New crack at fan ownership – SoS to launch credit union

With hundreds of Liverpool protesters turning up at short notice last night to protest at Anfield about the owners and Christian Purslow, it’s clear that anger amongst supporters shows no sign of fading. Today the Liverpool supporters’ union, Spirit of Shankly, announced a plan that they hope will help fans take the club back from the banks, the profiteers and the personal empire-builders.

Last night’s protest, which saw the US flag set alight by supporters trying to send out a message to the owners rather than their compatriots, wasn’t actually organised by SoS, and perhaps that’s why it caught authorities by surprise with the turnout much stronger than it seemed they were expecting.

Although members of the Spirit of Shankly committee joined in, it was in their capacity as supporters. It was a supporters’ protest. Although it happened just hours after the club announced their sacking of the manager – dressed up by lawyers as “mutual consent” – it wasn’t a protest about the departure of Rafael Benitez. Of course that was one of the issues that had angered many of those there, but not just for the act itself more for the way it had been planned, more for the way the club had gone about it.

Some of those there felt the best way to get a message out to the owners back in the USA was to burn the US flag. Anyone with an understanding of the situation knows that this wasn’t aimed at the people of the USA, but at the people from the USA who own the club. No doubt those who set fire to the star spangled banners would love the USA to get together and shame the owners into accepting a fair price for the club, and if the US people don’t like to see such desecration of their national symbol they might find it’s easier to appeal to the owners, stubbornly holding out for an exorbitant price, than it is to appeal to those supporters who really have had enough.

As it is, the owners rarely get involved in the running of the club these days. For the last year they had left it all to the little man who doesn’t want the profile, but always seems to pop up where he’s not expected. After he failed to do the main task he was hired for, instead of being sacked he was given someone to share the heat with, the owners stepping down as co-chairmen and handing the reigns to one of Chelsea’s executive supporters. That man is Martin Broughton, who couldn’t attend a Liverpool-Chelsea match in case he celebrated a Chelsea goal on camera but was more than happy to indulge in the pleasures of his favourite club’s end-of-season awards. That was the party where he allegedly revealed to a Sky Sports News presenter that Torres should leave because it’ll be at least three years before the club is turned round.

Of course Broughton isn’t here to run the club, just to sell it. Or so he said. So he won’t have been involved in the decision to sack Rafael Benitez, one that was made easier by the manager forfeiting at least £10m of the money owing to him. He’s not the first one to lose out on what he was owed by those at the top of this club.

If he’s not running the club then the decision to sack Benitez, and the decision on how to force him out over a period of months, would surely rest on the shoulders of the managing director, Christian Purslow. He was brought in to help sell part or all of the club, all he achieved was to con a few influential people into thinking the transfer budget had been £20m when it was nothing of the sort.

He’s also – allegedly – got his own nickname for supporters’ union. To call SoS “Sons of Strikers” isn’t exactly helpful, but would no doubt cause much mirth in any chats with Martin Broughton, himself fighting off trade unions in his day job at British Airways. His reputation for the leaking of criticism of the manager or the owners to whichever audience he feels wants to hear it is legendary, as his ability to angrily deny such comments or views to those he knows don’t want to hear it.

Most people see through him in the end, but some seem to be taking longer than others.

There is absolutely no doubt that future protests will be stepped up, especially without a manager to use as scapegoat for the failings of his superiors. That said, they won’t be hiring a replacement unwilling to keep quiet about massive budget cuts, unwilling to pretend all is rosy when it’s anything but.

And just as the next manager will have to fit into a vision for Liverpool FC that shares little with the vision of the fans, so will the next set of owners. If the current owners want their successors to be right for the club they’ll look positively at today’s announcement from SoS. Nobody will be holding their breath though of course.

SoS had hoped to join forces with ShareLiverpool, but for reasons so far unspecified ShareLiverpool’s board voted against a merger with SoS.

When Rogan Taylor first announced the ShareLiverpool idea he spoke about a £5000 investment as if it was pocket money. And for those who would consider that kind of amount to be pocket money there was no room to buy more than one £5000 chunk. Unsurprisingly his scheme never really got off the ground.

The announcement by SoS today has a target of £500 and fans won’t have to pay it all in one go. The scheme won’t necessarily exclude wealthier individuals or commercial groups from investing appropriately.

If it succeeds it will finally see fans getting a say in how the club is run. And that must be better than how it is being run now, by a so-called fan and a Chelsea fan who says he’s only here to sell the club.

More details in the announcement below, including a link for further information.

The Spirit of Shankly wish to inform members that there have been detailed discussions with Share Liverpool over the last six months regarding the progress that had been made by Share Liverpool in promoting a supporters’ ownership scheme.

The discussions centred on the perception from our members (and supporters generally) that progress had stalled under the Share Liverpool scheme and that an opportunity was being lost which might not be available again for some time.

The Management Committee of the Spirit of Shankly reached the conclusion that a merger of the two organisations would be appropriate in order to use the momentum and resources that the Union had together with the expertise that undoubtedly existed within Share Liverpool.

