“Sick” Gillett invites DIC to distract.

George Gillett, high-and-mighty in his condemnation of Tom Hicks last week, has shown how hypocrisy works Colorado-style. It was Thursday evening in the UK when Gillett came forward with his views on the Hicks interviews that had aired throughout the day on Sky Sports News.

“Here we are, a few days away from a vital Champions League semi-final match and Tom has once again created turmoil with his public comments. Tom should stop.”

It was already a hypocritical statement to make by the owners of the Gillett-Evernham NASCAR outfit. Gillett had created turmoil of his own the month before when he came out of lengthy hiding to tell the world he could no longer work with Tom Hicks, that he’d received 2000 emails a day from fans telling him how much they hated Tom Hicks, and that he’d had death threats warning him not to sell to Tom Hicks. He’d done it just two-and-half days before a vital league match that Liverpool had to win to make sure Champions League qualification for next season was in their own hands. So he was a fine one to talk.

But tonight the news has come out that, if true, will trump any of his previous actions.

According to the Press Association, the Canadiens’ owner has invited the leveraged-buy-out investment arm of Dubai Holdings, Dubai International Capital, to Anfield tomorrow night. Better known as DIC, they failed to exercise an exclusive right to buy the club in January last year for a little over £200m including debt, reportedly on principle, but are now trying to spend over twice that amount, with reports ranging from £400m-£550m as the price they will pay.

Tom Hicks was criticised for not coming to Anfield for the second leg Champions League quarter final against Arsenal, and although his son Tom Jnr was there on his behalf the Texan was attacked by many for the perception he’d put his Rangers baseball team first. Yet George Gillett’s presence was seen as somehow a positive.

When reports over the weekend filtered out saying Hicks would attend tomorrow night’s clash with Chelsea, there was more criticism of Hicks, because his presence would be disruptive. If he doesn’t attend he doesn’t care, if he does attend he doesn’t care. It’s hypocritical and distracts from the real issues fans have with his ownership, not all of which are of his doing.

The PA report says Gillett “has invited senior officials from Dubai International Capital to be his guests at Anfield on Tuesday for the Champions League semi-final showdown with Chelsea.”

For the second time in recent months, Gillett has pulled a sicky:”Although Gillett himself will not be able to attend the match because of illness, his party – including son Foster, a fellow director – will be there in force to welcome DIC’s representatives.”

The report was by Paul Walker, one-time alleged striker-off of Peter Crouch goals, who wrote: “It is a remarkable move by Gillett…” Remarkable is an understatement.

Walker wrote: “It is believed that DIC’s chief negotiator Amanda Staveley will be among Gillett’s party, along with Liverpool fan and DIC chief executive Samir Al-Ansari.”

Staveley has been talking to Gillett for some time, with reports in March claiming Rick Parry had also attended meetings in her office, but she seems to jump the gone somewhat. Prior to a meeting between representatives of Hicks and DIC in Dubai, she said: “All parties have now reached agreement, Tom Hicks knows that in the long run we will be 100 per cent owners of the club but we are prepared to play a waiting game.” But all parties quite clearly had not reached agreement. So why say they had?

Walker’s report also said: “”Hicks could also be there, although significantly his spokesmen in the UK have been unable to confirm the Dallas billionaire’s movements. Hicks had made it clear at the weekend that he intended to be at Anfield for the first leg of the Champions League semi-final – but there are now doubts that he would want to be in the same director’s box as DIC.” Whose doubts? Whoever tipped PA off over this perhaps? In fact it could be argued that Gillett has so far been the one avoiding certain people in the directors’ box.

Walker also repeated the latest rumour doing the rounds via the hands of DIC: “The problem over Hicks’ alleged veto of any Gillett sale is likely to be challenged in court before the summer.” Why would Gillett be prepared to see LFC’s name dragged through the mud so publicly. What is it that is really stopping him from selling to Hicks?

If this stunt of inviting al-Ansari and Staveley to the match is true then Gillett has made it clear his first concern is getting that profit from DIC, his second concern is getting one over on his enemy Tom Hicks. Any possibility that he cares about LFC is growing slimmer by the second. Yet some fans will still buy that as his reason for a refusal to sell to Hicks.

Bearing in mind that a large amount of the significant criticism of Hicks can also be levelled at Gillett, and in many cases should be levelled at Gillett instead of Hicks, it’s difficult to see exactly why Gillett can say his decision not to sell to Hicks is somehow out of love for the club.

DIC continue to be blindly accepted by many fans purely on the basis that somehow they can’t be worse than Hicks. Some fans actually believe DIC will definitely buy the club without using loans or other debt. DIC changed the wording on their website last year to hide the use of the words “leveraged buy outs” (LBO) when describing how they make their investments. They bought Tussauds for £800m in 2005, selling 80% of it for a £200m profit just two years later.

Has Gillett got the guts to come out in the open and explain exactly why he won’t sell to Hicks? And will that tell us why it is acceptable to invite such trouble to the ground on such an important night?

Although Tom Hicks was criticised for not being at that Arsenal match, many fans were hoping he would change his mind and not attend tomorrow night just to ensure Rafa’s men could play without distraction. But Hicks is hardly likely to miss the game now, and the most important match of the season so far will become a side-show.

Hicks has been criticised for attacking Parry on issues most fans agree with. The timing of the letter was attacked for being just after a big Champions League win. Hicks was criticised for his Sky interview, with it broadcast five days before this Champions League match.

