With the news of our £80m shirt sponsorship thoughts have turned to matters financial which brings us back to the owners and their management of our club.
Managing Director Christian Purslow, after the announcement stated that the £80m funds would be used on the team either through paying salaries, or buying new players. No doubt they will also use it to generate more funds? For example because of the new sponsor the commercial department will have another ready made excuse to introduce an entire new range of kits next season despite having issued a new away shirt and a new European shirt for 2009-10! More money to be made and I can hear the sound of palm vigorously rubbing against palm as I write!
Tom Hicks, who has, thankfully been voluntarily or forcibly gagged over the last year or so clearly wasn’t going to let the £80m announcement go by without adding his twopennth worth, also said,
“Knowing Rafa Benitez I suspect he’s got his eye on part of it. As we build our revenues it gives ability to be more competitive on the pitch and, this is a very important one, but we think we have other opportunities in the future”
There then followed a diatribe about cash flow, debt management and worst of all Liverpool FC as brand.
“We are seeing for the first time the real power of the brand and the power of a well managed club, I feel very good about the entire club. The total sponsorship contracts should probably bring in £25m, £26m of incremental revenue a year. It’s a huge development for the club”
My, my how things have changed. Liverpool is now a “brand” like Coca Cola, Sony or Tesco! Given Hicks’ background and his track record for putting his foot firmly in his mouth one should not be surprised that he comes out with vacuous, ill thought out statements like that. Although he is no doubt creaming himself at the money for many his attitude is very, very disappointing and points to what many have been saying for some time about just how off the plot and out of tune he is.
The chuntering on about debt comparators and the club being “well managed” would be described as cheeky if it actually wasn’t very stupid. The debt Mr Hicks refers to is the debt he put us in. Yet he’s is triumphantly claiming he will reduce it and that although it is a debt is not as bad as other debts. This is man what claims Liverpool are in “great financial shape” but has instructed Merrill Lynch to find someone to buy 25% of the club. The timing of this and his statements would, if weren’t so sad and worrying, be comical.
One wonders what Mr Hicks sees or feels when Torres nets a wonderful goal. A superb piece of skill from a great player? Joy and pleasure that the team is doing well or just cold hearted, greedy, self centred satisfaction at the ongoing appreciation of an asset? Hicks has been with us for the best part of two and half years but what has he learnt about the club (yes, it is a club not a “brand”) and way things are done? Will he ever learn anything? Sad, sad, sad, misguided, mistaken, inappropriate and wholly out of touch.
So to West Ham and, without being presumptive, opportunity knocks. A victory at Upton Park, never an easy thing to achieve, would see us gain ground on the clubs in front of us as they are all playing each other.
West Ham made a good recovery last season and finished strongly. The also started this campaign well with a win against Wolves however since then it’s been a bit iffy with defeats to Spurs and, more surprisingly Wigan. However, they should not be underestimated particularly as we, despite wining our last two league games, have still to hit our stride. Said Rafa
“It’s a difficult game this weekend. They are not conceding too many goals. Zola is a good manager with a good vision of football. He tries to play good football.”
Team wise Mascherano has recovered from his injury and Aurelio is also available. Daniel Agger is still out but has returned to training this week so cannot be too far away? As with the game on Wednesday it will interesting to see what Rafa does with his line up specifically where he decides to play Gerrard. Although we looked good with Gerrard further back against Burnley one wonders if this will affect Torres. In an interview on the official website he said
“We have a fantastic relationship and it’s amazing to play with someone like Stevie G. He has quality and pace and is the greatest player I’ve ever played with. I hope to play with him for many years.”
No doubt if Rafa changes Torres and Gerrard have the skill and versatility to adapt and Torres gave a very, very positive interview in which he said all the right things. Take note Mr Hicks!
Prediction? 2-1 with the odd hairy moment that usually befits a visit to Upton Park!