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Rash of wrong turns highlights deep fault line running through Liverpool

by Tony Barrett // 18 October 2012 // 26 Comments

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ONE evening in the summer of 2005, Robert Kraft retired to his bed having made a monumental decision – he was going to buy Liverpool Football Club. Talks with David Moores, the then Liverpool chairman had gone better than he had expected and when the owner of the New England Patriots brought an end to what appeared to be a significant day his final thoughts were dominated by Anfield and the Premier League.

The following morning, though, Kraft awoke with a start. Something felt wrong. Here he was in Brookline, Massachusetts, planning to take control of a “sports franchise” which was based more than 3,000 miles away. The business magnate picked up the phone and immediately called Moores. He could not conclude the deal, he said. As far as Kraft was concerned, the limitations of being an absentee owner were such a concern that he feared being unable to do justice both to Liverpool and himself if he proceeded.

Fast forward to the present day and Liverpool are conspiring to make that decision seem particularly wise. Under American ownership – this time in the guise of Fenway Sports Group – the Merseyside club seem only to list from one crisis to another, with some being more serious than others, as their Stateside proprietors seem unable or unwilling to find a way of bridging the geographical divide.

Over the last week, a new farce has surrounded them, one which has caused deep and unnecessary embarrassment to a club which used to pride itself on doing things the right way; in their terms “the Liverpool Way.” It is a shambles which, in fairness, would not have been possible in a previous era but it was also one which was wholly avoidable in the present one.

Everyone knows about it by now as it has been played out in both mainstream and social media. But for anyone who has avoided the online madhouse that is Twitter or steered clear of newspapers for a few days then the basics are that Jen Chang, Liverpool’s communications director, has been accused of threatening a supporter by the name of Sean Cummins who had been operating a spoof Twitter account under the pseudonym of Duncan Jenkins.

Without going into detail, Chang denies the allegations and unless hard evidence is produced by Cummins it is hard to imagine how the shocking claims made against the FSG appointment will be upheld. But what is probably beyond dispute is that by tracking down and trying to stop the activities of a fan who was doing little more than tweet titbits of team and transfer news, Chang was guilty of the kind of naivety which has characterised Liverpool on far too many occasions since FSG took over the club two years ago.

The street smart route – one which would have been followed in the days when the late Kevin Dooley and more recently Richard Green provided legal counsel – would have been to look into “Jenkins’” tweets and then to accept that there are some things that go beyond the reach even of Liverpool Football Club. Basically, there are some fights that are worth fighting and some that are best avoided and a spoof Twitter account giving out information that was freely available in other areas of cyberspace, not to mention in the free world, definitely fell into the latter category.

The country’s biggest football clubs have decisions of this type to make on an increasingly regular basis. The difference between the Liverpool of today and the one which Kraft considered buying is that it seems to make the wrong moves more often than the right ones. A young manager making his first tentative steps in a difficult job? Make him the subject of a fly on the wall TV documentary. A top player accused of racially abusing a fellow professional? Don’t give him a QC. A desperate need to sign a forward? Allow deadline day to pass as confusion reigns.

It is one bad move after another and each failing has, to a greater or lesser extent, undermined the stature and reputation of a club which is in danger of becoming a bigger parody than the Twitter account which drove it to distraction. That all of these situations have occurred since FSG took ownership suggests that such cock-ups are not a coincidence and that there is a deep fault line running through the club.

Arguably the most plausible explanation is inexperience. John W Henry, Liverpool’s principal owner, confessed upon purchase that he had much to learn about his new asset and also football in general. He has strived to overcome this by studying football with a zeal bordering on obsession and resorted to a reliance on statistics in an attempt to make up for his lack of natural feel for the game, but he has still managed to make a series of decisions which he has later regretted and which have helped usher Liverpool into their current malaise.

Such inexperience would perhaps not be the debilitating problem that it is if it wasn’t for the fact that it is replicated throughout the club. Ian Ayre is Liverpool’s longest serving director but has only been at Anfield since 2007. Natalie Wignall, their legal counsel, dates back only to the time when Christian Purslow was in situ. Chang became director of communications last summer. Changes to their medical staff were made even more recently than that. In their pomp, Liverpool’s board of directors hardly changed from one decade to the next, now it is populated by newcomers, most of whom reside in the USA.

