Liverpool co-owner George Gillett visited a Christmas party being held tonight for Liverpool legends, and spoke a little about the current situation at the club. Tore Hansen, from the respected Norwegian fansite liverpool.no, was at the party and told the Norwegian website details of a speech Gillett made at the function.
Gillett’s speech started with an apology for the press reports relating to disagreements between the owners and Rafa: “This wasn’t meant to happen,” said Gillett, “but it has happened. Now we have to concentrate on finding a common platform for future co-operation.”
Regarding Rafa, Gillett was reported to have said: “Rafa is the man we want as manager and we trust him.” The row seems to have been between Rafa and Tom Hicks, and Gillett said he knows how to sort out arguments: “I’ve been married for over forty years and so have first-hand knowledge about how to resolve a row. We concentrated on getting an overview of the situation, and I feel we achieved that.”
After saying he was disappointed with today’s result, which he felt was unfair, Gillett said: “We have a squad now that’s better than it was a year ago, and we want to build it further. This is a big job we’ve started here with Liverpool FC, a job we’ve only just started. We want to get the top results in all competitions, that’s what we’re aiming for.”
Amidst the stories that Rafa’s planned transfer moves for January have been blocked, it was disappointing to hear Gillett was non-committal on that particular subject: “The transfer window opens soon and we might or might not use that opportunity.”
His closing statement related to what he says was his view of where he stood with Liverpool fans: “Liverpool is a big club. We are well aware that we are holding something very valuable. Liverpool isn’t our club, it’s your club: The supporter’s club. That’s how it’s always been and it’s how it always will be.”
These quotes were translated from Norwegian, from quotes which were previously in English, and so some of the spirit of what was said could have been lost. Certainly if Gillett is willing to speak in such a way to the British media it shows signs of encouragement. It’s the closest we’ve had to any backing of Rafa from the owners in the wake of the stories they planned to sack him.
It’s also going to be important to hear what Rafa himself has to say on the matter, to see if he’s as happy with the situation as the owners are.
Let’s hope the owners took on board what the supporters felt about Rafa and changed their minds about sacking him, and let’s also hope that they clarify their reasons for changing their minds about putting debt on the club, and on their reasons for scrapping the stadium plans we were shown in the summer.