Belfast Telegraph

Alan Green: Banks must step in and force Liverpool owners to jump ship

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that matters at Anfield are suggesting a full-blown crisis?

Yes, it’s only the first few weeks of a new season and had Daniel Agger scored from a simple chance in stoppage time to beat Sunderland on Saturday many would have proclaimed sight of a new dawn.

Why? Because Liverpool would be in the top ten? Because of progress in the Europa League? Because they’ve a soft fixture to come at home to Blackpool?

Perhaps . . . but for those that truly care about Liverpool (and, sadly, there’s a rather large part of the football world that is currently laughing its head off) it’s best that Agger didn’t.

There are huge cracks that don’t need papering over: they need addressing.

That’s why thousands stayed behind in their seats after the game to make their protests known: not at the performance but at the owners.

Until those Americans are out of the club, nothing can be put right and heaven help Liverpool if George Gillett and, worse, Tom Hicks are still around in a month’s time.

Gillett seems to want out. Good: not before time. He’s part of a partnership that’s lied from the moment it took over: about EVERYTHING.

But Hicks, by far the more stubborn of the two, just won’t back down easily. He’s taken his begging bowl from one financial institution to the next. It isn’t enough to walk away knowing he hasn’t lost any of his own money: he wants PROFIT!

The man is unbelievable and would, I fear, seriously endanger his health were he ever to show his face on Merseyside again. Even the other directors have turned against him.

I don’t pretend to know what’s in the mind of the Royal Bank of Scotland, which holds all the cards. It could allow Liverpool to fall into administration with the subsequent nine points’ deduction — relegation becoming realistic rather than unthinkable — and attendant financial penalties. But I don’t believe they’ll let that happen: neither would the Premier League.

A far, far better outcome would be to force the Americans out and allow prospective new owners to purchase the club at a price that would allow investment in the team — clearly, badly needed — and the building of a new stadium that’s crucial to the future health of the crisis-ridden club.

Now, that wouldn’t make everything right overnight. You can’t cast aside a disgraceful performance such as that against Northampton by saying it’s all the owners’ fault. That was down to players that aren’t and never will be good enough: Benitez’s players. But you can’t correct that until the stuff at the top is sorted out.

I have to say I begin to worry about the suitability of Roy Hodgson. Hicks and Gillett don’t choose players and tactics. The manager does and, as well as a lack of quality in some players and a lack of conviction in others, I detect a general air of negativity. Fulham ‘sat’ deep. No Liverpool team should.

Morale is low and won’t have been helped being seen as second best to Sunderland for large parts of Saturday’s game. No, there’s a very long walk through the storm before the dawn can be reality.

Belfast Telegraph


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