Delight for Mascherano, last new signing of Gillett-Hicks nightmare

Javier Mascherano has today become a Liverpool player in a permanent deal that at times looked like never happening.

The Argentinean international has been at Anfield on loan since January 2007, and that loan was set to end in the summer. A deal was negotiated to sign him before Christmas by Rafa Benítez, but fell victim to the Tom Hicks “concentrate on coaching” orders in November. It wasn’t until Hicks and Gillette finally got the last-minute go ahead for their £350m gift of debt to LFC that Mascherano could really feel comfortable about his future.

At that point Hicks said that he could be signed, for what might sound a massive deal but is believed to really be quite some bargain. The fee spoken about is £18.6m, which some reports say includes the initial £1.5m spent on the initial 18 month loan. The remaining £17m covers the “transfer fee” payable to the MSI group who owned him and also the players’ wages for the four years this deal covers. The reason the deal took so long to finalise was because of the need to ensure no Premier League rules were broken on third-party ownership.

Chief Signs for four yearsTo say he was pleased would be an understatement: “This is the best moment in my career,” he told the club’s official website. “I am very, very happy and now I can concentrate just on playing football. I said all along that I wanted to stay at Liverpool and now that I have signed I can say this is the best and the biggest moment in my career so far.”

He arrived at Anfield around a year ago, and although he couldn’t play straight away due to delays in getting clearance thanks to the mess West Ham had made in their “purchase” of him, soon he was swapping being left out in the cold at the Hammers with helping the Reds all the way to the Champions League final. He could tell the difference as soon as he got here: “From the first day I arrived at Liverpool the feeling was good and I knew this was where I wanted to play my football. It’s good news for me and my family that everything is sorted and I know where my future is going to be. I just want to do my best for the fans and the people of the club.”

Like anyone living under the cloud of uncertainty, the past few months have been difficult. He was always happy at Anfield, but had to be sure his future would be here. He wanted it to be, as did manager Rafa Benítez, but the continual backstage idiocy from the owners meant he just didn’t know where he stood.

He’s confident of being able to play a part in the future success of the club: “I am at a top side and I know I can win titles here. That’s the big thing for me. I want to be at a club where we can win trophies and have success.” More signings of the quality of Mascherano are needed before we can be sure of success, and evidence of a way of funding them is needed. As things stand, there’s a genuine fear that a slip-up in getting a top-four finish this season could see us actually being forced to sell players just to stay afloat. There’s no proof from the current owners that a scenario of that nature could be avoided.

Rafa Benítez was of course delighted to see the player sign. It’s clear that the bullying statements telling Rafa to shut up and forget about planning the future of his squad, made as the owners were offering Jurgen Klinsmann his job, were made because they had no plans at that stage to keep Rafa in his job. And that’s one of the reasons Mascherano’s future wasn’t confirmed to him – why carry out such a deal when the manager’s about to leave? The deal doesn’t prove Rafa’s future is safe however – the player could be sold in the summer at a massive profit if any new manager felt inclined to do so.

Rafa said: “We must be really pleased with the situation now. He has been a key player for us since he has been here and now we know he can be a key player in our future. From the start we knew Javier was a player with quality and a fantastic mentality.”

The boss explained that he’d had his eye on the player for some time: “We knew the player when he was in the reserves at River Plate but was playing for the senior national team and we had been monitoring his career since then. He is young but he has great experience having played for his country. We knew he would be a good signing for us.”

Rafa also feels that the player will improve his already impressive talents by playing for the Reds: “It’s clear that he is one of the best midfielders in the world but he can get better with us. We now have a lot of good options in the centre of midfield and that’s good news for the club.”

Rick Parry used the signing as an opportunity to make some stupid claims alongside the obvious ones: “Our overriding thought is that we are delighted to have signed a world class player on a long contract and I know Javier is thrilled too because he was keen to have his long term future resolved.” There are the obvious claims. What about the others?

He said: “I think this signing demonstrates two things. Firstly, that life at the club goes on despite all of the speculation to the contrary.” Life may well have gone on, but this deal was sanctioned when George Gillett was still a part of the club’s future, and still had his son working for the club. The fact it’s taken over a month to go through doesn’t mean the club’s functioned well during that month. No similar deals could be agreed to now, because the two owners are no longer in contact with each other.