The merger discussions reached a point where the Union put a formal proposal to Share Liverpool for merger and Share Liverpool met on 2nd June to consider the offer.

Unfortunately Share Liverpool have rejected a merger which has left the Union with no alternative but to put into place a contingency plan that we have been working on for some time.

This plan involves the creation and launch of a credit union scheme to collect payments from supporters to establish a fund for the purchase of a stake in the Club. It will allow for members to make monthly payments to reach the starting point of £500 per supporter.

This will be launched this summer.

In addition the best of the Share Liverpool proposals relating to the structure of how the scheme will work and the approach to wealthier supporters and commercial organisations will still take place except now there will be transparent progress. Members will see their funds safely secure and will be able to see the growth in the fund.

We would urge all those that made an initial pledge to Share Liverpool to fall in behind the Union with the promise of action, progress and the best effort that can be made for us to secure a preliminary stake in our Club.

We have put a more detailed explanation of the background to this decision at

38 thoughts on “New crack at fan ownership – SoS to launch credit union”

  1. I wish someone would lay to rest this fallacy that Broughton is NOT involved in the running of the club. His news reports show the opposite. He has his fingers in all decisions ……..

  2. Let’s be honest we know that everything about Broughton and Purslime is lies.

    Broughton promised new owners in a matter of months yet we can’t see anything about an approach or due diligence being carried out whilst Hicks holds out for £800m.

    Broughton insisted his brief was solely to arrange a club sale yet his name appeared on the club statement on Rafa’s departure.

    Purslow is supposed to have a role attracting finance for the club in which he has failed yet he has been secretly briefing the press against Rafa for months.

    Hicks, Gillett, Purslow and Broughton must all go now.

    We need to organise a merchandise and match boycott to force them out now.


  4. The Spirit of Shankley – they are supposed to represent the voice and opinions of the fans. How were they representing the voice of our many 100’s of thousands of fans in the USA by burning their national flag the day before 4th July holiday? In my humble opinion, a shameful act and not the Liverpool way.

  5. Peter – The protest wasn’t organised by Spirit of Shankly, and it wasn’t Spirit of Shankly who set fire to the flags.

    And it’s not the 4th of July for another month.

  6. I hope they get it. It would mean Cesspool would be in the League Championship within a few seasons.

  7. Jim you say the protests will become more frequent.

    Have you or any of your associates discussed or contemplated boycotts at home games in the future?

    I’m just trying to figure out if it will ever come to that. It wouldn’t be a nice way of doing business but if the Americans were losing large sums of match day revenue then surely it would have greater effect.

  8. @ “It’s Never….”

    Who on earth would say “It’s Never Rafa’s Fault (in his mind)”, call us “Cesspool”, refer to the tiers below the Premier League as the “League Championship”, hope “Cesspool” end up there and post all of this from the US? California to be a little more precise.

    Probably nothing to do with that radio station that got itself closed down over gutter-level comments about LFC and its supporters, but your opinion means just about as much.

  9. @ Jim. Hi Jim could it be that Broughtons Mission is to sell torres to his beloved chalsea and rafa was in the way?

  10. @ Juan,

    The argument people have always had about boycotts is that for everyone who gives a ticket up in protest there’ll be someone willing to take it, someone unaware of, or even unconcerned over, the reasons for that boycott.

    With season tickets there’s the bigger worry that when you give your ticket up you go back to the end of a long waiting list. It’s a bit step to give that up. But people are thinking about it more than ever.

    People are getting fed up, and it’s a lot of money to shell out, making it harder for people to justify the outlay. Anfield will always be full for the “big” games but it’s not the case for midweek games against the less attractive sides. Will the fabled new stadium be full every game? No.

    I can see protests taking place during the games themselves now. I’ve also seen people relatively laid back who are absolutely itching to do something about this mess. More and more people are joining the SoS.

    For every ex-player currently bigging up Christian Purslow in the hope of getting on (or staying on) the payroll there are others who will speak out in time about the destruction his personal attempts to become Mr Liverpool have brought. For every clueless pundit or reporter focussing on zonal marking there are people out there who can look beyond that and see how the rot is coming from outside of the manager’s office.

    There’s an attempt right now by the club to let Purslow’s pretence of a unified club come to the fore, but this club includes the fans as well as the boardroom and players.

    If the hierarchy think that Christian Purslow has got it right then they’ll probably also think that the fans are happy too. They’ll be shocked on both fronts.

    And, sad as it makes me feel to say this, if Kenny Dalglish doesn’t see his old friend Christian Purslow for what he is – or doesn’t care – then he’s not the person I thought he was, he really isn’t. With that in mind, I’m hopeful that he’ll come out soon and at the very least say that he has had words with the board, including Purslow, about their mishandling of the last manager and that they now have clear policies in place to prevent it happening with the next one. There needs to be some acknowledgement from the club that Purslow has acted inappropriately for the last 12 months.

