In a handful of days we’ll know whether or not Liverpool FC will have new owners. Whether or not the club will go into administration and be deducted nine points. Whether or not the club will shed the debt Mssrs Hicks and Gillett have accrued during their disastrous tenure as owners. This week feels like the final act in a clichéd sports film.
It has all the key elements of big screen melodrama. There’s the team that struggles on the pitch (6 points from seven matches and losing 1-2 to Blackpool). The villains who seem determined to ruin the organization (Hicks and Gillett). Impending doom off the pitch (administration and the nine-point deduction). The potential saviors (John Henry and New England Sports Ventures). The late plot twist (Peter Lim, the Singapore billionaire who seems ready to swoop in and buy the club given a chance). The late drama (the eleventh-hour court case).
For me and other Boston-based LFC supporters it has been a surreal week. The idea that the owners of the Boston Red Sox could be the ones to take over the club and erase the debt is mind-boggling. Endless messages from friends who don’t even follow the sport, asking Can I believe it? Tim and Miranda, friends I watch matches with, were quoted in the Boston globe (here and here). My friends Niall and Eric were interviewed on Sky Sports. I’ve been following the club’s victories and struggles from such a distance. But whether or not the deal goes through, Liverpool, for now, feel very close to home.
As if the initial drama isn’t enough to make my head implode, thinking that my two beloved teams could be connected like that. That NESV, the organization that brought so much talent and drive to the Red Sox and finally ended the 86-year title drought could potentially apply the same magic to Liverpool…
But I may be falling too deep into the arms of sentimentality. This is a time in desperate need of pragmatism. Swift pragmatism.
The concern now is avoiding administration, shedding Gillett and Hicks and moving on with our lives. If a marriage to NESV turns out to be right for the club, I’ll be ecstatic. If Peter Lim takes over and provides the funds to settle debts and make transfers and so on, I can live with that. But something must be done soon.
Hicks and Gillett have been a plague of stupidity and greed. Even in the end they were reportedly trying to sack board members and install Hicks’ son and the VP of Hicks Holdings to override the votes and block the sale. They are truly villains. They came with no knowledge of the sport, no respect to the culture, and complete disregard for the club’s history and traditions. Get out of Liverpool, gentlemen. And take the stench of black death with you.
The case goes to court today. I pray the judge allows the sale to go through and I pray things can be wrapped up before administration puts Liverpool into negative points on the table. I pray that these off-the-pitch distractions can be resolved and the players can focus on playing football and start turning their fortunes around.
(In the meantime, keep an eye out for Hollywood’s overblown version of this saga, starring Matt Damon as Steven Gerrard, Jude Law as Jamie Carragher, Sir Ian McKellen as Martin Broughton and Daniel Craig as Kenny Dalglish.)