LFC supporters’ union ready for next stage of the fight

A unanimous call for Bill Shankly’s granddaughter to be made patron of the new supporters’ union named after him came on the day the Spirit of Shankly constitution was ratified.

Spirit of Shankly Meeting - March 15thShanks’ granddaughter is Karen Gill, and a statement she’d written was read out by Nicky Allt at the beginning of the latest meeting, held at the Olympia on Saturday, attended by hundreds of Reds. It was an extremely inspirational piece and was loudly applauded by everyone in the room. She said her granddad would have been extremely proud to have this movement named after him, and would have been fully behind its aims, something she said was necessary in this new age of corporate football. After the applause had died down Allt asked for a show of hands on approaching Karen to become patron. Not one hand went up for “No”, and the approach will be made. Given the tone of her piece it’s an approach she is likely to accept. We’ll hopefully have a copy of the statement to put on the site soon.

Later in the meeting came even louder applause when Michael Shields’ father, Mike senior, was introduced to the meeting. After a long standing ovation he spoke of optimism that his son would be “decategorised” and moved from the prison in Preston he described as one of the worst in the country to an open prison where there would be a vast improvement in his son’s treatment. He said that he hoped for an answer in the next couple of weeks. It’s of course ridiculous that given the massive amount of evidence disputing his conviction Michael is still in prison at all. He never got a fair trial, in effect he was framed, and despite a lot of effort from supporters and many individuals there remains a feeling that more could have been done to clear his name and set him free. This, said Allt, is where the union could have been a major help had it existed three years ago.

SOS T-shirts on sale at the Olympia meetingWith the ratification of the constitution came the ability for the union to start functioning properly and effectively. The union still doesn’t have a bank account and as such has been unable to cash cheques sent in with membership forms, to accept on-line donations from fans or to even process one membership form. Now that the legal requirement of a constitution has been met this changes; the bank account will be opened and the union can use new-found strength to fight for its aims.

A representative of the unfortunately-named Everton Development Trust, the non-profit-organisation who will administrate the union’s finances, spoke about how all funds will be properly managed, and welcomed callers to the office in Great Homer Street if they had any questions.

Leaflet distributed prior to Reading game, urging supporters to boycott official merchandiseThe one stated immediate aim of the union is to “rid the club of Tom Hicks and George Gillett.”  The list of lies and broken promises has been well-documented, as have the many reasons why offering the manager’s job to Jurgen Klinsmann was so wrong, and also the worries about how the club could be destroyed by the amount of debt it is now in. Although Gillett has been in hiding for the past few months, only popping out briefly to tell some lie about the dollar being the reason he went back on his word, Hicks is making it clear he’s going nowhere.

Many observers feel Hicks is not going to be able to raise the funds or attract the investors to buy George Gillett’s shares, and others speculate Gillett wouldn’t sell to him anyway.  However Hicks was in 380th position in Forbes’ September list of America’s richest people, and maybe one or more of those 379 American people ahead of him in the list is willing to join forces with the Texan in his battle with the Middle East. There is also a faint possibility that DIC and Hicks will be able to agree a joint ownership arrangement they can both work with.  On top of that is the possibility that the stand-offs will drag on for months.

A recent report said that SOS had met with Tom Hicks Junior following his infamous visit to the Sandon, but the union said that in fact Hicks Jnr had met with a supporter, not SOS. A meeting between a member of SOS and a DIC representative after the West Ham game was also mentioned, and it was pointed out that this was an informal meeting, arranged at short notice, and served as an introduction between the union and the people from DIC. It was keen to allay fears in some quarters that the union were already negotiation with both Hicks and DIC, which was far from the truth.

Banner: Comittees are better than cowboysThere had been a call from some sections ahead of the meeting to block all future talks with Hicks, to reject such talks out of hand. The damage had been done and there was no going back. However there were others who felt that dialogue may be important – and would offer an opportunity to ask questions until they are properly answered, to put concerns forward directly without there being any manipulation from others with slightly different agendas. The union were not going to, at this stage, actively seek a meeting with Hicks, but if approached should they agree to meet? Any talks should be properly minuted and so any promises made or excuses given would be there in black and white for future reference. In the light of the recent claims purportedly from DIC that Hicks called talks off when they asked for a fan representative on the board, claims denied by Hicks and never confirmed by DIC, any talks with DIC should also be properly minuted. It’s important not to take any “promise” seriously if it hasn’t been backed up first.