    They can pretend to all be happy and to have done nothing wrong. Fans won’t be pretending to protest.

    We’ve never seen supporters go as far burning the US flag before, so how far will they go?

  11. Jim I can understand the problems that boycotts bring. I would never expect a season ticket holder to fore go theirs. And if fans didn’t participate in a boycott in large numbers then there would be no point. Its just a shame that the notion of a boycott should even need to be raised.

    In relation to SOS there is no doubt they want the best for the club and for that reason I’m glad that membership in their movement is growing.

    Where I think they let themselves down though is being associated with scenes like the flag burning. I know their association was really just a result of them being there. However if they dont actually disassociate themselves from actions like that the regular Anfield goer family man who cares deeply for the club isnt going to want to be associated with a group that is capable of that and worse. I just think the flag burning is a bit extremist and is likely to draw a lot of negative attention and if anything do more harm than good to SOS’s plight. As I said already I know they are only guilty of the flag burning by association with those who did it.

    Again the youtube video mocking the Munich air crash was another PR disastor for SOS. Up until that point I firmly believed in what they stood for. That video for me ruined alot of the good they had been doing. I think going forward if they want their ownership plans to be successful and if they want to be heard by a wider audience of Liverpool support they have to be careful with what they are associated with.

    Re Purslow, I’m just very glad that you shared your suspicions about him long before Rafa went. It automatically strengthens the validity of your articles, that your not just trying to muddy the guys character due to a show of loyalty and allegiance to Rafa. You saw yourself that’s what you were being accused of by a reader the other day.

    Unfortunately I just cant see Kenny coming out against him. I dont think it would be a case of Kenny not caring but more a case of what good it will bring and thats if he even see through Purslow at all.

    I have been disappointed by comments by former players like Hansen. He was quoted as saying that Purslow and Broughton should be commended for getting rid of Benitez now and that Rafa has left the team in a worse state than it was in 6 years ago. For me thats a shocking comment to make by someone who probably hears first hand more than most the constraints that Rafa has been under. Comments like that dont show the wider picture and I would have expected more from Hansen.

    Now that Rafa has gone I would be very interested to hear what the likes of Paul Tomkins has to say about it all. He has always been ever the optimist, and a firm Rafa believer. I never fully subscribed to what he had to say because no matter what faults Rafa had he had statistics to prove that the fault wasnt actually there. Saying that though I would be interested to hear his insight into whats going on at the club and what are his thoughts on the likes of CP.

    Good article today by Brian Reade in the Daily Mirror. At least there’s one journo out there willing to give Rafa his dues.

  12. With SOS it’s easy to forget that it’s a very young organisation, with many of its committee involved in something like this for the first ever time. The Munich thing wasn’t good, of course not, but certainly wasn’t planned or condoned. I doubt the circumstances that led to that happening would happen again.

    I’m not totally against the flag burning either. Maybe it’s because I really wouldn’t be upset to see a British or English flag burned if an American sports outfit had British owners who’d driven its fans to those extremes. I’d know it wasn’t aimed at me personally, and if I agreed with their anger I’d be more likely to back them than attack them.

    Any attention this got Stateside hopefully got the attention of the types of intelligent American able to see beyond the hysteria and outrage to see what the back story actually was that caused those fans to do that.

    If I was speaking for SoS I’d probably point out quite simply that it wasn’t an act carried out by or on behalf of SoS, but that it did highlight the depth of feeling that is growing rapidly against this club’s hierarchy.

    And don’t be surprised (just a guess from me this, nothing I’ve heard) if the next flag to be burned is a British one with Christian Purslow on the front!

    With Purslow and Kenny I can only hope that some of Kenny’s friends less attached to the club are able to sit him down and ask him to look back over the past few months. I know he’s not an unreasonable man, I know he’s capable of making his own mind up about issues, and I know he’ll often sort those issues out in private. I hope that he sorts this one out, but to be honest I can’t see any sign of Purslow changing his ways, leaving Kenny with a decision that perhaps sees him choosing his friend or his club. Let’s hope Kenny’s able to sort it privately and decisively.

    Hansen’s comments are all the more remarkable when you see what he was saying in the Echo on Tuesday. Paraphrasing here but he was suggesting we only needed 2 or 3 more players to be a success again. Couple of days later it’s a “worse” squad than the one Benitez inherited.

    And more to the point, it’s the exact same squad that Hansen had said would win the league when he was making his prediction at the start of the season!

    I loved him as a player, always thought of him as an excellent ambassador for the club when required, and his punditry is never anything more than his opinion, which he’s entitled to. But to change it like that, like he did last week, I’ve lost a lot of respect for him. And for certain other players who’ve just jumped on the bandwagon.

    Briane Reade’s article was brilliant, heartfelt and still able to show his own doubts and criticisms of Benitez without using them to condemn him as a failure.

    Christian Purslow is a very dangerous man to have the power he does at LFC.

  13. We just need to keep the pressure up and keep in constant to get them out of the club. The sooner they are gone the better, fan power will hold a big sway.