Parry probably realises it, but as far as most fans are concerned he’s third on the list of targets to “get out of our club”. He is believed to have pocketed £500k for getting the current owners on board instead of DIC a year ago. He is believed to have negotiated a personal contract that sees it made pretty expensive for the club to get rid of him before the contract ends. He recently got a brand-new Ferrari delivered courtesy of the club. He’s clearly done well out of the shambles of the last year, and is unlikely to ever be forgiven for his part in it.

He knows that George Gillett has disappeared, he knows Gillett wants out, yet he says: “And secondly it demonstrates in very large measure the ongoing commitment of the owners who once again have come good when funds have been needed.”

Ongoing commitment? Taking your son out of his job at Melwood and heading for the hills never to be heard again, ignoring all attempts to be contacted, refusing to comment on anything whatsoever to do with the club and offering your shares for sale is ongoing commitment? On what planet exactly? Mascherano is likely to be the final signing of the Gillett-Hicks nightmare era.

The funds have come as part of that massive millstone around the Liverbird’s neck of £350m debt. That debt includes the interest that the owners didn’t pay on their first loan taken out to buy the club, and the various costs the bank wanted for arranging all of this precarious debt. What little is left is hardly likely to improve the squad to the level it should have been at last summer, let alone where it should be after the other clubs have done their business at the end of the season. This deal has payments to be spread over the four years it runs for.

Parry won’t be in the job much longer, and maybe hopes his words will give him a stay of execution. But that’s highly unlikely. DIC will look to recruit someone for the role who has experience in the football world at that level. Hicks is rumoured to be looking to promote commercial director Ian Ayre to the role.

If Parry’s contract is terminated early he’ll walk away with a six-figure sum, although whether he actually has to walk or gets to keep his Ferrari hasn’t been revealed.

But for Mascherano, for Rafa and for Liverpool fans, this is a rare good day amongst some never-ending black ones.

18 thoughts on “Delight for Mascherano, last new signing of Gillett-Hicks nightmare”

  1. the only time, most of us will be happy ,is when the yanks leave…. they are the worst thing to happen to liverpoolfc.. gillett is willing bto sell to dic, why can,t hicks do the same? why GREED………

  2. This is the 1st piece of really good news we’ve seen for ages. I am delighted to see Mascherano sign long term. I think along with Carra & Torres he’s been our most consistent performer this season. It’s no mean feat consigning Alonso to the subs bench.

    I know there are legitimate doubts about how many of the 4 years he’ll see out if 4th isn’t obtained in the league, but with Javier on board its more obtainable this season and will hopefully help to push us on next season too. I echo your sentiments that more players of his ilk/quality are needed throughout the squad. It’s a shame he could be the last we get for a while…

  3. Absolutely fantastic news.

    But if i can pick up on something that the weasel Parry said

    “…And secondly it demonstrates in very large measure the ongoing commitment of the owners who once again have come good when funds have been needed.”

    That’ll be more of that ‘financial committment’ they borrowed on the club assets

  4. Jim Boardman is one of those who try and divert attention from the one real issue – the lack of performance by the manager.

    Just 2 months ago he was suggesting the owners would not sign Mascherano and now they have, his mealy mouthed comments are extraordinary.

    Benitez was the first to drag the club’s name through the dirt and should have been sacked. Of course, subsequent events only aggravated the situation and made it worse.

    The main issue though is the managers performance. Including the Mascherano deal, Rafa has spent £170M with some money recouped through sales. But the fact remains £170M was made available to hiim and we are floundering in the Premier League. We are a slow side with too much caution, and a mish-mash of players. We don’t have a type of player and the manager still doesn’t know his best side or who should play where.

    Too many dodgy signings, rotation, players playing out of position, players not performing, players not good enough, players not caring, and dodgy selections and formations.

    Benitez has failed and has to go! He has split the dressing room and Carragher and Gerrard obviously no longer support him. Wenger & Ferguson do not see him as a threat in the Premier League.

    Benitez is a lightweight and there is no Premier League title in him. People need to wise up and stop dreaming.

    We need a manager who will make the league title his top priority. The CL has clearly camaflouged Benitez’s inadequacies and papered over the cracks.

