New Stadium moves closer, again

A report in today’s Liverpool Echo suggests the latest version of plans for Liverpool’s new stadium should get approval next week.

Computer rendering of New Anfield (v3)This is the third set of plans submitted to the council so far, looking cosmetically at least very close to the second set announced in July, and although “downgraded” from that version, still far superior to the version that became known by many as “The Parry Bowl”.

The planning department have looked at the latest set of plans and have changed the status to “recommended”. The next step is for the planning committee to look at the recommendations and decide whether or not to grant approval.

The first version of the stadium was announced in 2002, with a message that it was hoped it would be open by 2006, but definitely in time for the 2008 Capital of Culture year. Instead, Paul McCartney will be performing his summer gig for the 2008 event at Anfield.

New Plans
In July the club’s owners arrived at Anfield with computer renderings of a stadium that impressed just about everyone. It looked unique, it looked prestigious, it looked like it was going to be something the fans could be proud of. Moving out of Anfield has never been something fans have accepted easily, but a stadium as impressive as that was seen by many fans as the nearest thing there was to a suitable replacement.

Then there came some bad news.

parrys-words-changed.jpgIn December, Rick Parry was forced to announce that the plans were being scrapped. The phrase “slightly downgraded” was used in the Echo’s version of the interview, but by the time it appeared on the official website it became “slightly different”. In a period of growing suspicion towards the owners it was a worrying amendment. Parry had already tried to evade the issue two days earlier, and now his words were being changed. The reason for the change was financial; the version in July had come back at around £100m more than the owners wanted.

New New Plans
The following month the actual revised plans were unveiled, and to be quite honest it was difficult to see a major difference at first glance. Comparing images side-by-side showed there were certainly cosmetic changes, less use of glass and steel, but nothing much else was explained.

It wasn’t until the revised drawings went before the council that details of the changes were revealed, and the Echo listed some of those today. This version of the plans will be considered by the city council’s planning committee when it meets on May 6th.

Both version two and three of the plans were submitted as 60,000-seater stadiums, but with the provision for future expansion of approval could be given at a later date. The version 2 plans were provisioned with a maximum of 76,000 seats, but version 3 has a maximum of 73,000 according to the Echo. However that 73,000 figure conflicts with the 71,000 figure that was given in the announcement in January.

There were rumours that the underground car park had been scrapped, and although this isn’t true it has been halved in size. The Echo describes how a “three-storey car park will be located under tennis courts and a games area in Stanley Park, shielded from Priory Road by a ‘green wall’.”

Also what wasn’t apparent on the drawings revealed in January is the difference in physical size: “The width, length and height of the stadium has been reduced by several metres.” Changes have been made to the roof opening meaning it is smaller, and “designed differently to keep the crowd dry and help the pitch grow.”

The “skywalk” has been ditched, along with a roof terrace restaurant in the “Kop” end of the new stadium.

As the Echo points out, the work to improve the rest of Stanley Park, in effect the “sweetener” that not only helped the club to obtain grants but also did no harm in gaining the original planning consent is already underway. It’s on target for completion by the end of the year.

The recommendation in the council’s report said: “The overall form of the stadium, with the Kop as the main generator of the building form will add to the city skyline, and create a positive landmark and a focus for further investment. The changes introduced in March do little to dilute the architectural quality of the proposed stadium.”

But approval should only be granted on certain conditions. The cars in that 970-space car park must arrive an hour before kick-off, and remain there for at least an hour after the end of the game. There is also a requirement that for the first five years of the stadium’s life the club must fund annual reviews of residential parking around the ground, and pay for any recommendations that come up each year.

If approval is given then work will commence using the £60m from the controversial £350m refinancing package taken out by Tom Hicks and George Gillett in January. However, despite approval from the council being due on May 6th, work still can’t begin until a further waiting period has passed.

Another report in the Echo alludes to a claim gathering pace about the true intentions of the owners with regards the stadium. It says: “The suspicion is that the planning application is nothing but a paper exercise, at least while the two men holding the purse strings remain at loggerheads.”