  14. @ Liverpool Tickets

    I took the link off your comment, I’m not sure we really approve of tickets being sold at prices over face value.

  15. Don’t think the fan ownership will work as the amount of money needed is far to great.

    They are talking about getting comercial partners in but they would also want an income as they aren’t going to do it gratuis.

    Think they have been very short sighted by thinking that they would then have all the clubs problems solved, as it wouldn’t stop the comercial partners cashing in on their assets and selling to the highest bidder and we could end up right back at stage 1.

    Also what radio station got shut down because of its gutter mouth abuse at LFC fans, or is it just that Chavs fan who was in the USA?

  16. Mr F – the radio station you’re talking about is the one I’m talking about.

    antlfc – When Rafa got his new contract I thought that at long last it would give him the chance to show what he can do without the main problems he’d brought up in the previous couple of years. Parry had gone, he had more say in how the transfer budget should be spent (but not full control) and I honestly thought the new stand-in CEO / temporary MD (Mr Purslow) would be the ideal person to communicate with the owners on Rafa’s behalf, and vice-versa, striking the balance between all their different needs.

    We’d just finished second, with a massive number of points, surely we could push on and challenge again if Benitez was supported in the summer. Not just support in terms of money, but also in terms of having the moral support of his immediate boss, someone he could work with, not someone he had to work at or fight with. Main players were signing new deals too.

    Xabi wanted out and Purslow got £30m for him. Sad as it was to see Xabi go, that was serious money to spend. Rafa had already made it clear he had money left to spend, without selling, enough for one more player, so I was expecting something like £40m more of spending. Aquilani seemed a gamble, but at £17m and a delay of about six weeks until he could play it wasn’t that big a gamble – not with at least another £20m to spend, probably on someone to be competition or support for Torres.

    But we didn’t see the £20m. In the end we made a profit of £16m/£17m in 2009. Yet Purslow said we’d spent a net £20m.

    Then I heard Purslow was sticking like glue to Rafa at every press conference, and the reason would eventually come clear as being because he’d cut the budget right in the middle of the summer, leaving us spending money that we might have saved for the other targets if only we’d known, and not only did he want that keeping quiet but he wanted the world to think he’d given Rafa all the players he’d asked for, out of that imaginary £20m net spend.

    More and more stories and anecdotes came my way after that, including the most worrying one of all. Purslow was put in touch with someone who had a serious proposal to provide finance to the club, finance that would allow the new stadium to go ahead. He didn’t even meet the guy, didn’t look at his proposal – he just blanked him. And that set alarms bells off for me. And this isn’t just something I was told, I’ve seen the proof.

    Later on he was criticising the owners to SOS. Then he was trying to say everyone gets on well. All his stories contradicted each other, what he said to one person didn’t match what he said to another.

    For a senior member of the club’s hierarchy to make it his business to undermine a manager from the very start of the first season after he’d signed a five year deal is gross misconduct in my eyes. Especially if the senior member of the club was involved in agreeing that five-year contract.

    To me that meant Rafa hadn’t got what I thought he deserved back when he’d signed that deal. A season where he was supported in every way possible, a season where he could either prove what he could do without the issues of the past holding him back, or where it would be proved that he had just been making excuses, excuses that had now run out.

    To me we had people who needed to go before Rafa did. Christian Purslow for one.

    I would then have liked to have seen how Rafa reacted. Most of the stuff about him losing the dressing room was made up, and players who are fed up at Anfield are in most cases fed up of the mess the club’s in – mess made worse by Purslow. Others who are fed up with Rafa tend to not like being “rotated”, but this season has been the one season where Rafa really didn’t have that luxury very often.

    It was attacking players he was stopped from buying last summer thanks to the late changes to the budget, and given we had another season where Pepe Reina got (or shared) the Golden Gloves I don’t think we can complain too much about the defence. We lost out on progressing in the Champions League because of late goals in three of our six group games, but most of our problems seemed to relate to creating and taking chances. Torres and Gerrard were missing or playing with injuries for long spells, Babel had an attitude problem at the start of the season, Riera had one all season. Instead of signing a new attacking player and offloading Voronin we suddenly found we had to do without the attacking player and keep Voronin here against his (and our) wishes – no wonder he actually went worse than he’d been to start with.

    If it wasn’t too late, if Rafa still seemed able to get back to where he’d left off before Purslow arrived, I’d have kept Rafa on without any doubt at all. I might even have afforded him the one thing Kenny Dalglish (in much tougher circumstances) says to this day he wishes he’d been offered. A break.

    Instead we find ourselves paying £6m to Rafa so that we can pay who knows how many more million to another club to get his replacement. Instead of giving Rafa one more year without the hindrances of the past six, we have to bring someone in who will be without any doubt whatsoever a risk, a gamble.

    And we’ve still got the one man who is the biggest threat to the club running it unhindered.

  17. Jim in relation to your last line referring to the one man left that’s posing the biggest threat to the club.

    I think there’s two. Ive just read another article on ESPN about how Man City (behind the scenes) have offered to make Torres the worlds richest player, yet privately his advisers have said hes not interested.

