Author Topic: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread  (Read 810905 times)

GalwayBayBoy

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1590 on: June 16, 2007, 03:33:58 AM »
In the grandiose surrounds of Queenwood in Surrey, arguably the most exclusive and expensive of Britain’s golf clubs, George Gillett Jr is beginning to ponder the American invasion of English football when the news he has been waiting for flashes up on the television, telling him that Liverpool, the club he co-owns, will play Randy Lerner’s Aston Villa in their opening match of the Barclays Premier League season. “And we’re the guys on the right,” Gillett says, scrutinising the opening-day fixtures. “So that means we’re the away side, right?”

Just as he promised when he and Tom Hicks arrived on Merseyside in February, Gillett is finding out about the sport he once knew as soccer. It is a learning process that has taken in heady triumphs over Barcelona and Chelsea en route to an agonising defeat by AC Milan in the Champions League final. Already he and Hicks have discovered that the highs are higher and the lows far lower in football than in any sport they have known. Emotions run high among the supporters, not least at Liverpool, a club thirsting not only for success but also for a reassertion of the kind of dominance they knew in the 1970s and 1980s.

In many ways, Liverpool seemed like the last English club that should pass to speculators from the United States, but while David Moores, the former chairman, may have been tearful as he sold his family’s 51.6 per cent stake to Gillett and Hicks for £89.8 million, he had no hesitation in calling the deal “a great step forward” for the club.

Nor did the supporters. Whereas another American family, the Glazers, encountered hostility at Manchester United before and after their takeover two years ago, Gillett and Hicks were given a cautious welcome by most Liverpool fans and were embraced with a remarkable zeal by others. The odd star-spangled banner even appeared on the Kop.

Such warmth left Gillett feeling humble, he says. But the honeymoon period ended for the new owners at about 11am in Athens on May 24. It was then, the morning after defeat by Milan in European club football’s showpiece event, that Rafael BenÍtez, the Liverpool manager, said that the time had come for the club to stop talking and start acting in the transfer market.

It was an outburst that took the new owners by surprise. Evidently, Gillett would not expect such comments from Guy Carbonneau, the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, the ice hockey franchise he owns. Asked if BenÍtez’s outspoken comments surprised him, Gillett says: “Taken out of context, yes. I’m a very private person and both Tom and I don’t typically talk about things publicly. So [for BenÍtez] to say things publicly was a bit of a surprise.

“But to put it back in context, Rafa had had a very disappointing night and was walking the streets of Athens for five hours after the game. He didn’t sleep after the game and then he saw you guys in the media, so I think we understood that. We’ve all been there and said things in a moment of frustration or passion.”

To prove that there are no hard feelings, Gillett and his wife, Rose, have a dinner date with BenÍtez and his wife, Montse, next week. Gillett, presumably, will pick up the bill. But there may be more than pleasantries discussed between courses.

The manager talked last month of moving immediately to secure the top-class targets he wanted, but today the ambition has switched from Samuel Eto’o, the Barcelona striker, to more prosaic names such as Diego Forlán, Darren Bent and Yossi Benayoun, who was the subject of what West Ham United considered a derisory offer on Wednesday.

Have the new owners, after their Messianic welcome, proved to be gods with feet of clay, unwilling to sanction the kind of spending that BenÍtez had demanded? “I sense that kind of pressure building from the media,” Gillett says of the growing scrutiny of their regime. “I think the fans know that we have huge regard for Rafa. He has a number of initiatives and concepts and plans under way. We’re not going to do something just to try to prove something. I can assure you that we are working on different things.

“What we’ve said and what Rafa has said was that we had a programme and he would share that with us and that we would support it. The first part was that we identified a number of our existing star players [José Manuel Reina, Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso] whom Rafa wanted to sign on long-term contracts. That was the first step and it has been done. Now we’re moving on to phase two, which is bringing players in.”

Gillett remains reluctant to discuss figures and describes the budget as “player-specific and situation-specific”. Already there have been rumours of disagreements with Hicks over the level of investment in the squad. Gillett does not confirm this directly but says: “We go through everything together and if one or other of us doesn’t feel that it’s something we’re comfortable with, we’re highly respectful of that.

“As partners, you don’t always agree, but when you don’t agree, that really gives you a reason to ask yourself why and look at the other side of the debate. I think we get strength from that. We’ve been partners in a number of businesses for a number of years. I think we work pretty well together.”

