Editorial: A disgrace to Liverpool FC

I sat down last night and watched the Official History DVD of Liverpool FC for the umpteenth time.

After a miserable few days with media ‘exclusive’ after another on the turmoil at Anfield I needed to take a trip down memory lane when Liverpool FC was laced with real heroes. The tough times of the 1930′s – the George Kay managed team who made it the 1950 FA Cup Final (only to miss out on the trophy). The first Liverpool team in 1892 – nearly all Scottish – and all owners of fantastic moustaches.

The day in 1959 (December 1st) when Bill Shankly arrived at our club and shook the club at the foundations and began a level of football excellence and success which has remained relatively constant for nearly half a century. From that day Liverpool became a sporting institution with one simple goal – to win trophies.

“I wanted to build Liverpool up, in to a bastion of invicibility.”

The immortal words uttered by a legend of a man who guided our club for 15 years.

What struck me most whilst trawling through the Liverpool of yesteryear was the lack of any real discussion on the Liverpool board, the directors, or the owners for that matter.

Surprising that Tom Hicks then has felt the need to issue statements publicly rebuking the manager of our club. Nearly all of our supporters were pleased with the promise when the two Americans landed at Anfield – the new stadium plan and the money promised on team improvements, coupled with long overdue desire to re-market our club as the global brand it is.

Clearly the media have over-egged the amount spent in the summer – Liverpool made a number of high profile sales in the summer months – coupled with our run to the Champions League final – it is questionable how much money has been spent out of the pockets of the Americans. In fact, how much has been spent out of Kop Football Ltd to be exact – these two American’s are not paying for the Melwood paella themselves remember.

So the media chatter of the week continued – Rafa appeared furious that he is not being allowed to begin contract discussions with players he can snag on free transfers – the Americans told him to concentrate on ‘coaching the team’ – Rafa responded suggesting they don’t understand the European transfer market and in an attack on their knowledge of football he said ‘We don’t have a draft system here’.

All good points. The American owners may know plenty about their sports ‘franchises’ but they now nothing about our great game. A game that Liverpool are one of the world’s greatest at.

For the Americans to suggest they will be over in the middle of December is simply not good enough.

Not good enough at all.

The fact they have so much faith in Rick Parry appears even more worrying. The man, who will possibly be late for his own funeral, should be sorting this mess out and reminding some people that Rafa Benitez is the man we expect to be in charge of running the club and developing our future squad.

The Three Clowns
(From L-R: Happy, Dopey and Grumpy)

The problem here is one of ego’s. The American’s like to appear in control, and Benitez is like a caged lion. Rick Parry lacks the skills to be able to act as a broker between the pair.

The jibes from both Benitez and Hicks that are being played out in the media need to stop. It is not the way our club has ever been run. If Rafa thinks there are deals that can begin to be sorted then the board need to stick by their promise to ‘back the manager’.

Both Hicks and Gillett appear to have turned their American and Canadian ‘franchises’ in to also-rans directly because they have been too involved in the technical side. They have said numerous times they nothing about our sport. They should leave it in the hands of the expert.

They have benefitted from huge support from the Liverpool fans since their take-over but unless they do the right things now concerning the best manager we have had for nearly 20 years then they could be in trouble.

Managers come and go, Directors come and go, Players come and go. My love is for the club -  Liverpool FC – and not any individual.

We stand on the precipice of a great team becoming an outstanding team. If two American men don’t get themselves booked on to a first class flight over here very soon then they will have failed in their promise to ‘respect the great traditions of our club‘.

  • colly

    well said

  • Tony

    While I agree with the support for Rafa, I also think it’s important to remember that the Yanks didn’t start the public washing of our dirty laundry. They’ve bought the club, with them we got Torres and an improved squad, without them in the current money-mad climate of top-flight footy we would have a poorer squad and less chance of overall progress, especially in terms of the stadium. The best outcome is that each side backs off and understands the other’s pressures.

