George Gillett and Tom Hicks are set to be seen in public together for the first time this year at Wednesday night’s Champions League clash at Arsenal. And Rick Parry won’t be there to referee it.
The Liverpool co-owners have fallen out and are looking to get each other out of the club. Although Tom Hicks’ sons have been to a number of Liverpool games of late, Hicks himself hasn’t been to one this year. Neither George Gillett nor son Foster have been to any either.
But on Thursday night Gillett announced he was ending his spell away from the game, speaking to a Canadian radio show: “Foster and I are going to be going over to the Arsenal game next week and we’ve just decided this is an extraordinary time and we’re going to enjoy it and we’re going to be there and by God we’re going to try and be a positive influence on this process.”
The Hicks family had planned to be at the game long before Gillett’s announcement, but are now believed to have snapped up 16 of the available 20 tickets for the director’s box on Wednesday. When Gillett asked for four it meant there were none left for David Moores or Rick Parry.
No doubt Parry will find a ticket from somewhere, but some fans feel it is poetic justice that he’s at risk of missing out on a big game in this way. When Liverpool qualified for Athens and the ballot for tickets began he was blamed for what was described as a fiasco. Accusations were aimed at him that an already poor allocation from UEFA had been allocated unfairly by the club. These accusations were never satisfactorily answered.
Interview between fans and Rick Parry.
RICK PARRY: Can you tell us how many tickets were available in the director’s box and how many directors were entered into the director’s box?
Fans: We’re not going to go into the breakdown of the 20 tickets because we don’t think that serves any useful purpose. It isn’t going to produce any more tickets.
PARRY: One of the arguments we’ve had from directors is that they do not understand why they cannot have transparency on this.
Fans: Well, they never have. We have never given a full breakdown of where tickets go and, as I say, that would not help or produce any more tickets.
PARRY: Some directors have suggested it is imperative that the fans tell them the numbers involved in the director’s box.
Fans: No, it is not imperative that we get involved in the numbers game.
The imperative thing is that the number of people who got tickets was in proportion to the numbers in the ballot. So the ratio of owner guests to directors that actually ended up with tickets was exactly the ratio of the numbers of people in the directors’ box.
There have been suggestions that we favoured out-of-towners. That’s ridiculous. Why would we? What would we even contemplate doing that for?
It wasn’t conducted in the ticket office. There have been suggestions of collusion but it was done in a completely independent, computer generated process which could not be interfered with.
And once people had gone into the director’s box there was an even spread. They all had an equal chance and that’s how the tickets have come out.
RICK PARRY: Is there any suggestion there might have been any glitches with the system?
Fans: No. None at all.
There have not been any glitches but, clearly, as we have said all along there were nowhere near enough tickets. It’s as simple as that.
There has been no conspiracy, no manipulation. A number of people have been successful in the director’s box, albeit not as many as we would have liked. It’s not as if no-one is emerging from the directors’ box with a ticket.
RICK PARRY: One final time. Is there any way you could let us know any details of the numbers involved in the directors’ box?
Fans: No. I don‘t think we will because we have never given out numbers in the past and there is nothing new or mystical this time round.
We haven’t allocated them on any different basis this time. We have been entirely consistent in the treatment and to develop a witchhunt of why did those tickets go there? I don‘t think it would serve any useful purpose.
But the root of it is that the problem essentially lies with not getting enough tickets in the first place. That’s a frustration that we all share.