  5. kevin callanan needs to get out of your dreamland and come back to reality. or should i say get out of your armchair in london and stop phoning 5 live every week moaning and INSTEAD SUPPORT YOUR TEAM AND MANAGER.

    Your figure of 170M can easily be plucked from newspapers, wishing to stir up controversy to sell papers but can u give me a breakdown of player purchases and players sold? and then be more realistic with a NET figure. And then compare the NET spend with Chelsea and Man Utd for the past 4 years??

    As much as it pains me to say it we are not in their league when it comes to spending power. They have consistantley bought in world class players over the past 4/5 years that cost 17-30million. Until today we have only had 1!!!

    We’d all love to win the league again without a doubt including Rafa but your in cloud cookoo land. Rafa has taken us up to be amongst the great teams in Europe once again. 2 European cup finals in 3 years is not easily achieved, yet you talk of the European Cup as if it is equivalent to the League Cup or FA VASE!!!

    With financial backing and new owners this is the ideal platform to attract world class players and push on in the league over next few years. However negative supporters like kevin will drag our club backwards

  6. kopite spot on. We started this season with the 4th best squad despite Rafa strengthening with Torres and Babel. There was too much headway to make up on the other three. Where do the Rafa bashers expect the 4th best squad to finish? OK the gap is too big and too much emphasis is placed on the Champions league to the detriment of some premier league games but any degree of underperformance hardly merits the “sack him now” hysteria from some fans.

  7. kevin callanan, I disagree with your post in it’s entirety.

    We have a fantastic manager, and a superb group of players. Sadly, on the ownership front, Moores and Parry invited this cancerous pair into our great club; and it’s proving difficult to get rid.

    Jim (Boardman), keep up the work mate. Your articles are always spot on. Best on the web for LFC related issues. imho In my google reader, I pull your latest stuff in via an rss feed. Essential reading each day. Best wishes.

  8. agree with ‘kopite’ and john steele.

    re; masch
    Im renormously relieved that such a quality player has finally been made a permanent mamber of the playing staff. He’s been one of our most consistent performer this season and praise must be given to Rafa for confidence in his ability from the start and helping him settle. I trust that we have yet to see the best of this little general….
    also I think his passing as dramatically improved since joining, whether that be down to the coaches, alonso/gerrard, i don’t know, but I don’t really care!

  9. To Kevin Callanan….

    Thank you for having the courage to post a reasonable, well thought out, accurate assessment of the sad saga of LFC 08′. Believe me, there are so many more LFC supporters that like you, I’m assuming, have time on a Saturday to peruse the “Blog Idiocy” of myopic supporters who, probably unlike us, have lives and jobs from Monday through Friday. I wish you clowns who will invariably attack me with your, “I’ll bet you’ve never been to Anfield”, or “You’re probably an American”, or “I’ve been a supporter for (fill in the blank) number of years, what do you know”, would get your heads out of your arse’s and realize that simply being anti-American and blaming everyone and everything but the obvious is the cause of the woes of LFC. Boardman is just like the Echo, the Post, anyone who lives within a 30 mile radius of the club and others who simply will follow the manager over a cliff if necessary because he brought Champions League glory in 2005. Move the f**k on! It’s 2008 with no real progress or light at the end of the tunnel for league success. Don’t believe me, ask your, our captain. Didn’t you hear what he said. For those of you who ignored it, like Boardman, what he said was even if they win the Champions League this year, it doesn’t make up for the league failure. Ya think that is ringing endorsement of the manager? Hell no it’s not. What he said, albeit between the lines, was that Rafa’s concentration on Champions League glory isn’t what the players want. They aren’t obviously going to throw it away, but the goal is a league title. Any confidence that will happen anytime soon? No, didn’t think so. Of course the money used to finalize the deal with Mascherano, what, just dropped out of the sky? Course not, it had to come from the owners. How about a little credit. And what a hypocrite Boardman is, right after claiming in his own words that the reason for the hold up was to “ensure no Prem rules were broken on third party ownership”, he goes on to blame the delay on the idiocy of the owners behavior. Stay with the “Attack the owners” argument for LFC’s failures. Lucky none of the reasonable LFC supporters who have lives agree with you or the other clowns who spend 18 hours per day blogging. Great job Kevin, the millions of LFC supporters who have lives are with you. Now let’s wait for the clowns to respond, crack a pint, and laugh our arses off! Like shooting fish in a barrel.