  • Dermot

    How can these stupid yanks be so ignorant about what RAFA has done and what he will do in the future. He inherited a squad of players from his predecessor and won the CL in his first season. Just imagine what he will win when he finally assembles his own squad. LFC is the envy of Europe for our past. RAFA is the one to make sure we are the envy of Europe for our present and future. RAFA all the way. Lets make sure we dont let these clowns do what abromovich did. They are not Liverpool FC. We the fans are. And RAFA is the one to take us to the promise land again. IN RAFA WE TRUST. You’ll never walk alone.

  • glynn mitchell

    I belive rafa is a very intelligent manager and in a very high class of a very select few to achieve what he has for the club already is some achievement the only thing left just about is the league which wont take too long to come our way if rafa is alone to do his thing.
    Hicks & Gillett are showing exactly how little they know about our game rafa is chasing a couple of bosman free transfers and they he has to wait untill the summer how ridiculos they are also talking about how much money they have already released over £40.m but fail to recognise rafa has recouped back over half.The yanks really need to listen to rafa and HE is the man to take US LIVERPOOL FC back to the top where we belong and been missing from for to long.They need to look at what a mess fergie made of his first few years ha ha
    COME ON BOYS LETS DO IT 4 RAFA AND BRING IN THE PREMIERSHIP

  • andy

    Anyone who comes on here and says they want mournriho instead of benitez cant be a true red we are back on the verge of something special trust the yanks to go and f….it up

  • Don Rafael (in Madrid)

    Brilliant piece of writing.

    I think we should send the Official History of LFC to both Hicks and Gillette for Xmas this year.

    I doubt they would view it. But if they did – they would realise this isn’t just any football “franchise” – this is fecking LIVERPOOL FOOTBALL CLUB…AND…IN RAFA WE TRUST (NOT PARRY).

  • Richard

    I made a prophecy to several people I know some time ago when David Moores and Rick Parry were in charge – “we would not win the league again until our Club was once more run, day to day, by people (a la Peter Robinson ,John Smith etc) who understand both the game AND business”. Half the problem has been sorted and someone who didn’t understand the commercial intracacies of running a big modern football club (albeit he is a fantastic LFC supporter) has stood down.

    So half the problem still exists and an ineffective bureaucrat has been allowed to continue to control the day to day running of the club as a puppet for two gentlemen who are great businessmen but do not understand our game or our culture. Mr Parry does not have the management and people skills to deliver what is needed – he is ostensibly a “yes man” and he is dealing with two parties (Benitez and the Americans) whose cultural values and ambitions are about as close as the Liver Building is to the moon.

    As a season ticket holder, I have been a critic of Benitez this season because of his rotation policy however just of late he seems to be making progress and finally playing his best 11 on a more regular basis. Besides, who would we get who would do a better job? As for the Americans – they won’t change – just look at what’s going on in the Middle East to tell you all you need to know about their cultural mindset. What’s the answer? Well, it’s not to sack Benitez or alienate the Americans either – right now we need their business acumen just as much as we need Benitez’s knowledge of the game. Change the middle man to someone with the gravitas, diplomacy, commercial awareness and knowledge of the modern game that the role requires.

    Oh and one more thing -there’s a saying in Spain “no cojornes!” translated means “no balls”! The next CEO also needs plenty of those too. Do the honorable thing Mr Parry and go now before you subject the club to any more disharmony and underachievement.

  • veer

    I am sad as a liverpool supporter to see how the americans are behaving. Benitez is a fantastic manager and we cannot afford to lose him now. Instead of supporting him Mr Hicks and Mr Gillette are trying to show that they are the boss though they have little knowledge about the game. They want trophies without making an effort. I thank you Sir for your comment and i perfectly agree with you. Dont worry Rafa you’ll never walk alone

  • liverlopung

    Great article. Though I may not be totally happy with Rafa ‘ideas’ all the time, he has shown us that he is a Manager who is capable of bringing us silverwares season after season and especially the League title.. I’ve been supporting LFC for more than 10 years now & what can i say is that our team now is looking very good under Rafa..i have every confidence in our team now compared to a few years back..