A vote wasn’t unanimously in favour, but only a slight minority were against the idea of the union speaking to any potential or current owner.

One reason why such talks were felt important was related to the fan-board-member claim. The union noted that Hicks hadn’t ruled out such a move as being possible, and that DIC’s representatives had seemingly suggested it as being an option. That kind of recognition for the supporters is something the union were keen to get hold of, and something that could be made possible through talks.

SOS meetingThe union are also keen on using their potential strength in numbers to cut down on travel costs for supporters to away games, and some examples of how much cheaper they should be able to negotiate coach or air travel were given.

At the end of the meeting leaflets were handed out to distribute to supporters at the ground calling for a boycott on all official merchandise and on products sold inside the ground.

Part of a recent Brian Reade column from the Daily Mirror was read out, which illustrated the speed with which this union is growing into a force:

“A week earlier, 600 Liverpool fans met to form a supporters union called The Spirit of Shankly (SOS), aimed at forcing out the club’s owners. On Wednesday representatives of Dubai Investment Capital held a meeting with SOS to discuss ways of grabbing power from George Bush’s side-kick, Tom Hicks (or as he used to be called in Hollywood – Tom Mix, King of Cowboys).

“Let me run that past you again. Representatives of Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, one of the world’s richest men, swopped thoughts with a three-week-old fans’ group on how to bring down a billionaire adviser to the most powerful man on earth.

“This remarkable scenario came about when ordinary fans realised they’d been taken for patsies. That American speculators had spun lies to them about their passion for their club. That they planned to milk it for all they could without putting in a dime of their own.”

SOS membership formThere’s a genuine desire from the union to listen and to be listened to. All views will be heard and considered, arguments for or against a particular situation will be given time to be heard. In the past there have been situations when a minority group finds itself being considered as the voice of all fans, without ever having consulted more than a small number of fans. This always seems to lead to resentment, even if people agree with the aims of the group they complain at being kept out of the loop, or make big issues out of minor details. But this situation should now be a thing of the past – join the union and you’ll get a say, regardless of where you live, which websites you use or which pub you go into before a game.

Shanks wouldn’t be happy to see supporters pushed out the way they feel they have in recent times, and this union seems intent on fighting to make the fans a far higher priorities for those running the club.

Result: Reds 2 Reading 1

Javier Mascherano’s first ever goal for Liverpool brought the Reds an equaliser, yet another for Fernando Torres gave them the lead, and in the end the three points. Liverpool survived a late penalty claim to remain three points ahead of Everton who play their match tomorrow.

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 17 Arbeloa, 23 Carragher, 37 Skrtel, 12 Aurelio, 14 Alonso, 20 Mascherano, 18 Kuyt (11 Benayoun, 80), 8 Gerrard (4 Hyypia, 90), 19 Babel (6 Riise, 83), 9 Torres
Unused subs: 30 Itandje, 15 Crouch
Booked: None
Goals: Mascherano 19, Torres 48

Reading: 1 Hahnemann, 19 Rosenior, 22 Bikey, 16 Ingimarsson, 3 Shorey, 11 Oster (30 Kebe, 72), 15 Harper, 28 Matejovsky (4 Cisse, 74), 10 Hunt, 9 Doyle, 24 Long (12 Kitson, 63)
Unused subs: 32 Federici, 5 Sonko
Bookings:
Long 59, Ingimarsson 65,Matejovsky 74, Bikey 79, Cisse 87
Goals: Matejovsky 5
BBC Stats: (Liverpool – Reading)
Possession: 63% – 37%
Shots on target: 8 – 3
Shots off target: 11 – 4
Corners: 7 – 2
Fouls: 7 – 22

Referee: Andre Marriner

Attendance: 43524

Reds v Reading – Xabi returns

Two changes made by Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez for today’s clash with Reading. Sami Hyypia drops to the bench with Jamie Carragher back to centre of defence from right back, Alvaro Arbeloa taking up the right-back spot today.