The new regime is in its early days, with Gillett and Hicks acting as co-chairmen from the other side of the Atlantic while Rick Parry, the chief executive, deals with BenÍtez on a day-to-day basis. In August, work permit allowing, Gillett’s son, Foster, will arrive to work with Parry in an unspecified executive role.

“It won’t be as CEO and it certainly won’t be as manager,” Gillett says. “Foster will be there to improve communication. This is a very fast-changing sport, where decisions often need to be made very quickly. There was substantial concern on Rick and Rafa’s part as to how, with the time differences, we could guarantee quick decisions and quick communication. This is a way of doing that.”

Communication is clearly a watchword for the two Americans. Their approach contrasts with that of the Glazers, whose only communication with United supporters in two years at Old Trafford came in a single, sanitised interview on MUTV, the club’s television channel. But are they not similar in other respects? Will they, as the Glazers have done, send ticket prices soaring while keeping a tight hold on the purse strings – at least until this summer? Apparently not.

“Liverpool’s relationship with its fans with regard to ticket prices is a matter of record,” Gillett says. “We are not going to do anything material to change what has been done over a number of years. Just because we are here doesn’t mean we will approach it the same as other people.” Gillett insists that he and Hicks did not buy Liverpool to make money, but to enjoy the glory and the thrills associated with “the most important club in the most important sport in the world”.

“I can’t speak for other American investors,” he says. “I really can’t tell you why others have invested. I’ve met Randy Lerner and I know the Glazers and I know Stan Kroenke [who has bought a large stake in Arsenal]. I can’t talk for them. But for Tom and me, this really is about trying to win championships. And that takes commitment, no matter what sport.”

In modern football, though, with no salary caps and no draft system, it also takes money and the willingness to spend it. United have already committed up to £55 million on three players to add to last season’s title-winning squad, which is one reason why Liverpool’s relative inactivity has caused such agitation among supporters, with the signings of Lucas Leiva, a £6 million Brazilian midfield player, Andriy Voronin, the Ukraine forward, and the perennial smattering of youngsters largely forgotten.

“With regard to Man United, I think what we would say is that they were way down in their investment in the transfer market last year and in my view this [their recent outlay] is averaging out,” Gillett says. “We are pleased with Rafa and his strategy. It’s not dissimilar to what he outlined to us in February. His belief is to look for players with the proper chemistry to enhance the team. We support Rafa. He has a programme under way and, as that unfolds, that will be the time for us to be judged, not now.”

— Gillett on the brilliance of BenÍtez and the fervour of the fans

On Rafael BenÍtez “[For him] to say things publicly was a bit of a surprise. But he had had a very disappointing night and was walking the streets of Athens for five hours after the game. We’ve all been there and said things in a moment of frustration or passion. He’s a very interesting, responsible, brilliant man, always trying to do better.”

On Tom Hicks “As partners, you don’t always agree. But when you don’t agree, that really gives you a reason to ask yourself why and look at the other side of the debate. I think we get strength from that. It works very well.”

On David Moores, the former chairman, and Rick Parry, the chief executive “They have done an extremely good job with this club and we want to add to that.”

On the fans “They’re amazing. David and Rick did their best to explain the passion and the intensity of the fans. But it has to be witnessed to be believed.”

— Why the price was right at £434m

George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks won the ownership battle for Liverpool after Dubai International Capital (DIC), the private-equity investment arm of the Arab state, withdrew from negotiations on January 31 because of a lack of progress in its talks with the club once it had reached the due diligence stage (Oliver Kay writes).

The Americans’ £5,000-a-share offer was £500 more than DIC’s, meaning that David Moores, left, the former chairman, earned £89.8 million by selling his 51.6 per cent stake, but the Liverpool board was unanimous in declaring that the offer was the right one for the club.

The total cost of the takeover is estimated at £434 million, which comprises £174.2 million to buy the shareholding, £44.5 million to write off debts and £215.3 million towards the reconstruction of a new stadium in Stanley Park, the design of which has since been modified. The capacity remains 61,000, with relocation expected in the summer of 2010, but there is scope for further expansion.

Sources at DIC claimed that it would have provided more funds for Rafael BenÍtez to strengthen the squad, but the Anfield board was won over by the “energy and enthusiasm” of Gillett, whose bid gained weight when he took Hicks on board as his “running partner”. Their offer was accepted by 98.6 per cent of shareholders.

Aghdavoyle

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1591 on: June 16, 2007, 01:21:08 PM »

All must be forgiven in the gerrard household given that the nuptuals are going ahead...