    However again there is apparently behind the scenes negotiations taking place between associates of Chelsea and associates of Torres. The difference is Torres is apparently open to the move.

    Whether thats true or not is not my issue. I did find it strange a week or so ago that Torres didnt end all the potential summer speculation by saying he would be at Liverpool next year when asked on his future. He had an option to kill the rumours there and then but he didnt.

    To get to my point I really think there is a huge conflict of interest occurring when we have a Chelsea supporting chairman calling the shots. It wasnt something I had a problem with until Martin Broughton didnt attend the Liverpool Chelsea game at Anfield. That action alone told me exactly where his loyalties lay.

    For Liverpool to engage in any kind of t transfer dealings with Chelsea Football club for any of our top players represents a complete conflict of interest while Mr Broughton is here. I would like to see us rule out any potential transfer dealings until his role to sell the club has been fulfilled.

    Chelsea are being dogged in their hunt for Torres more so than before and I hope that has nothing to do with Broughtons influence.

  18. It’s very hard to put my complete feelings about Rafa within this box, but I’m hearing a lot of reasons as to why he was badly done too but no defence of the inexplicably bizaare decisions he made in every single game – the head scratching one at Birmingham topping the lot.

    I don’t know an awful lot about SOS or the inside political battles of the club but I am utterly convinced that despite being a true red who will go down is history because of Istanbul, Rafa was blighted by an overly complicated scientific vision of a simple game, he was cautious not only in his team selections and substitutions but also in the transfer market.

    The revolving door policy where an incredible of players came and went, where quantity was chosen over quality far too often, negates somewhat the continuing complaints of insufficient transfer funds. He spent £250m. Just put outgoings aside for one moment. £250m spent and we rely on Ngog in Torres’ absence (to name but one massive flaw in the current squad.

    Rafa has proven very decisive; I think the press are probably surprised by the reaction of our supporters since his sacking (I agree Jim he was sacked). The trouble with our fans has been the taking of sides in the favour of Rafa who was the only voice they heard in opposition to the owners.

    But the majority of fans I know, and I’m from Liverpool, recognised that yes the owners are parasites, but the manager was a problem too.

  19. Thanks Ant,

    The biggest problem in discussing Rafa – I felt – was that everything had to be so black and white. A lot of the inexplicable decisions weren’t really so inexplicable, but as that last season in particular went on every single decision he made was put under the microscope. Sometimes the decisions weren’t so much inexplicable as hard for Rafa to explain – because despite the improvements in his English it was his third language not his first. Sometimes he’d have done well to send Sammy Lee out.

    The criticism of him being cautious is understandable, I agree he could have been less cautious at times, but I wish he’d been more cautious in the last minutes of those three Champions League games! And when he took a gamble on Aquilani, I think a lot of fans wished he’d been more cautious. In truth if you look hard enough you can probably find examples to fit any view of his methods.

    This phrase “revolving door policy” is an example of the kind of stuff that started to come out to the extent that it became a throwaway comment. He got transfers wrong, he got transfers right. He rarely had the chance to go out and buy a dead cert of a player, and you always get what you pay for. Except with Dossena, but you know what I mean.

    Xabi Alonso made 3 times what he paid for him. Fernando Torres would possibly fetch 4 and half times what was paid for him. If anyone wanted to buy Reina they’d probably need to break a record or two.

    But a lot of his transfers were done with the aim of trying to improve his squad as he went along. Some of the players he sold because he needed funds and with that “you get what you pay for” rule you sometimes have to sell some of the better members of the squad to get some money in. This is something we’ll see with the next manager too, unless we get some new owners in the next few weeks.

    Sometimes he did get it wrong, he brought players in who turned out not to be as good as he sold. Show me a manager who doesn’t. But looking purely at the sales side of things he often made a little profit on his signings. Sometimes the players were unwilling to play ball. Pennant refused a move when he had a year left on his contract, although we did get some money for his loan to Portsmouth. Bellamy was sold at a profit, other players brought decent sums in as we went along.

    That was another of the stock criticisms though. Where Rafa saw selling a player to help raise funds for his summer plans as part of football life, his critics painted him as the evil and cold heartless manager forcing them out against their will. Yet we never once sold a brilliant player who’d played well week in week out, except for Alonso, who had a great last season but put a transfer request in.

    The £250m spend argument usually make me switch off. His critics say that net spend should never be mentioned, which is ludicrous unless he always gives players away free. But it did weaken the arguments against Rafa because by the end he was actually bringing more in than he paid out.

    Generalising a little, if you knew what you were doing with cars you could probably buy a second-hand car every six months and sell it for little under what you paid for it. For six years you buy a car for £5000, sell it for £4500 six months later then buy another for £5000. After six years and 12 changes of car you’ve spent £60,000 on cars. But you never had more than £5000 worth of car at any one time, and that’s all you have now. And as well as spending that £60,000 you brought £54,000 back in.

