Thursday, 31 January 2008

Can Fans Save a Club?

People are idiots. A person can be a fine, fully operational individual with positively genius ideas, but people as a mass, talked of as one entire organism, become a lumbering moron devoid of rational thought. After Mike Ashley made the mistake of becoming one of ‘the people’, he listened to mob idiocy rather than basic sense and appointed Kevin Keegan.

Now, Liverpool seem to be going one step further as fans of the club may well decide to take over the entire team. 100,000 of them. 100,000 Mike Ashley’s with £5,000 investments. Good God, the thought of it. Mark’s post on Ebbsfleet United last November pointed to some of the difficulties but also some of the excitement that can come when fans take over a club. Admittedly, the Liverpool supporters concerned will not be picking the team, and are investing far more than those involved with the Ebbsfleet project, but to me the plan sounds just as far fetched.

The people involved - football business lecturer and Liverpool fan Rogan Taylor, former director of communications at the Premier League Phil French, and lawyer Kevin Jacquiss (who is listed by the BBC as “an expert in launching co-operatives”) – all sound like reasonable individuals to start off the investment. But it all has the air of floating on the stock exchange about it. In the long term that model didn’t work for Spurs or any other club that I can think of.

Right now, it’s claimed this model would have more in common with the Barcelona system of ‘membership’ whereby everyone who pays a yearly fee gets first dibs on tickets, a membership card and a vote in the elections when a new president is being decided. Is this really the way Liverpool wants to go?

To have the club involved in Spanish style club elections where presidents make ludicrous claims of signing the biggest players in the world to sway the voting fans? The kind of tactics that has often left Barcelona in a mess (they’ve had plenty of barren years in amongst their success due to internal turmoil); the kind of politics that left Real Madrid having to be saved by the Spanish Government who bought their training ground for an insanely inflated fee?

David Moores and Rick Parry certainly have to take some blame for where the club is now – on the brink of collapse on the field; turmoil off the field and little hope of any more money coming in for signings. The two scousers spent several years trying to bring investment into the club, turning down many ‘unsuitable’ bids in the process. That’s why when they settled on Hicks and Gillett most Liverpool fans felt they were in the right hands. We had good reason. Surely after years of searching, Moores and Parry had gotten an indication that these were the men to bring the club forward. Both, I feel, are culpable for the massive mess the club now lies in.

All of this has led to this morning’s news about the fan takeover and such headlines - such absolutely outrageous unworkable ideas – show how low the club is feeling at present. At this rate, I’d stake a fair few quid on Liverpool beating United’s 27 years without winning the league. They may even hit 30. After spending the guts of a decade looking for the right fit, Moores and Parry must take a share of blame at least for setting the side back for possibly a further ten years.

Later, JJ
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Mark said...

David Moores and Rick Parry are the biggest idiots in football, Liverpool got left behind while United cleaned up on merchandising, ticket sales, floating on stock market (true, that didn't end well but...), signing quality players

their loyalty to managers has also been a problem but the bigegst thing is that they didn't try to do it the arsenal way - finance this new stadium themselves and reap the rewards. instead Pool are now in twice as much of debt as they would have been had that plan been followed.

worrying time for Pool, but if it all goes tits-up, i'm sure a white knight will ride to the rescue whether that be Kraft or DIC or someone else. They must qualify for the CL this year though, and it's not looking too good so far

JJ said...

Yep, CL qualification is essential though even if that doesn't happen I still see some sort of white knight scenario coming through. Though to presume that the next owners won't be just as cold as hicks and gillett would be stupid.

I can't believe we didn't sell to Frank Sinatra; would've had the six year olds makin replica shirts for no money at all, the profits would have been rolling in I tells ya.