All those who condemned him for his timing should also now condemn DIC and Gillett for theirs. Especially if, despite the players so far showing brilliant drive not to be distracted, Liverpool lose the game.

154 thoughts on ““Sick” Gillett invites DIC to distract.”

  1. Thanks Kingjari,

    I want to decide on how good or bad each of the players in this mess are based on truth. That’s all really. Trouble is, the truth’s hard to find.

    I’m hearing stuff from all sides in this mess, directly and indirectly, and I can’t always say what I’ve heard because it might land somebody in it, or even land me in it. You’d be surprised at how much my views are based not on what one party says against another but what one party says against itself.

    And some of the issues that people are getting worked up about are too minor to be so annoyed with.

    Which means we’re missing the chance to look at the real issues.

    Oh, and DIC’s use of the media – and in some cases their gullibility in falling for it all so easily – isn’t helping either.

    Anything Hicks says is instantly dismissed, because of the perception of him having lied in the past. That’s fair enough. The only way he’ll change that perception now is to stick to the truth or say nothing.

    Everything DIC says is instantly accepted, because of the desperate need some people have to see them replace Hicks. But they have lied to us, over and over again. So they should be treated the same.

    You’ve also got to accept that some reporters out there are taking the word they’re getting from DIC’s PR machine as gospel.

    Jason Burt is an example.

    Foster wasn’t there on Tuesday, but people are saying Alex Hicks was Foster!

    Yet people fall for it all.

    As for the SoS thing on Monday and their meeting with Staveley. I’ve avoided making too big a deal of it but have touched on it in comments.

    I don’t want to undermine their efforts too much, but I think they might need to stop and reconsider their stance for a moment.

    First of all, the last meeting, before the Reading game, had a vote along the lines of accepting dialogue with the owners or potential owners as long as it wasn’t done in secret, it had to be minuted. This meeting with Staveley was done in secret and not minuted. I can understand why, they obviously felt it was better to meet in secret than not meet at all. But I’ve even heard that not all of SoS knew it was happening. And the danger in meeting her in private like that, and it leaking out they have, is that it might come back against them in the future. I think you’ve got to replace “Staveley” with “Hicks” in the story for a minute to see why it’s a possible problem. Perhaps Staveley should have been warned that if it did leak out there’d been a meeting, details of the meeting would leak out too. If it’s true that not all the people behind SoS knew it was happening, that’s another issue that needs explaining. I would have thought that the decision to attend a meeting like this, and to go against what was said in the last meeting about the minuting of the meeting and so on, was a decision for the committee. I don’t for one second doubt that those who met Staveley did it for the good of the club, or that they took what she said without pushing her for proof where possible, but how would everyone feel now if a similar situation had happened with Hicks and Gillett in January last year?

    Being fair, although I doubt they’d even get it an acceptance, they should now offer Tom Hicks, George Gillett, Rick Parry and David Moores the same opportunity to sell their sides of the story in the same way.

    To be honest, expecting talks which are minuted as the only form of dialogue is probably not a good idea. They’ve all got secrets, some of which it’s only fair should be kept from the public domain until the time is right. Some things they wouldn’t want going on the record just yet. A bit like Rafa’s press conferences where he gets the reports to turn the microphones off. In fact that would probably be the best way to run the meeting. A section that was minuted, then a section “off the record”.

    But it’s only fair to offer the same to all.

    The key point to me is that we make our minds up based on the truth. In my view it would still, if the truth were told and everything was weighed up that way, still be DIC that won a vote. But it’s not a vote, it’s not black and white, it’s up to those with the money or the shares to decide what happens.

    Marks out of ten, it’s not 10/10 for DIC and 0/10 for Hicks. Nor is it the opposite.

    But nobody is basing their marks on what is really going on or has really gone on.

    It might still be 8/10 v 4/10, which of course would still not be good enough for Hicks. But what if it’s 8/10 v 6.5/10?

    The reason I didn’t mention the Stanley Park dig was because although I’ve since heard them say it was a bit of a laugh, I thought it discredited them to some extent.

    Go back and read the original quote about the 60 day thing. Basically it was that if they were to get the grants, the shovel had to be in the ground. It was a figure of speech, and unless they didn’t get the grants they must have done whatever was needed to fulfil that need. But it wasn’t even Hicks who said it, it was Gillett. Yet SoS were quoted the next morning as saying it was Hicks who said it.

    Following on from that is the comment from Hicks in the same interview that they were going to back to the US first to see if they could improve the stadium plans.

    The only way they could have started work in 60 days was to build the old version. Which nobody I know of actually likes.

    The current version is now waiting for planning permission, it went into planning as an adjustment to the July version of the plans.

    And that’s where we are now. Waiting for planning permission.

    This 60 day stuff is distracting us from the real issue.

    The issue, and it still needs addressing, is why the July plan was announced if it hadn’t been costed. Were HKS given a budget to work to in producing those plans, and if so have we paid for them to be redone?

    If we all started to put more effort into the real issues, instead of the sensationalistic approach to the fluff surrounding it we might find we’ve got one perfect way of nailing Tom Hicks so that he just ups and eaves. We might find it’s DIC that we nail. We might find it’s too close to call.

    If you want balance, and you don’t think it’s going into these articles here, fine, I’m sorry, it’s not deliberate I assure you. I’ve got doubts about all of them.

    But if you demand balance from me then you need to go to the Echo and demand the same. And the Times. Especially the Indie and the Telegraph.

