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Liverpool Supporters Erect Anti Hicks and Gillett Billboards

anti hicks gillett billboard Liverpool Supporters Erect Anti Hicks and Gillett Billboards

Spirit of Shankly, a Liverpool supporter’s union, has erected billboard posters in its city to protest against the American owners of Liverpool FC, Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

The posters, which read “Tom & George: Debt, Lies, Cowboys – Not Welcome Here,” have appeared on billboards on major roads into Liverpool. Five have been rolled out so far with another five expected soon, according to the Liverpool Echo.

“Tom Hicks and George Gillett aren’t welcome at Liverpool Football Club,” said a message on the Spirit of Shankly website. “They were at first – they made promises that the fans believed, and we all looked to a rosy red future. That future now looks dark and bleak under Hicks and Gillett, and we as fans need to change that.”

The three key messages on the billboard posters focus on debt, lies and cowboys. When Hicks and Gillett bought Liverpool FC, the club reportedly had a debt of approximately £44 million. That debt has now grown to £237 million.

Liverpool supporters also feel that Hicks and Gillett have lied to them several times. First, that Hicks and Gillett said that the takeover of Liverpool would have no debt involved in it. Second, that the American owners built up the hopes of Liverpool fans that a new ground would be developed yet never materialized. And third, over the way that the American owners publicly admitted that they were in talks with Jurgen Klinsmann to replace Benitez.

The reference by Spirit Of Shankly to cowboys refers to “Their job as ‘custodians’ [which] has been nothing but making it up as they go along, taking expenses (over £2 million as shown in the accounts up to 2009) from the club for their no expense spared trips to come and watch us play, entertaining family and friends along the way.”

Photo credit: Spirit Of Shankly

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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39 Responses to Liverpool Supporters Erect Anti Hicks and Gillett Billboards

  1. worldcup3dfan says:

    wow! that’s a lot of debt increase…i really hope they get kicked out! how can these guys promise so much and not fulfill it? there should be regulations on these people, like vergara (owner of chivas) he keeps buying teams and promising everything and not fulfilling them, these guys are team killers!!

  2. pd says:

    Sorry that sounds like a lot of whining.

    The debt is most likely due to the failure of the US and UK markets. YEs even storied football clubs can be effected by a world wide credit crisis.

    the Lies don’t really seem like lies at all, rather candor. Most owners would be tight lipped on managers they fancy. The stadium will still happen, but if these Skankleyites ever picked up a paper they might notice that loans are pretty hard to come by for stadiums. LFC has already cleared the land and prepped it once they received planning permission. Sorry can’t feel sorry about that. and where is the lie?
    As for the no debt in the purchase, there wasn’t. The clubs was not purchased the same way ManUre was. It was bought on real life assets, that have been reduced in the down turn. Again I know scousers don’t read the Sun, but maybe they should read another paper, any paper. Watch the TV news if you can’t read… ( yes that was not fair but really)

    Cowboys? Please, sure these expenses don’t include not just family of the owners, but family of the players, LFC legends, hotels for Torres’ hair dresser? sorry you didn’t get the biggest billionaires in the world. The world is a sadder place.

    Look I know its not perfect, but to hear a top 4 club moan about its owners ( Man U included) is a bit insulting to the rest of English football not owned by an Oligarch or an Arab oil baron.

    FFS, what a bunch of moaning women, with all due respect to women.

    • Gaz says:

      I understand your overall point and I somewhat agree. It does come off as a bit of moaning sometimes.

      The debt, however, is not “most likely due to the failure of the US and UK markets”. These things, obviously, play a role in the financial stability of all clubs but that is not what the problem here. These owners have made some bad business decisions and seem to be more concerned with the stability of their bank account than the stability of a proud club.

      Again, I understand your point but it’s hard to back up a premise that begins with, “…most likely…”.

  3. PhillySpur says:

    Well stated pd.

  4. Lyle says:

    Liverpool fans are the worse. Can’t hold their anti-American bigoted tongues. You tell them Liverpool fans… call them cowboys. Haha. Laughable and pitiful.

    I laugh at all of you.

    • Gaz says:

      Lyle,

      Why do you only ever pop up on the site to make some sort of anti-Liverpool comment on an article about Liverpool?

      I think you may follow the Liverpool articles more than I do as a supporter.

      • Gaz says:

        I don’t even think they are anti-American as much as they are anti-these-owners. It wouldn’t matter if they were Japanese, Russian, or English.

        This article could be written about any number of EPL clubs with any number of supporter’s groups. Some Manchester United supporters don’t even wear the colours of the club due to “bad” owners.

        I believe the author even clarified why they referred to “cowboys” in the article. It’s obviously a good reference because they are American but it refers to the manner that they conduct business.