    If you used that car for business you might find that you easily earn back the extra £500 every six months, plus a bit more than can be spent elsewhere or kept as profit.

    That £250m is like the £60,000. The money he got in from sales is like the £54,000. And the extra £500 every six months would represent what was brought in from prize money and increases in other money linked to better performances.

    I don’t think there’s one year where his net spend was more than what came in even from prize money alone.

    You mention Ngog. I’ll mention Keane. Lots of blame to share round on why that transfer didn’t work out, but when this was recognised by selling him back and cutting our losses the £16m should have been available to buy someone better than Ngog. But it was never made available, it was swallowed up by other bills the club had.

    Rafa did make mistakes but by exaggerating them it made it harder for anyone who was behind him to do anything but stay behind him.

    But he’s gone now, and the arguments and debates really do need to shift back to the owners now.

    My criticism of those who undermined Rafa applies for next season too – I never want to see that happen again and those responsible shouldn’t even be here next season. The criticism of the funds made available is for me a point that needs to be made in two separate ways. First of all, the owners and the MD need to be made to explain how we lose so much of our massive income. Secondly the manager (not Rafa now of course) has to be willing to work with whatever budget he’s given – but expectations should be agreed on by the manager and club and then communicated to fans.

    Last season we started with people (like Alan Hansen) tipping us for the league. But having made a profit on transfers and not been able to recruit for key positions the expectation should have been for us to be dropping down a number of places. And that’s without factoring in the improvements that Man City and Spurs made (at great expense) to their squads.

    Seventh was lower than we should have finished, but we should have accepted that we were one of six teams genuinely in with a chance of a top four finish. That means we still didn’t meet expectations – but we only just fell short. Quite different from the expectation we’d win the league and then finishing 7th.

    We have to learn from that from now on.

    Especially if we’re going to end up with an inferior manager or one who really isn’t any better than Rafa. One who also won’t get a budget to spend.

    But now Rafa’s gone we absolutely have to turn our attentions to the hierarchy, in particular the one “running” the club day-to-day, because he’s the biggest danger to our club in quite some time, possibly bigger than the owners because at least they would try to protect their investment.

  20. @ Juan,

    That’s a very good point about Broughton, a worrying side to his appointment that was kept from us. We were told he was just a fan and would sit out in the cheap seats rather than go in with the corporates. But that wasn’t true, he likes to divide his time watching Chelsea between the normal seats and the posh seats. He goes to their end-of-season awards and there’s no doubt he’s well in with their management team.

    I fully agree and feel it needs to be brought to the attention not just of the FA or the Premier League, who won’t care, but UEFA and perhaps FIFA.

    If Broughton had been here in 2005 Gerrard wouldn’t have stayed. That’s how I see it anyway.

  21. Contender for ironic comment of the year (last paragraph):

    Another Liverpool insider said: “Benitez went ­because they lost 19 games last season, but the deterioration of his relationship with players was another major factor.

    “In any business, if you have a number of individuals vital to the strength of your ­business then you do everything you can to keep them.

    “If you also have an ­individual who is under performing and who continually sinks to new depths of machiavellianism, then there is only one outcome.”

  22. Thanks for the response Jim.

    I’m not convinced on rafa and didn’t rate him but that’s as good a defence as i’ve seen. Who would you like to replace him? And why do you think Kenny would be friends with Purslow if he was such a snake? Purslow is a red isn’t he so I’m not convinced he’s a bad apple to be honest. I know he may have leaked stuff but Rafa played them games too.

    Have you heard the rumours about a complete takeover by the Abu Dhabi royal family? Do you think there’s any truth in it?

  23. Unfortunately Ant, I think those rumours were started by Duncan Oldham at koptalk. He’s full of it and a crook. Really.

  24. Ant – Whatever people here think of Rafa, he’s still considered one of the top coaches in Europe. (That’s not my opinion, it’s a fact). But Liverpool now find themselves in a position where all the indications are that there’s no money available to replace him with another one of the top coaches in Europe. It’s not just wages, it’s compensation too, and given that both Mourinho and Benitez had a £16m price on their heads to be released from contracts where would we find anything like that money?

    I don’t – personally – consider the likes of O’Neill and Hodgson as in the same league at all and if anyone seriously thinks an ex-Manc, ex-Chelsea, ex-Blue would get supported through thick and thin at Anfield in today’s climate they need to go and have a lie down and watch some old Mark Hughes videos.

    An even bigger worry, and although I’ve been a little tongue-in-cheek about it I do think it’s a worry, is that there’ll be some ill-thought-out and misguided clamour to get a British manager.

    On Kenny being friends with Purslow – I’m going to be careful what I say, but I don’t think Kenny would knowingly allow himself to be associated with a snake, especially one who might be acting in a way that could hurt the club. We’ve got to remember though that Kenny, despite his legendary status, is only human. But if he has misjudged Purslow, I don’t think he’d hesitate to sort matters out the second he realised something was amiss. With that in mind I hope he’s given the chance to look at other people’s doubts over Purslow and see whether he can explain it or put other people’s minds at rest.