    Because most of them are seeming to report what DIC or Rick Parry tell them to, in essence. And they get far more readers than I do.

  2. Of course DIC are using the media for PR, nothing wrong in that, they’d be fools not to. Its just what they are saying makes a lot more sense to me than the “just watch me” posturing of Hicks and the assertion by Deputy Dawg that his credibilty is enhanced because he talks to people in the know !
    Here’s DIC latest press release via Jason Burt, note the reduced time scale foe the sale of Gillett’s shares.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/hicks-targets-benitez-in-effort-to-reassert-control-at-anfield-814601.html
    Why would DIC make fools of themselves if its not true? I suppose the Dawg is the only one who knows what’s really going on.

  3. Oh and apparently Gillett provided a doctor’s note to cover his absence on Tuesday – I talked to someone in the know !

  4. To Jim,

    What did you think of the pathetic attempts of Mr Hicks to sing-song along YNWA?
    It was embarrassing, no?

    A

  5. Well I’m trying to be neutral in all this but I’m astounded at the drivel the Independent and other supposedly reputable papers seem to have been putting out lately. I really doubt they are making it all up so someone who they think they can trust must be telling them. But hasn’t there been a stream of it for months? Is it ever going to come true? Its starting to sound to me like the guy he keeps telling his young lover that he’s going to leave his wife but it never happens, she just keeps thinking and hoping its going to happen. The analogy being that people keep believing what they want to believe because they can’t accept the alternative.

    Did you see Mike Roland’s brilliantly readable post the other day? Read his first couple of paragraphs again. Its just up there if you scroll up.

    My interpretation is that Hicks and Rafa are getting on just fine at the moment. And if Rafa appears relaxed recently I’d say its more likely because he thinks Hicks has it all under control – and not because he thinks DIC are about to run Hicks out of town. I think that would make Rafa very nervous, not least because DIC are currently an unknown quantity.

    Look that’s my perception and I might be miles off, and the Indie etc might be spot on. As the Dawg says, we’ll see!

  6. Ash – embarrassing or not, what relevance does it have? We’re getting caught up in trivial stuff like this all the time.

    I keep hearing how Tom Hicks’ party all had new-looking scarves, and how awful that is. al-Ansari’s companion was wearing a brand-new cap and scarf. Does it matter?

    Already as we speak Amanda Staveley is trying to buy an old scarf off Ebay for the authentic battered look of a friend from campaigns of old, and she’s had a set of Liverpool mugs through the dishwasher on a high setting for three days straight now in case she’s interviewed on TV. Meanwhile al-Ansari is getting lip-synching lessons from Victoria Beckham to ensure whether he knows the words or not it looks like he always has known them.

    If Tom Hicks or DIC turn up for the last home game to announce they’ve taken control, none of those issues above would be on my mind.

    Next time Tom Hicks is over, I’d like him to be pressed on how the financing would work, not if he knows the words to YNWA. If DIC speak openly, I want them to tell us how they see their strategy panning out in good times and bad.

    And the main reason YNWA/mugs/scarves doesn’t matter is because I don’t want to see them getting that level of attention any more. We shouldn’t have cameras pointing at the director’s box unless we’re being shown the England manager (and that’s pushing things) or the big new signing that’s not yet eligible, or something along those lines.

  7. Yes Hop – I meant to thank Mike for his post when he posted it but forgot. Thanks Mike!

    Worth a read, but I suspect a lot of people will ignore the issues because a lot of people still won’t stop for a moment and listen to all angles on this.

    And as we’ve said a few times now – we’ll see!

  8. DIC in the directors box at Gillett’s invitation, “DIC to acquire Gillett’s stake within 2 weeks” quoted in the Indie.
    Its all just window dressing cos good ole Tom has been talking to Rafa and Rafa really likes Tom because he’s got pots of money and Tom’s going to extend his contract by 1 year. I mean WOW.

  9. al-Ansari has been attending Anfield since he was a student at Liverpool Unversity in the 70’s. No lip synching needed and anyone who turns up with a companion like he had on Tuesday gets my vote !

  10. Why were DIC at the game the other evening? Its a good question. They were invited by Gillett (even though he didn’t attend himself), I don’t think that’s in dispute. So there’s really two questions – why did Gillett invite them, and why did they accept?

    1. Gillett invites them because he’s trying to make it as difficult as possible for Hicks to achieve his goals and he wants to stand up to him in any way he can. He hopes (but doesn’t really believe) that by constantly messing Hicks about that Hicks will eventually relent and let him sell his shares to DIC. DIC accept the invite because they have the same objective as Gillett, so why not take advantage of the hospitality.

    2. Gillett hopes that by getting Hicks and DIC together they will reopen negotiations. He has said he won’t sell his shares to Hicks. He really wants to sell them to DIC, but he needs Hicks to okay it. DIC are also interested in reopening negotiations with Hicks, after Hicks pulled the plug on them the last time.

    3. The deal for Gillett to sell his shares to DIC is about to go through, and soon after, the deal for Hicks’ shares. Gillett invites DIC to celebrate. DIC are there to savour the moment and enjoy what will soon be theirs. And maybe rub Ol’ Hicksie’s nose in it at the same time.

    Any others?

  11. There is another one.

    4. Gillett and DIC want to ratchet up their PR advantage over Hicks, and know that DIC’s presence in the box at the game will receive the massive amount of attention that it has done. By keeping themselves popular with the fans they hope that they will eventually prevail. And to be honest I think a lot of people who were as unpopular as Hicks might have just taken the money by now.

