This piece was first posted on Sportskeeda.com
Isn’t it ironic, that on the day Hollywood producer and lifelong Red Mike Jefferies releases the fan video asking Tom Hicks to sod off, Tom Hicks reminds everyone in case they forgot what he is made up of. Tom, no one needs reminding for the next 140 million years what you really are. Thank You. Ooh did i hear 140 million? Is that what he might lose out if the courts dont mess up? :P
A couple of months back, I wrote this piece Once bitten twice shy, which spoke about the apprehensions that the Liverpool fans will have irrespective of how many billions the new owner has to throw away. At that point, the man in question was Kenny Huang, backed by a Chinese fund worth much much more than Roman Abramovich, but even then, the fans were skeptical. And the same feeling exists as the Boston Red Sox owners come calling.
In a recent poll at a very popular Liverpool fan website, 97.6% said they would rather see that risk of a nine point deduction than let Hicks and Gillett spend another second in control of the club. This, at a time when every point is important after the worst start to a season in half a century. Surprising it may sound, but being under G&H is like relegation anyway.
Yes we all know how football is business, the insane amounts footballers earn, the insane prices exchanged during August and January. But how conveniently have we forgotten the root of all the money. Who pays the wages? Elementary question. Ans : The fans turn up each weekend, largely irrespective of results. They pay. The same fans buy merchandise that form an integral part of revenues. TV rights have changed the football world, haven’t they? What would they do if they din’t have an audience. The sponsors on the shirt. The sponsors on the advertising boards. Whom do they target? Same answer. The fans.
Not clear enough ?
Lets take an example closer to home. In India. Why is there no money in most sports apart from cricket? Because those sports don’t have the mass audience, or dedicated and interested fans. In cricket, the money is there, because for years, the people have turned up, showed madness. The sponsors sponsor cricket because of the people. They don’t sponsor other sports because of empty seats.
The reason why football is such a massive business is because the fans made it that way. How tragic and ironic that the same people are shoved to the background more often than not!!
In this age of glamour and big money football, how conveniently have we forgotten about the heart and soul of the game. The very reason of football. The same old loyal fans. Cutting across nationalities, race and occupation. The very drivers of football. Or for that matter any competitive sports.
The fans don’t have the millions. Theoretically they don’t have financial stakes in the club. But the emotional stake they have is in one word, indispensable.
It was so simple, wasn’t it?
Whenever the new custodians take guard, be it tomorrow or God forbid sometime like next year, whoever they might be, the fans don’t care. As long as they are taken into the loop. As long as they are given their due. There is talk in the air that ShareLiverpool will have representation of some form in the management. Hope Kenny Dalglsih is involved too. After all, he is a fan too. The fans NEED to be engaged. If they are, if their interests are seriously considered, we get a happy family.
Coming back to opinions on the Boston Red Sox owners taking over, it looks promising. Just like it did in 2007. Cut the crap. Everytime a club is bought, promises are made. It is a no brainer. And to think that just because they pulled the Red Sox out of trouble, will mean they will do the same to Liverpool is hilariously ridiculous. It is possible, yes. But only that.
English football and Major league baseball are two different planets. The game is run differently. The rules of ownership, funds, player transfers, salary caps couldn’t be more contrasting. There, you cannot buy a franchise on leverage beyond a reasonable percentage. And that is non existent in the poor fore-sighted regulations of the Premier League. It would be naïve to think Liverpool can wake up one morning and replicate the Red Sox model or the Fenway Park-esque Anfield renovation plan. To succeed in Liverpool, they will need a new plan complete with customized ideas specific to this country and this country’s game. Let us not read too much into Red Sox’s stupendous success in the last 4 years.
For reasonable audiences (:P) feeling that this ownership issue is merely diverting the focus from what the ‘real’ problem is. Relegation zone. Well, I dint start supporting Liverpool based on results. The situation makes me sad, but nothing changes at all. And I read somewhere today, no one has known a club in boardroom instability in such magnitude, and still been good on the pitch.
Once bitten so hard, forever shy. Meanwhile, Gillet and Hicks. Fill in the blanks. F___ O__ NOW
PS : Dear Mr. Hicks is a must watch.