It is against this backdrop that Brendan Rodgers, himself relatively inexperienced at the highest level, must attempt to revive Liverpool’s flagging fortunes. At 39-years-old, he is Liverpool’s youngest manager since Kenny Dalglish stepped into Joe Fagan’s shoes at the age of just 34 in 1985. Unlike Dalglish, though, Rodgers is not blessed with a time-served board. If he wants to speak to his chairman he has to either call or email Tom Werner in Los Angeles, Dalglish merely had to knock on the door of John Smith’s office. He is also unable to call on the wise counsel of a Peter Robinson never mind a Bob Paisley. Liverpool do not boast such figures anymore, they are a brand new club in almost every conceivable way.

The radical changes that have been made at Anfield over the past two years may eventually pay off. Mistakes that are being made now may come to be looked back on as important lessons learned in the fullness of time. But the worrying thing from Liverpool’s point of view is that so many of their most recent problems have been self-inflicted and unnecessary. Rodgers needed a forward, he didn’t get one; he could have done without a fly on the wall documentary holding him up to scrutiny, but he got one; Luis Suarez needed a QC, he didn’t get one; Chang didn’t need to pursue a Tweeter but he did anyway.

How FSG put such failings right isn’t clear. They could sack some more employees and replace them with new appointments but that option has already been pursued with vigour and without any indications up to this point that it is ready to pay off. They could appoint a so-called football man with experience and street smarts but they appeared to throw the baby out with the bath water on that front when Dalglish’s ties with the club were severed last summer. They could appoint a respected former player or even an outsider to act as a buffer between Rodgers and the board, only the manager has already made it clear that he would not approve of the creation of such a position.

There are no easy answers to Liverpool’s current problems and the added complications caused by geographical distance, time difference and physical detachment are making it even more difficult for FSG to come up with the necessary solutions. It was such a scenario that helped prompt Robert Kraft’s change of heart and FSG’s ongoing struggles at Anfield are making their fellow American’s U-turn look like the kind of smart move that their club currently seems incapable of making .

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26 Comments

  1. Every time we put a self-inflicted fuck up behind us, we do something else again. This who Duncan Jenkin’s thing is humiliating. We need something precious back that we have lost – our dignity. We seem to keep throwing it away every time we appear to finally be back on track.

  2. By the way I’m not sure its got much to do with the owners living in America. United’s owners are in America, but they have people on the ground in Manchester with experience and good judgment and they deal with things appropriately and without embarassments like this. Same for City, their owners are in the Gulf, yet they have people on the ground who know what they are doing. So where are we going wrong?

    • The difference between us and Man U is that United had a stable and experienced executive team, headed by the very competent David Gill, which allowed things to keep on running smoothly.

      Can’t say as much about City, though it has to be remembered that Gary Cook made his fair share of cock-ups while in charge there, and was eventually dismissed in a high-profile fashion – it just didn’t matter as much because they were getting results on the pitch, and until we do, the off-pitch drama will continue to receive extra scrutiny.

    • Simple mate. City and Utd have senior people in place to take care of things over here, we haven’t. As the article says, everything about the club behind the scenes is new, there are no experienced wise old heads to give counsel. It’s a structural defect that needs fixing as urgently as any on the pitch.

  3. Ian Ayre isn’t holding things together, is he? Was Jen Chang’s contacting of Duncan Jenkin’s on a stupid wild goose chase sanctioned by Ayre? We need someone with experience, gravity and status. I have no confidence in Ayre.

  4. This can be either a half full or half empty situation. Years ago we had a consistent board, back room staff etc. some will say they did things “the Liverpool way”.

    Much of which I agree with.

    However, during that time we fell further and further behind our competitors both on and off the field.

    I think FSG are giving it a go, being brave, trying to make us a better club in the long term.

    Yes, they’ve made mistakes and no doubt will again but at least they appear to be trying.
    A Locally based CEO would not go amiss though…

  5. Both Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Arsenal have overseas owners. A large corporation does not need an owner to wipe everyone’s arse, they employ staff in various roles. The difference is FSG aren’t spending their own money other than not loading the club with the purchase price. Anyone with business experience will tell you the owners are cleaning up the books, but as there’s no investment coming in, it’s pretty clear they’re looking to sell on for a nice profit. Expect the club to be limbo until the next set of owners come in.