  12. 5. We have touts in high places.

    Just a joke, before anyone gets onto me.

    So Jofrad, what would be the deal clincher for you then, the ability to sing YNWA or the ability to provide other distractions? 😉

    This possible future meeting of both owners, perhaps Parry, and Rafa – where would you hold it?

    Best in the UK probably, but would you wait until next week, after the CL 2nd leg?

  13. So when it comes to Hicks PR, it is alright!!!

    But when it comes to gillette/DIC, they are treated with so much contempt for using PR? Well done Jofrad for spotting the ‘lip synching’ part.

    Get real, in the world nowadays, most things are run by PR. I should know in my line of work. I think that a lot of people visiting all the forums are not as thick and gullible as some might believe they are. Most people know that there is an incredible amount of PR from BOTH sides. I also believe that most people can make their own judgements about what is going on. Jim Boardman is absolutely right in giving his opinions and people just make of them what they want.
    In my opinion, his comments are absolutely one-sided towards Hicks and his constant barrage of criticism to DIC “LBO-company” is so laughable. I agree that this is completely true but so is the fact the M.O. of Hicks as well. What do people prefer, Hicks (LBO who is skint) or DIC (LBO with “ahem” a bit more cash resources)

    I applaud the fans singing against the American owners (both) and being critical of them. I applaud SOS for their stunt at Stanley Park and meeting with DIC. They seem to have had a good impression from the officials, which is always a good sign.

  14. Jim,
    You brought up lip synching, I thought you were introducing some levity into the proceedings, my reply was in kind.
    The deal clincher for me would a potential owner who understands English football, has a genuine feeling for the club and has both the business expertise and financial clout to do what they say are going to which H&G patently have not

  15. “The deal clincher for me would a potential owner who understands English football, has a genuine feeling for the club and has both the business expertise and financial clout to do what they say are going to which H&G patently have not”

    Jofrad,

    As a long-time fan of two teams that Hicks later bought, I can tell you from experience that it’s better to have an owner who wants to win… but doesn’t know so much about the game (i.e. hockey)… instead of an owner who knows enough about the game (i.e. baseball) to get involved with making trade/transfer and other decisions best left to the managers.

    You are better off having an owner that simply wants to win but knows he must leave the player decisions to his employees.

  16. Texas-Dawg,

    As a long-time fan of two teams that Hicks later bought, I can tell you from experience that it’s better to have an owner who wants to win…
    You are better off having an owner that simply wants to win but knows he must leave the player decisions to his employees.

    What has the two teams won since Hicks has been in charge of them again…please remind me.

  17. Good afternoon Dawggy , sorry good morning !
    What makes you think DIC would interfere with “player decisions” ? It is a characteristic of English rather than European football that the manager has a free role in such matters. And who was it who upset Rafa last November by telling him to concentrate on the team he’s got rather than concerning himself with sighning new players ??
    Woof Woof

  18. Ash – the “lip-sync” comment was a touch of sarcasm, much like the next one: If al-Ansari’s a day-tripper, did he start applauding way too soon in YNWA? The al-Ansari used to be a student here comments remind me of similar ones that meant Gerard Houllier was spot on for being an LFC manager.

    The point is it doesn’t matter. The point is that if it did the various parties trying to get into the club would invest time and effort in ensuring they were good at it all.

    It’s a sad state of affairs we’re in but if Staveley turned out to be the niece of a big Man U fan, and brought his old plain red-and-white knitted scarf, she’d get no end of praise! Nobody would question her about where she got it from.

    Let’s try to concentrate on what does matter.

    The LBO stuff was constantly thrown up by people complaining about Hicks. It’s a term few fans really had heard of until quite recently. As such it was used as a means to make Hicks sound far worse than maybe he is, because it gets people worried. But when it’s pointed out that DIC are a company who only recently stopped using the term to describe themselves it all goes quiet.

    We don’t know Hicks is skint (unless we take DIC’s word for it). We do know DIC aren’t skint. If LBO is relevant it’s relevant for both, skint or not.

    In reality it probably makes more sense to disregard it completely. Along with a number of distractions.

  19. Jim,

    In reality it probably makes more sense to disregard it completely. Along with a number of distractions

    Ok. I agree that a lot of things said are PR distraction and have no meaningful role in the whole saga.

    In your opinion, if I may ask you, what is the single most important advantage that Hicks has over DIC in being our long-term owner.

  20. Re al-ansari/ Houliier,
    there’s a world of difference from being the CEO of an investment group and a football manager. The point I am labouring to make is that IN MY OPINON al-ansari has a long standing and genuine feeling for LFC. One of the “clinchers” IN MY OPINION !

  21. Jim,
    I think you need to re-frame this argument, personally
    I don’t have a problem with ruthless business people. I think it’s desirable to be ruthlessly efficient both on and off the pitch. Football is a ruthless business period.

    The requirements I have for an owner are:

    Not interfere with footballing matters.
    Ability to sign cheques.
    Stability.

    A lot of the arguments been put forward remind me of a pre-champions league, before the premiership became big business in England era.

  22. “What has the two teams won since Hicks has been in charge of them again…please remind me.”

    Ash,

    The Stars won their first Stanley Cup ever under Hicks and have been in the playoffs almost every year. They are in the final 8 again this year.

