A Liverpool fans’ union, the Spirit of Shankly, are to meet Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore regarding concerns surrounding the club’s debt and its abhorred American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, but is it too little too late?
The Spirit of Shankly has every right to be concerned and angry at the Yank duo, who have worsened the clubs financial standing, failed to deliver on any of their promises (such as a new stadium) and have allowed negative club politics affect what happens on the pitch.
Liverpool’s debt currently stands at a hefty £350 million after losses of around £55 million in the past financial year and failure to qualify for the UEFA Champions League will worsen the situation further. Now Hicks and Gillett, who I think resemble the Muppets’ Statler and Waldorf, want to sell the club, which future remains uncertain.
Should the Premier League do more to protect its clubs? James McKenna, Spirit of Shankly spokesperson, certainly thinks so.
McKenna said: “The Premier League have a duty to run the game properly, to regulate it and make sure it is protected.
“However, they don’t seem to take this duty seriously, allowing the debts at Liverpool to pile up, with owners who are far from fit and proper.
“We would like the Premier League to better protect clubs and put in place regulation that stops what has happened with Hicks and Gillett from happening all over again.
“It isn’t right or proper that a club should pay for its owners to actually own them, and it isn’t proper for the future and the finances of a club to be put in jeopardy for the sake of … making a profit. Those in charge need to act, and they need to act now.” (Daily Telegraph)
I think the Premier League and the likes of Scudamore should do more to protect its clubs, it was not too long ago that Thaksin Shinawatra was allowed to take control of Manchester City even though he was ousted from his former post as Thailand’s Prime Minister and was a wanted man in his native country…hardly ‘fit and proper.’
Because of Hicks and Gillett one of the world’s most famous and decorated clubs is in big financial trouble, and it’s not just them as Manchester United (another huge club) is also steeped in debt, but as yet it does not seem to have affected their on-pitch performances as it has the Anfield outfit, who are a shadow of the side that finished as runners-up in last season’s Premier League with 86 points (which is the same amount as winners Chelsea achieved this term).
Now that Tottenham have achieved Champions League football and Manchester City have a seemingly endless transfer war chest the Reds may find it difficult to attract the sort of players they need to earn back their top four status, so the damage has effectively already been done.
The Reds now face a summer of having to endure endless rumours about their best players (Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres) leaving the club, and even more depressingly facing up to the fact that a big sale may have to be made to rebuild a squad that needs strengthening, but the owners are not willing to invest. The future of their manager, Rafa Benitez is also in doubt as many believe he will move on to Juventus which would leave them with even more work to do in the summer.
However, it’s not too late for the Prem powers that be to attempt to fix things and implement harsher rules on club ownership, perhaps listening to the fans a bit more too.
People pay a lot of money to go and watch the clubs that they love and they deserve more respect that the likes of Hicks & Gillett and the Glazer family show towards them. I hope it isn’t too late to change things and something must be done, surely?
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