Posts Tagged ‘Liverpool FC’

Anger is an energy in politics and football

14/09/2015, 09:04:24 AM

by Jonathan Todd

Anger is an energy, John Lydon told us. I hope so after Saturday. IKEA is blood pressure raising, especially when your visit coincides with Jeremy Corbyn winning big. Liverpool’s tame defeat at Old Trafford later in the day did not reduce the steam bellowing from my ears.

Labour have elected a leader that even his supporters do not see as prime minister, which runs contrary to the basic function of opposition. We have, therefore, abdicated the status of an aspirant party of government, rendering us pretty pointless.

Ed Miliband sometimes ran the party as if it were a pressure group. Corbyn completes that journey. Labour should always believe in itself enough to be more than that.

Liverpool players should always believe in themselves enough to play on the front foot. To aggressively dominate with and without the ball. Give the opponents the run around when in possession. Press high and hard when not. Particularly against a team as poor as the current Manchester United.

David Cameron and Louis Van Gaal, the United manager, are paper tigers. Yes, Cameron recently won a general election and holds formidable advantages. Yes, Van Gaal’s team has had many millions spent on it and trips to Old Trafford are invariably challenging.

But both Cameron and Van Gaal preside over unhappy camps. Cameron is in constant conflict with his backbenches over Europe. Van Gaal imposes training methods on unwilling players who often reward him with stifled performances. The weaknesses of Cameron and Van Gaal would be exploited by a Labour and a Liverpool with the confidence that should come as standard.

As Europe should be pulling together to tackle its biggest refugee crisis since World War II, we have a prime minister pulling it apart with narrowly self-interested demands. Instead of setting out why this is wrong and how we’d do things differently, Corbyn equivocated over Europe, even absorbing the erroneous criticisms of the EU that Putin has made on the Ukrainian calamity.


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Luis Suarez and football tribalism

12/02/2012, 07:00:28 AM

by Anthony Painter

Yesterday, Luis Suarez refused to shake the hand of Manchester United captain, Patrice Evra. It was idiotic and undignified. It also meant that for the third Liverpool versus Manchester United match running, the story was not going to be about the football.

At half time, there was a confrontation outside the team dressing rooms. And after the match, Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, called Luis Suarez a disgrace and said he should never play for Liverpool again. And so the pot is kept on the simmer.

Since the incidents that have led to this – when Luis Suarez used racially abusive language towards Patrice Evra in a league game in October last year – Liverpool FC has been living through a disaster of its own making. It did not need an FA independent regulatory commission to realise that Suarez was in the wrong. A cursory glance at the striker’s own evidence and the video footage would show, first,  that an offensive term was used and second that it was meant in a hostile manner.

That should have been enough for Liverpool FC to severely reprimand the player, fine him and suspend him of their own accord. Both club and player should have issued an apology. If Suarez refused, he should have been placed on the transfer list. When this did not happen, its American owners, more aware than most of brand value and propriety, should have stepped in. They failed to.


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The Sunday Review: Liverpool FC’s 2010/2011 season

22/05/2011, 02:00:04 PM

by Anthony Painter

This was the year of lost owners, three managers and the end of history for Liverpool FC. And despite the tumult – nearly quite literally losing everything – it may have recaptured its soul. The story of Liverpool’s year offers deeper lessons that reach beyond the Shankly gates. Some of those lessons are even political. It’s definitely a story of our world and times.

Let’s start with Tom Hicks and George Gillett. And a basic point: there is no rational financial reason for anyone to own a football club. It’s pure vanity; the economics of mad men. So you have to be very rich for it to work in the long-term. Sure, it’s a growing market as the entertainment industries beyond film go global. But the costs are too high, the rewards too uncertain, and the loyal revenues only compensate to a limited extent for the high risk-low reward business model. You do it out of vanity in the main – you want to own people’s dreams and put yourself on a glamorous platform. Either that or you are a crazy gambler.

Little business sense means that if you are not super rich you have to borrow on unreasonable terms. And if you want to build a top side you have to borrow a lot. Hicks and Gillett weren’t super-rich. They borrowed on ridiculous terms. They couldn’t compete but, worst of all, they lied – to everyone including themselves. They were symbols of the age of capitalism we have just come through. Luckily, a quintessentially English establishment figure, Martin Broughton, chairman of British Airways, came to Liverpool’s rescue and justice was done. Hicks and Gillett left with less than nothing. The swindlers were swindled.


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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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