    The Rangers have not been good, but the Rangers have never been very good, and no one can say Hicks hasn’t at least tried through spending a lot of money. The players just haven’t worked out.

    “What makes you think DIC would interfere with “player decisions” ?”

    Jofrad,

    I didn’t say they would. (I was just explaining to you why the owner’s knowledge of the game is fairly irrelevant to the team’s success.)

  23. To Texas-Dawg,

    “The Stars won their first Stanley Cup ever under Hicks and have been in the playoffs almost every year. They are in the final 8 again this year.”

    When was that again when they won there first Stanley Cup? Did they win anything else ever since? I am not familiar with American sports but being in play-offs does not really gat you any medals, does it?

    The Rangers have not been good, but the Rangers have never been very good, and no one can say Hicks hasn’t at least tried through spending a lot of money. The players just haven’t worked out.

    Then, he has been useless, I guess. Hopefully we will not be in a similar situation!

  24. “When was that again when they won there first Stanley Cup? Did they win anything else ever since? I am not familiar with American sports but being in play-offs does not really gat you any medals, does it?”

    1) NHL and EPL are very, very different, ash.
    2) If you were a Stars fan (as I am), you would not speak from the same mindset as a Liverpool fan.

    The Stars are not Liverpool. They are more like Tottenham. If Liverpool wins only one PL title in the next 12 seasons (Hicks is in his 12th full season as Stars owner), most Liverpool fans likely won’t be happy with that. But I imagine a Tottenham fan would happily take that. Sure, he would wish for even more (don’t we all?), but if he was rational, he would realize that’s about all he could have expected. No rational Stars fan would tell you any differently.

    “Then, he has been useless, I guess. Hopefully we will not be in a similar situation!”

    Maybe so, ash, but here our comparison is even more depressing (speaking as a devoted Texas Rangers fan for my whole life :-( ). The Rangers aren’t even Tottenham. They are Derby County. At best. And they always have been. From a Texas Rangers fan to a Liverpool fan… trust me this is apples and oranges.

  25. Ash,

    I live in Detroit and just to let you know, getting to the playoffs in the NHL is incredibly difficult. The Dallas Stars have had incredible success over the past 10 years compared to any other team, except my Redwings :)

    All of this time, they have been under Hicks’ stewardship. We were all laughing when they moved that franchise to Dallas from Minnasota – Hockey in Texas??? But to be fair, Hicks has really done well with them. They did poorly the first couple of years they were in Dallas, but then Hicks bought the team, and they have been competing ever since. They won the Stanley Cup in 1999, went to the finals in 2000, and have been deep into the playoffs on numerous occasions. They are currently in the second round of this year’s playoffs.

    The Stars also have built a new arena and a surrounding urban real estate development under Hicks. It is pretty amazing. I was there last month for business and stayed in the Victory area across the street from the stadium. I was blown away. I hadn’t been to Dallas in 5 years and that part of the city has just come out of nowhere. http://www.americanairlinescenter.com/
    http://www.victorypark.com/

    That said, the Rangers have been the laughing stock of baseball over the past 5-8 years. They had some moderate success in Hicks’ early ownership, but you could credit the former owners for that (if you Brits give Bush any credit for success). They lost a game last night to my Tigers 19-6! Fun watching that one!

    Hicks did try to “pay for success” through player contracts during the bad years but they all turned out to be terrible moves (and he must have lost a ton of money) and didn’t help the Rangers achieve anything. He signed Alex Rodrigues for $250 USD for a ten year contract – and the Rangers were last place every year A-Rod played for them….

    If you take Hicks as an owner at face value, he is what you want. He has deep pockets, he hires good people to run his teams, and he signs checks. He did that with Bob Gainey with the Stars, and now he does it with Bret Hull. The Rangers have had loads of people running the show, but no success. They seem to have a revolving door. One day they will get it right.

    Hicks has a mixed track record for success – what success he has had with the Stars has been offset by the Rangers’ failures… But if you put good people in place and run the business side correctly, you can acquire the talent to compete in the EPL or any league. Hicks has done this with both teams and I believe the Rangers will get better. They have to. They can’t get worse.

    As an American, I became interested in European football during the Euro Cup in 2000 – I got to see the passion of the fans that was so much more than anything we had in the states. I became a LFC supporter in 2005 – Istanbul sealed the deal… As a bystander though you always can observe things more objectively. LFC before Hicks / Gillett could not compete with ManU. That is a fair statement. They still can’t, but they are making the right changes under the new ownership. They have underdeveloped commercial revenues, a smaller stadium, and no menchandising whatsoever. You go to an airport in the US / Europe / anywhere really, you can find a store that sells ManU / Real Madrid / Bayern Munich kits but you can’t find anything for Liverpool. You used to not be able to buy it on the LFC website for christ’s sake! Now you can… What does Arsenol get for the Emirates sponsorship? How much more money does ManU per game for those 30,000 additional seats? At $60 / ticket, that is almost $2mm USD per game!

    The former ownership didn’t help LFC compete with the other top clubs in the EPL and in fact left them FAR BEHIND – I think the Americans, whoever wins the ownership battle, will be better for the commercial edge for the club and that will help the club win trophies.

    Reading these posts have provided me with a good deal of entertainment over the past couple of months. This is the passion you don’t get with American sports and I love it…

    Jim, you have a very thoughtful / active group of readers. Good work to all. This sting has definitely been my favorite…. Good cast of characters… and a great villian – Texas Dawg, you vs the masses huh? I like your style.

