Posts Tagged ‘Rafa Benitez’

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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