The two men in the picture above claimed ownership of Liverpool FC back in 2007. Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr arrived in a whirlwind of optimism, their first words uttered to reporters were peppered with big promises, comfort, and security.
They 'promised' to help Rafa buy the players that would put Liverpool back where they are supposed to be. They comforted the supporters by saying they wouldn't "do a Glazers" and plunge the club into debt.
The fans could not help but gobble up the piffle, believe the lies, and rejoice at the prospect of a new stadium and star players to skyrocket Liverpool FC to the summit of English and European football.
Two years later, and the outlook is nowhere near as rosy.
Now Hicks and Gillett are two of the most hated men amongst Liverpool supporters. Their names, if they dare be mentioned, are spat out through the gritted teeth of most fans. The state they have plunged the club in, the lies they have sprouted, and the impossible position they have put Rafa Benitez in is unforgivable.
They recently had to refinance the loan they took out to buy the club in the first place, and now the club are paying £1 million interest every nine days. That's right, £1million interest every nine days. They promised they wouldn't "do a Glazers" but that's exactly what they've done, and worse.
They have claimed nearly £2million in expenses in the past two years. What for? To fly back and forth to the USA and "legal and third party consulting." Aren't new owners supposed to put money into a club, not take it out?
They promised a new stadium two years ago, a state of the art venue with a capacity of 70,000. It would give Liverpool a stadium to be proud of, a stadium as good as, if not better than, Old Trafford. Instead the land on Stanley Park—where the stadium is planned to be built—remains untouched, but for a spade put in the ground by a fan; a symbol of frustration and anger at this false dawn.
They promised Rafa money to buy the players to enable him to compete with the best, yet every summer Rafa and the fans are left frustrated as another transfer window passes by without significant investment.
Last summer Rafa wanted Gareth Barry, not Robbie Keane. But Rick Parry was reluctant to let the Barry transfer go ahead, and instead Rafa had to go for Keane, a striker that simply did not fit into his system. One thinks that was probably the final straw for Rafa, who was thankfully given full control of transfers earlier this year.
Having full control is fine and dandy, but Rafa couldn't buy Gareth Barry with buttons, which is why one year later the Aston Villa midfielder went to Man City. Alonso wanted to leave, no one can argue with that. Barry would have been the ideal replacement but instead Rafa had to settle for the injured Alberto Aquilani, the Italian who is expected to fill the gap and bolster Liverpool's title challenge when he returns in October.
Glen Johnson, in all fairness, is looking like the buy of the summer. But fans were still expecting someone else to give the squad an extra boost, that cutting edge to bring title No. 19 home. But the likes of David Silva and David Villa never came.
At the moment, Liverpool are stumbling on the pitch and many are writing them off. Many are tipping Rafa to go, some so-called 'fans' are even calling for Rafa's head. This is because they don't understand what a dire state the club is in. Now they do know, and hopefully they will understand.
The club will not be back where it wants to be unless Hicks and Gillett sell up. Us fans can only hope, but we will not be holding our breath.
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