  10. 9/ to paraphrase an intemperate diatribe : sack Rafa

    So: ShareLiverpoolFC with 10,000 pledges and another 10,000 would if they could (all 20,000 concerned at the ownership situation) + SOS who claim 9,000 sign ups (most definitely concerned) + Then you have the phone ins, letters to the Echo, and last but not least the Echo survey showing 90% of fans wanting a change in ownership. There will be some overlap but it doesn’t leave many to form the silent majority you claim is out there.
The nationality of our shareholders is not the issue, nor is their personality, nor even who they help the club buy. The only difference between this and any other issue is that venal owners pose a threat to the club’s existence in the top flight. A non-performing manager issue can be fixed in a season or two

    Sacking Rafa will deliver the Premier League when?

  11. Alright mate, stay with me, I’m doing the math here and will give you the 29,000 or so pledges, raise you, oh, an additional 100,000 bloggers, and throw in about 25,000 more just for the hell of it. Are you telling me this comprises 90% of Liverpool fans out there. An absurd statement, eh? Exactly my point. You know as well as I numbers can be manipulated to suggest whatever you want to suggest. So 90% of how many? If you told me the representative sample was close in number to the fan base, fine, but you know that is not the case. And the Echo/Post doesn’t really count does it? I mean if there is a more biased paper against the ownership, I am not aware of it. I am disappointed in the ownership just as everyone else is but I ask you to ask yourself this question. If the Americans said nothing in November and none of this came out with Klinsmann, and we had the season we have had, are you as ardent a supporter of the manager as you are today? It would be hard for anyone to believe that there would be this staunch support for Rafa to the extent we’re seeing presently. My conclusion is that you’re all more anti-American ownership than anything else. Final point, if it isn’t an anti-American thing then why are 90%, I repeat 90% of all vitriolic comments on the blogs prefaced or ended with the word “American or Yank”? Hmmmmmmmmmm. And yes, my intemperate diatribe could have been more cogently stated by simply saying Sack the Manager!

  12. I feel you have made my point for me as I believe a large majority of the paying customers ( “suckers” who will occupy seats whatever – is Mr Hicks philosophy) are concerned at the current situation and want it resolved.

    I am not an apologist for Rafa and believe he is lower down his premier league learning curve than he thinks he is. In reality we should be closer to Chelsea than we are. Our mid season and transfer window reinforcing have not bridged the gap in squad quality to the three teams we benchmark against. This is all pertinent to the normal in-club appraisal procedure when Rafa’s contract is up for renewal.

    And there’s the rub, the internecine warfare between owners, between employees of the club and the owners if Chris Bascombe is to be believed and lastly between Hicks and his Bankers, means that it would probably be impossible for such a decision (sacking the manager) to be taken much less implemented. I am anti-Hicks on one ground only – he has brought into play the spectre of a Leeds type meltdown. If he were to get 100% control he would most likely revert to his preferred position of all debt, including his own costs of acquisition, on to the club. He needs us to maintain a modicum of success to ensure that the “suckers” fill seats in the shiny new stadium he wants to build. That success will be leveraged by even more borrowing on even more marginal collateral to buy the players we need. The Leeds type house of cards will be in place. This a real concern to many supporters and can not be dismissed as anti-americanism or any other ism other than deeply held concern for the club many have supported since childhood.

  13. Unfortunately, “9”, your conclusions seems to be that everyone who supports Rafa is a scouser, everyone who hates the owners is a scouser, and everyone who hates the owners hates all Americans.

    You couldn’t be further from the truth. But I think you’re failing to see the truth purely because you’ve gone on the defensive, assuming the anti-Hicks talk = anti-everything-American.

    In the UK “Yank” means “someone from the US”. The two owners are from the US. So they’re referred to as “The Americans” or “The Yanks”. If, say, both owners had been Texan, and the new potential owners sitting in the wings were also American but from another part of the US, we’d be calling them “The Texans” or something else that points out who we mean in a couple of words. Those whose comments are full of anger or vitriol are no different to those who comment in a more reasoned way really in how they refer to the nationality of the owners.