The theory was first mentioned months ago, shortly after the new drawings were unveiled. Although the Echo doesn’t expand on it, the theory goes that the new stadium was never intended to be built, and that the new plans were drawn up purely to help increase the valuation of the club. The idea is that with approval for the new stadium in place, the club is worth more money. The part of the theory that hasn’t yet been explained is why approval for a £350m version of the stadium makes the club more valuable than with a £450m version.

The theory may also have been helped in some ways because of claims that documentation supplied for this latest attempt for planning permission was a far smaller pile of paper than the plans submitted in July. But another theory says this is because a procedural error in November’s planning decision meant the club could shortcut the usual processes needed for an amendment to the plans.

Computer rendering of \A subject as emotive as this – not just for Liverpool supporters but also for local residents and of course Everton fans still unhappy at having to move to an out-of-town site as a replacement for Goodison – is always going to result in theories being thrown around. And that’s before adding the battle for the ownership of the club between Tom Hicks and Dubai into the equation. That battle is tied into a battle for the hearts and minds of fans of course.

Suggestions as to how much all these plans have cost are pretty heartbreaking if true. A figure between £15m and £20m has been repeated on more than one occasion, again going back some months, and although it doesn’t take much imagination to work out who this figure might come from, it doesn’t take much imagination to believe it either. Whether that figure is for all the plans drawn up since the club changed hands, or just the latest set isn’t actually clear. But the fact it’s such a high figure suggests the “paper exercise” theory may be stretching matters a touch.

One question that must be asked though is who was to blame for the overpriced plans in July. If HKS were given a figure to work to, surely they must be liable for the costs of drawing up the amended plans at the more affordable price-level. If they weren’t given a figure to work to then it has to be asked why not?

It’s essential that the full capacity of 73,000 is approved if the stadium is to be a success, and although a reduced-capacity car-park hinders that hope, a new rail facility would help it. Back in February officials from Anfield and Merseytravel went on a journey to investigate the possibilities of adding a new rail station on the old Bootle branch line.

These days it’s only used for freight, but it could be refurbished to allow match-day transport options to be given a boost.

Rick Parry and Merseytravel’s CEO Neil Scales were amongst those who boarded a train at Lime Street to see if the idea was feasible. Parry said at the time: “It is vital to explore how it could contribute to north Liverpool’s regeneration. Getting so many people to see it first hand was an important first step.”

Scales said: “We are serious about making this work. This will be key for the club, but it is also about how we can better support north Liverpool.”

Also on board was Tuebrook councillor Steve Radford, who said it wouldn’t just be match-day travellers benefitting from such an idea: “This could regenerate the entire area. It would remove the need to travel by car, making north Liverpool much more attractive to professionals who need trains to commute.”

Possibilities suggested for the station included Utting Avenue (near The Clarence pub), Townsend Lane, and near to Anfield cemetery (close to the junction of Cherry Avenue and Stanley Park Avenue).

The costs of such a scheme aren’t believed to be prohibitive, especially when considering the facility could be the key to permission for the larger capacity of 73,000. That’s an extra 247,000 match tickets that can be sold every season for league games alone. Even at £40 each that’s close to £10m extra in ticket revenues per season over the 60,000 seats in the initial plans.

£40 a ticket would bring in £21.2m extra per league season compared to Anfield, and £40 is likely to be less than the minimum price by the time the new stadium opens. With all the other money a fan is likely to spend on an average visit it’s clear the number crunchers in the US and Dubai will have had a far higher figure factored into their predictions. Add possible Champions League and domestic cup games into the figures, alongside summer events making use of the ground, and then of course naming rights and it’s obvious why this stadium is so vital to Liverpool FC.

As well as the council making their decision at that committee meeting, it’s important that each of the current owners and the potential owners make their decisions too.

Decision Time
Tom Hicks, if he hasn’t already done so, needs to find the money and make the offer to George Gillett that he’s been promising he would since the turn of the year. He needs to do this as soon as possible.