  6. I tend to agree with dave o. Does any of these issues really make a massive difference? I cant see how a documentary sets us back? At least FSG are trying to think a bit differently. Football has changed and the old liverpool way is a thing of the past. Dont think it is a geographical issue,but more having an effective man on the ground like some of the other responses suggest.

  7. Hold On! Is this a big joke? To wake up every morning and see LFC lampooned in the media;virtually every day for the past 2 years.

    These shiny new Americans.One cock-up after another,And there’s some kind of master plan?Being Liverpool?Brendan Rodgers trying to tell players to kick it with this foot when you’re here and that foot when you’re there?

    Ian Rush not scoring goals when he first arrived.Paisley’s response?”Just be a bit greedier son,have a shot yourself”

    That was when football was simple and a Mastermind made it simple with a staff of about 9 or 10.Now we seem to have have about 2,000 masterminds employed at LFC and not many of them know how to do the job!

  8. The criticism of some of the FSG actions or the lack of them is justified. They should obviously pay more attention to their LFC business, and for that they need a right person inside the club. Ian Ayre is being accused of many things, perhaps unfairly. Lack of leadership – yes. Malice – I don’t think so.
    Jacky Chan saga should be sorted quickly, simply because there is a lot of poison brewing in certain groups of supporters, and they spread that poison around, not caring much about the impact it is going to make on the club, but only about their own petty interests.

    Those who are anti-FSG and want them out, (based on what – a few mistakes + the crime that they are American) should really think twice. What do you wish for? Are there any super-wealthy scouse businessmen who are standing out there ready to buy the club? Or do you prefer some dodgy Asian steel/oil/chicken tycoon, maybe?
    At least FSG are being quite straightforward and transparent in the way they want to run LFC. They don’t deny that they are still learning. It takes them a bit longer than it should… but fundamentally there is not many things wrong with them. Just like Tony Barrett said above: there are mistakes that are avoidable and preventable.

  9. Once again the people at the top fail to either protect the people below them or protect the club.

    Ian Ayre is supposedly LFC’s CEO, a CEO with the title of MD. When Kenny and others were getting it in the neck from the media over the Suarez Evra situation Ayre kept out of it and never once stood publicly behind Kenny.

    Why didn’t Ayre step in sooner to stand behind Kenny, to show the world the club were with the manager in his handling of the situation. And if the club weren’t behind him, why not put their foot down with him and tell him how they wanted him to handle it?

    Silence from Ayre, silence from Werner and Henry, Dalglish left out to dry. Even if Kenny was insisting on doing it his way there comes a time for someone higher up to either put their foot down sooner to do it a different way, or to show that they are fully behind him.

    Chang probably didn’t do any of those things and probably thinks it’s going to make it worse to speak out about it. Even if he did it, or some of it, why would he admit it? But Chang shouldn’t be the one speaking out about it, beyond telling reporters with the scent of blood that it’s all nonsense. It should be those higher up who are standing behind him, and showing it to those blood hungry gossip hacks like Sale and Herbert.

    Chang’s supposedly done one extremely good thing in particular for the club since he arrived, this incident doesn’t really match up with that, why didn’t Ayre point some of that out? Does he sit in the office with his helmet on all day? Ayre and his predecessors were too scared to stir up ill feeling with HFSG and so they ignored the HJC, now Chang has brought them into the club. LFC are now, finally, putting some money in for the HJC’s sculpture for the 96.

    With Ayre it’s the things he doesn’t do that let the club down, maybe it’s hard to see this from across the Atlantic.

  10. The fans chose kenny and look where that got us. Had a real manager been employed, ie Rafa, we would be in much better shape now. Kenny is single handedly responsible for overseeing the worst transfer spend in the clubs entire history. he chose downing over mata and turan, he bought carroll and adam etc.
    The board wanted LVG as DOF but david brent said no. Its not all down to them, they are going with popular opinion or trying to give those they have employed plenty of control and that has backfired more often than not.
    Its going to take a while to find stability after the chaotic state the place was left in, but i dont believe FSG are fumbling around in the dark. they do listen, probably too much sometimes.

