We sat in the pub after work looking at the first tangible evidence that the take over of Liverpool Football Club by NESV had happened. It was John W Henry and Martin Broughton standing side by side talking to the press.
The last twenty four hours had been eventful mainly because of Tom Hicks ad George Gillett’s attempts to scupper the inevitable. This involved the serving, and then removal of, a restraining order trying to keep control and recoup losses via Mill Financial. It appears that Hicks in particular would stop at nothing however despite the futile attempts of both Americans to play the, moustache twirling hard men, their lack of credibility was never in doubt. They even demanded that, via one lawyer, that Martin Broughton should be jailed. A demand as barbaric as it is clearly stupid and one that is symptomatic of their actions since they first set foot in L4. Bullies never usually prosper and the best way to deal with them is to hit back which the club eventually did. I don’t know if it’s an arrogant big shot American Businessman thing but both men ploughed on relentlessly before eventually reaching the buffers. They have found, in a humiliating way, that they cannot do just as they want and get their way every time.
Thankfully we appeared to have the powers that be on our side the judges, the lawyers, RBS, who I suspect were prepared to extend their deadline to give the board more time to burn off Hicks and Gillett and seal things with NESV, and even the Premier League who yesterday refused to talk to Mill Financial. All were rightly contemptuous of Hicks and Gillett’s attempts to prolong the struggle and closed door after door in their faces as they writhed and tried to wriggle their way out. The pair have racked up an impressive list of descriptions over that last few days. “Unconscionable conduct”, “slippery”, “breathtakingly arrogant”, “incorrigible” and of the injunction; “oppressive, offensive and grotesque”. Their legal arguments were described as “rather impoverished” yet Tom Hicks appears on Sky TV last night playing the hard done by martyr. Blaming Rafa. Stating he was a victim of a planned conspiracy. Stating that the fight isn’t over and that he wants to prove he was wronged and to the fans that he’s not who they think he is. Good luck sir, we’ve more chance of winning the Champions League this season and even if there was a “conspiracy”, it was fully justified?
In the interest of balance perhaps Hicks and Gillett might argue that they were unfortunate? They did pump some money into the club, £144m which I assume they have now lost. The credit crunch came at a bad time (is there ever a good time) which hindered the stadium build. However, all of this is comprehensively negated by the fact that they simply lied, or at worst mislead, us about the how the deals would be financed and their reprehensible behaviour once they realised that the takeover arrangements were not to their liking. No class, no self esteem, no consideration, just pure self interest and greed which manifested itself in the gross parody they have enacted over the last few days.
So what of NESV and Mr Henry? Of course it is too early to say. Being virtually debt fee and suggesting that the fans should have some say in the running of the club is a good start. However, even at his early stage the plans re the stadium and money to improve the squad seem woolly. I guess the hard work really starts now to convince every one, by actions and not necessarily the words Hicks was so fond of spouting. To convince every one that we have made the right decision and not f*cked it up again? I am optimistic but also, in equal measure, suspicious and will remain so until I see tangible evidence of improvement if not on the pitch, then at least off it.
However that is for another time and another post. It is a good day in our history if not because the future is bright and certain but because the cancer that has afflicted the club for the last three years has been finally been cut out thanks to pride, hard work, determination and the sheer force of will to right a wrong.
Hopefully we can now concentrate on the real matters in hand starting with, ironically and perhaps appropriately, the small matter of Everton tomorrow? After all that is what it is ultimately all about isn’t it?