Dubai International Capital, or whatever part of the Dubai government it ultimately is that wants to buy the club, needs to decide if it has made its final offer to both Gillett and Hicks. If it hasn’t then it needs to be making that final offer, one it won’t consider increasing under any circumstances, as soon as possible.

George Gillett, if he finds himself with two offers in front of him, has to decide which one to take. His decision will no doubt include considerations over how disruptive and costly any possible legal action might be, and how much profit he stands to make from either deal. If he remains firm in his assertion not to sell to Tom Hicks, perhaps it’s time he accepted that offer from DIC and allowed the next stage of that fight to commence. Otherwise he needs to make his mind up as soon as possible.

There’s every chance that meetings might take place around the time of the Champions League second leg next week, meetings that see some resolution, but if the theory is true that permission for this set of plans increases the club’s value then Gillett will no doubt wait that little bit longer.

Meanwhile, even if those involved in this ownership dispute all agreed to get back to negotiating in private, there’s now a chance more dirt will be dragged up under another public spotlight. The All Party Parliamentary Football Group of MPs has decided it’s time to launch an inquiry into “English football and its governance” and they feel the situation at Anfield one area they must look at. The chairman of the group is Alan Keen MP, who said: “English club football is enjoying great success in Europe at the moment. Yet many questions remain about the standard of corporate governance and whether it is best equipped to deal, at every level, with the long-term challenges of the game’s future.

“This is the focus of the group’s new inquiry. The group will examine case studies on governance, including Liverpool FC, where the role of the owners has raised significant public concerns and overshadowed achievements on the field.”

Important is this mess is to Liverpool fans, as awful as it’s been, it seems a little low down what should be a priority list for a group of MPs to spend time on, even if they’re going to spend time on football. UEFA’s attitude to English fans might have been more important, especially when looked at in conjunction with their treatment at the hands of authorities on the continent. Their time would possibly be of more use investigating how travel companies are able to obtain massive, often adjacent, blocks of tickets to football matches and sell them at inflated prices. After all, football ticket touting is illegal, yet somehow these agencies are not only finding it easy to get hold of tickets, but also to sell them for an easy profit. They may, whilst in the mood to investigate inflated prices, look into travel packages for big European fixtures.

There is a long list of issues that such a group would be far better looking into. After all, one way or another, Liverpool’s ownership mess is likely to be over and done with before they’ve arrived with their clipboards to gather information on it all.

112 thoughts on “New Stadium moves closer, again”

  1. Dawg nobody cares.

    We were promised the finest stadium in the world. Not we have the finest downgraded and downsized stadiums in the world.

    And Jim before you claim otherwise it was Hicks who consistently stated it would be the finest stadium in the world.

    What that I was talking earlier about?? Oh yeah, broken promises…

    Parry held us back for years now its the yanks. How can such a great club be so badly run for so many years. If it wasn’t for the brilliance of our fans i dread to think how low we could have fallen.

  2. I personally remember when the current plans where issued to the public, no-one could tell the difference between the two. This stadium is not as good as the previouse one but it is not really that bad. It looks better than the Emirates, which everyone is saying is a beutifull stadium. All they have done is taken away some of the nonsense that was never needed in the first place. If this stadium was presented to us straight after the Parry bowl then we would have all had the same reaction to this one as we did to the previous one. This stadium has just had all the bows and tassles removed from it.

    It says in the Echo that building work could start within weeks in the Daily post.

  3. ” Parry held us back for years now its the yanks. How can such a great club be so badly run for so many years. If it wasn’t for the brilliance of our fans i dread to think how low we could have fallen. ”

    Stephen – If Dubai had never re-entered into the ownership dabarkle then would all the fans still be calling for the head of Hicks? The fact that DIC have been trying to purchase the club from under Hick’s nose has given the fans a reason to start picking away at the Yank. I think that if DIC where not on the seen then we would have all forgiven and forgoten Hicks past errors, and we would be prepared to give him a second chance.