    Had clint been purchased, in the short term we may have been better off. however, would sterling and suso have broken through? would the youth players have as much hope as they do now? would LFC be such an enticing prospect for any potential signings come jan/summer.

    Things can only get better IMO.

    • surely FSG should have installed a DoF first, before starting a search for a manager.. after all, its always the manager thats replaced never the DoF.

  11. I agree that the American’s have made some mistakes but i think people are overreacting. I think the owners are generally doing a good job. The worst cock up was the transfer deadline day saga with not signing more players but that was because we didn’t have our team in place to sort out transfers and at least FSG have admitted that they have been learning. Now we have this team in place that shouldn’t happen again. I actually like the Being Liverpool series and think it has portrayed the club in a good light. I have taken nothing but positives from that program. I don’t think it has showed Rodgers in a bad way whatsoever. The club aren’t that naive that they would make a documentary portraying Liverpool in a bad way. People forget that these owners saved our club from going bust and have completely wiped away all the debt. People forget that they gave Dalglish millions and millions to spend on players. It’s not their fault that Dalglish got it hopelessly wrong in the transfer market. At the end of the day any new owners that come in will want to bring in their own manager, that’s just normal. I think FSG have done a brilliiant job in appointing Rodgers. This is the best football we are playing that i can remember. All it needs now is 2 or 3 people who can score loads of goals and this team will go places.

  12. Paul says:

    Anyone with business experience will tell you the owners are cleaning up the books, but as there’s no investment coming in, it’s pretty clear they’re looking to sell on for a nice profit. Expect the club to be limbo until the next set of owners come in.

    Been saying the same thing for ages. Anyone who cannot see this and keeps saying “back the owners” and “trust the owners” and “the owners saved us” is a tool. Fine, they gave us a few quid at a difficult time – so what? If they hadn’t then some other losers would have.

    Limbo is the best Liverpool fans can expect and frankly after loving the feeling under Rafa that we had a 20 year dynasty to build I’m pretty pissed and bored!

  13. Whilst I completely understand the frustration, I don’t agree with much. I actually think distance has very little to do with some of the perceived problems that the club has faced recently.

    Additionally, while I might agree that inexperience of the game could be a factor, I just don’t think that’s right – there are plenty of owners that haven’t owned football clubs before and/or don’t have the exposure to football (especially English football) that you refer to in your article. Additionally, even if that is a particular issue, I think FSG have done their level best in trying to understand the vagaries of the game more than most and I fully believe that what they lack in personal experience they can replace with imported knowledge from observers (I, for one, think Henry’s efforts to contact supporters and commentators are laudable).

    Whilst it would be great to go back to the days where there was a spine within the upper echelons of the club that had huge experience of football, the club, the city and the fans, that’s just not going to happen (arguably that won’t happen throughout the prem let alone at LFC). Rodgers knew the score when he came on board – agreed, he left behind a savvy chairman in Huw Jenkins (whose football experience was nought when he took over btw) and Ayre certainly has his critics, but do we really think Rodgers wants to go up to Ayre and ask if he should plug player X into the side at the weekend? BR has brought with him a team. He’s not a lone inexperienced kid wringing his hands and looking up to the skies for inspiration. Frankly, Hodgson was one of the more experienced managers we’ve hired and, in my view, not one that we should have kept.

    I think, also, that there are plenty of things they have done (or has happened under their supervision) to improve the club (e.g. sorting out the debt finances, reviewing our commercial partnerships, pushing for HJC recognition, attempting to plug in a dynasty rather than looking at just the short term, stabilising the club after H&G, tying the club into modern internet media, attempting to crack the US market for extra revenue streams etc etc).

    Not just that, but I think some of the crises were unavoidable. Suarez? Whilst I agree that he perhaps needed better legal advice, I reject that appointing a QC would have been the magic wave of the wand to fix anything. It was an emotionally charged issue where the FA were under political pressure to act firmly. As a lawyer myself, I question whether a QC would have made much of a difference. I also don’t believe that the other issues were down to inexperience (or acts of a lone employee without sanction – though perhaps that makes things worse). They were mistakes – arguably embarrassing and avoidable. Yes, they should be avoided, but I think dwelling on them helps no one. I think they will form important learning experiences that, if we don’t let that cloud what good work has been done, will be important.