Attempts to overplay the significance of Xabi Alonso’s decision to stay at home with his wife as she gave birth to their first child, son Jon, have perhaps been dispelled by the Spaniard’s appearance in the starting line-up in place of Lucas.

Rafa has once again chosen to go with the formation that sees Fernando Torres supported by Ryan Babel, Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt.

Reading were beaten at home by Liverpool in the League Cup earlier in the season, Fernando Torres bagging his first Reds hat-trick and bagloads of confidence. By the time the teams next met, in the League just days before Liverpool’s final Champions League group game, Rafa had one eye on the fixture that could have seen him sacked by owners looking for an excuse to get rid. He withdrew key players well before the end and was accused of throwing in the towel. It was a short while later the true reasons emerged, reasons that have seen sustained protests against the current owners.

Before today’s match another meeting was held by Spirit of Shankly, the Liverpool Supporters’ Union, who handed out leaflets to other fans before the game urging them to “Boycott all LFC Merchandise – Don’t buy the Club for Hicks!”

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 17 Arbeloa, 23 Carragher, 37 Skrtel, 12 Aurelio, 14 Alonso, 20 Mascherano, 18 Kuyt, 8 Gerrard, 19 Babel, 9 Torres
Subs: 30 Itandje, 4 Hyypia, 6 Riise, 11 Benayoun, 15 Crouch

Reading: 1 Hahnemann, 19 Rosenior, 22 Bikey, 16 Ingimarsson, 3 Shorey, 11 Oster, 15 Harper, 28 Matejovsky, 10 Hunt, 9 Doyle, 24 Long
Subs: 32 Federici, 4 Cisse, 5 Sonko, 12 Kitson, 30 Kebe

Referee: Andre Marriner

CL draw: Reds get Arsenal

With half the draw made up of English sides it was almost impossible to expect all four of them to avoid each other in the quarter-final draw. And given the way cup semi-finals seem to go, it was almost certain that the draw would put Liverpool and Chelsea in a position to meet each other should the progress to that stage.

Chelsea and Manchester United avoided English opposition in their quarter finals, drawing Fenerbahce and Roma respectively. But before Liverpool can reach the semi-final first they’ve got to overcome the only other English side to reach the final this millennium, Arsenal.

The first leg is away for Liverpool, always the preferred option, and will be played at the emirates on Tuesday or Wednesday April 1 or 2. Then Liverpool face Arsenal in the league on the Saturday, also away on the 5th, before they face up once more for the second leg, again on the Tuesday or Wednesday, April 8 or 9.

It’s a tough task, but Liverpool are capable of managing it if they can play to their best.

If they do achieve that then they face either Chelsea or Fenerbahce. If Chelsea can overcome Fenerbahce it guarantees one English team in the final. If Liverpool make the semi-final then the tie would be played with the home leg first, on April 22nd or 23rd and the second leg away the following week, April 29th or 30th. Continue reading CL draw: Reds get Arsenal

At last Gillett speaks, but tries to shift blame

Liverpool co-owner George Gillett has spoken about Liverpool FC for the first time this year, and talks almost as if nothing has happened. Gillett has effectively been in hiding the last two months following Tom Hicks’ decision in January to publicly admit November talks with Jurgen Klinsmann resulting in him being offered the manager’s job. Their relationship was already suffering, but that was pretty much the last straw for Gillett. The admission confirmed rumours that had already been spreading, and contradicted earlier denials, but also ended any idea Gillett was as nice a guy as many had thought when he first arrived.

Gillett hated the idea of word spreading that he was nothing like the loveable little rich guy and wannabe-Kopite that he tried to have us believe. He recalled son Foster from his Anfield duties, much to the delight of Foster whose wife was rumoured to hate England and Liverpool in particular. At around the same time the refinancing of loans used to purchase the club was being negotiated.

