Yesterday’s announcement that Rick Parry will be leaving Liverpool at the end of this season will presumably be seen as a significant development in the behind the scenes struggle at Anfield.
Many will see this as a victory for Rafa. He and Parry have clashed over their responsibilities, particularly on the subject of transfers. The latest example was the Gareth Barry affair which, much to Rafa’s obvious frustration, withered on the vine due to Aston Villa’s intransigence and/or Parry’s unwillingness to go the extra mile and meet their price. Robbie Keane was signed instead and his rapid dispatch back to Spurs after only six months was perhaps not just a reflection of Keane’s indifferent form but also Rafa’s displeasure at the way transfers have been handled by Parry over the summer.
Although many will regard the outcome of the Barry affair as favorable as it would have meant selling Xabi Alonso, Rafa has mentioned, without being specific, other instances where potential signings have been allowed to slip through the clubs hands due to Parry’s slowness or unwillingness to lock down deals at the negotiating table. It also works the other way remember Steven Gerrard nearly moved to Chelsea in 2004? Clearly there are two sides to every story. Parry has to ensure that we don’t pay “silly money” and presumably is only acting on behalf of those who pull the purse strings? However, presumably Rafa sees Parry’s delaying as a major obstacle to his desire to improve the team?
However, we have known about all this for some time so why did Parry choose to leave now after twelve years at the club?
We clearly don’t know the details but inevitably many will point to the fact that Rafa has refused to sign a new contract, despite many drafts. The sticking point seems to be Rafa’s desire for total control over all football matters including transfers. This is something that was always diluted by Parry’s role? So did Rafa, from a position of greater strength after Wednesday’s game, bring things to a head and give the new owners an ultimatum? Or perhaps Parry, or someone else, thought it was in the best interests of everyone that he left to put an end to this particular issue once and for all?
More likely perhaps is the wider picture. Parry has been at odds with Tom Hicks for some time to the point that the American, with a typical lack of tact, publicly called for his resignation last year. This made Hicks’ “tribute” to him yesterday sickenly hypocritical. Perhaps the Rafa contract affair was the straw than broke the camel’s back? There is also the issue of the refinancing of the £350m loan Hicks and Gillett took out to start the stadium build. Perhaps Parry, who after all was partly responsible for bringing in the Americans in, saw more problems on the horizon, realised what he had done and decided he didn’t want to be associated with it? Or did he, after two years of trying, simply decide to agree to disagree with Hicks and go?
The other issue is personal. Although he’s local man and a Liverpool fan, perhaps Parry, after twelve years, simply got pi**ed off with all the hassle and needed a change. He’s been linked with helping out the FA with the England’s World Cup bid? Even though he’s a Liverpool man this can happen. My friend is QPR through and through and hasn’t missed a home game since the 60s. It was a dream come true for him when he got a job at Loftus Road however, the new owner’s approach and what they were doing to his club made feel that he had to leave as he was beginning to fall out of love with it.
So are there any implications to Parry’s departure? What will it change? Not much I think. Presumably Rafa will now get his way over transfers and sign his contract? However, this doesn’t mean Liverpool will be a better team. Despite his alleged failings over transfers Parry wasn’t responsible for those signings whose form was not a success. Ultimately it is still down to how Rafa sets up the team. Parry is not responsible for that and never was. Nothing changes apart from Rafa getting more control and one less person to blame if goes wrong?
Will it make the Americans change their ways and bring peace harmony behind the scenes? I doubt it. When the Star Spangled Duo bought Liverpool Parry was seen as an important link between the club’s old, cherished, traditions and values, and ensuring that these were not sacrificed by plans to move it forward. He and David Moores recently dug their heels over some of the refinancing issues, but Hicks in particular has been allowed to open his month far too often, “treating us to series of acutely embarrassing, highly inappropriate and thoughtless PR gaffs which showed no respect for these traditions, the so called “Liverpool way”. Parry’s silence on many of these matters, particularly when rumours were rife, was telling and annoying. I’m sure Parry tried to rein in the owners but ultimately he didn’t manage it and has now reaped the consequences of his part in bringing them in the first place.
Will Parry’s replacement make things better? Again I doubt it, he’s bound to be one of Hick’s men which might continue the downward spiral and antagonize their critics even more? We will still be in debt, with no new stadium on the horizon and no further forward! Although he was partly responsible enabling it to develop, Liverpool Football Club’s problem is not Rick Parry, it moved beyond him two years ago and now lies further afield, across the Atlantic.
No time to review the Middlesbrough game but of course we need to win it!