West Ham wonderings and how do you solve a problem like Mr Hicks?

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!

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11 Responses to West Ham wonderings and how do you solve a problem like Mr Hicks?

  1. Qu2 says:

    Of course Liverpool is a brand. It is a business and and it thrives on its committed faithful and sentimental supporters. Grow up. Do you also believe in angels coming from heaven?

  2. Gano says:

    At some point Liverpool had to be run like a real business, Rick Parry was a disaster and was rightly sacked. Christian Purslow has done very well, Carlsberg are signing a new £6m a year deal as well as the shirt deal. ‘The Yanks’ have liquidated a lot of cash via asset sales so they do have money to guarantee loans, we do have much better players these days for sure but can we ever trust these muppets???????

  3. redfloyd says:

    Qu2

    Just becuase we slap a few Liver birds on some pencil cases or a mouse mat does not mean the club is a brand. Liverpool is, first and foremost, a football club without the football we would not have a so called “brand”. That is what is what it was set up as and that it what it will be first and foremost long after Hicks and Gillett have gone.

    As for the rest you’ve totally missed my point. Clearly the club needs to be run like a business to complete and stay afloat on and off the pitch. Regardless of who is charge. However, there are ways of doing it.

    The issue I have is that Hicks approach, whcih has been well publised and his attitude. I don’t like to see my club relegated to the status of just another business opportunity and that is what Hicks does in the way he talks. Did he say anything in his statement that made you identify with him, feel good, inspired and confident in the fact that he has the clubs interests at heart rather than his own? Have his actions since he took over invoked the same feelings. Presuambly you were happy for him plunge the club in debt by borrowing money in the way he has done?

    Hicks is a publicity seeker yet he misjudges the attitude of most Liverpool fans every time he opens his mouth. He should, at worst, in his words “quite talking” and get on with it and at best go.

    By the way I know angels don’t come from heaven but do they come from Madrid!

  4. Dr.M.Murali MD says:

    Football is a sport and its a game that followed by many. Practically one in every five will know about football. For me its a game of interest and passion. It interacts people around the globe. It doesn’t know colour, race or cash. Its just the true love of the game. I’m a Malaysian but i learned and love the game through Liverpool. I, watched liverpool game when i was 5 years old and till today i’m still watching their game. Its just not the players, not the managers and certainly not the the owners but because its liverpool football club. I certainly do not agree to be called liverpool as a brand. The brand is football itself and liverpool are the owner of it.

  5. Qu2 says:

    It is not your club. The only way to get rid of a “brand” is to boycott it in order to facilitate a collapse in cash flow. Hicks loves you man.

  6. sweet girl says:

    Brand????????? who?????????? What???????????

    Liverpool is a Football Club.

  7. Roxy says:

    Is there anything worse than a smarmy money grabbing american? We should have known better than to sell to someone who is good friends with george bush! Is it just me or could you kill yourself if you hear the words sports franchise one more time!

  8. Khan says:

    LFC to the two goons is a cash cow. They will milk it dry — using Rafa’s astute managerial skills that ensures we qualify for the CL every year and from buying players and selling them for a profit — until the two goons one day receive a good offer for LFC which will make them tonnes of money. And all this while, nothing comes out from their pockets, just loans that it put against the club. Pppfft!

  9. Gano says:

    Well it all comes back to Parry and Moores, Parry knew DIC wanted him out so at the last minute decided ‘The Yanks’ were the best option. As we all know the stadium build is their cash cow and they will complete that for sure because our value will be huge for it, RBS pledging support suggests that they may well finance the new stadium too.

  10. Adam M says:

    You point about treating a club like a business opportunity being a bad thing is completely ridiculous.

    We have seen tens of cases of:
    – owners making footballing decision which they are not qualified to take.
    – owners treating clubs like a play thing
    – owners essentially bottoming out a clubs value by destroying it as an asset.
    – owners making emotional decisions that lead to financial ruin

    For this reason it is 100 times better to have an owner that treats this like a business.

    The primary sins of Hicks/Gilette are the failure to build a stadium and the saddling of the club with tons of debt. Whether they like football, watch football doesn’t matter one bit.

  11. redfloyd says:

    Adam

    I’ve never said that Liverpool shouldn’t be run like a business that would be rather silly in this day and age!

    However, there is also a difference between running like a business in order to obtain personal gain/profit at the expesne of the club and running it like a business so the primary aim is the benefit of the club. The jury is still out with Hicks and Gillett but the fact that they’ve borrowed against the club doesn’t bode well. Time will tell, but I know where my money is!

    I’m not naive about the way football clubs are run and why people inves tin them but owners shouldn’t belittle the fans and treat them as if they’ve crawled out of the primeval swamp and make statements like Hicks does. Don’t say one thing and then do another. Be honest, tell it like it is and why you’ve done what you’ve done. Don’t patronize, fudge the issue above all make an effort and think about whom and what you are responsible for before you open your mouth. If you can’t do that well then shut up!

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