Gillett wasn’t keen on Liverpool supporters realising how the reality of January 2008 was unlike the promises of February 2007.  They’d borrowed just under £300m initially to cover a purchase cost of around £220m including debt. Now they needed £350m, and after being unable to put that full amount onto the club had to settle for £105m on the club’s books, the rest on Kop Football’s books and guaranteed by non-LFC assets and cash.  They had no choice, there were no other options open to them, especially given Gillett’s financial position by then, but Gillett didn’t want it to come out officially that they’d now massively increased the club’s debt. His name didn’t appear on the official statement from Hicks that refinancing had been done. Continue reading At last Gillett speaks, but tries to shift blame

HJC Cup 2008 details

Fancy giving some fellow Reds a kicking? Or are you far more skilful than that? It’s time for another five-a-side tournament in aid of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign.

As far as I know none of the past, current or potential future owners or board members are expected to take part so kicking isn’t as important as you might have thought, but if you can take part I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, meet some great people and all the better you’ll be doing it for a good cause.

Details below from the organisers:

Official 2008 HJC Cup 5-A-Side-Footy TournamentDate: Saturday 10th May 2008

Time: Registration, 12pm. Kick-Off, 1pm

Venue: PlayFootball, Drummond Road, Crosby, L23 9YP

http://www.playfootball.co.uk/Crosby/contact.htm

Entry fee: £100 per squad. Squads can contain a MAXIMUM of 8 players, to include rolling subs.

*********************

Apologies for the delay in sorting this year’s tournament, but we got there eventually.

Most of you know the drill, but for those wishing to attend for the first time, here’re the basics:-

This is the annual 5-a-Side football tournament held to raise money for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. Now in its sixth year (we think, we’re not counting), this tournament has fast become a mainstay of the LFC football season and has been hotly contested in recent years.

Everyone is welcome, veterans and newbies alike. Don’t worry if you can’t get a team together but want to play. Just get in touch at the email addy below to register your interest and we can find/create a team for you.

Each team must nominate a team captain, who is then responsible for registering their team and collecting monies (see below).

The Prize: The much-coveted HJC Cup itself. Hankered after by all the footballing greats, including Pele, Michel, Diego, Kenny, Alan, Stevie, Jamie, Walshy, Digger and Torben, this magnificent trophy, plus medals for each winning squad member, would look great on any mantelpiece.

The player of the tournament, as judged by a specially selected scouting panel (Karl & Craig) will be presented with the Kieran Taylor Memorial Trophy.

How To Enter:-
ALL teams must first REGISTER via their team captain by emailing Sarah Deane on sair37@redandwhitekop.net
Please include your team name and contact details. Your registration will then be confirmed by return email.

Entry fees can then be paid in one of the following ways:

PAYPAL: Payments PER TEAM ONLY can be made to sarahdeane@thequestionmaster.co.uk with “HJC Cup [Team Name/Team Captain]” stated clearly in the reference box.

CHEQUE: Made payable to “Hillsborough Justice Campaign” and your team name/team captain written clearly on the back. Cheques can be handed in at the HJC Shop or posted to:

HJC Cup Entry
408 The Collegiate
Shaw Street
Liverpool
L6 1HA

In either case, please include a covering letter stating clearly who the money is from and a contact email so receipt can be confirmed.

So, What Happens Then?
For anyone who’s never been before, this is what happens.

Group Stages (teams drawn by independent UEFA official. Or Gerry).
Quarter-Finals (or Second Round, depending on number of teams entered)
Semi Finals
3rd/4th place play off
Final
Beer.

Bibs are provided, but it would be helpful if all teams can ‘co-ordinate’ their kits.

PlayFootball has a spacious licensed bar for spectators. This year, we have the WHOLE venue to ourselves. Yee-hah. Or something.

Supporters are welcome – the bar’s open all day 😉

The evening do will also be held at PlayFootball this year – one long, continuous ‘do’.

Afterwards, in the bar area, there will be a short trophy presentation followed by some very special spoken word performances by some well-known local names, plus music and a raffle.

The highlight of the evening will be an auction with some very special lots, to be advertised on here nearer the time. Start saving now, as all proceeds go directly to the HJC.

Despite the short notice, we hope this year’s tournament will be as successful as ever, and everyone involved would like to say thanks in advance to all of you making the effort.

