Hicks: Be patient, we’re working on signings

As well as branding UEFA's William Gaillard a "clown",
Liverpool's co-owner Tom Hicks has been hinting that new signings are on the

He spoke about Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher's
contracts being agreed bar the legalities prior to the Athens final, saying
that the club were not willing to announce the agreement until the lawyers had written-up
and scrutinised the small-print. "The deal was done
before the game at Athens," he said, "but we couldn't talk about it publicly because
the lawyers were preparing all the paperwork. We all knew that before Athens
this was going to happen and I am just happy it is now official."

He knows how highly Reds supporters rate the duo: "Our
fans view Steven and Carra as their two favourite players, they are both local
boys and are local men and are leaders. They are our captains and are still in
the prime of their careers."

Liverpool supporters have had a mixed time of things of
late. Ticketing problems for the Champions League final and UEFA's declaration
that it was all our fault have been added to doubts that Rafa will be given the
funds he was promised for the players he wants to buy. Add to that perceived
delays in getting new deals agreed for Pepe Reina and Xabi Alonso and Reds fans
are getting jittery.

Hicks tried to pacify the supporters, hinting that work was
being done behind the scenes: "I would say to fans 'just be patient', because
we're talking to Rafa often. Rick Parry is in charge of getting the contracts
negotiated, we have lawyers working on it and I think the
fans are going to like the outcome. Maybe we'll hear something in the
next week."

Unfortunately it wasn't clear whether Hicks was referring to
the signings of existing players – still very important but surely not a
difficult process if the players are happy to stay – or if he was referring to brand-new
signings. One player we are certainly speaking to – through the correct
channels – is Florent Malouda of Lyon and it is likely that is who Hicks is
hinting at.

Hicks certainly feels the work being done this summer will
give the club a good chance of challenging for the title. In the interview for
Sky Sports News he also said: "Our goal is to play good football all year next year.
I think in the Premiership you have to be so consistent and we lost far too many
games on the road – particularly to lesser teams – and I think that's the goal
going into next season. To try to win those games we haven't been winning in
the Premiership and give ‘Manchester U' a good run for their money."

Continue reading Hicks: Be patient, we’re working on signings

Tom Hicks: Gaillard is a “clown”

UEFA's William Gaillard has been branded a "clown" by new
Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks over his anti-British comments and his attack on
Liverpool FC yesterday. Gaillard said, amongst other defamatory and
contradictory statements: "The incidents involving Liverpool fans have been
well known to us before the trouble at the Champions League final which
involved Liverpool fans last week.  That
was just the latest example. What other set of fans steal tickets from their
fellow supporters or out of the hands of children? It is for sure more of a
British problem because every year when there is a British club usually the
problem is there."

Tom Hicks wasn't happy. No doubt having spent much of his
life having to battle with bureaucrats to enable him to make progress with
various business interests, Hicks recognised exactly what the UEFA mouthpiece
was all about. Straight to the point, he said: "I thought the guy from UEFA was
a clown for saying that."

Speaking to Sky Sports, the wealthy Texan said: "UEFA did
not handle this right at all. To give 17,000 tickets to the two teams,
particularly knowing Liverpool is going to bring 40,000 fans is insane."
Summing Gaillard up, Hicks said: "I think it is a classic case of a bureaucrat
trying to take pressure off himself."

Of course Gaillard is just the spokesman, the one who has to
try and defend the idiotic actions of a few members of the UEFA organisation
who don't seem capable of using any common sense in terms of organising the
biggest game in their calendar. Hicks went on: "They didn't handle it right;
they didn't have proper ticketing procedures."

Liverpool had warned UEFA in advance that they had received
intelligence of their being at least 5,000 forgeries in circulation, and UEFA
did nothing at all to deal with this. As a result, and also through some fans
getting in without having tickets checked at all, many fans with genuine
tickets were locked out and attacked with teargas: "Unfortunately there were
counterfeit tickets and unfortunately there were Liverpool fans who paid
hard-earned money and a lot of fans went to great sacrifice to get their
tickets and they got to the stadium and were told there was no more room," said
Hicks. "Were they mad? Sure they were mad and I don't blame them."