    DIC have rocked the boat on Hicks and have used the fans to do that. The thing is though DIC have seen the way the fans have treated Hicks, so they will have to do a better job than Hicks and Gillette have done for two reasons. The first reason is if after all this mess DIC do take over the club then the fans will expect DIC to make a great improvement to the club than the current situation is now, otherwise the fans will turn on them. The second reason is the way the press have vilified Hicks. The press could easily turn on DIC the way they have with Hicks and Gillette, so if DIC do not do a much better job than Hick’s and Gillette then they will be in for a very rough ride at the hands of the press. DIC will not want to be treated the same way as Hick’s and Gillette have been by the press, it will be more damaging to DIC than it will be to H&G. DIC is a company so the bad press will damage their reputation. I think for these reasons having DIC owning the club will be better than the current owners. My reasons for thinking this is because everyone will be expecting DIC to come up with the goods, so if they don’t come up with the goods everyone will turn on them, and DIC know that. DIC know that they will not get away with not doing good by LFC.

  4. If DIC hadn’t come it then i believe the fans would be in greater uproar. At least we see a way out of it. Share Liverpool FC was set up as soon as it became clear that Hicks and Gillett were clowns who wanted to rape the club and fleece the fans – nothing to do with DIC.

    Think how helpless we would all feel if we didn’t see a way out. A cornered animal is a more dangerous one.

    The fans are upset with Hicks and Gillett purely down to their complete mismanagement of the club. They talk and talk but they never do anything. Pictures and promises and broken promises is all Hicks and Gillett have brought to this club. Oh yeah and absolute turmoil in the board room.

    They are parasites, Yanks out.

  5. Stephen – Yep, i forgot to take Share Liverpool into consideration. The Yanks, especially Hick’s can complain all he wants about the Tabloid press in this country, but you only have to ask the likes of Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty, Kate Moss and Heather Muca Mills, that if you do not give the press anything to write then they can’t write anything, there is no smoke without fire. Hicks claiming to be a victim is a crock of shit, he has brought it all on himself.

  6. @Stephen: I get your point Stephen, and I’m not happy with the way we went from V2 to V3, at all. We should not have been shown V2, it’s as simple as that.

    V3 wasn’t as dumbed-down as I thought it might be, but we still had to go through that 5 or 6 weeks of wondering what might be. And V3 is still better than the second attempt the English architects had.

    But at some point we’ll have to stop moaning about what’s already happened and try and accept what’s in front of us.

    The final choice on this stadium will be there for another 100 years or so, so I doubt most of us will see the next ground move take place. (Some might say we won’t see this one take place either!)

    No point sitting in it arms folded and sulking.

  7. Second chance?

    Actually they on the 10th or 11th chances already mate. Would you give a (further) chance to Hicks who initially refused to give Rafa a transfer budget when Agger downs with a long term injury?

    Should we fans & Rafa not making a big fuss/noise about this, will we end up with Skrtel??

    I wont even go into the stadium debacles anymore as that’s an apparent text-book tactic to hold-out for more cash from DIC or any potential buyer.

    Yanks Out!

  8. @Texas_Dawg: The Montreal Canadiens won last night. The Dallas Stars won tonight. So both teams move closer to being among the final 4 teams for the Stanley Cup this year.

    The Canadiens have been in existence for nearly 100 years. The Stars have been in existence for 41 years. They have never met in the Stanley Cup Finals. Could this – of all years – be the first time? 🙂

    Could it be turned into the battle for LFC? Winner gets to choose what to do with the other’s half?

  9. I agree Jim,
    it would be difficult to make a case for Anfield ever having been the finest stadium in the world. You just get on with it.

  10. Nobody is sulking. I am actively trying to do what is right for this club. One thing I am not prepared to do is sit back and give Hicks anymore time to bluff us fans.

    His chances have all dried up. Where is the money for the stadium going to come from??