  26. (Jofrad – I was joking too, I know al-Ansari wouldn’t go to Posh Spice for such lessons!)

    Ash – I’ve not really thought about it in terms of which one’s likely to be best at which aspects of being the owner of LFC. Or even which one is likely to be best overall.

    It’s to me more of a case of deciding if both are good enough. There’s too many unknowns in both cases, in my opinion.

    Jofrad mentions deal clinchers.

    I think in terms of knowledge of the game, we’ve got to forget the idea of Sameer being there all the time. In fact there’s a strong possibility he’ll not even be on the board. Amanda will be running the club, by most accounts. She’s not a football person, even the DIC PR machine haven’t tried to claim that.

    So what she’ll likely to be doing is getting people with the appropriate knowledge to fill the appropriate roles. And I think that’s also what Tom Hicks plans to do.

    (Hicks quote: “Under my ownership, Ian Ayre [commercial director], Philip Nash [finance director] and Rafa Benitez would make an outstanding management team,”)

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think it was ever confirmed which one of those might be the new CEO, even if Ian Ayre was speculated as being most likely.

    I know a CEO has certain duties, but I don’t think CEO in itself is a full-time job at a football club. You could be the finance director and the CEO, you could be the commercial director and the CEO, what matters is that as a leader you can get all your fellow directors and top managers to perform, to work together, to complement each other, using each person’s key qualities / skills whatever.

    Under DIC I guess Staveley would be the Finance Director, they’d still need a commercial director, they might feel Rafa needs a football director above him but may feel he’s capable himself. Staveley would add CEO to her duties.

    I can imagine al-Ansari and Hicks having similar roles depending on who wins. Al-Ansari will be checking in now and again to see what’s happening, expecting reports, and if Staveley’s not performing ultimately it’s the decision of him –and the DIC board – on what to do. Hicks will probably expect a vote on the board, but could equally decide to leave his influence at the level of the company above, allowing the board of LFC to work under its own steam. Without going into the nitty gritty of it all, I think the club will be run by equally knowledgeable people football wise, whoever takes over. And it will be people they trust.

    One issue of the current ownership has been this mistrust between Parry and Rafa, and there are strong reasons to believe that this played a part in the chain of events landing up at Klinsmann. A clean start means nobody left who can’t be trusted. Quite simply, if all those at the management level can’t get on they need to get out.

    I don’t think the “genuine feeling” thing is something we can rely on from DIC as much as we could think. The one fan on the DIC board still has to justify his decisions to his fellow board members. The Sheikh is not a boyhood Red, I’m sure of that, and although he may grow to love the club it’s still always going to be the head ruling the heart. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the Hicks sons installed over here for a time if they are successful, and they’re certainly young enough to have caught the LFC bug. In all, we can’t rely at all on getting any “genuine feeling” running the club, but there’s a possibility with both.

    What we need is for the appointed staff to have a feeling for the club, I think. Although some would argue that bringing in the best regardless of allegiance would be best. I once had the name Keith Wyness suggested to me, and not by anyone currently involved with the club. It was used as an example to be fair, rather than a potential candidate, but it’s one of those things that sticks in your mind!

    As for the business knowledge, well you can hire people with that and despite the criticism Hicks is still a billionaire / millionaire ( $ / £ ).
    Financial clout. DIC have the money, and just about the only question on that front is how they are willing to see it used. Hicks has a lot to prove to counter the (DIC-led) claims of his financial situation. He knows now what he needs to get us from here to a new stadium, he knows (I imagine) what Rafa needs to get us to that point as well as possible on the field, he knows (I am sure) how much CL Qual is worth but also it’s not guaranteed, in all – he knows what’s expected financially. He’s not made his money in ways that everybody approves of, but he’s not made it by having the foundations of it running under his feet (as far as I know) either. He’s got ways of finding and making money, I’m sure. So let’s credit him with the brains to have gone looking for a number of options on how to finance the deal. Let’s credit him with looking for finance and investment to cover more than the short-term deals done alongside GG.

    If he’s done that, and not been able to get the finance he went for, then I don’t think he’d try and get a lesser amount and see if he could wing it. But I don’t think he’ll have a problem. Time will tell.

    If he gets the finance, I don’t think we’d need to worry the way we have been. Again, we’ll have to see.

    Both sides are capable of being good enough to take the club forward, both sides are capable of making us think that then turning out not to be.

    Back to al-Ansari – I accept and respect your opinion! I don’t think myself his love of LFC, no matter how strong it is, will be enough, but it won’t do too much harm.

    Edward… Not interfere with footballing matters. / Ability to sign cheques. / Stability. Pretty true. I feel either owner should be capable of doing that on taking over.

    Ash: One thing I think we all have to move away from as fans whoever takes over us that we’ll buy the league title. We’ll just hopefully be closer to winning it. If you cloned the current Man U team (what a thought, two Rooneys) and played them in the same league only one of them could win it. Even if you donated Gerrard to one of the two teams it wouldn’t guarantee that version would win the league. What we don’t want to end up with is a team on a par with Man City or Everton or Spurs or whatever. I still think we’re close to winning the league as we are – you look at where we’ve lost points this season and you can see the current “first choice 11” on this form it’s been on of late would win most of those games.

    Dawg: Comparing the Rangers with Spurs is probably the best context you could have put that into. By using Derby County as the other analogy you could have shot yourself in the foot, given that Derby are now American-owned and just got relegated. (I know, they’d have gone down anyway, but…)

  27. Texas-Dawg,

    Hicks success with sports teams!
    Corinthians anyone! Their brand new stadium!