It's refreshing to see the co-owner of Liverpool FC stand up
to UEFA in this way, and it's hoped that the club push UEFA all the way to an
unreserved apology for their words and actions. It's hard to see how William
Gaillard can keep his job, unless he can say on whose behalf he was speaking.
Liverpool must not let this go. At the same time we know that a few of our own
idiots took advantage of UEFA's poor organisation, and we need to do what we
can to find any of those responsible. Liverpool, Milan and UEFA also need to
look at how touts managed to get hold of so many tickets. But overall, UEFA
need to hold up their hands and admit they failed to organise a safe event, and
failed provide what many locked-out fans had paid for.

Continue reading Tom Hicks: Gaillard is a “clown”

Gerrard: UEFA wrong, our fans are fantastic

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has joined in the
condemnation of UEFA over their ill-thought-out comments in which they branded
Liverpool fans as the worst in Europe.

UEFA are the current governing body for football in Europe,
and their mouthpiece William Gaillard showed yesterday that he has a deep
dislike of British people, not just English football supporters or Liverpool FC
fans. He said, "It is for sure more of a British problem because every year
when there is a British club usually the problem is there." In saying that he
was ignoring countless incidents at football games under UEFA's jurisdiction
where fans from other countries, of clubs and of national teams, have thrown
fireworks and other missiles at players, fought in the stands, injured referees
and just caused trouble in general. Every country and every club has a number
of idiots following it. UEFA employ one – at least one. It's up to those in
charge of organising matches to ensure the idiots can't spoil it for everyone
else. Gaillard also said, as part of his botched attempt at washing UEFA's
hands of their cock-up: "What other set of fans steal tickets from their fellow
supporters, or out of the hands of children?" He's speaking about something
that we all heard anecdotes of. A scally would snatch a ticket off a fan and
run off with it. Except he'd then be chased by at least half-a-dozen fans who
would make sure they got the ticket back for the original owners. The police
ignored all this, unable to cope with the event. Other anecdotes include
intimidation and threats against Liverpool supporters who were outnumbered by
Milan fans, the Italian side's minority of idiots doing what idiots do best.
Gaillard forgot to mention those anecdotes.

Gerrard was angry about comments which tarred all the supporters
with the same brush – and in doing so tarred his own family and friends:  "What UEFA have said really upsets me. We've
travelled everywhere together for the six or seven years I've been in the first
team and from what I've seen, their behaviour has been fantastic."

Continue reading Gerrard: UEFA wrong, our fans are fantastic

Carra and Stevie here to stay

Liverpool FC's best-known scousers – well in the current
squad at least – have committed themselves to being Liverpool players for at
least another four years. The captain Steven Gerrard and vice-captain Jamie
Carragher will still be with the club in 2011.

Rafael Benitez has made it one of the priorities for this
summer to see that existing players are not in a position to be tempted away
under new UEFA (well who else messes with
football so badly?)
rules that allow players to buy themselves out of a
contract if it has less than two years to run. The effect of this is that
transfer fees are replaced by an alternative, and much lower, payment. Rafa
also wants to see Pepe Reina and Xabi Alonso kept on, but their negotiations are
not so far advanced.

In fact the deals to keep Carra and Stevie at the club were
agreed two weeks ago, and this afternoon was the first time the duo have been
available to physically sign the documents since they were drawn up. The pair
have the same agent which will help negotiations move on more quickly, but Rafa
will still be frustrated that a deal has still not been agreed for Pepe Reina
in particular. According to the local media, the Liverpool Echo, Rafa will be
hoping to let Momo Sissoko know that he has no intention of selling him, hence
the clear signal that they would reject the anticipated £10m bid from Juventus.
More worrying is the implication that Rafa has still not been given a budget
and now looks like having to sell before he can buy. Rafa is still on holiday
but the Echo claim the comments distancing Liverpool from a move to buy Daniel
Alves relate to the fact that Rafa feels he's not going to be given enough
money to buy him. If it does turn out that the new owners are not actually
willing to stump up any money – as promised – they'll find the honeymoon period
is over rather quickly. On the other hand don't be surprised if the money is
there after all, but Rafa is trying to spread it further by leaking stories he's
not got a great deal to spend. We'll know how good a transfer window this has
been in about another 12 weeks when it all comes to an end!

What has made it start off well is that we have signed two
players we really would hate to see leave. Imagine a Reds squad with Carra's name
next to number 23, or without Steven Gerrard's name in there as captain. Thanks
to a short break from England duty the pair were able to write their names on
the contracts and ensure they will be doing their bit to try and bring the
league title back home to Anfield.