    Robert Kraft expressed a qualified interest recently. He spoke about how important he thought winning was, and how he wouldn’t get involved in a sports venture if he thought he couldn’t make it win. If he arrived in town tomorrow saying he’d found a way to make that happen, and demonstrated it would be funded without crippling debt, he’d be accepted as readily as DIC. It doesn’t look like he can invest in that way though, so we’re not expecting him to arrive on the scene.

    You talk about Klinsmann. The owners wanted to sack Rafa in November, but were advised to try and come up with an excuse. You see they wanted to sack him because they’d had a row with him, because he’d stood up to them. If they’d got their way and Klinsmann had come in, do you seriously think they’d have made a decision that would now see is alongside the top two fighting for the title? I think we’d be outside the top eight personally.

    Rafa’s future is one subject that is a matter of opinion. I hear all the arguments for and against him, from people I respect too, but nobody truly knows if he can bring us the title if backed on and off the field. Nobody. So someone will need to decide if it’s worth waiting to see or not. It serves no good purpose for the club now though for anyone to attack him.

    What’s frustrating “9” is that in your job you’re supposed to be able to look at evidence and then make a fair and reasoned judgement. Instead you have gone on the defensive and used assumptions to form most of your opinion without looking at facts.

    Liverpool fans in Liverpool and its surrounds are much the same as Liverpool fans anywhere else and your suggestion is almost as xenophobic as you claim fans in Liverpool to be! People make up their own minds, wherever they’re based, although there are different influences that help them form their opinions. People hear co-commentators spout a “fact” and then use that to base their knee-jerk opinions on. Others check the “fact” and find out it’s not a fact at all. It happens with papers too. It happens with workmates too. Drinking pals. Some believe everything in the press. Other believe nothing. We’re all different, we’re all individuals, we’re all going to make our opinions in our own way. Regardless of where we’re from.

    In your job, you should be able to work these things out. You should be open-minded and certainly not someone who judges a person based on pre-conceived prejudices. I doubt you’ll own up in public as to who you are or what you do, but I think some of those who have been, shall we say, customers of yours would be devastated to find out this is how your mind works.

    By the way, the reason I’ve not covered the Gerrard comments is because I’ve not had time – another of your assumptions down the drain.

    Our fanbase is split on different issues. Most want the ownership situation to change and regret it ever happened. A sizeable number do want the manager out – it’s still a minority but it’s a growing number. There’s also a group who think he’s had his time but feel the priority is to get the owners out before dealing with the manager. Others want the owners out and then for Rafa to be allowed to get back to where he was a year ago.

    You’re clearly patriotic, but your patriotism blinds you to the facts. It’s nothing to do with the owners nationality at all.

    Gillett’s gone, just as soon as he can get his $50m US. Hicks is battling to stay on. Can he stay on and make money without leaving us as a side that at best can’t afford to challenge for the title, at worse find ourselves in League 2?

    He was invited into our club to bring us that extra bit of investment we needed to make us into a self-sufficient, successful, league-challenging team for the foreseeable future. I’ve seen nothing to say he will, or that he can. They claim they’ve got something up their sleeve that will help us to bring this – well their word has been shown time and time again to be completely worthless. Actions are what we need, surrounded by honesty. Can we get that?

    It’s time you opened up your mind and saw the truth in what is happening instead of jumping to the defence of your compatriots just because they’re your compatriots.

    We embraced them when they arrived, we fell for their spin and what turned out to be lies. We’d want them out for that if they’d been Scouse or Scottish, American or Australian. We don’t care where they’re from, we care that they broke our club.

    Get your prejudices sorted out and show us that you care about our club and the mess it’s in. Read the evidence instead of the bits that suit your agenda. Make a fair and balanced judgement of the situation after you’ve done that. If you’re as bad as this in your day job you shouldn’t be in it. Should you?

  14. “Read the evidence instead of the bits that suit your agenda. Make a fair and balanced judgement of the situation after you’ve done that.”

    Jim, you have an agenda of your own, based upon the conclusions you have reached from the evidence you have seen. It *may* be that you are correct.

    However, Mr Callahan and Mr 9 have reached different conclusions from yours. They are entitled to read events differently to you. You suggest that because they don’t concur with your views, 9 isn’t good enough for his day job.