    Also, not signing a striker on deadline day – forgive me as, like Jenkins, I don’t have a mole at the club, but I thought it was commonly accepted that we couldn’t get any of our targets so it was decided that, rather than overspend, we would remain as we were. A transfer window earlier, when LFC were paying over the odds for Andy Carroll (and others), they were roundly criticised. Now that they’re holding firm to proper valuations and seeking out intelligent value-for-money targets, they’re still being criticised. I think, for some, there is no intent to see anything but the worst.

    Finally, I think that it was commonly accepted that new ideas, new systems, new managers need time to adjust – more than a season, perhaps more than a few seasons – for these things to really take hold. Until then there will be plenty of errors – plenty of setbacks. I think, however, that if you can stick with them then things will start to come good – perhaps that is a woolly optimistic approach, but I think the lack of stability through chopping and changing managers, directors, staff in general has all contributed to problems. What we need is some calm – and I think FSG can provide that – we just need to keep some faith and not have a knee-jerk reaction.

    Oh – and for the rumours of FSG selling the club… I have seen those, but I’m not sure why they would take such efforts to upgrade the football management of the club if all they were interested in was selling. Ditto their ownership of the Red Sox – the perfect time to sell would have been after they won the World Series. It seems to me that they’re in for the long haul (though I accept that perhaps they realised there was a bigger challenge awaiting them than they realised).

    I think FSG have done enough so far to put their money where their mouth is (shelling out £35m for Andy Carroll!) and clearly there have been some bumps in the road, but the fact that they were inexperienced or live in America are not automatic precursors to failure as an owner. They’ve got a team set up over here and seem intent on expanding upon them (Bill Hogan being transplanted across etc) – I think that team has some autonomy to do what we need it to do and, with every passing day and each passing crisis, they grow in stature and experience.

  14. In response to Martin’s comment.

    I really do think a QC would have helped in the Suarez case. John Terry admitted calling a black man a FBC and still got away with it in court. We should have had that QC for Suarez.

    I know some will mention that the court is beyond reasonable doubt and the FA kangaroo court is different.

    Also not paying an extra couple of million for for Dempsey was a mistake. Yes they should not be held to ransom but, surely, sometimes you realise you’ve ballsed up the plan and have to bite the bullet.

  15. Hi Dave,

    I know you mentioned it but seriously – Suarez wasn’t even charged by the police/prosecuted by the CPS because there wasn’t enough evidence. The difference with Terry was that there was clear video evidence.

    Logically, you would expect (on the basis of evidence) that Terry would receive a harsher punishment than Suarez but, for what it’s worth, the FA have distinguished the Suarez/Terry cases on the number of times there was an infringement. With Terry it was accepted that he said it once. With Suarez, the FA chose to believe Evra (rightly or wrongly) that there were several uses of an ‘offensive word’.

    Honestly, I am confident I could have argued the case better but I’m not convinced the FA would have found a different verdict.

    Re Dempsey – I think it’s easy to say that with hindsight but had we signed him I’m sure many would say it was just another gaffe by FSG for giving in and spending over the top on an ageing player from a mid-table club (and for that silly website announcement on NESN).

    There definitely has to be a middle ground – somewhere between the £35m of AC and the shunning of a few transfer targets for the sake of a little bit more money… but given Rodgers seemed absolutely happy in both cases, I can’t see there being an issue. Also, with Dempsey, I’m not convinced he would have chosen us over Spurs had we matched the bid. Perhaps it shows some naive negotiating but at least we’re working on our reputation for paying over the odds – that rep probably drove up the asking price on all our targets this year.

  16. Is it any wonder LFC are becoming a joke when every writer in the country is writing articles about how bad things are at the club? I think this one is ill timed and loaded to suit the authors own agenda. I think if results improve on the pitch (and it’s by no means an unrealistic ‘if’) then we’re not in too bad a place, far better than 2 years ago. Admittedly, we still haven’t found a magic wand but we’re moving in the right direction. I’m really enjoying watching LFC at the minute and I’m excited about what the future may hold.