        “The reference by Spirit Of Shankly to cowboys refers to “Their job as ‘custodians’ [which] has been nothing but making it up as they go along, taking expenses (over £2 million as shown in the accounts up to 2009) from the club for their no expense spared trips to come and watch us play, entertaining family and friends along the way.””

        • Lyle says:

          Then why use the term cowboy? Not exactly anti-Arab or or anti-Japanese is it?

          What’s really great is the American owners will own Liverpool for a very long time, I bet. So, so many Liverpool fans will die in a state of hate over the next half century… one must chuckle.

          • Gaz says:

            See my paragraph 2. It’s a good reference because they are American but they don’t hate them because they are American – they hate them because they are bad owners.

            I guess if you get your kicks from seeing another club suffer this is “great”. I suggest you find a club to support instead of hate, however.

    • RaiderRich says:

      Lyle, these are the same people who forced Steven Cohen off the air because he was Jewish. What did you expect?

      • The Gaffer says:

        Rich, that’s a bold face lie and you know it. Cohen being Jewish had nothing to do with him being forced off the air. Let’s not start that again.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

        • RaiderRich says:

          Well, of course *you’re* going to say it’s a bold faced lie, Gaffer. You were the one who fanned the flames in the first place in order to destroy a competitor.
          The truth is that Cohen was flooded with anti-Semitic hate mail and death threats from Liverpool fans and he left WSD because of it.

          • The Gaffer says:

            Rich, you’re wrong again. Rather than poison the comments section, let’s have a private conversation about this. Please contact me via e-mail at thegaffer[at]epltalk[dot]com

            Cheers,
            The Gaffer

          • RaiderRich says:

            The truth is only “poison” to those who wish to cover it up.

            Clearly you are too thin-skinned to handle criticism on your own site, this is why you want the conversation to be “private”.

          • Gaz says:

            Not this again. This article has nothing to do with that! :(

  5. josh says:

    Lyle March 3, 2010 at 1:44 pm
    Liverpool fans are the worse. Can’t hold their anti-American bigoted tongues. You tell them Liverpool fans… call them cowboys. Haha. Laughable and pitiful.

    I laugh at all of you.

    you laugh at us? in liverpool we laugh at you glory supporting idiots who have no connection with there club what so ever

    • patrick says:

      I’m a Yank, and I support West Ham. Hardly glory hunting. My connection? well I lived in London for a bit and lived in Shepherd’s Bush. My local was QPR. I went to a few matches… Saw West Ham come in and the away support blew me away. I was hooked. Upton Park became my Saturdasy ritual. I ended up marring a West Ham fan from London and we live live now in the States.

      So don’t give me shit about Yanks. I see quite a few LFC at Anfield with Yankee caps on. Hi Pot!

      • CR7 says:

        Pat- you got to realize this is a scouse-run site, intelligence on this site will be rare to find.

        • The Gaffer says:

          CR7, just to make it clear, the Spirit Of Shankly website is a scouse-run site. EPL Talk is run by me, a Swansea City supporter.

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

          • RaiderRich says:

            You white knight Liverpool so much you might as well be a supporter, Gaffer. You were the one who stirred up the Steven Cohen boycott because you were jealous of his podcast numbers.

    • dhines says:

      there is a fine line for what you are saying . . . does the same go for all the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL fans in europe?

      it is one thing to be a foreign fan of the game, but you are right that it is annoying to see so called ‘die hard’ fans that have no connection to the game. for example, i can understand a non-US fan pulling for USC college football . . . but don’t come to me talking about how UCLA fans are shit, etc. point is, you just don’t know.

      that being said, i think it is so phony to see the euro snob types in the states trying to argue with other so called rivals . . . just because they would be rivals in england.

      • Lyle says:

        Actually, if you’re fan of the EPL you easily determine how shit Liverpool fans are, just as any European Cal St. Fullerton fan can figure out the same about a UCLA fan if they pay enough attention.

        It doesn’t matter where you were born or where you live, just that you pay attention and participate.

    • Lyle says:

      Glory supporting idiot? Who do I support Josh and why?

      Do you think Liverpool should give all their TV money back Josh, give it back to all the Vietnamese fans who like to watch Liverpool on TV? Racist.

  6. Paul says:

    Some fan websites seem to talk out of both sides of their mouth.

    I do think that the debt is horrible. However how much do you think that the transfer fees from summer 2007 and 2008 cost the club (since the ownership change)? The majority of the £193 million increase in debt (£237M – £44M) isn’t the £2 million in expenses, it was bringing in Torres, Babel, Benayoun, Keane, Glen Johnson, and Aquilani (that is ~£100 million in transfer fees alone on these players before any wages are paid).