    Let’s not leave all the ‘craps’ ruin our beloved Mighty Reds..

  • K Hussain

    There is no doubt that Rafa does tend to rotate too much. I think the squad he has built and is building will turn out to be something very special either this season or for many years to come.

    This short term blip should not hamper the excellent foundations that are being laid by Rafa and his staff to propel Liverpool FC to be dominant in the Premiership and Europe for many years to come.

    I urge all Liverpool fans to show our full support for Rafa on Wednesday in the game against FC Porto. This will show Rafa how much the fans value him and also demonstrate to the Hicks- Gilette that it is Rafa who runs the team and their role is to manage the club in terms of finances etc.

    Finally, I still feel that this issue can be resolved peacefully if the respective parties have a civilised conversation behind closed doors and realise that they are all in it for the benefit of Liverpool FC and not their own individual vested interests in the main.

    Come on Liverpool, Come on Rafa!!!

  • Abdul

    Great report. Although I am not totally happy with Rafa, ultimately he is the man in charge, and should be left to run the club. If the owners want to run our club, they can go back to America. We don’t need them. I was always reluctant to sell to them in the 1st place. I never trust the Yanks…never will.

  • Arn

    I have been Reds man since I saw my first match at Anfield in 1943. Yes, sixty four years and I am absolutely devastated with the current situation. How on earth two outsiders, for that’s what they are, can treat a top class man like this is unbelievable. They should be watching and learning how things are done in our great game before generating these confrontations to serve their own egos. Surely they are astute enough to realise that if Rafa goes it’s another spell of lean years for the Reds, and therefore their investment). And that’s at best. The worst is too awful to contemplate. I feel helpless, hopeless and frustrated to my very soul to see our great Club in this suicidal situation.

  • Clemen

    At a football club, there´s a holy trinity- the players, the manager and the supporters. Directors dont come into it. They are only there to sign cheques.

    Bill Shankly

    This is FOOTBALL NOT SHITE SOCCER

    in Rafa we trust

  • fed

    As a Liverpool fan, I WANT MUIRINHO!!! Benitez rotates too much and it’s costing us dearly. Sorry lads, but he has to go for me.

    At least Jose will win us the premiership, something Benitez will never do.

  • Albert Stubbins

    Wednesday night has got to be a flag day – every banner and sign needs to show the yanks our support for Rafa.

    Rafa is a genius and he is only a couple of signings from a premiership title.

    Come on lads get yer banners sorted and sing your hearts out for rafa against Porto

  • Jonesy

    Seems to be a hell of a lot of miscommunication going on. Both parties claim they want the best for LFC, so how has the issue become one of contention? I think the significant piece in the article refers to Rick Parry. He seems completely inept and incompetent at his job, unless of cours he’s on an ego trip himself and wants a more prominent role. Otherwise, it’s his job to act as the broker between the two parties who both appear to want the same thing. Can we honestly say that Parry puts the interests of LFC before his own ego? I suspect not. I mean how hard can it be to sit between 2 parties that want the same thing? He is no more than an administrator and he should be put in place.

  • Sack the Juggler

    The rumours and the trouble are being caused by Rafa. If he’s got a problem with Parry or the Board then he should take it up with them directly and NOT through the press.

    Washing the club’s dirty laundry in public is a stupid habit to get into and it just leads to unrest.

    Rafa has a reputation for this as he did it at Extremadura, Tenerife and Valencia. If he has a problem he spits his dummy out and moves on instead of staying to try to sort it out.

    Now hoever he has a £6m carrot not to walk away, so he’ll either stay and sort it or the yanks might try to get rid of his saying he’s made his own position untenable (and thereby save themselves £6m towards the cost of steel)

  • Vinny B.

    Hicks and Gillett needs to live up to the PROMISE of investment in the players. Spending 20 million pounds is not a significant investment, its what Moores already had available to Benitez to spend every summer. Rick Parry is a joke, he consantly makes stupid mistakes and can’t do a simple thing right. What about Foster Gillett, wasen’t he supposed to be Hicks and Gillett’s representative over in Anfield? Heard he went on holiday so he is nowhere to be found.