    Schvilic,

    “The Stars also have built a new arena and a surrounding urban real estate development under Hicks. It is pretty amazing. I was there last month for business and stayed in the Victory area across the street from the stadium. I was blown away. I hadn’t been to Dallas in 5 years and that part of the city has just come out of nowhere.”

    Does the arena not belong to the city of Dallas rather than the club. Correct me if I am wrong!!!

    Jim,

    “One issue of the current ownership has been this mistrust between Parry and Rafa, and there are strong reasons to believe that this played a part in the chain of events landing up at Klinsmann.”

    Sorry but believe who? As far as I understand, there were issues about our perceived lack of success on the field. Getting knockout of the Champion’s League, etc… I remember quite well that you commented quite strongly on that in your posts and you criticized Hicks for telling off Rafa…:Shut up, Stop pouting, etc…). What could have changed your opinion on that!

    “Ash: One thing I think we all have to move away from as fans whoever takes over us that we’ll buy the league title.”

    Sorry but I never said that we should buy the league by buying the most expensive players in the world. I appreciate the work of Rafa in building our first team as well as bringing all the youngsters that represent our future. I am pretty sure some regular posters in this site would not even be able to name 5 reserve players.
    Even if we do not win the league under Rafa in the next 4-5 years, I would still have all the time in the world for him. I have never seen an LFC team win the league as a fan, I do not mind waiting really!!!

    “Ash – I’ve not really thought about it in terms of which one’s likely to be best at which aspects of being the owner of LFC. Or even which one is likely to be best overall.

    It’s to me more of a case of deciding if both are good enough. There’s too many unknowns in both cases, in my opinion.”

    Nice dodge!!!

  28. Jim says – Next time Tom Hicks is over, I’d like him to be pressed on how the financing would work

    Jim, Hicks has refused point blank to even be asked questions about financing. He was a guest on Garry Richardson’s show on 5 Live a few months ago but before hand said he would refuse to do the interview in the finance question was raised. Since then all utterances to the media have been PR exercises.

    Good luck with getting some answers from him. I would love to know how he is going to get the club out of the financial hole it is in considering how cash poor the man is. Maybe Texas Dowg can enlighten us.

  29. Does the arena not belong to the city of Dallas rather than the club. Correct me if I am wrong!!!

    Ash, not only does it not belong to the stars it was tax payers money that built it and now Hicks is creaming off the profits.

    Nice to have friends in high places. And as usual the little guy gets shafted. Hicks is such a nice guy!!!

  30. schvilic,

    Good post. And I hope to be visiting Joe Louis Arena for the first time in a few weeks now. :-)

    ash,

    1) I don’t claim to know much about the Corinthians situation. But really… a 3rd world soccer venture? I think first world, premier league clubs are the more appropriate comparison here.
    2) The American Airlines Center is owned by the Stars and Mavericks: http://www.answers.com/topic/center-operating-company-l-p?cat=biz-fin

  31. That’s false, Stephen. See above. The city government contributed tax dollars, but the Stars/Mavericks own the arena.

  32. That’s just as bad – Hicks an extremely wealthy businessman using tax payers dollars to build a stadium which he now owns and gets all profits from it. At least clubs like Man City are paying for the use of their taxpayer built stadium!! What does the taxpayer get from this arrangement – its not like they are getting free tickets!!

  33. Jim, did you answer Ash’s point (see below)? I seem to remember you taking a similar position.

    PS Jim, have you noticed how so many of the ‘old guard’ bloggers, particularly John Steele have desserted the website? I presume the traffic for the site is still high?

    Ash said:

    Jim,

    “One issue of the current ownership has been this mistrust between Parry and Rafa, and there are strong reasons to believe that this played a part in the chain of events landing up at Klinsmann.”

    Sorry but believe who? As far as I understand, there were issues about our perceived lack of success on the field. Getting knockout of the Champion’s League, etc… I remember quite well that you commented quite strongly on that in your posts and you criticized Hicks for telling off Rafa…:Shut up, Stop pouting, etc…). What could have changed your opinion on that!

  34. “That’s just as bad”

    LOL. How did I know that would be your response? :-)

    “What does the taxpayer get from this arrangement”

    I don’t approve of the deal since I am morally and economically opposed to all taxation, but proponents of the arrangement (and there are many… it was passed by a vote of the city residents after all) would argue that the arena has helped regenerate a once-dead section of Dallas that is now thriving (as schvilic, who is from Detroit, noted above).

  35. The stadiums in the USA are financed through debt, securitizations, public funds, and private funds (equity). I am pretty sure they do it the same way everywhere… The O2 arena in London was built with pretty much all debt. Who in their right mind would ever pay cash equity for a stadium? You think DIC would pay $800mm cash for the new Anfield? Would you pay for your house with cash if you could finance a portion of it with debt?

    I lived in NYC a couple years ago and the Jets stadium was going to be financed partially by tax dollars. They voted it down. Now New Jersey gets the stadium and gets to capture the billions of dollars of positive economic impact the stadium will have on the area (job creation, sales tax on beer, land values etc). People always get scared when you say increased taxes but sometimes they really can be a catalyst for economic growth. What is the area around Anfield like? Could it use a boost?

    We built Comerica Park in 2000 using $300 mm of tax dollars, debt and private funds and you should see what it did for the area. I think the majority of Detroit citizens would agree.