They spoke to the official site, www.liverpoolfc.tv, about their deals just
before flying back off again to be with their country's squad for a vital
qualifier. Jamie said: "I'm very pleased. Obviously we're both local lads and I've
always said I wanted to stay here for the rest of my career." Carra's hoping
this will be his penultimate contract: "Hopefully I've got one more left in me
that'll take me until the end of my career. I've signed for four years and
hopefully I can still be a regular in the team. That's the aim anyway."

Continue reading Carra and Stevie here to stay

UEFA should lose Gaillard or lose football

It's time for UEFA's mouthpiece William Gaillard to step
down from his role at the current governing body for football in Europe.
Perhaps if he's speaking for his president, Michel Platini, he shouldn't be the
only one stepping down.

Before we look at what he's said this weekend, let's look at
some of the things he's said in the past. Liverpool fans were upset to find
only 17,000 tickets had been allocated to the club, and the club themselves
were attacked for the way those tickets were allocated. But one story that got
little attention was the treatment of disabled fans. How many disabled tickets
did UEFA supply to the two clubs? Thirty-two. Not 32,000 – just thirty-two.
Between the two clubs. That's 16 each. Not sixteen-hundred each, just sixteen
tickets. Which is of course farcical.

So what did Mr Gaillard say when he was asked about this?
Well he was asked about it by the Liverpool Echo on May 10th. He ought
to be ashamed of his answer: "I don't know the exact number of disabled seats,
but I would imagine the Olympic Stadium in Athens will be well-equipped.  They hosted the Paralympics quite recently."

"Well-equipped" he says! 16 tickets for disabled fans is "well
equipped"? And why didn't he know the exact number? He's the spokesman,
the mouthpiece, the person who is paid a lot of money to know. And he knew

That's not unusual though. His name became very familiar to
Liverpool fans in the summer of 2005 after Liverpool had won in Istanbul.
Gaillard was forever making statements of fact that were contradicted by his
own bosses. So why is he still there now?

Continue reading UEFA should lose Gaillard or lose football

McParland: “Exciting” work to do before I leave

Frank McParland's departure from Anfield this summer may not
get too much coverage in the media, but there's little doubt that he'll be

McParland has been Liverpool's chief scout but in July he
departs to take on a new role as General Manager at Bolton, who've just
appointed former Liverpool midfielder and one-time Melwood reserve coach Sammy
Lee as their new boss.

McParland didn't jump at the chance – he really did not know
what to do. In the end the call from his friend Sammy was too great and he
accepted the challenge.

In recent times he's played a big part in some good players
coming into the club, with three notable ones being Peter Crouch, Dirk Kuyt and
the defensive revelation Daniel Agger. He's not quite served his notice at
Anfield yet though, and will continue to help bring targets in, like he did
with the recent move to bring in the Hungarian youngsters Krisztian Nemeth and
Andras Simon.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, McParland said: "Sammy Lee
is probably the only person in football who could have convinced me to leave
Liverpool. At first I thought I'd be staying, but Sammy was very persuasive and
after giving it a lot of thought I decided this was a great chance for me."

Sam Allardyce left Bolton in order to take on the Newcastle
job, which gave Sammy Lee the promotion to boss and Bolton fans the hope that
they'll start seeing some good passing football rather than the over-physical
tactics Allardyce used much to the disgust of coaches like Rafa Benítez. With a
ten-year association with LFC McParland should be able to help Sammy move
Bolton to the more attractive kind of football most fans crave. "Liverpool is
and always will be my club, but when you're offered such a fantastic
opportunity to work alongside a great young manager at a developing club such
as Bolton, you have to give it a go."

Scouser McParland was heartened by the way Rafa Benítez reacted
to his decision when told: "I spoke to Rafa about the situation and what was
most important to me was he was supportive of my decision. He knows the
circumstances are right for me to look for a new challenge in a role which
gives me more responsibility. Sammy and I have been great mates since the day I
first joined Liverpool and I know he's going to be a top class manager – that
also influenced my decision. We're on the same wavelength when it comes to

Some of the innovations seen at Bolton include the use of
technology to get more out of players, and McParland hopes this will improve
even more under Sammy: "Bolton are a fantastic, forward thinking club which has
come on leaps and bounds in the last few years, and Sammy has the potential to
take the club even further."