  • Kevin Hill

    Great Article

    Yet again the problem seems to be the weakness of Mr Parry, he is the person that is in the position to resolve this, but how many of us think he is actually capable if doing that?

    Rafa shares our passion to succeed, our American owners want us to succeed for other reasons i just fail to see the same desire/ability from Parry

    If someone needs to go then look no further than Mr Parry

  • RedRoar

    Firstly – Rafa, I love you to bits mate, you’re the best thing to happen to Liverpool for years; Hicks and Gillett, you bought into our club, making all the right noises and we give you the benefit of the doubt that you know what you’re doing. Now, for the sake of the dignity of the greatest footbal club in the world, will ALL of you please shut the f*ck up! It’s like listening to kids in the playground…”sir, sir, Rafa keeps saying things”…”sir, sir, George and Tom won’t play properly”…get a grip!

    When I read the back page of the paper, or tune into sky sports news, I want to hear from Rafa on the squad – plans for the future, discussion on what went well in the last game on and what didn’t go so well. I’m not interested in Rafa’s opinion of the septics, or the latters empty threats of sacking one of the most influential and intelligent managers the premiership has ever seen.

    Things have changed since the days of shanks and paisley, we now expect the manager to be involved with the transfers in and out of the club and we expect the board (and the money) to let him get on with it without running to tell teacher (or the Daily Scum).

    I know the players wear short trousers, but isn’t it time the playground tantrums were left to the kids?

  • Rosso

    Spot on my thoughts exactly. We don’t wash our dirty laundry in public and Rafa will have total support from the fans and the players.
    Parry is an unremarkable Chief Executive and isn’t qualified to manage the acquisitions of players. One of the reasons rafa joined Liverpool was because he had control of all areas of the club especially buying and selling players.
    The Yanks don’t understand the difference a ‘coach’ and a manager.
    Hopefully they can resolve it behind close doors and we can crack on and win the Premiership.

  • m wilson

    This is a serious situation.
    Should Rafa leave what will be the attitude of our Spanish and spanish speaking players who may have been tempted to LFC simply because of Rafa

  • Sean Liong

    Hi I do not live in Anfield. I do hope that Liverpudlians can show their support for Rafa in the form of banners during matches. This would scare the owners into submission. I for one think that Rafa is the best thing that can happen to Liverpool for the past 20 years

  • Krisanto

    I am surprised by the way reports are surficing brutually against Rafa,I don’t know where this rumors are coming from but let the manager get on with his job.Rafa is doing a fantastic job at LFC and building a team for the future that can stay for at least a decade and thereafter with youngsters flowing into the reserves and the academy.

    Most of this shit rumors should not be coming from Liverpool fans , I believe is from the others who envy us.

    Lets stay together with the manager.He is the best in the business.

    Indian Red.

  • Jase

    RAFA MUST STAY!!!! We cannot afford him to leave because of this…. We will have a hard time finding someone as good as him trust me….

    Not another Abrahimovich again…

  • Base

    Spot on mate! The whole matter being handled in the press was just never the right way to discuss anything with the manager, I believe that they made a huge mistake in making those 2 statements on the official website, which prompted Rafa into reacting his way!!! it would be a sad day if these 2 idiots knock Rafa out of his managerial seat for their sick ego, he’s without a shadow of doubt the best manager for Liverpool in this era!

  • The Red Horseman

    Brilliant article. Hicky boy stick it where the sun doesn’t shine and let Rafa get on with what he knows best which is far more than you will ever know. If you get rid of him, then my advice is keep away from Anfield as your safety cannot be guaranteed.

  • Ravindiran

    Tom Hicks and George Gillet know nothing about our Club. So why the hell they bought this club? If they feel they cant support Rafa then should just sell off the club to DIC. Long live Rafa. We support you.

  • royston

    If liverpool were to sack Benitez then it would not only be a bad business decision but bad for our rebuilding process as misters hicks and co had better realise.
    The next coach would demand large changes and the only saving grace in a business sense is that unlike Houllier Benitez has spent wisely and at least we would get some decent dough back.