    In simple terms, if Purslow’s genuine, he’ll have no problem at all in people questioning his integrity, and no problem showing them how they are wrong. And Kenny won’t have a problem in him doing that either, because Kenny would understand how we’ve had so much crap to deal with over the last few years that we’re bound to be suspicious.

    My concerns over Purslow go back to last summer when he completely ignored a genuine finance proposal. He didn’t even speak to the proposer, why would you not even speak to someone with access to that kind of funding? If nothing else it’s a lead, and he was here to find just £100m of investment in the club. I wish the person making the proposal would let more of the details come out into the open but I can assure you I’ve seen proof, and before I saw the proof (and I still took the information on trust) I tried to prompt a denial or explanation – no such denial or explanation was forthcoming.

    On top of that I’ve had conversations with different people who’ve had some kind of interaction with Purslow, and as you start to compare notes you start to notice contradictions in what’s being said. It’s not the big details that give it away, it’s the small, insignificant details that show you something is amiss.

    I’m also of the opinion that two wrongs don’t make a right, as they used to say at school. Purslow should not have been leaking information to the press that he knew would undermine the manager, turn some fans against him. Some of the stories about player unrest – if they did come from Purslow – have turned fan against fan as they try to defend their hero by doing down their hero’s supposed enemy. And as fans fought with each other the club went deeper and deeper into financial trouble.

    Abu Dhabi rumour? Is it the one from a certain Duncan Oldham, of Koptalk? I saw it mentioned on The Liverpool Way earlier:

    If it is you can safely laugh it off. Read that thread and look for one with a title about Dunk and a S*n hat.

    Regardless of that, in terms of any rumour you hear: You will not hear about a genuine new owner until, at best, a matter of hours or minutes before an official announcement is made. No genuine bidder will be boasting about taking over in advance of their bid going through – just in case it gives a rival a chance to outbid them. And if someone from the club leaked it, in the hope of starting a bidding war, you’d see the original buyer disappear faster than the family silver.

    We might get an indication a buyer is close to doing a deal, but we’ll get no clue as to who it is and it’s just as likely there isn’t one at all anyway.

    The closest we came to being taken over was when a buyer pulled out literally at the 11th hour. That didn’t get mentioned until quite some time after the collapse of the deal.

  25. Im not sure if there is anything in it, and all sorts of rumours are going to take flight Antoine Zammit from the site Empire of the Kop is claiming Kenny approached Purslow about taking over as manager and Purslow said no.

    Purslow wants Hodgson. He claims Kenny is furious. Again I take all of these rumours with a pinch of salt.

    I also hear that Hick has apparently turned down two offers because they didnt maych his 800 million valuation.

    This club may never sell.

  26. Hello All!

    I’d like to jump in as an American for some perspective on the flag burning. To most Americans, burning a US flag is affront to the country as a whole. It’s something that you’re raised to think is unacceptable, and in most places it’s actually illegal to do. I’ve been to rallys and protests in the past, and I’ve never seen a flag burned – not the American flag or any other.

    So for how the US media is going to spin what little coverage the SOS event did get in the USA, it might as well have said “Torres, Gerrard, the Beatles, and everybody else in Liverpool tells the USA to go to hell”.

    I get the meaning behind it, I really do. It’s meant to attract attention to the turdweasel that is Tom Hicks, and how the club is being run into the ground. But it makes no more sense to burn a US flag than it does to burn a pair of cowboy boots (he’s from Texas) or a Star of David (he’s Jewish), since the vast majority of people associated with those symbols have nothing to do with your cause. Why not tape a picture of his face to a mannequin and hang it from a pole? That would be much more direct.

    For me personally, I was a little offended to think that the flag burning was being used to associate all Americans with Tom Hicks. I dislike the guy as much as you do, but suddenly I am made to feel like I could be part of the problem? Keep in mind that the other place where Americans see US flags burned in the media is Iraq and the middle east, and I wouldn’t say that the Liverpool situation should want to be associated with that nightmare.

    I also get that SOS wasn’t actually behind the flag burning. It was rogue elements at an SOS event. But I think it would still be wise for SOS to publicly decry the flag burning. Myself and the many other US based Liverpool fans would be much more inclined to join in if we weren’t also the ones being attacked.

  27. Not condoning that site? Or the flag burning at the Anfield protest?

    That site argues correctly that it is the duty of the American people to stand up to a corrupt US government, and many do. I would argue that burning a flag in that context is very different, since you are rejecting your own symbol and using it against your own government – both of which are under the same flag. Still, I hold that it’s more likely to see a George Bush mask or Oil-stained Dick Cheney costume at a Stateside protest rally, than it would be to see burning US flags. At least that’s the case at the protests or rallys I’ve seen, anyway.

    My whole point was just that our two countries have cultural differences, that’s all. A Brit would likely misinterpret how Americans are going to react to an US flag being burned, just as how an American may not correctly predict how Brits would react to Americans stomping on a Union Jack.

