Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Blackburn was a welcome but short-lived distraction from the hapenings off the field that have made the headlines far too much in this past few days.
Events at Anfield are coming to a head with various reports coming out of ultimatums having been issued by one unhappy member of Liverpool’s staff.
We had two weeks of relative peace following the breakdown of the brief talks in Dubai between Hicks Sports Group and Dubai International Capital. Supporters speculated on what might be happening behind the scenes but in truth very little was.
Then one Thursday night George Gillett came out of his cave to announce the end of his hibernation time. He growled a lot about his relationship with Tom Hicks, and the battle was back on. He also promised he’d be at the Emirates for the Champions League quarter-final first leg.
Rick Parry followed this on the Sunday, saying that he was hoping to see some progress that week in the ownership situation.
On the Wednesday a story about the Hicks party taking 16 of the 20 tickets, and Gillett’s group taking the other four, saw a genuine chance that Rick Parry and David Moores would be unable to sit in their privileged seats at the Emirates. In the end the Hicks group gave some of their tickets back and the seats were made available. But not everyone in the total party of twenty sat down to eat together. And George Gillett didn’t appear anyway, claiming to have been snowed in back in Vail, Colorado, or Chicago, depending on which version of events was meant to be believed. His son Foster, who works out of the same office, did make the game, and rumours spread that Gillett hadn’t really got stuck back home at all.
Tom Hicks attended the Saturday league game, again at the Emirates, before heading back to the US for a big day out there that saw him criticised by some for not being in two places at once. His son Tom Jnr stayed behind. By Tuesday George Gillett had managed to beat the snow and after spending most of the day rebuking Liverpool staff on the day of his and his son’s first visit to Anfield this year he sat with Rick Parry – who had been with him in his earlier meetings – to watch the memorable second leg against Arsenal.
Wednesday was spent celebrating a memorable night, then all hell broke loose.
In short, a letter was sent to Rick Parry, requesting he resign. The news of the letter broke on Sky Sports News at 4pm, a good few hours after Parry’s secretary would have received the letter, which wasn’t only sent by snail mail. It was copied to the other board members too.
Parry claimed he knew nothing of the letter until after his family sent him a text about it at some point after 4pm. No explanation was given as to why his secretary hadn’t phoned him on his mobile – the one he got those claimed texts on – or if she had, why he’d not bothered to answer it.
Hicks was widely condemned for the letter, by Rick Parry claiming to be upset, and George Gillett claiming to have been upset and also not to have actually seen it. Mentions of not washing dirty linen in public were spat out as ever.
That was on Friday, and by the end of Friday the Echo website announced they had an exclusive interview planned for the following day with David Moores. It was the first time he’d spoken out about the problems since the first rumbling of discontent began, and it took something that upset Rick Parry to make him speak out.
On Sunday, today, we began with more details of what had been said in the letter, with Tom Hicks explaining what had happened from his point of view, along with a claim in the News of the World that Jurgen Klinsmann had warned what could only really be either Rick Parry or George Gillett about Tom Hicks sending details of a Rafa Benítez target to him by email. And it could only really be either Parry or Gillett who actually fed that story to the News of the World.
Then we had the game. And after the game Rafa had something to say on the record. He said: “Off the pitch, I am surprised at things I have read. I need some clarification about a meeting with a lot of people that I did not know about.” He was referring to the Klinsmann meeting. “I will talk with the board about this – as soon as possible, today or tomorrow. I need to resolve questions and I want some answers. I want to clarify things. I am really calm – but I want answers.”
We already knew of course that Jurgen Klinsmann was met by Tom Hicks and Rick Parry last November with a view to him becoming manager of LFC in place of the Spaniard. But Parry’s presence at the meeting had never been made public before. And that’s was Rafa said had upset him: “I need to talk to the board to clarify things. I was surprised about a meeting with another manager. What concerned me was the people who were in the meeting.”
Clearly it’s next to impossible for Rafa and Parry to remain at the same club long term, given the long list of differences between them. It’s believed that Rafa is sufficiently concerned that should his concerns not be addressed with more than just words that he may act himself.