    This rather gives the impression you believe that your take on events is the one true gospel, rendering any attempt to *discuss* matters with you redundant.

  15. Jim….

    The justice system provides for an opportunity for advocates of both sides to make their case before a judge. That is truly and honestly the best form of justice. The inherent “checks and balances” so to speak are what form the fair and equitable resolution of problems. However, once the cases have been made and evidence submitted to a court, the ultimate job and duty of a jurist is to make conclusions based on that evidence. This, Jim, is where you have either misunderstood my position or you have simply chosen to continue the advocacy of “your” position. That, I would expect, is fair enough.
    I don’t really know where you’re from, nor is it an issue that I find to be relevant. The issue is simply, are the supporters of Liverpool FC getting unfiltered, unbiased, objective, and reliable information in which to make their own decisions. My assessment is that the Liverpool Echo and Post, as well as most blogs and sources of information are agenda driven and therefore not objective.
    You work in the media, I think. Business dealings as you know are held in the strictest confidence and because baristers/attorneys are involved there are privileges that are held inviolate and careers depend on that confidence. What I simply would like to know is where the reliability of the source and information lie? We know that almost all of the headlines and information that constitute rumour, by its definition, are untrustworthy. Yet, there is a reliance of information on these rumours that is something that I have never seen before and really strike at the foundations of credibility as I judge it in daily life.
    Jim, you seem to be a decent enough guy, but I fear your reporting is taken by some supporters as “fact”. My point is that your assumptions are primarily based on opinion and the mixing of the two is concerning to someone like me. I would be happy to talk to you anytime. I’m sure you know where to find me. You’ve obviously taken a look at my e-mail address, googled the name, and realized what it is I do professionally. Please follow up and call me at the office Monday morning and I would be happy to have an intelligent conversation on a subject that is very close to my heart. I think we can all agree that the future of LFC is where our hearts lie.

  16. Thanks for all the replies and comments.

    First of all, anyone can comment here, as long as they aren’t overly abusive I can’t see that changing. The first time someone leaves a comment the software holds it back. As long as it isn’t obviously spam then it will be approved some time later, minutes or hours later depending on whether anyone’s around to approve it. After that the person can post comments freely. I read them all, even if I don’t reply to them. So don’t suggest I am somehow blocking people from criticising or disagreeing with me. I’d rather people told me where they don’t agree, I’d prefer it if they did it fairly politely and backed it up with some evidence or well-thought-out reasons of their own, but not everyone is willing to do that.

    I don’t want people to think I’m right and they’re wrong, far from it. I know my views don’t match everyone’s. My annoyance with the earlier comments was that this article is talking about Mascherano’s signing, and with Parry’s comments implying that it showed the owners were all-round great guys we should all love and stop complaining about, it was natural to put something in there to counter that. The deal wasn’t paid for by owners dipping into their deep pockets. It was paid for out of that massive £350m debt, the leftovers from a profitable January transfer window and is also I believe payable over four years, including wages. Parry said “owners” plural when talking of “ongoing commitment”, when I know for a fact that Gillett has been trying to sell his share of the club. I pointed out that the deal was held back in November, when the owners were busily threatening Rafa he’d be sacked if he didn’t get past the CL group stage, and offering his job to Klinsmann anyway. It still wasn’t given the go-ahead even after that, finally being allowed to go to the next stage when the owners finally got their £350m loan. The owners held it up until that point, after that it was the legal issues that held it back.

    The article was about Mascherano, what held the deal up, warned against falling for the lines about what it said about the owners, then someone jumps in and attacks Rafa instead. I’ve a feeling that first person is a well-known wind-up merchant from various internet forums, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. “9” then used the attack on Rafa as his way of defending the owners. He never offered anything to actually defend the owners that was to do with the owners, just attacked Rafa, internet users, all fans based within 30 miles of Anfield and ignored parts of what the article said.

    Why use Rafa to defend the owners?

    Rafa may or may not be the right man for the job, that’s really a matter of opinion though rather than fact. People I respect the opinions of want him out and others want him to have more time. He’s not had the backing this season that he should have had, having been given less of a transfer budget than promised and after being told he was going to be sacked for complaining about that. But the question we can’t answer is if he could have won the league if he’d had that backing. As for it being his priority to put the CL over the league – it’s not him that set that priority, even if it suits him for it be that way.