  • BleedingRed

    While Rafa is building and strengthening the team for our long-term success, Hicks and Gillet is trying to stall it. It doesn’t make sense. If Rafa goes, then all the hardwork he puts into the youth development goes up in smoke!

  • K Hussain

    Although at times, Rafa’s decisions tend to amaze the ardent football observer, I do believe that he is very close to forming a side that could be a major force on the domestic and European stage for many years to come.

    This matter over finance for players should be resolved diplomatically behind closed doors. No matter what, Liverpool FC is a huge club and will always be investing in players be it in the transfer window or at the end of the season. Like all good teams, the manager never sits on his laurels and constantly trying to improve the squad.

    Rafa has enough in his armour to not only convince the chairmans to let him buy players but also to sell some in the transfer window.

    This petty issue should not dismantle what is gradually developing into something very special.

    RAFA PLEASE DO NOT GO!

  • mmxxii

    The yanks are playing divide and rule with my club. They do it in other peoples countries and are good at it. They always mess it up then run. They have no respect. i can go on with evidence to prove my points but I will not.

    God save LFC

  • fred the red

    Rafa could potentially deliver what we all want, I think he’s that good…. but he too is doing the dity laundry in public and needs to shut up and learn the liverpool way…..history, traditions etc

  • Keyo

    The history of LFC is littered with boardroom spats and arguments over which players to sign. Shankly NEVER got on with the board, and the board never got on with him. He was constantly having sly digs at them.

    Peter Robinson dealt with all of LFC’s new transfers. Not Paisley, nor Dalglish – they may have picked the players but it was up to Robinson to get them, and John Smith to give the go ahead. In Aldridge’s case, Dalglish never even tried to buy him, he was just bought.

    But we lie in the media age, when everything gets reported and every man and every dog has his day. And we all like to think we know what’s going on and that our opinion matters. Storm in a tea cup that will blow over and ALL parties would be better served by playing this out behind closed doors, but if WE get what we want in the end, everyone will be happy. Let’s not jusmp to conclusions or snap judgements eh?

  • RafatheGaffa

    These ignorant owners are destabilising our great club. It’s an absolute disgrace the way they are carrying on – it’s as if they think a pitiful 25M outlay is enough to keep the team challenging for things. THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT FOOTBALL.

    Oh David Moores, what did you do when you sold this club. Can you not intervene and tell them about what football is about. Things don’t just automatically change on the back of minimal investment.

    Get them out now!

  • rowan

    Rafa was told he had 20m remaining , remember all the recent quotes? ok, so CL progress may adjust that somewhat, but, this is no way to deal with the matter. Hicks could have said as much and at least given the green light to push ahead with bosmans.
    Anymore of this and those jokers will feel the wrath of Liverpool fans the world over.
    Hicks is the moody one, redneck has no clue.

  • Canadian Red

    said it on another LFC website and will say it here as well:

    Perhaps we should get a “Keep Rafa” petition started and send it to Hicks and Gillette,I would definitely sign it as I am sure there would be many other Reds!

  • Yonas Alamerew

    Great article. If the americans are not willing to support the great Rafa, then they will prove to everybody that they are here for the money, only the money.

  • Ziyaad

    If Rafa is kicked out, or the yanks dont take out the cash. I fear my team, the mighty reds with be playing every season for cups and not the championship. I was not too keen when these yanks came in. I would have prefered Steve Morgan to take over. He understands the clubs, the expectations. The yanks know baseball and basketball. Mr Gillet, Mr Hicks put your money where your mouth is. show me the money, show me the money.$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  • the trufflehunter

    I totally agree with your piece , and think it is an out and out disgrace that the board haven’t stood up for the club and it’s fan base, ok Rafa has to take some criticism this season but he should still get backing, sometimes he does come across a soft mannered man but I feel that some time is still needed for the ultimate goal of the premiership title which I beleive is only a matter of time before it’s ours, this club is a matter of pride to me and it hurts to see dirty laundry in the press.