    We are already £350m in debt. Look at the Arsenal stadium and they needed to work very hard to get their financing. They needed to secure funding from a consortium of banks. And there are huge differences between us and them

    1). They had no debt.
    2). They had a huge backer in Emirates
    3). They were able to convert Highbury into apartments and recoup tens of millions in profits from that
    4). The credit cycle was at its peak when banks were throwing away money at low interest rates.
    5). They already had premiership winning team in place.
    6). They had shareholders who didn’t take any dividends from the club

    Despite all this they still had to work very hard to receive the funding. In todays environment i fear for Liverpools ability get this financing. That is why Gillett wants out and prehaps why DIC are so confident.

    Yanks out.

  11. Jim – You reckon that V3 of the Dallas stadium is better than V2 of the Manc stadium. Well I’ve heard that only Hicks chose the Dallas stadium whilst Parry and Gillette chose the Manc V2. Seeming that you have never seen the Manc V2 I do not see how you can make such claims. You are blindly trusting Hicks. Hicks has used the Dallas firm before so there’s nothing to say that Hick’s only chose that firm to make himeself look like the big man infront of the Dallas firm boss, or maybe he has a thing for the secretary who works for that firm and he done it to impress her. The fact that Hick’s chose the Dallas firm does not mean that it was the best design.

  12. Massive RED – If there was no Share Liverpool or no DIC then I think that Hicks would have come out on a PR charm offensive. Then I think that the Fans would have grudgingly gave the yank a second chance only on the grounds that Hicks wouold have made promisses. The fans would gave him a chance to keep his promises.

  13. Chavski just cleared ball of the line. An interesting point to make. If Man u get beat today then they have lost 5 games all season. Liverpool have only lost 4 and 2 of them where to the Mancs, so it is our draws that have let us down. The margin of difference between us and the top 2 is in reality very small. Some of the games against the likes of Wigan and others of that calirbre have lost us the right to challenge for the league title.

    Our away record is either the best or is second best in the league. It is our home record that has let us down.

    Hope the mancs lose both the league and the champions league. It would kill me to see them do the double.

  14. The problem is Fakir… he SAID spade with be on the ground in 60 days… now it’s 441 days… and counting!

  15. Massive RED – Yeah I know what your saying, but my point is that if there was no plan B on the table, then do you not believe that the make up of this whole situation look very different to the fans. So instead of the fans wanting him out right now, they may be looking to give him another chance. The only reason that the fans are not giving Hick’s any room is because there is a better offer on the table.

  16. @Anthony Fakir: Jim – You reckon that V3 of the Dallas stadium is better than V2 of the Manc stadium. Well I’ve heard that only Hicks chose the Dallas stadium whilst Parry and Gillette chose the Manc V2. Seeming that you have never seen the Manc V2 I do not see how you can make such claims. You are blindly trusting Hicks. Hicks has used the Dallas firm before so there’s nothing to say that Hick’s only chose that firm to make himeself look like the big man infront of the Dallas firm boss, or maybe he has a thing for the secretary who works for that firm and he done it to impress her. The fact that Hick’s chose the Dallas firm does not mean that it was the best design.

    Have a look yourself Anthony, see what you think:

    I take it you weren’t serious with the secretary comment? 😉

  17. @Massive RED: The problem is Fakir… he SAID spade with be on the ground in 60 days… now it’s 441 days… and counting!

    This is one of the silly arguments that is distracting us all from the real issues. And there are some real issues.

    1) Gillett made the comment.
    2) It was, to paraphrase, a spade in the ground in 60 days or we lose grants.
    3) The 441 days complaint is effectively a cry for the plans agreed before they took over. I don’t know anybody who prefers those.

    The issue is we all accepted a delay, and in return we should have had plans shown to us in July that weren’t deemed too expensive. Maybe one day we’ll get a fuller explanation (or you can speculate now) but so far nothing has been said that is really acceptable.

    To be honest though, it’s one season it’s cost us in a new ground, assuming no more problems it’s a minor delay in something as long-term as a new stadium.