    But using Rafa as a way of somehow saying that the club’s problems are his instead of the owners’ is hardly in order. Would Klinsmann have us in the top spot by now had Rafa been replaced by him in November? KC above said that Rafa was the “one real issue”, which given the level of debt we’re in and the fact that our 50/50 owners don’t speak is naive to say the least.

    Rafa’s position is an issue, and one that the club needs to look at when the season’s over. That review should be in-depth and include some thought on how much of the season’s on-pitch ills were caused by what went on off the field. It’s not just Rafa’s position that should be under review – if some players have been causing extra difficulties off-field then they too need to have their futures resolved. Some are trying to start little battles of who should stay, Rafa or Gerrard – but why should it be a choice? If Gerrard has been sulking and spreading discontent amongst players, it’s the third time he has put his own desire for medals ahead of the good of the club. But that’s still an “if” – hence the need for a review in the summer. Has our CEO been acting for the good of the club the last couple of years? Is our commercial director looking after the club or himself? And so on and so forth.

    That review needs to be carried out by whoever owns us in the summer, and we can only hope that those owners want success on the field for the club as much as we do. Because if they don’t, it doesn’t matter who our manager is.

    So keep the comments coming please, even if you don’t agree with what I say.

    “9” – maybe I’ll drop you a line at some point. But I’ll quickly say that people in the club and outside the club trying to get in are all leaking little bits of information and obviously that’s only being leaked for their benefit. The hardest part is trying to work out what’s not being said rather than what is being said, and most of what’s said is off the record. Just because it’s off the record doesn’t make it false. Gillett is definitely ready to sell. DIC genuinely want to buy, and are treating this potential purchase very differently to their usual investments. Hicks is not giving up so easily. Read some of the other articles on here for more on all that.

  17. Jim….

    It’s your forum and the last word will be your’s. My only comment is that we shall agree to disagree. I sincerely hope you drop me a line someday. Not necessarily because we may misunderstand eachother’s positions or disagree with them, but because the LFC support base should be inclusive not exclusive, uniting not dividing. I think, like I said before, we all sincerely want the best for the club.

  18. I’ve dropped you a line “9” – hopefully explaining things in more detail.

    I think there are some issues that are always going to be a matter of opinion, and on those issues fans will always argue. Good, because it would be boring if we didn’t. Who’s the best partner for Torres? Should rotation be stopped, limited or continued? Is 4-4-2 the only formation we should use? Should we play the same regardless of who we play or adjust to suit our opponents? All matters of opinion. All opinions wrong until proven right or vice versa.

    The ownership issue is less of a matter of opinion though, in my opinion (ahem!)

    I don’t expect the owners to start revealing secrets that give an advantage to competitors. But I expect more honesty – don’t we all? George Gillett wants to sell and get out, yet Rick Parry talks of an ongoing commitment. Better to say nothing than say that. Once again Parry says something that clearly isn’t true, yet expects us to fall for it and for future statements too.

    It’s still good to talk about those other subjects that are a matter of opinion, but using them to deflect the heat from the owners isn’t really what’s best for the club.

    Without wishing to make us all paranoid, they are watching! They are reading. They are listening. If they honestly thought they could blame Rafa for everything and get away with what they’d done then they’d do it. Their rivals for ownership are watching too, and were hugely encouraged by what they saw on banners and other indirect feedback.

    Getting the money together is the first hurdle for whoever takes over. Even DIC know that any trust in them will be cautious, because of our being burned before. They can earn that with honesty, telling us the bad and the good, making promises they can keep rather than promises they’ll let us down over. The Hicks family know their task is even tougher, but the same principle applies and needs to start being applied now.

    What we mustn’t do is let sideshows develop that distract us from what’s happening. Rafa’s future, Parry’s future, Carra’s future, Gerrard’s future, other players’ futures, Ayre’s future – all of these are going to be discussed when Gillett goes, whoever is in charge. All of those people have probably got a percentage of blame for what’s happened and either need to improve or to go depending on what’s next.

    For now we just need to be wary of falling for spin, from anyone, about the club’s future.

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