  • mikael

    it’s still too early for me to say mr moores made a mistake in selling liverpool to the americans but, their statements are quite funny. rafa is arguably the best tactician around in world football, and we all can see the change he’s brought to liverpool and honestly, it’s time messrs hicks and gillet let him do his job,but, this he can’t do without their support.
    rafa wants only the best for liverpool and i know messrs hicks and gillet alsofeel the same, so, i plead on behalf of all liverpool fans please let rafa do what he knows how to do best
    -maage his team the way he wants to.

  • Kenny Lawler

    Great article. Sums my feelings up exactly.

    I also remember the article about the chairmen four months ago and unfortunately it seems like it’s closer to the truth than first thought.

    This is an avoidable mess and the sooner it’s tidied up, the better.

  • Richard

    I agree totally about the business of our club doing its dirty laundry in public. It’s wrong and quite clearly this has to stop.

    Ignoring the rights and wrongs of what’s going on at the moment though, the comment that Hicks & Gillett have turned their American sports franchises into also-rans is not accurate.

    Hicks took over the Dallas Stars hockey team and turned a team that wasn’t even an ‘also-ran’ into a division, conference and ultimately Stanley Cup winning oufit. Over the last 7 seasons only two teams in the NHL have won more games than the Stars. Dallas fans main criticism of Hicks is that he’s not involved enough.

    Hicks’ Texas Rangers have never really been contenders in Major League baseball but of the 3 Division titles that the club has won Hicks was in charge for two of them and the team is currently throwing its weight around in the free agent market after acquiring plenty of prospects in two good trades last season.

    Gillett’s Montreal Canadiens hockey team is indeed underachieving and has been since long before Gillett hit the scene despite getting to the playoffs in 3 of the last 5 seasons since Gillett took over.

    I’m not siding with Hicks & Gillett over Benitez but the notion that these two have blundered into any number of winnning team, interfered and ruined everything is not true.

  • red dawn

    These american owners are nothing other than merchants. they know nothing about football. You do not go out slaying one of the best managers around its suicidal.

  • red dawn

    I am crying! Pray that Rafa doesn’t slip out of our hands as believe me there isn’t another out there!

  • Peter Parker

    F**king great article. Well said lad!!!

  • Jason

    What crap is all these news. I am very worried. So Rafa is on the verge of being sacked because of his views. And to top the cake with a cherry Morinhio is favourite to replace him. All this is according to reports. Apart from the fact that we LFC fans hate the latter down to the guts, I really cannot beleive these reports on the simple fact that it was the same latter that got sacked cause of his opposing views to his former employer. What would make us think that he would settle to having Parry or anybody else dictating the pool of players he has to choose form. I really hope that all of these saying are the usual pre-transfer market tricks to sell news, cause Rafa, although far from perfect is the best manager we had since the times of Shanks, Paisely and Fagan.

  • http://www.anfield-online.co.uk John Davies

    I actually posted an article 4 months ago in which I was critical of both the owners spending and we broke the record for replies to an article on the site.

    http://www.anfield-online.co.uk/lfc-news/2007/07/07/are-the-anfield-chairmen-pulling-a-fast-one/

    Maybe there was something in it after all.

  • http://ulyssesonithaca.blogspot.com John Wallen

    Very well said. Sometimes I’ve been critical of Rafa, but I still believe he’s an outstanding manager. Hicks needs to cool down unless he plans on becoming another Abramovich.

  • mike

    Well said. I think that one of the problems people may have when dealing with Benitez is that the fairly jovial, benevolent and rotund image he projects hides a steely determination and ambition to rival any of the game’s more openly volatile and menacing participants.

  • geoff staddon

    What a fantastic piece. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I believe if Rafa is let to get on with it then we could be on the verge of something very special

  • jose walker

    In Rafa we trust not the dollar bill if Hick and Gillet want to sell our club then get over to the fella who wants to buy Arsenal the yanks must go before Rafa or it will be another 17 years till we win the league