  18. Jim – Birmingham City FC 2 – 1 Liverpool FC

    There is no real difference in the two designs apart from one having four seperate stands, would not complain about having either of them. You don’t know how Hick’s ego ticks. He may think that if he gives the deal to the Dallas firm he may be able spend more time with the secretary, you never know. She may make a lovely cup of tea.

  19. Jim – Hick’s also said when they bought the club that you will probably see a big swimming pool being dug in Stanley Park. So Hicks also implied that construction would be underway not long thereafter.

  20. FT Birmingham City FC 2 – 2 Liverpool FC

    Jim – I will wear my colours on my sleeve here, and I will go with you, Dallas V3 is the better of the two. It looks better on the outside and you never know they may be able to fill in the corners to increase that capacity to 80000+.

  21. “Could it be turned into the battle for LFC? Winner gets to choose what to do with the other’s half?”


    🙂 I’ve thought the same thing myself.

    Either way, I’m sure that Stanley Cup Finals would get more attention from the UK press than any previous Finals. 🙂

  22. ” @Texas_Dawg: Sounds awful. I’d hate that to be honest, I’m already getting that despondent feeling of knowing it’s near the end of another season with only cricket and tennis to “look forward” to. And I don’t look forward to it. ”

    Jim – From this comment above I suppose that it will be a waste of time to leave posts on county or test match cricket?

    It might be a good idea to watch the European Championships, alot of potential purchases will be in the shop window, or even some of LFC’s new signings may be playing. We will be able to watch them play for the first time during that competition.

    Do you no what I find annoying about closed season, Soccer AM is not on.

  23. @Anthony Fakir: Leave posts on cricket if you like. Just don’t ask me to join in!

    I’ll probably watch the Euros in the end, usually do, although I’m not sure how much attention it’ll get here this time, with all the British and Irish missing.

    I gave up on Soccer AM a couple of seasons back, except for the odd episode I’d catch here and there. should do one. Brekkie from Carra’s bar.

  24. “Dawg – Is ice hockey as big as basket ball, NFL football (american football) and baseball?”


    No… by numbers alone (i.e. TV ratings, salaries), it is the #4 of the 4 North American “majors” (NFL (American football), NBA (basketball), MLB (baseball), NHL (hockey). But to me this is a point in NHL’s favor because you will find that hockey fans are usually, on average, the most passionate and knowledgeable about their sport. Many people who really don’t know much about sports, and ultimately don’t really care, claim to be fans of the other sports (especially NFL/NBA)… but if you meet a hockey fan, he/she is usually very serious about the game. In other words, it’s not just a game that someone will just watch occasionally because everyone else in North America is watching (as is the case with many people regarding the other 3 majors). Someone watching hockey is more likely someone who has made it a point to do so… because he/she loves the game and follows it closely. Also, I have heard many North American sports fans that don’t really follow NHL, at least admit that the NHL playoffs are the most intense and crazy of any of the other majors.

    All this said, Anthony, I am from a region where American college football is king among serious sports fans. As Jim uses cricket/tennis to get him by, I use MLB/NHL mainly just to get me from January to September each year. 🙂

    By Adrian Curtis, PA Sport
    Chelsea’s groundstaff were involved in a post-match bust-up with Manchester United players during a warm-down session at Stamford Bridge.

    United’s Patrice Evra, Paul Scholes, John O’Shea, Gerard Pique and Gary Neville were taking part in the warm-down on the pitch when they were asked to move by Chelsea groundstaff.

    The row erupted when the players refused to come off the pitch and an altercation broke out between Chelsea stewards, groundstaff and the United players.

    Chelsea had earlier beaten Manchester United 2-1 to go level on points at the top of the Barclays Premier table.

    Chelsea are to examine CCTV footage of the incident. A spokesman for the club told PA Sport: “We will be studying the relevant CCTV and camera footage in a bid to establish the best and most appropriate course of action.”

    What was Ferguson saying about Mascherano the other week?

  26. Do you know what I really like those other designs. The stadium looks a lot more imposing from the inside.

    But I do also love the HKS design. Two very good looking stadiums in my opinion.

