Less than a week before Liverpool are due to face Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals, still the backroom beef is ongoing, with co-owner Tom Hicks describing chief executive Rick Parry's time at the club as a “disaster.” Last week Hicks called on Parry to resign, but the former Premier League chief, still backed by co-owner George Gillett, rejected the demand. With 50/50 owners Hicks and Gillett no nearer to resolving their battle for control, and Parry and team manager Rafa Benitez also failing to see eye-to-eye, off-field issues are in danger of engulfing the club yet again.
Speaking for the first time since rumours of a falling out between the two American co-owners reached the press, Hicks told Sky:
“Look at what's happened under Rick. It has been a disaster, we have fallen so far behind the other leading clubs. We should have the stadium built by now. We have two or three major sponsors when we should have 12 or 15. We are not doing anything in Asia the way Manchester United and
Barcelonaare, and we have a tremendous number of fans in Asia. We have still got the top brand in the world of football but that's no good if you don't know how to commercialise it. Rick needs to resign from Liverpool FC. He has put his heart into it but it is time for a change. You have to be able to work with the manager and Rick has proved he can't do that.”
The Texan also revealed he plans to rid the club of all debt by heading up a group of financial backers willing to invest in the club. This comes as news broke today that the club may be forced to sell Ryan Babel and Fernando Torres after problems paying back their loan surfaced. As explained expertly by The Spoiler, Premier League clubs usually fund purchases through television income, but
At the end of the day, this situation is symptomatic of the franchise mentality of foreign owners, and their insistence on ‘branding.’ Don’t get me wrong, I am not averse to investors from abroad taking over football clubs, but at the end of the day, football clubs are different from American sports teams, who lack any local anchor or identity. Football teams are not businesses in the traditional sense, and foreign owners must appreciate this, let alone the on-field impact their boardroom turmoil can make manifest.