The antagonism that continues to be directed towards the owners manifested itself again over the weekend. The latest incident was the unlikely setting of The Sandon pub after Saturday’s match.
Amazingly Tom Hicks Junior, with a posse of minders, arrived at the pub to meet with fans face to face to discuss the current problems. However, as it was after the game one can’t altogether rule out the possibility that he wanted directions to the nearest bank!
This “stunt” seems to be a common Hicks / Gillett tactic, namely the highly publicised albeit, in my view anyway, patronising charm offensive designed to distract attention from the real issues. It’s a shallow attempt to win fickle folk over with a public show, politicians do it all the time. However this is Liverpool Football Club not the General Election and most can see right through it?
Perhaps Hicks genuinely wanted to meet the fans and talk? Perhaps he had foolishly looked at Mike Ashley at Newcastle, who has been seen suffering with the fans in the stands replica shirt and all, at games and thought this is the way he could start to rebuild bridges by attempting to be “one of the lads”. Or perhaps he just thought he was Alan Ladd in Shane!
There is, of course, a subtle difference. Alan Ladd and Mike Ashley (as far as I can gather) are the good guys, the Americans aren’t. Nonetheless I guess one could applaud Hicks for his bravery in doing this as much as criticising him for his stupidity. Overall however, this action simply continues the lamentable record of misjudgement that has blighted the owners time here. It also suggests they have learnt nothing and continue the underestimate the depth of feeling and resentment amongst fans over what they have done. Whilst not condoning the treatment he received, reports say he was spat at, had beer thrown over him and was forced to make a sharp exit to the chat of “get out of our pub”, it is not surprising that he was treated in this way, such is the unpopularity of the owners at the moment.
People will say that, perhaps those present should have been more reasonable and listened to him? Indeed Hicks may have won a few people over because of the way he was treated. Why should he pay for the sins of his father? However, a pub full of emotional fans isn’t the right environment for serious discussion, it only takes a few people to react before things get out of hand. He choose the venue with publicity in mind and it backfired. Moreover did Hicks really think he could buy a few pints and then things would be OK? It’s going to take more than one “hail fellow well met” visit to the pub to put things right. The naivety is astounding, one really wonders what they will come up with next and these people are in charge of our club!
A related, idle, semi serious thought? Should one have to consider the effect the fans action might have on the owners? Perhaps, like most parents, Hicks Senior will call his son a “daft lad”, ask him what he was thinking off and hope he’s learnt his lesson? However, perhaps he is the vindictive type? Perhaps he will want pay back? What better way to get exact revenge than to hurt the one thing the perpetrators all love – the club?
It’s hard to admit, and equally difficult to imagine at the moment, but I suppose at the end of the day hostilities will need to reach some form of accord, even if it is an uneasy one. However, stupid or well intentioned, the actions were on Saturday and before, there will presumably come a time when we have to learn to communicate and coexist with the Americans if they do not decide to sell up? How else are we to move forward if we don’t?
However, as things currently stand it will take a lot more pints, olive branches and, above all sound, reasoned judgment from across the pond to get even close to this.