Any questions, no matter how trivial, feel free to IM me or email
sair37@redandwhitkekop.net

Keep your eyes on this page, or the HJC Cup website at www.hjccup.co.uk over the coming weeks for details of any changes.

For more information about the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, go to
http://www.contrast.org/hillsborough
http://www.contrast.org/hillsborough/hjc-cup/shtm

CL Result: Inter 0 (0) Liverpool 1 (3)

Liverpool boss Rafa Benítez: “It was a difficult game against a difficult team. We knew we were playing against a good team. They are top of the table in Italy because they are really good.

“When you talk about Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United they are also really good. We are in a good position and so are they.”

“You can keep him (Torres) playing every game. If he has time he will be okay. But when you have two games in a week at very high intensity it is not easy.But now he is fit and we will play in four days so I think that he can still play. (He can play) Almost every game, but it depends if he is tired or not. Sometimes you need to protect the players too.”

Internazionale coach Roberto Mancini: “The regret is not to have had the chance to end the match with 11 men. Liverpool had a couple of chances in the first half, we were feeling good, but Burdisso has been sent off and things changed. Their goal arrived after we lost the ball in midfield.

“I want to underline that Burdisso’s second yellow card can be disputed and this is the only regret.

“Liverpool’s defence is strong, but we created four chances that could have become goals if we had been able to finish better. Anyway, all the players have done their best and there must be no regrets.

“These have been two matches in which we have played with 10 men – probably it’s also our responsibility – but then things in these situations become difficult. All eliminations give you pain, but we have to not make a drama about it, because we have the Italian league to win.

“I know I still have four years to run on my contract, but the next two-and-a-half months will be my last guiding Inter. I’ve told the lads and it’s right to tell everyone. It’s a decision I’ve taken and has nothing to do with tonight’s defeat.”

Internazionale

0

1

Liverpool

 

(Torres 63)

Agg:

(0)

(3)

 

 

Teams

Julio Cesar

12

25

Reina

Maicon

13

23

Carragher

Burdisso

16

37

Skrtel

Rivas

24

04

Hyypia

Chivu

26

12

Aurelio

Zanetti

04

21

Lucas

Cambiasso

19

20

Mascherano (Pennant 87)

Stankovic (Jimenez, 84)

05

18

Kuyt (Riise 81)

Vieira(Pele, 76)

14

08

Gerrard

Ibrahimovic (Suazo, 80)

08

19

Babel (Benayoun 61)

Cruz

09

09

Torres

Substitutes

Toldo

01

30

Itandje

Figo

07

06

Riise

Jimenez

11

10

Voronin

Crespo

18

11

Benayoun

Maniche

28

15

Crouch

Suazo

29

16

Pennant

Pele

30

17

Arbeloa

 

 

Burdisso 34

Booked

Babel 12

Rivas 59

Gerrard 48

Stankovic 73

Aurelio 56

Chivu 85

Benayoun 74

Burdisso 50

Sent off

 

 

 

BBC

Sky

Statistics

Sky BBC

 

0

Goals

1  

 

0

1st Half Goals

0  

4

2

Shots on Target

4 6

9

9

Shots off Target

4 2

 

2

Blocked Shots

3  

2

2

Corners

4 4

15

18

Fouls

17 17

 

2

Offsides

2  

 

3

Yellow Cards

4  

 

1

Red Cards

0  

 

78

Passing Success

81  

 

23

Tackles

26  

 

78.3

Tackles Success

61.5  

50

49.5

Possession

50.5 50

 

51.2

Territorial Advantage

48.8  

 

 

   
Referee: Tom Ovrebo

 

Attendance: 80000

.

Inter v LFC: Mascherano back

A massive game for Liverpool tonight, and more difficult than the 2-0 score from the first leg makes it sound. But if Liverpool can perform the way they have done recently they are more than capable of stopping Inter Milan. But rather than just try to stop Inter, they’ve got to get on the scoresheet. One goal would leave the home side needing to score four times to knock the Reds out, and that may just be the end of the tie.