Liverpool fans were sad to see Sammy leave in the summer of
2004, when Rafa Benítez joined, but his move has probably helped him move into
management more quickly than he would have done had he stayed at Melwood: "Anyone
underestimating him is seriously mistaken," says McParland. "This a guy who's
learned his trade working under the best managers in the business such as Bob
Paisley and Joe Fagan, as well as all the modern coaches he's worked for at
Liverpool and with England. He has all the top qualifications and his own ideas
about management. It was only a matter of time before he was handed his
opportunity, and it's an honour for me to be helping him through."

McParland was quick to thank the Spaniard for all he's
taught him in their time working together: "I can't speak highly enough of Rafa
or thank him enough for everything he's done for me – one of the reasons I feel
confident enough to take on a role like this at Bolton is because of what I've
learned working close to Rafa. I've learned more from him in three seasons than
the rest of my career in football."

Rafa is a popular manager with the fans, and rumours that he
was nearly sacked by the US owners following his post-Athens outburst urging
them to get a move on with transfers seem far-fetched. The US owners almost
certainly know that losing Rafa would lose them the support of the fans they so
often gush about. The rumour included the scenario that only Rick Parry's
intervention saved Rafa from being on his way. Perhaps if that were true it
would save Parry's neck, which is stuck on the chopping board right now as far
as many fans are concerned, but it would also cast doubts in the minds of those
fans about whether the new owners have a clue what they've bought into. Maybe
the truth will out one day, but for now it seems best being left in the file
marked "silly season nonsense".

Just in case the owners do need an extra character reference
for Rafa, they ought to listen to McParland. Although he's also full of
gratitude for Rick Parry: "For as long as he's at Liverpool, the club is in
safe hands. I'd also like to thank Rick Parry because it was he who gave me my
start at the club. He interviewed me for a job at The Academy ten years ago and
I've been able to move through the ranks from there. I'll always be grateful
for that."

McParland hints that something big is being worked on during
his last weeks at the club: "I've still work to do for Rafa before I leave and
there are one or two exciting projects to complete for him before I go to

We'd like to wish Frank the best of luck in his new role,
and hope these "exciting projects" work out of course!

Continue reading McParland: “Exciting” work to do before I leave

Bellamy price too steep for Villa

Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy has been appointed as the
next captain of the Welsh National side, but received the news on the same day
as Martin O'Neill declared he couldn't afford to sign the player.

Bellamy's dream move to his boyhood idols last summer looks
like being a short-term experience for a player who seems destined to always
attract trouble. The infamous golf-club incident in Portugal earlier in the
season made Rafa Benitez's decision about the players' future easier to resolve
– but he's not going to be sold at a knock-down price.

Despite the incident just before the Barcelona Champions League
game infuriating the manager, he would be prepared to keep him, even if only
for cover, rather than sell him for less than what he feels he is worth. And at
the moment Rafa feels he is worth between £10m and £12m.

Aston Villa aren't the only side interested in signing the
player, with his previous club Blackburn also keen to bring him back, and
fast-spending West Ham also said to keeping an eye on the player. However it
does seem unlikely that Blackburn would be willing to pay twice the price they
sold him for last summer.

O'Neill is familiar with Bellamy after he brought him to
Celtic on loan a couple of years back, a loan that came about because of a
bust-up at his then club Newcastle United.

The news about him becoming next Wales captain was made
after current captain Ryan Giggs announced he would be retiring from
international football. Bellamy has 45 caps and captained the side twice
earlier this season during Giggs' absence.

Speaking about the new role for the striker, former
Liverpool player and current Welsh boss John Toshack said: "Craig is something
of a character, but I have complete faith in him as Wales' new captain on a
permanent basis. I immediately took Craig aside and told him he would be taking
over when Ryan had left."

Despite Bellamy's bad-boy tag, some of it is exaggerated and
unfair, and a court case was thrown out earlier this year after the girls
accusing Bellamy and his friend of assault in a nightclub were pretty much
shown in court not to be telling the truth. The mud sticks, but Toshack is
confident he's made the right choice: "Without a shadow of a doubt he is the
right man for the job. He did it very well earlier in the season. He is
committed to Wales and I would accept he is very vocal about things, but I had
no doubt in appointing him captain on a permanent basis when Ryan leaves us."