  27. I actually think the AFL design looks pretty good! I think i prefer the HKS design slightly more though, just looks a bit more classy.

    Anthony – I’ll talk cricket with you if you want!

    Interesting that the AFL design is quoted at £290 million on their website. Isn’t that 60 less than the HKS design?!

  28. South Africa and New Zealand I believe.

    Jim, what do you think our prospective chances are against the aforementioned teams?! hahahaha.

    Anyway, back to the football.

    Rumour has it The Echo is publishing exclusive pictures on monday of the culprit. They mysteriously refer to him only as Jim B. Pictures show the man wielding a can of official DIC spray paint in one hand and a heart shaped framed photograph of the Sheikh Mohammed in the other…

  29. Jim,

    What do you make of the alleged article in the mail on sunday regarding DIC and Mourinho?

    I havent read it – it doesn’t appear to be online and i haven’t purchased said paper, but IF true that’s gotta be considered a score for Hicks in the long drawn out PR battle. I wonder if Hicks will make mention to it in the future…

  30. @Martin: I don’t know how they’ll do, but don’t they all get knighted if they ever win a test series?

    As for the walls, I heard it was the DIC PR machine. Was it smeared?

  31. I saw that one too Martin, its a rumour that’s been around for a long time. Maybe the Mail On Sunday just wanted to run a Liverpool DIC story and regurgitated it. And after Mourinho’s comments about returning to England the other day maybe now is a good time.

  32. lol Jim,

    Yes the MBE’s were a bit OTT as fantastic as that win was. Anyway, no more mention of that game here!

    I have a comical image in my head of Al-Ansari and Bick giggling like school kids as they write profanities on the walls around Anfield at midnight…

    Hop, I guess it could be regurgitated. It would be interesting to see if he’s quoted or not. Quoted and it’s significant (providing it’s recent), but i wouldn’t put it past them to just fabricate something as if it came from Mourinho’s mind. To be honest I think DIC would have to be absolutely nuts to do that, and as such I think it removes the story of all credibility. There’s no way that DIC if they got control would then upset the fans by doing that having seen the reaction to the Klinsmann talks. Anyway, I think JIm has pointed out recently that Rafa has a future under either prospective owner, although I guess only one of them has actually come out and said as much…

    btw, When are the papers going to stop reporting this rubbish about Gareth Barry?! “The potential arrival of Barry at Anfield casts a doubt on the future of Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso” – Do me a favour! Barry for Alonso?! I will be quite upset if Rafa doesn’t look at wide players both in defence and midfield. We have enough central midfielders, with the possible exception of an attacking central player to back up Gerrard.

    I say it every year it seems for the last decade but we need wingers and strikers.

  33. @Martin: I’ve heard stuff about DIC and Mourinho a few times in the last week or two, all quite vague. If it’s true, it sounds like it was an old idea, and it’s also pretty worrying too, given what most of us think of Mourinho. But it might not be true…

  34. Hop, just one more theory.. If Mourinho has said it now, maybe he is trying to rattle Rafa prior to the game this week?

  35. Regurgitated – yes, probably is, but it’s been getting mentioned all afresh recently, no idea why. And it’s not being put about by Hicks either as far as I can tell.

    Maybe it’s Mourinho’s agent!

  36. If Barry did come I guess Alonso would be off back to Spain. Doesn’t he want his little boy to grow up in Spain? Plus he’s not been as good (yet) as he was since his injury. Plus he had the Inter Milan game off against Rafa’s wishes when his baby was born (remember Rafa didn’t even go to his father’s funeral when LFC were playing in Japan).

    So I wouldn’t be totally surprised if Rafa cashed in on Xabi, legend though he is.

  37. Yeah, agree with you both, another unsettling tactic by Chelsea sympathisers. As you say even if DIC did want Mourinho there’s no way they’d be saying it at the moment.

  38. Nah, I don’t think Rafa would be so stupid to get rid of Alonso. Unless like you say Alonso really wants to leave. Alonso hasn’t been at his best this season but what a player. Fantastic against Chelsea last tues…

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