    Stephen, I am pretty sure all teams have to pay leases for stadiums they don’t own… Usually they are a couple million dollars a year. They don’t get them for free. ManCity got a pretty great deal – they inherited a stadium that was used for the Pan-European games right? It wasn’t built for them, was given to them, and they pay a lease… They never have to take on construction risk, raise funds, commit capital etc etc…

    ManCity got a great deal.

  36. Guys,
    Abramovich (lots of ripped off Russians) , Glazer (+£500m debt), Thaksin (Human rights),Berlusconi (god knows) etc. etc.

    So where does the moral highground debate lead or debt loaded on the club?

    Tax-payers money? Surely that means all the supporters of all clubs are paying for the stadium. That strikes me as being a very clever way of doing things.

    In a perfect world maybe you could find the perfect owner but even then you’d have to look into how much the workers who make the replica shirts get paid.

    Then there’s Randy Lerner who everyone would say is ideal. Well if they sell Gareth Barry this summer that’s hardly a statement of intent.

    The guy who runs West Ham sold Tevez and Mascherano?

  37. Dear Santa,
    please can I get an owner for Liverpool football club that has limitless amounts of cash, all made by strictly ethical means of course.

    Also, it is important that the replica shirts that we flog to the Chinese are made by workers that are paid at least the minimum wage of the U.K..?

    Hypocrisy?

  38. Paying for a stadium with debt makes sense but using tax payers money to fund a private enterprise and feed the pockets of multi millionaires (who in a lot of cases are tax exiles with offshore accounts etc) is what I have an issue with. Hicks and his like are cancers on society. Thats what I have issue with. As for Texas Dawg he doesn’t believe in any form of tax – I think that says it all. It would interesting to live in his world!!!

  39. Edward – Tevez and Mascherano were not West Ham players to sell.

    Gareth Barry – in todays world if a player wants to go there is very little an owner can do.

    I see your hypocrisy point alright.

    Hence, No1 choice for every fan of Liverpool should Share Liverpool. Lets bring football back to the fans.

  40. Stephen,
    believe it or not I’m 100% anti-Hicks, currently, but I’m not going to be hypocritical or unrealistic about it.

    My problems with Hicks stem from the fact that he has yet to prove that he isn’t in fact a rubbish owner as has been posted on forums umpteen times by Texas Rangers fans (dawg excluded!)

  41. Ash – The reasons for the approach to Klinsmann never added up. They were stated as (from memory) possibility of Champions League elimination, poor results (we’d not lost a league game) and tabloid speculation over Rafa’s interest in/from other clubs. I remember saying they didn’t sound realistic, that something else was the real reason. Well at the time that happened (November) Hicks and Gillett were still talking, and Parry wasn’t yet the enemy to Hicks that it seems he is now. Who would you believe if Rafa and Parry told you two versions of one story? Hope that helps explain what I’m hinting at.

    The ‘buying the league’ comment wasn’t aimed at you Ash, but you must agree you know people who might not admit it in so many words, but expect the league soon or else they’ll turn on the manager and/or owners.

    It’s a shame you’ve never seen us win the league.

    Nice dodge! Hmmm. Thought you might say that! I started trying to go through some areas and it was like an old computer program full of “IF”, “ELSE” and so on. Too many unknowns!

    Stephen – Jim, Hicks has refused point blank to even be asked questions about financing. He was a guest on Garry Richardson’s show on 5 Live a few months ago but before hand said he would refuse to do the interview in the finance question was raised. Since then all utterances to the media have been PR exercises. Good luck with getting some answers from him…

    Thinking a bit more about this, I don’t think we’ll hear about the finance until any deal is all done. I don’t blame him to be fair, he’s hardly going to give anyone an opening to go and scupper his deal!

    MR – I just had a quick check of the traffic and noticed the most recent two weeks have been higher than the two before. In fact it’s nearly doubled, but that’s a surprise to me to be honest. I know John said he was going to stop posting, he explained his reasons for it too.

    I’ve answered Ash’s point above, as best as I can.

    Edward – Good approach to take.

  42. “Paying for a stadium with debt makes sense but using tax payers money to fund a private enterprise and feed the pockets of multi millionaires (who in a lot of cases are tax exiles with offshore accounts etc) is what I have an issue with. ”

    The city funds this because the city gets $$$ back through sales tax etc. They do this because of the economic impact a stadium will have for Liverpool. The stadiums are usually funded at the project level and the owners don’t get anything from it – it is a separate capitalization. It does, however, increase the value of the club. I guess that might go into the owner’s pocket when he ultimately sells, but the owners are taking the risk on the stadium – shouldn’t they get compensated? If you can’t tell, I am a capitalist at heart…

  43. M-R, I share you view….There appears to be a clear change in the posting traffic. Pendulum swing…balance (infinitum ad nauseam).

    The reason that John Steele is not posting is because his integrity was questioned by Jim (lying/misrepresenting contents of an article if I remember correctly) pretty disgraceful tbh.

  44. schvilic – thats my point – the owners are not taking any risk – the taxpayers are. Most cities in America are told if they don’t build a stadium the franchise will leave the city. Thankfully that can’t happen here although I guarantee you if Hicks could LFC would soon stand for London FC. The man is in love with the game day revenue arsenal generates in London!

    Football is not capitalism.

    Bill Shankly – The socialism I believe in is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards. That’s how I see football.

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