    This week the stadium expansion plan took a big step forward in a process we were told ‘couldn’t happen because of the residents’. Still, in the comments above you see people writing that ‘they’re planning to sell us for a quick profit’. It’s ridiculous. There is no profit to be had at present. No one wanted us last time when we were on the market except for a made up company and some rich arabs who a year later couldn’t meet their interest repayments on their assets. What’s changed – have i missed something? The stadium won’t even start for 2 years so it’s a strange logic. Don’t forget the stadium is top of the anti FSG’s agenda usually. Now it’s shifted to mistakes.

    All this mention of Liverpool isn’t what it was. You’re missing out the middle bit. The last quarter of a century. We haven’t gone from Paisley to Rodgers. We haven’t gone from John Smith to FSG. I don’t remember much shouting about David Moores when he was in charge. In my eyes, negligence is worse than making mistakes. We’d all love to be back in the 80′s but it can’t happen. A lot of Liverpool fans need to accept where we are so we can all enjoy the potential journey back up. Being in denial is not going to help you to start loving the club again. Everything’s changed. Our fans aren’t the greatest anymore. The atmosphere at the ground is flat. Full of men who hark back to the glory days and keep comparing now to then. We can’t ever compare to then. It’s gone. Until Liverpool fans accept that and embrace change we’re gonna have that core of vocal Liverpool fans who are just bitter and impossible to please. Anyone who reads this and disagrees that type not only exist but are very prevalent is either a liar or completely oblivious to life. Other clubs don’t have them to our extent. It’s because they’re obsessed with the way it was done in the past. It’s impossible to go back and modelling on then probably wouldn’t help. We need to move forward and write our own chapter. It appears to me like we’re trying and learning along the way.

    Regarding Jen Chang, if he feels there’s a mole at the club then he’s got every right to investigate. That’s clearly the only reason he went to meet him. What large company dismisses speculation they have a mole? What happened there is anyone’s guess and mine is that Duncan Jenkins (inspired by his forum friends) were happy to go because they thought it might be a stepping stone to the access TAW have had. When they realised it wasn’t they turned all bitter and started mud slinging.

    I’m not happy with everything FSG have done. I nearly punched my living room door when Ayre went home on transfer deadline day. I do feel I’m getting backed into the pro FSG corner more and more though because of the negativity that follows everything they do from Liverpool fans. FSG must know they can’t win at LFC. They must think we’re all a bunch of knobheads. I hope I’m not wrong for LFC’s sake (not so I can say ‘I told ya so’). My ego doesn’t come into it. I think progress is being made step by step. After years of decline all I want to see is that said progress. We’re not who we were. Simple. It’s tough but we have to be build on 2012 principles. Being Liverpool rather the Liverpool Way. That series is all about the future i.e the biggest slice of the emerging U.S market. I can’t wait to watch it tonight and none of my Utd or Everton mates have even mentioned it. It could just as easily be described as progressive as cringeworthy. We may get it wrong but it appears to me they’re decisive in their attempts to correct those mistakes. Finally, I’m not seeing many other alternatives on the table so I’m happy to get behind the club.

  17. Martin – I too am a lawyer (a solicitor) and I’m afraid I totally disagree with your view that a QC wouldn’t have helped Suarez. Having spent a huge amount of time in front of Employment Tribunals which are of a similar constitution as the FA panel in that they are chaired by one legally qualified judge and 2 lay members, I consistently see that QC’s not only present a case in a much better way that solicitors due to far superior advocacy skills but that they also have considerably more clout when it comes to influencing the panel.

    Had the club instructed a QC the minute the issue arose there is no way on earth that contradictory witness statements would have been produced or would tricky issues in the case have been explained away as “bad drafting”. Ultimately, it was the credibility of the clubs case that led to Evra’s evidence being preferred to Suarez. That credibility was destroyed by the contradictions which simply should not have been allowed to happen. If I had been Peter McCormick who prepared and presented such a high profile case as this in such a shambolic way, chances are I’d be out of a job by now.

    The commom theme in all of Tony Barretts concerns, i.e. a failure to sign a striker, the fly on the wall documentary, a failure to appoint a QC and now Jen Chang pursuing tweeters for costing the club £300k is finance. We seem desperate to save money everywhere and bring it in wherever possible yet to what end? January will say a lot about which direction this club really is taking.