    I do think that fans should speak up when there club is being financially mismanaged, however they should also realize that the great run Liverpool had last year was due to many of these players. Don’t critisize the debt if you are also suggesting which £10 million+ players Liverpool should pick up in the transfer window.

    (For the record I am an Arsenal fan who supports the Wenger Way)

  7. Adam says:

    Paul, you say £100m of the debt is down to transfer fees for the above mentioned players. Well Keane has gone for starters plus people like Alonso, Bellamy, Riise, Sissoko, Cisse & Crouch. We’ve had to sell players to buy players.
    The last transfer window, Andrea Dossena & Andriy Voronin left the club for a total of £6.5m. We got Maxi Rodriguez on a free from Athletico Madrid so £6.5m has not been spent replacing players. We are being outbidded by the likes of Stoke for players.

    Since those 2 have been in charge, Rafa has sold £120m worth of players plus the undisclosed fees plus wages so were has the debt come from then????? You mention the Wenger Way, he’s been at Arsenal now for 14 years so the academy has been well grounded and the products are starting to shine. Rafa has only been here 5 years so he’s got another 9 years before he catches up to where Arsene is now.

    • Paul says:

      I will admit that I was selective with the data in not counting the transfer outs. However, it is also selective the cite the last two transfer windows as saying that Rafa has to sell players to buy players.

      As soon as new management came in they opened the checkbook. Although Bellamy (£7.5m), Cisse (£6m) and Luis Garcia (£4m) were sold summer 2007 this did not in any way cover the other side of that transfer window with Torres (£20m+), buying out Mascherano’s contract (~£17m, but not technically a transfer), Babel (£11.5m), and Benayoun (£4m).

      If transferleague.co.uk is near accurate than ‘pool has lost over £40m in transfers since new management, and that is BEFORE wages. I have no doubt that wages have increased due to new contracts for the players and the purchase of more expensive players compared to who they replaced.

  8. dhines says:

    btw, is there a euro definition of cowboy that somehow makes that sign make sense? as a person that has family members that are real cowboys, i will say that is just dumb . . . but, so be it.

  9. Snavetrebor says:

    I think I understand why everyone called W Bush a Cowboy now. I had always assumed it was because he was from Texas and employed violence and/or gunplay to achieve his goals.

    Not sure how cowpokes came to be associated with stupidity/backwardness/delusions, however. I guess Clint Eastwood movies aren’t available in the UK.

    • K says:

      I think there’s also an associate with cowboy as in ‘cowboy builders’ here – dodgy people who rip others people off. It’d make sense with the lies and debts.

  10. Ryan says:

    I’m a yank and this season, a new Liverpool supporter.

    This sign bothers me because it smells of “Anti-America.”

    Now, I’m NOT a red-white-and-blue diehard. I’m often embarassed to be American. I just think you can say “We’re unhappy with your lies and debt” without the ‘cowboy’ line. It’s an American stereotype that I’m not a fan of and I think it paints a poor image of Liverpool fans.

  11. JorgeCurioso says:

    More misdirection. The problem at Liverpool is Rafael Benitez, yet, somehow, the Spanish Svengali has people hoodwinked into thinking that the problem is ownership.

    And the cowboy thing is blatantly (and, as noted, stupidly) anti-American. Reagan (and W) got the same treatment from the Euro Left weenies.

    Hey, ladies! American cowboys, saving your pansy asses since 1918.

    • ovalball says:

      “Hey, ladies! American cowboys, saving your pansy asses since 1918.”

      Unnecessary, not to mention inaccurate. As for being “saved”, try these names on: Marquis de Lafayette, Comte de Rochambeau, Comte de Grasse.

  12. There seems to be some confusion over the term ‘cowboy’ and how it is used in England.
    In England the term cowboy is mostly used when describing bad tradesman. Say you were getting your car serviced and you took it to a garage that charged less but did not do the work that was needed, you would probably say to friends don’t take there, they are a bunch of cowboys.
    The term basically describes ‘getting ripped off by someone’ either by not doing the job properly or charging for things that they have not done. e.g charging for changing an oil filter and air filter and not doing it, or cutting corners so the work they have done is not as it should be.
    You should not look at it as anti-american because it is not, it is a word used to describe people who do not do the job the way it should be done, no matter where they come from.

  13. Edddd says:

    I am an American, I take no offense to the cowboy remark because I have heard a cowboy be described as The Three Lions described it. The one thing I want to know is how Liverpool supporters in England see supporters abroad.

    I am a Liverpool fan, I have been since 8th grade because of my Liverpuldian English teacher. He had great stories and was such a role model to me, almost like how a son chooses to follow the father’s team. I keep up to date on all Liverpool affairs and EPL affairs in general and never miss a game (pay out the ass for setanta and other premium channels to get all LFC games in the states).