    I don’t mean to derail your thread into some deep discussion about philosophical differences between our countries… we may disagree on the symbols used, but we agree that Tom Hicks should find some other club to ruin. Or better yet, he should get out of sports altogether and focus on buying fancy cars or gold-tipped cowboy boots.

  28. Jim,
    I hope you can speak & write Italian, cause what you need to do is take yourself off to Milan and start your website over there. Your obvious love for & misplaced loyalty to Mr Benitez justifies you making this move – but the one thing that is clear from reading your articles is that you can’t really call yourself a Liverpool fan. It’s Rafa before Liverpool in all your rants and your very obvious personal grudge against Mr Purslow is, well, only you know what that’s really about. How you or anyone else can’t see the damage that Mr Benitez ( and I know he is clever) was doing to the club is beyond me. I heard Thommo on Irish radio this evening talking about Torres Gerrard & how they were livid about how Benitez tried very cleverly to link their futures at the club to him staying when the truth was the exact opposite. Benitez will do well at Inter, Italy should suit his style quite well & the best of luck to him.

  29. Joe in case you forgot in the last 6 years of Benitez has managed to reach two champions league finals, an fa cup final, a league cup final, finish runners up in the league with 86 point the best total at Liverpool in almost 20 years.

    He has done this on a lessor budget than his rivals and with waring owners who have tried to replace him with Jurgen Klinnsmann.

    You sound like one of these people who doesnt look at the likes of Liverpool with a sense of perspective and realize that the other top 5 or 6 teams in the league are wealthier than us, have bigger stadiums than us but you seem to think we should have the divine right to finish above all of them. Give me a break. This is not LFC of the eighties.

    No doubt you marveled at Rafas second place finish last year and turned your back on him when the going got tough. Fans like you cant tell the wood from the trees, havent one ounce of patience and expect instant success no matter what the circumstances.

    If you call beating Real at the Bernebau, Barca at the Nou Camp, Milan at the San Siro and humiliating Untied at Old Trafford damaging the club then more fool you.

  30. @ Juan, forgot to mantion beating chalsea at stanford bridge, ending there UNBEATEN RUN THERE.



  31. @Brendan – Wasn’t condoning either. If I’d had more time I’d have been able to explain that flag-burning seems to be a bigger issue in the US than it is here in the UK. In my quick trawl of the net I found people with strong feelings about burning or otherwise defacing the flag, including a lot of people who felt it should be their right to be able to do that. In fact sticking a photo of Tom Hicks on the flag would be classed as defacing it according to some sites I read.

    You’re right though, their demand to have the right to do that is so that they can protest against their own government. One site actually pointed out (or claimed) that it was burning of British flags that played a part in the creation of the US flag. I’m sure that’s a point that would attract lots of debate in itself though so I’ll bow out of that now!

    Two weeks ago I’d have seen no real difference between burning a Texas Rangers flag and burning a US flag, other than the fact that it is going to be much easier to get hold of a US flag than a Texas Rangers one in Liverpool. Obviously if you put some thought into it you realise just how much of a part of US life that flag really is.

    I’d certainly be against any future burning of the US flag in light of what I’ve read, and thanks for raising it.

  32. Joe, if this is true: “I heard Thommo on Irish radio this evening talking about Torres Gerrard & how they were livid about how Benitez tried very cleverly to link their futures at the club to him staying when the truth was the exact opposite.” then Thommo and the radio station might want to get a lawyer on hand just in case!

    Gerrard has not got a personal problem with Benitez, quite the opposite, which could be to our loss. Let’s hope Kenny gets the manager’s job. Torres spoke out 3 weeks before the end of the season about how grateful he was to the manager. Mascherano – after attempts were made to say he hates Benitez – came out and said stuff suggesting he likes Benitez so much he hopes he signs him for Inter.

    I’m not disputing you heard this, just disputing the truth of it because it sounds very much the opposite, certainly with Gerrard. Which radio station was it?

    I don’t dispute I was pro-Rafa and I don’t think we’ll be able to afford a manager at his level now as a replacement.

    And Rafa can have Mascherano, if he pays for him, because I’d rather not have a player on our books if he’s so unhappy to be here – in his case for personal not professional reasons.

    By the way, some of Rafa’s critics actually said players would leave if Rafa didn’t. They would have been far more unhappy about that.

    Which is why one of them sent a text from his World Cup camp to make sure that wasn’t the case at all.

  33. Jim
    Again your wrong. The radio station was NEWSTALK SPORT and Thommo had been in Sligo at an event the night before. He made it very clear that Benitez had to go otherwise Gerrard and Torros in particular would leave and he was asked a second time about Torros, him being Spainish etc and he was very clear that Benitez had to go. There was a conversation in the context off how for Benitez’s method to be successfull he had to have a regular turnover of players who will show blind loyalty to him & his methods. The suggestion is that a number of senior players had lost faith in his method and the in his team selections. This was on Wednesday of last week.

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