    • Pako

      I’m a commercial litigator and have worked extensively with barristers too (QCs included) – though I take your point regarding the similarity of the tribunal vs the FA panel, though I disagree that QCs are the only ones with the abilities you mention – indeed, an average solicitor should be able to spot conflicting witness statements prior to exchange/submission.

      That said, I think we’re arguing at cross-purposes. My point was that Suarez didn’t need a QC. A barrister, perhaps – perhaps different solicitors. Regardless, that’s easy to say with hindsight and, in any event, how much of that had to do with FSG? I suppose the argument is that the in-house lawyer is inexperienced given she has *only* been there since 2007 – but bear in mind that she would have had plenty of experience before joining the club and 5 years at the helm is also a considerable amount of time.

      I think my issue about the reference to needing a QC was that it implied it would have resulted in (presumably) a favourable verdict. I disagree with that assertion. No doubt that the average QC is a better advocate than the average solicitor but it is by no means a guarantee of success (Terry recently ‘lost’ with a QC representing him – and was heavily criticised for hiring the same QC for his court hearing as it was deemed, by some, a waste of money).

      I agree that we appear to be cutting costs where possible and increasing revenues – but that’s just sensible! Ditto the intention to cut down on moles/leaks. That might be bread and butter for journos but I can completely understand why the club would want to maintain its confidential approach in deals – look at how many of our supposed targets were hunted down by Spurs (and others). I’m not saying that a mole directly caused us to lose out on targets (or, indeed, caused LFC to lose money) but I can understand why they would want to keep things as confidential as possible (btw – as a fan I’m almost against that as I want to know who we’re signing etc).

      Bear in mind that the club arguably overspent in the previous 12 months so I don’t think a crack down on costs etc is a facet of their ownership (i.e. that they’re stingy). If anything, they’ve learnt from their mistakes and want to spend wisely….

      Cheers

      Martin

      • While I agree that the verdict against Suarez was probably decided in advance (not necessarily in a conspiratorial sense, but just because of the intense media pressure for the FA to be seen to act firmly), the fact that LFC chose to not seek the best possible legal representation is an absolute PR blunder in itself.

        Irrespective of the final verdict, LFC should have strived to protect its image and by extension that of the people who represent it. In this case, the current star striker and a former club legend. Because that image is actually priceless and once lost can never be bought back.

        Having read the full report, and even to my non-legal eye, the discrepancies were simply shocking. It’s even more shocking when you realise that the US is much more geared towards litigation and so people who have had long business careers there should actually know better and treat events like this with the appropriate care. Failure to do so, at the very least, denotes a lack of communication between the different actors on both sides of the Atlantic.

        Each and every article now about racism/football references both the Terry and Suarez incidents and puts them on an equal footing. Despite the fact that there was no corroborating evidence against Suarez, that he is himself part black etc. Furthermore, despite his erm “competitiveness” on the field, I don’t think I’ve really heard many complaints about his off-field persona. On the other hand, John Terry is, well, John Terry.

        On the football front, it makes absolutely no sense to back Dalglish, break the transfer record for an English player and then get shot of them both within 18 months. That’s not a clear vision for the future, it’s a blind man stumbling around for a light switch (yes, the paradox is intentional).

        If I’m in a new job, my employers will probably make allowances for the fact I will have to settle in and make my share of mistakes. If I don’t settle in at some point, I’ll get my arse booted out the door. Obviously, the owners can’t really fire themselves (and I’m not actually convinced they should) but the current general lack of leadership seems to diffuse the accountability and makes it hard to apportion the blame.

        The latest fiasco illustrates this perfectly, while Chang has every right to want to play detective (hardball or not), someone should have jerked his leash back the moment it became apparent that it was actually a fake/parody Twitter account he was investigating.

        It’s this bungling and dilly-dallying which rankles more than anything else. I just want it to stop.

  18. Theres nothing neccessarily wrong with having owners who are not in Liverpool but we MUST have someone in power allowed to make decisions at Anfield day in day out!! The fact that the majority of the board of directors are in he US astounds me. How can quick, important decisions be made if there is 3,000miles between those involved not to mention the time difference????

  19. Been saying similar for 3 years…there is nobody running the club!!

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