    I see a lot anti-american ownership during the games, and rallies hosted by SoS, and I understand it is anti Hicks and Gillet, more than anti American. I don’t believe an American should ever own a European / EPL team. I’ve seen many cases where ownership of a team was in part because the owners were die hard supporters, but every American owner I have seen abroad is just in it for the business (not to say other owners aren’t, just using Americans as an example). Like Hicks and Gillet, and how they each own multiple different teams from multiple different sports here in the states (at least until 2009), it’s purely for investment purposes, with absolutely no love or care for the team. That is what I am against.

    But seeing the protests, I can’t help but wonder if I would be accepted as a genuine liverpool supporter, as I, being from the US.

  14. josh says:

    you have to understand us scousers to et what we mean. its all imtimidation so that they get the hell out no one in liverpool is anti american, just anti gillett and hicks.

  15. Michael says:

    I think the point here has nothing to do with anti-American views but a failure to move the club forward as most Liverpool fans expected. To be honest looking back at when we were bought by the Americans most Liverpool fans expected the same sudden rise in transfer money as Chelsea experienced. Even competing at the level of Man Utd would have been good. There was a lot of blinkered naivety and certainly no anti-American feeling when they first came into the club but matched with failure on the pitch I think feelings in general have grown hostile and fans are probably identifying them as being two men who have come in to the club from abroad to make a profit without understanding the uniqueness of the club and its supporters or the passion they have for the team. I don’t think you can understand this unless you’re from Liverpool. As a city there is a sense of us being somehow disconnected from the rest of the country by accent, ancestry and also through a build up of bad feeling as to how Liverpudlian’s are viewed by the rest of the UK – I am a Liverpudlian who is constantly aware of my accent and how this affects my chosen career – that accent has lessened over the years and it’s probably a conscious thing having had to deal regularly with Londoners etc who have negative opinions of us. I don’t think you could say it’s the same as Barcelona to Catalonians but it’s as close to that as you’re going to get in a country like England which has been one unified nation for centuries. So I think it’s more a sense that these 2 business men saw an oppurtunity for a quick buck and then when they realised they would have to invest they couldn’t follow up on any promises they made. But conversely Liverpool rejected a bid from a Liverpool born business man and positively flirted with the idea of a fast buck, of glamourous foreign owners. So in a way I blame Moores and Parry more than Hicks and Gillette. And a note on cowboys, I don’t think anyone in the UK would see this as a racist statement because to us it is almost abstract, I myself never considered that some Americans honestly thought of themselves as Cowboys as much as they did as Texans or what Montanans (sic). It is rather something that has entered into use in the language purely as a derogatory term for builders etc, you even get a BBC programme called ‘Cowboy Builders’, it is regularly referred to in all papers.
    As for American fans I think Liverpool supporters take pride that there are fans en masse in the US who feel an identity with the club.
    I think what Liverpool fans want is a clear out of the squad, a change of manager (honstely I think most want a return to the boot room – to King Kenny or a player like Carragher being groomed for the position) and a better influx of local players through the academy. This i think is Liverpool’s biggest failure. From regularly producing quality local players we regularly now produce them and sell them for pennies before they get a chance. It looks like players like Darby and Spearing will be the next to leave and that i think is the most damaging thing for a club with such a strong identity rather than the benefits and failures of having a foreign owner.

  16. Jane says:

    1. Cohen was ousted because of insensitivity and continued hate-mongering on HIS part, not the fans’ part. He needed to go. Football has a hard enough time in America without the reputation he was giving it. Oh, he calls it the beautiful game, but keeps bringing up Hillsborough as though he were right about it, and people think “English footy fans are violent folk.” They don’t keep it to one club, not the ones who may be just getting interested in the sport. They generalize.

    2. Honestly, the Gaffer has been reasonably impartial, in holding Liverpool and other clubs to the same standard.

    3. It wasn’t the Gaffer who started the Cohen boycotts, but rather the North American Supporters Clubs. LFCNY, and Empire of the Kop are where I heard about it. From there, it went on to non-members, and really, just anyone who gave a rat’s @$$ about truth, and sensitivity to 96 families still hurting and still without justice.

    4. Hicks and Gillett are the worst type of owners, the type that feel the club is there to make them rich, not to win. If merchandise and tickets are still selling, they reason, the club is good enough for them. This mentality fails to recognize the true love and passion between Premiere League supporters and their club. Only in the Premiere League do you hear supporters referrred to as “the twelfth man”. But they don’t understand any of that, because their one true love is money. The bottom line. If we’re relegated and tickets and merchandise still sell, they won’t care.

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