Syd

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1592 on: June 16, 2007, 02:31:28 PM »

All must be forgiven in the gerrard household given that the nuptuals are going ahead...

He should have kicked the dirty whore out long ago........

Fr Ted

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1593 on: June 18, 2007, 12:11:35 PM »
well lads, now that the spanish season is done and dusted i would expect rafa to make his move in the transfer market,  all the hype that the media is creating is putting pressure on the yanks to relaese the funds needed to buy some top quality players.

Although being linked with darren Bent and yer man from Israel does not strike me as being top quality.

But in rafa we must trust, he will so us the way

goldenyears

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1594 on: June 18, 2007, 02:00:16 PM »
whats that about gerrard's mrs lads? i missed that one, and scrolled back a few pages but cant see anything

Syd

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1595 on: June 18, 2007, 02:04:27 PM »
whats that about gerrard's mrs lads? i missed that one, and scrolled back a few pages but cant see anything

Some drug dealing bouncer in Liverpool was "allegedley" banging her and it was about to break in the papers but Gerrard begged them not to run the story. There was talk Gerrard was asking for a paternity test for one of his children, thought it may not have been his.

J70

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1596 on: June 19, 2007, 02:38:15 AM »
I didn't know anything about this lad till I read this piece on the official site. Sounds promising, although we'll obviously have to wait and see how things go when he gets a few starts in the Premiership.


WHY LUCAS LEIVA WILL BE A BIG HIT

Jimmy Rice 18 June 2007
   

Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva is set to be a big hit in the English game, according to South American football expert Tim Vickery.
Vickery believes the Liverpool-bound youngster, who captains Brazil Under-20s, has all the attributes necessary to succeed in Europe.
 
"These moves are always a gamble but I think this is a good one," he said.
 
"Lucas has two full seasons behind him - one helping Gremio win promotion from the second division and then last year's success when he was chosen as the player of the championship.
 
"He's an exciting player of a type Brazilian football hasn't produced too many of recently.
 
"Of late their central midfielders have tended to be 'holders' who sit and allow the full-backs to push forward. Lucas is different. He's a big, blonde figure whose power and physical strength comes with attacking ability.
 
"He can pass well and loves to rumble forward. He gets on the scoresheet both with blistering shots from range and from bursting beyond the strikers. You can certainly imagine him playing alongside Javier Mascherano, for example."
 
Leiva will arrive at Melwood in pre-season. His current club, Gremio, was also the breeding ground for Barcelona playmaker Ronaldinho and Manchester United newboy Anderson.

Goats Do Shave

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1597 on: June 19, 2007, 08:21:22 AM »
Rumours a flowing.... Benitez is quitting today folks...press conference is called!!  :o

Yanks wont give him the money he NEEDS!

...then again it might be just about this new stadium!?

Fr Ted

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1598 on: June 19, 2007, 09:17:00 AM »
calm down, calm down, as far as i know the stadium plans where to be shown yesterday to the council so it's probabley about it alrite.

brokencrossbar1

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1599 on: June 19, 2007, 09:47:12 AM »
I had heard last week that there would be a few big names announced today.  I don't know if it was BS but it would be nice. 

Any word what time the press conference is at?

AZOffaly

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1600 on: June 19, 2007, 09:51:27 AM »


Quote
I had heard last week that there would be a few big names announced today.

How about Dimitrios Papadopoulos? I have no idea if Rafa is interested in him, but he has a big name :D

gawa316

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1601 on: June 19, 2007, 10:26:32 AM »
I had heard last week that there would be a few big names announced today.  I don't know if it was BS but it would be nice. 

Any word what time the press conference is at?

Who is BS?

Forget about that question, i've just realised, d'oh ???
« Last Edit: June 19, 2007, 10:30:57 AM by gawa316 »

brokencrossbar1

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1602 on: June 19, 2007, 10:59:47 AM »
Quote


Quote
I had heard last week that there would be a few big names announced today.

How about Dimitrios Papadopoulos? I have no idea if Rafa is interested in him, but he has a big name

So has Salt and Vinegar of Hesiltine but I don't think Celtic will sell him. 

GAWA, never mind, take it easy, we all forget our heads sometime. :P


corn02

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1603 on: June 19, 2007, 12:04:31 PM »
Leiva was ranked number 2 as Argentinas most promosing youngster in some magazine, behind Messi.

AZOffaly

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Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool Supporters thread
« Reply #1604 on: June 19, 2007, 12:05:02 PM »
I thought he was Brazilian?