

The manager’s critics will be complaining ahead of tonight’s game against Sunderland with Rafa choosing a line-up containing three centre-backs. Either the manager is using one of them at full-back, or he’s going for three at the back. If it works this line-up could prove quite positive.

The three centre-backs are Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel and Sami Hyypia. The only full-back in the side is Fabio Aurelio, but he’s played further forward in the past and could be utilised that way instead, with Jermaine Pennant playing on the right.

In midfield Rafa’s starting with Gerrard, Mascherano and Lucas, one of whom would have to play wide left should Rafa be going for a 4-4-2. That seems unlikely. Criticism might come for Mascherano being used in front of three centre-backs, some would consider that too defensive against a team so much lower in the table and at home too, but if done well the formation should allow the centre-backs to come forward from time-to-time.

Up front Rafa of course picks Fernando Torres, and gives Peter Crouch another chance to stake a claim for a regular start alongside him.

The subs’ bench is fairly positive too – Benayoun, Babel and Kuyt all included.

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 23 Carragher, 4 Hyypia, 37 Skrtel, 12 Aurelio, 16 Pennant, 8 Gerrard, 20 Mascherano, 21 Lucas, 15 Crouch, 9 Torres
Subs: 30 Itandje, 3 Finnan, 11 Benayoun, 18 Kuyt, 19 Babel

Sunderland: 1 Gordon, 26 Bardsley, 5 Nosworthy, 44 Evans, 15 Collins, 16 Chopra, 8 Whitehead, 12 Miller, 10 Richardson, 11 Murphy, 17 Jones
Subs: 32 Fulop, 23 O’Donovan, 6 McShane, 39 Waghorn, 45 Prica

Styles gives strange penalty at Anfield v Chelsea earlier in season. He missed the next match.Referee: Rob Styles

Kick-off: 17:15

Momo says thanks – and reminds fans how support counts

A touching letter from Momo Sissoko was published on the club’s official website today, as he said goodbye to Liverpool FC after two-and-a-half years.

In it he talks about Rafa’s dedication to the job, something his critics need to just stop for a moment and think about. Results aren’t going Liverpool’s way, but it’s not through want of trying on the part of the manager. He’s been undermined for the whole length of the season, in an increasing way, his efforts

He also talks about how the players feel inspired by the supporters, how their backing gets them through the toughest times. Something to remember.

Momo was saying thanks – but he was also sending a message out that was timed to perfection: No matter how much Liverpool’s recent run has hurt you, get behind the manager, get behind the players, show them your support is there through these bad times as much as it’s been there through the good. Continue reading Momo says thanks – and reminds fans how support counts

Sons of Shankly: Hicks and Gillett out

Bill Shankly, 1965The desire to see Tom Hicks and George Gillett taken out of their position as owners of Liverpool FC is stronger than ever, as part of a long-term aim to get the club back competing for the league again.

Forget about criticising Rafa Benitez, his efforts have been undermined by the owners pretty much since they arrived on the scene. Get behind him and remind him why he loves us so much. Forget about criticising the players too much for now – one or two seem to have lost the fight to win, the right to wear our shirt, but most of them are doing their best during a crisis of confidence, a crisis we should never have been in.

Get behind the manager.

Get behind the players.

Get behind this campaign – “The Sons of Shankly” – a Liverpool supporters’ union.

The protests are far from over, as the group’s first official statement shows:

OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM “THE SONS OF SHANKLY”

LIVERPOOL SUPPORTERS UNION

“The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It’s the way I see football, the way I see life” (Bill Shankly)

Where we are now: Well we’ve set up a working party that will meet shortly to discuss the issuing of a statement to the supporters on behalf of the group, tentatively titled ‘The Sons Of Shankly ‘. We have also agreed a strategy to conduct elections and the creation of formal committee to take the group forward. A meeting will be called within the next few weeks to allow all interested parties to attend and contribute to the creation of the new group.

In the interim, Nicky Allt has agreed to stand as chairman, Neil Atkinson as spokesperson, with Giulio Canneti, Andy Heaton and Alan Kayll filling all other administrative roles in the interim.

We intend to contact everyone who expressed an interest in getting involved last night. Please bear with us, as the response last night far exceeded our wildest expectations, it could hardly have been more of a success, but we will get back to you as soon as we can.

The outcome of the meeting last night was that the fans stand united behind two aims :

* Firstly, the short term aim of getting Hicks and Gillett out of our club. It’s not just about the debt; there’s their lies, deceits and lack of respect for us. We hit them in pocket and we do so noisily but peacefully. We will start with a boycott of the club shops – persuade people not to buy from official outlets; making LFC a less attractive financial proposition for G&H. We are also calling for a 15-minute post-game protest immediately after the final whistle after the Sunderland game. Stay in your seats and make your views known loudly.

* Secondly, the aim is to set the ‘Sons Of Shankly’ group up as a subscription-based trade-union style movement, similar to continental socio groups, based upon one-member one-vote principles which can stridently represent our interests, i.e. the interests of every Liverpool supporter.

We acknowledge we need mainstream support and that many supporters do not go on internet forums or websites. The support of these supporters is crucial to our goals. If we stand united and speak with one voice both of these goals are possible. It was acknowledged that any alternative to the current ownership will not be benign and that we’ll need to stand together and voice our common goals not just for six weeks but for sixty years, not just with 400 but with 4 million. We can use the brand and its popularity against anyone who tries to exploit us.

Do what you can to support this movement, even if you don’t agree with all its methods, all its tactics – for the sake of the club these protests should work.

Don’t let Tom think we’ve got over it already.