The manager has picked what looks like the same formation as has shown much success in recent games, with Torres in front of Gerrard in his free role. Kuyt and Torres are the other two of what is in effect a front four, with Lucas and Mascherano holding midfield. With Skrtel, Hyypia and Carragher all starting, it looks like Carra is at right back, with Fabio Aurelio at left back.

Andriy Voronin is on the bench, but so is Peter Crouch, along with Yossi Benayoun and Jermaine Pennant. Defensive cover is there in the shape of Arbeloa and John Arne Riise.

Meanwhile in the stands expect a showing from members of the current co-owner Tom Hicks’ family, but also possibly from members of the DIC group.

Inter Milan: 12 Julio Cesar, 13 Maicon, 16 Burdisso, 24 Rivas, 26 Chivu, 4 Zanetti, 19 Cambiasso, 5 Stankovic, 14 Vieira, 8 Ibrahimovic, 9 Cruz
Subs: 1 Toldo, 7 Figo, 11 Jimenez, 18 Crespo, 28 Maniche, 29 Suazo, 30 Pele

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 23 Carragher, 37 Skrtel, 4 Hyypia, 12 Aurelio, 20 Mascherano, 21 Lucas, 8 Gerrard, 18 Kuyt, 19 Babel, 9 Torres
Subs: 30 Itandje, 6 Riise, 10 Voronin, 11 Benayoun, 15 Crouch, 16 Pennant, 17 Arbeloa

Referee: Tom Ovrebo

LFC fan left DIC after Reds talks broke down

After the statement from Tom Hicks yesterday evening that he had terminated talks with Dubai International Capital over their potential purchase of 49% of the club, the press was surprisingly quiet.

Most of the journalists who normally cover the Reds were in Milan, flight problems permitting, and so in many cases may not have been in a position to give the news their full focus or to get the full run-down on what DIC’s latest stance was.

Over the past number of weeks we’ve seen story after story claiming another development had taken place in talks between the current co-owners – Tom Hicks and George Gillett – and DIC. For a long time there were no official comments from DIC, but no end of unofficial ones.  Last week saw DIC CEO Sameer el-Ansari finally admit talks were in progress, a working week that ended with DIC negotiator Amanda Staveley announcing DIC would accept 49% but were hopeful of eventually getting 100%.  A leaked letter made sure everybody now knew that Hicks representatives would be at the offices of Dubai by Monday, and its leaking enraged Tom Hicks.

The only real response coming from the DIC camp was a repeat of rumours a week ago that the shareholder agreement Tom Hicks is using to veto any sale by Gillett may not stand up to legal scrutiny. Clearly that possible legal way around the block by Hicks is a matter of contention, because if it was a matter of fact it would already be in use. Why announce an acceptance of 49% if there’s a sure-fire way of getting 50%? That fact it isn’t cut and dried means we may find our club dragged through the courts before any legal challenge is successful. Continue reading LFC fan left DIC after Reds talks broke down

Hicks statement: DIC talks have ended.

A statement has been made by Tom Hicks, co-owner of Kop Football (Holdings) Limited, the company which is the owner of Liverpool FC. The talks with Dubai International Capital are off, Hicks feeling he can’t work under the terms they would impose:

“Based on a meeting held earlier today in Dubai between my representatives and officials of Dubai International Capital LLC, as well as other recent contacts between us and them, I have decided to terminate any further discussions with DIC regarding their possible purchase of a minority stake in Kop and, in turn, in the Club.

“DIC made it clear that if they invested in the Club, they would want it to be managed by committee. Based on my thirteen years of successful experience as an owner of professional sports teams, and based in particular on the situation at Liverpool Football Club over the past year, it is clear to me that such a committee approach would not be in the best interest of Kop, of the Club or of the Club’s loyal and passionate supporters.

“Accordingly, I have decided to exercise my right under the Kop Football (Holdings) Limited partnership agreement to veto any sale of any portion of Kop and the Club to DIC.

“I and my colleagues and representatives will continue to explore a number of other options with regard to the ownership of Kop and the Club aimed at achieving an appropriate ownership, financial and organizational structure for Kop and the Club over the long term.”

Expect more on this of course, but the deal is off.