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George Gillett, and Tom Hicks Don’t Get It

For the second time in three years, one of England’s soccer giants is in turmoil because of its American owners. A couple of years it was Manchester United fans who were up in arms over the purchase of the club by the Glazer family.

The Glazers appear to put people in place who understand the sport side of the business and leave them alone. The Tampa NFL franchise is stable and has had only two coaches in the 11+ years that the Glazers have owned the team. At United the Glazers appear to have delivered the money whenever Alex Ferguson wants to buy a new player.

Compare that with the growing turmoil 30 miles up the road from Old Trafford at Liverpool. Liverpool is the most storied English team in history and the purchase of the team by George Gillette and Tom Hicks is threatening to tear Anfield apart.

The problem is that Tom Hicks especially does not understand the passion that is Liverpool and how much the team means to its supporters. Hicks is the owner who gave A-Rod the richest contract in Baseball and then traded him away (and still paid most of his salary). The Texas Rangers have never been a “big” club in baseball, and Hicks has no interest in competing with the Yankees, Red Sox or Angels.

And that is the problem. Liverpool is not content being an average team. With 18 English League titles and 5 European Cups, Liverpool is the English equivalent of the Yankees. Can you imagine the uproar if a new owner of the Yankees decided that they were not going to compete with the other big city teams like the Red Sox?

Liverpool needs investment both on the page and off it. If Hicks is not going to make that investment then he should sell to DIC and walk away. Liverpool is in danger of dropping out of the big four and the financial implications of that could impact Liverpool for years to come.