Posts Tagged ‘Alison McGovern’

Liverpool FC and Man Utd: the fans’ next step

25/10/2010, 12:00:49 PM

by Jonathan Todd and Alison McGovern

Blood, sweat and tears have spilt recently in Liverpool. Too much by supporters anguished at the financial plight of a great institution and the grim reality of listless defeat at Goodison Park; more by millionaires who gained control of this institution than by the millionaires responsible for this loss.

The illusion that Liverpool FC would emerge fighting fit from the Tom Hicks and George Gillett era was shattered by Everton. While the reds battled to victory against Blackburn yesterday, much needs to improve. But it isn’t only on the pitch that the lessons of recent years need to be learnt.

The promise of New England sports ventures (NESV), the new owners, to listen to supporters is welcome. Talk, however, is cheap. Fans have been left jaded after previous commitments have been reneged upon.

Now this promise should be backed up by institutional reform. This should mean, at least, a fan on the board. More ambitiously, this might mean taking up Rogan Taylor’s proposal that NESV look towards fans holding a significant minority of shares in the club; perhaps, as much as 25 percent. While the dream of full mutualisation and Liverpool FC being owned and run such that it embeds Scouse pride in a similar way to the fan-owned FC Barcelona in Catalonia may be distant, this proposal would have radical consequences. (more…)

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Liverpool FC is a big society, say Jonathan Todd and Alison McGovern

06/10/2010, 05:30:10 PM

As Ed Miliband was unveiled as Labour’s leader in Manchester ten days ago, Liverpool were drawing with Sunderland 30 miles away. Which disappointing result was of secondary concern for many compared with protesting against the club’s misrule by Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

Yet even with the possibility of administration hanging over the club, Jeff Stelling of Sky told the protestors to “concentrate on what’s happening on the pitch.”

But this “let them eat cake and drink warm lager” attitude misses the point.

As the clock ticks down to the club effectively being publicly owned, we should ask whether David Cameron has a better grasp of the issues at stake. In spite of the ownership bid from New England Sports Ventures, Robert Peston continues to see control of the club by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) as a live option. RBS, 84 percent publicly owned, could assume ownership on 15 October when loans taken out with them expire.

While it may be that RBS avoids this outcome by finding new owners capable of servicing the debt in the next week, an RBS takeover is close enough that questions must be asked about how they would conduct themselves as custodians of the club. A publicly owned bank taking on such a role raises new issues.

These issues are larger than the club; even than a club as great as Liverpool. They cut to the core of what we want our post credit-crunched country to be.

There is a worry that the practices which contributed to our troubles may be returning to the financial sector. This concern undermines the hope that there may be opportunity in the financial crisis; opportunity to re-evaluate what kind of economy and society we want to be and to recalibrate ourselves accordingly. (more…)

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