As for Bellamy's future at Anfield, well a lot of that
depends on how successful Rafa Benítez is on the transfer market this summer.
The Spanish press are now claiming Liverpool have made a ridiculous offer of
£40m for the Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o. Liverpool are certainly interested in the player, but he's not the only striker on their radar.  

Continue reading Bellamy price too steep for Villa

Independent LFC Fans’ Survey.

In the two weeks running up to the final in Athens,
discussion amongst the owners and admins of a number of fanzines and websites
led to the idea of launching an independently-run fans' survey. The intention
of the survey would be to gather ideas on a range of fan issues and then inform
the club on how the fans feel it could improve in these areas.

The idea isn't for this to be an ongoing project with specific long term aims,
but more a snapshot of the current state of the club's "customer
interaction", hopefully leading to the opening of a dialogue with the new
owners. They can then carry the ideas forward themselves and hopefully
introduce improvements which benefit us all.

The survey is being supported by the following fanzines, groups and websites:

Anfield Road
On The Kop
Reclaim The Kop
Red All Over The Land
Red And White Kop
Shankly Gates
Six Crazy Minutes
The Liverpool Way
The Road End
This is Anfield
Through The Wind And Rain

To conduct the survey we've created a number of email addresses where ideas,
problems and issues can be sent. We will then collate them, publish a summary
of the views we receive on all the participating sites and make the results
presentable to the club.

The initial focus, based purely on time, will be the loyalty card system. What
we'd like is for fans to put some thoughts on how they would like
"loyalty" operated – everyone is aware of the furore over the way
tickets were allocated for the final in Athens and we feel this is our chance
to speak with the club to get a system the majority of fans think is clear and
fair, and hopefully get it in place for next season. You may feel the current
system is fine, or you may want major changes – we are sure there'll be lots of
different ideas sent to us. And we don't want to restrict this just to the way
the final tickets were allocated, but for it to also encompass the whole issue
of loyalty across all the competitions through the season, so your
views and ideas are welcome.

Email us with your views on the loyalty scheme to:


The events in Athens has inevitably generated much discussion amongst fans – as
such rather than dealing with this ourselves, we thought it worth pointing fans
in the direction of the Football Supporters Federation who are investigating
the ticketing shambles and are requesting individual accounts from fans. We'd
urge everyone with strong views on what went on to get in touch:


email: athens2007@fsf.org.uk

They've also told us they're thinking about organising a meeting in 2/3 weeks
time in Liverpool on the Athens issue and will get in contact with more
information when it is available.

Moving on from there, as well as the loyalty issue we also want to collate
ideas (personal examples would be great) of how the club can improve in other
areas. For example fans often find the club shop is short of items; maybe you
unhappy about the way the ticket office sells tickets by phone/online; do you
get frustrated when seeing tickets advertised by agencies or touts?; or perhaps
you have an idea on how the club can improve its matchday facilities such as
reducing the queues for a beer at halftime.

Contact us with your thoughts via these email addresses:

Ticket Office:

Club Shop:

Online Store:



We're sure to have missed some fans out so feel free to post this on other LFC
sites/message boards/email lists – the idea of this is for it to be inclusive
of all ideas and issues. Nobody is right or wrong, we just want to move the
club forward, help provide as many points of view as possible, and improve
things for us, the fans.


Independent LFC Fans' Survey

supported by:

Anfield Road http://www.anfieldroad.com
Est1892 http://www.est1892.co.uk
LFCOnline http://www.lfconline.com
On The Kop http://www.onthekop.com
Reclaim The Kop http://www.reclaimthekop.co.uk

Red All Over The Land http://www.raotl.co.uk

Red And White Kop http://www.redandwhitekop.com

Shankly Gates http://www.shanklygates.co.uk

Six Crazy Minutes http://www.sixcrazyminutes.com

TalkLFC http://www.talklfc.com
The Liverpool Way http://www.liverpoolway.co.uk

The Road End http://www.theroadend.co.uk

This is Anfield http://www.thisisanfield.com

Through The Wind And Rain http://www.ttwar.net

YNWA http://www.ynwa.tv

Continue reading Independent LFC Fans’ Survey.