Parry denies rift, but there’s no smoke without fire

In an unusual move yesterday, Liverpool’s Chief Executive Rick Parry spoke out about a newspaper story over the weekend claiming that Liverpool’s co-owners had fallen out and no longer shared the same ideas about how to deal with their ownership of the club.

The story in the News of the World was by Chris Bascombe who recently joined the tabloid after having worked for ten years for the Liverpool Echo. He spoke of disagreements between the two owners over how each sees the best way to fund their takeover of the club. He also reported that moves to bring Javier Mascherano to the club on a permanent basis may still fail due to the fee required for the Argentinean.

Bascombe built contacts up at the club over the years he was reporting on Liverpool for the Echo, and so his story is not likely to be something he’s made up. One or more of his contacts have fed him this information, and he felt sufficiently sure of it to report it. The fact it’s come from Bascombe and not one of the usual crew of Sunday story-tellers perhaps explains why Parry felt that he had to issue a denial.

Although he didn’t say where, the Reds Chief Executive claimed he’d just been with Hicks and Gillett very recently: “I’ve just spent a couple of days with Tom and George and both of them were in good spirits working hard together on future plans for the club.”

Some of the accusations thrown at Liverpool in years gone by that have gone by without a word from the club to deny them mean this denial seems out of place, despite the author of the original story. Parry said: “I wouldn’t normally comment on these things, but on the basis of what I’ve just seen, a story in one of the Sunday papers claiming there was some sort of problem between the two couldn’t be wider of the mark. In fact, it’s absolute nonsense.”

Stories elsewhere claimed Hicks was trying to buy into AS Roma in Italy, but this was later denied by Hicks’ staff.

Whether Parry issued this denial under orders or because he genuinely knows it to be true will no doubt become apparent in the end. There have been strong rumours of the co-owners disagreeing since the Athens final. Rafa Benitez had to wait longer than he liked to be told what kind of transfer funding he was going to get – less than expected – and the feeling then was that the pair had disagreed on how much they would help Rafa improve the squad above the improvements all other teams were making this summer.

For Bascombe to lie on such an issue is pretty unlikely, especially so soon into a new job seen unnecessarily as controversial by some Liverpool fans. Perhaps his sources have exaggerated the extent of the rift between the pair, who of course won’t want such information to leak out given that it could have an impact on the value of what they’ve bought into. And getting Parry to issue this unusual denial helps to make it look like Bascombe’s making stuff up for the sake of his new job at a tabloid.

The Liverpool fans’ boycott is of The Sun. The News of the World is one of the many stable mates of The Sun, but this has never been boycotted “officially”. The boycott is against The Sun, not Rupert Murdcoch. The club actually forbid players from giving interviews to The Sun, except for example where forced to at press conferences organised by the league. Yet players are allowed to speak to the News of the World or the Times/Sunday Times. Likewise Liverpool happily use money from Sky, also owned by Murdoch. Whether or not the boycott should be extended to other Murdoch outlets is another debate – at the moment the boycott covers only The Sun.

This didn’t stop Bascombe finding people wishing AIDS upon him, or making veiled threats against him, and so it is not in his interests to stir up trouble unless it’s based on fact.

Hopefully the owners will settle their differences, without leaving the club in a crisis due to the way they seem now to be considering to deal with the debt, but Parry’s denial does not seem to add up 100%.

You can read more on Chris’s treatment by some Liverpool fans, and his views on that treatment, here.

*Apologies for the downtime on this site yesterday – our hosts had a networking issue which took them an unusually long time to resolve!

5 thoughts on “Parry denies rift, but there’s no smoke without fire”

  1. New job = new editor = new agenda.
    Trying to impress the new boss by chance (let’s not forget that the NOTW, regardless of the owns it is a pro-manc newspaper. Chris Bascombe lost all credibility with true lfc fans when he agreed to work for them, in my opinion) ?

  2. Additionally, it’s not beyond the realms of belief that when he took his new job working for Murdoch, he was immediately cut off by everyone at Anfield and that this is just sour grapes.

  3. My thought is simply “who fukcing cares”? NOTW is NOTW, no other media source ran it because its a load of old bollocks. And Bascombe sold his soul by going there.

  4. Chris Bascombe WAS a respected journalist with contacts, but in the summer his own writing and judgement failed him, as did his contacts. He wrote of how Rafa was not being given financial backing from Hicks and Gillet, yet we saw the summer arrivals of Torres and Babel.

    Rafa did not have to wait for the board to give him money to go and get these players, reading various interviews at the time, the Torres deal was actually completed 3 weeks before the press actually got a hold of it, and Torres himself spoke of how he received a phonecall from his agent notifying him of Rafa’s interest, before the Spanish season had even ended.

    While Bascombe did used to write good articles his writing over the summer was not as good, and all respect I did have for him was lost when he joined the Sunday Sun. New regime change at Anfield meaning Bascombe no longer had the contacts that made him what he was??? Bitterness that he found out about the Torres deal the same time as the rest of the press???

  5. Some good points, thanks.

    The boycott itself has always been against The Sun, and then others have chosen whether or not they should extend it to everything else Murdoch. I know some won’t even watch us on Sky because of their views. I respect that, it takes some doing to completely cut Murdoch’s stuff off that way.

    But I think rather than having a go at Bascombe for going to a paper that isn’t currently part of LFC’s boycott it would be better to go to LFC and get the paper boycotted by the club. But that’s just my view, and if we all thought the same the world would be boring.

    I see what people say about how he might have lost his contacts now, and I see what people say about sour grapes and so on, but I don’t see it myself. But that, again, is just my view.

    From what I can gather, we didn’t actually get any extra money over the summer from the owners. Bascombe linked us with players “like Forlan” when he reported that we’d not be buying players like Eto’o. We spent a lot of money in the summer but how much did we have coming in, from sales, from our usual summer budget, and from the extra telly money?

    It wasn’t all Bascombe saying we had no money, or less money than we expected – look back around that time, Rafa himself was saying it. He was also pleading with the club to pull their fingers out.

    One day Rafa turned up at work and said he’d had some interesting phone calls and his tune changed a little. Was that when he found out Heinze was available (supposedly) at that price. Was that when he heard about how he could get Torres for 25m Euro (not pounds)?

    Of course the stories and the rumours vary greatly, like the reasons behind us not getting Malouda – one story goes that Rafa thought Parry was already getting the deal done, but in fact Parry broke off contact while he waited for the green light from the owners.

    As for this story, about the co-owners falling out with each other, we might find out soon enough if CB was right. I don’t think a story like this comes out of nowhere, although of course the NOTW editor could well have made it sound a little more serious than it really is. I also honestly would be surprised if two billionaires could agree on everything.

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