An Open Letter To George Gillett & Tom Hicks From a Liverpool FC Fan

Nabeel KhokharCorrespondent IMay 6, 2010

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 6:  American businessmen George Gillett (L) and Tom Hicks talk to the media after their takeover of Liverpool Football Club on 6 February, 2007, Liverpool, England. Gillett and Hicks have reached an agreement to buy the football club in a deal thought to be worth GBP470m.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Dear Messrs Gillett and Hicks,

On 6 February 2007, the both of you agreed to take over our beloved Liverpool Football Club.

It was reported in the media that the deal was worth in the region of £435 million, with £220 million being paid to buy out the existing shareholders, which included around £45 million worth of debt, and the remaining £215 million earmarked for the proposed new stadium.

Soon after, you graced the hallowed turf of Anfield holding aloft Liverpool scarves and team shirts embellished with your names on their backs.

You talked of understanding the fans that stood on the Kop cheering and singing their hearts out for the team they love and will love till death and probably beyond. You spoke of acknowledging the great heritage of the club and how its glorious history of yester-years had shaped the modern era club of today. You paid warm tributes to those souls so needlessly lost on that sad day at Hillsborough. 

There were ambitious plans for our new 61,000 capacity stadium, with an all new Kop that would be the envy of all other fans. There was going to be a healthy transfer kitty for our manager to dig deep into. 

David Moores told us that our precious club was being passed on to knowing and loving hands that would see it through to a brighter future than he could provide it. 

You two were our saviours, our very own American ‘dynamic duo’ who would bring us up alongside Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal when it came to stadia, facilities, money, players and those all important trophies.

A great treasure was being placed in your so called capable hands. The two of you, over all others, were being entrusted with our growth and development into a new era. 

There were other suitors, DIC from Dubai were extremely keen and had significant amounts of money too. But we were told that it was you that had the experience and knowledge of owning sports clubs, of being the perfect owners, of knowing how best to take us to the next level.

The fact the DIC had actual Liverpool supporters in their very upper echelons and were passionate about the club did not sway Mr. Moores, he told us you would be the better owners. And we lapped it up. Starved of those glory days, we took it all in. Hook, line and sinker. 

Cameras flashed and you smiled. All in all, the future looked so bright it was almost blinding.

But from that fateful day in early 2007, rather that the future having gotten brighter and brighter as you so boldly promised, the skies have clouded over, the sun has shone less and less and on the not too distant horizon monstrously large and deathly frightening storm clouds are forming.

Promises of never crippling our beloved club with lorry loads of debt were never kept. All your fancy words were simply that, words. Actions were never forthcoming and rather than see our debt burden reduce, you simply re-financed and delayed and refinanced loan repayments again and again, until now it seems to be threatening the very existence of the club.

The new stadium that looked so magnificent on the plans has never and will most likely never be anymore than that under your stewardship. Some fans even question whether you even seriously had any intention of making such a substantial investment, as this would have tied you to a club which you do not really love.

Our fear was that other potential owners would simply see our club as a business vehicle. But in reality it was you that saw our club this way. For you Liverpool Football Club was and is simply a business. 

It seems that you are exactly the types of owners that we dreaded. At least the likes of DIC were Liverpool fans before they wanted to take over the club. They would have probably taken more care of it, as they were like us, fans and supporters first and foremost.

The both of you will point to increases in revenues being posted, new sponsorship deals agreed, advances in commercial revenue generation projects and even a posting of a £35 million operating profit to the end of July this year.

All this just sounds great to the money men but for us fans, where is all this money going? Where is the cash from all these lucrative commercial deals? If we are making such a healthy profit then why are we struggling for cash to give our manager to strengthen our squad?

All this is even before we factor in the lack of Champions League revenue this year and next. But even before this catastrophe, we were staring into the abyss.

There have been reports in the media in the past days that Liverpool Football Club are close to financial ruin. The loans that you have been continually re-financing need to be repaid at some point. The interest alone is a crippling £36 million a year.

All we see is re-financing package after re-financing package. Gentlemen, if you did not have the money in the first place, you had no business buying our club. If you now do not have the money to keep the club afloat then please, for heaven sake, sell up and move on.

So we come to the question of selling.

Finally, after dragging our club through financial shame and ruin, sucking it of all the financial and commercial money you could get out of it, you put it onto the market for a new buyer to take over.

You have treated an icon of British and European football with disgraceful disrespect.Shame on you both. 

Before the two of you came to our shores, never would we have contemplated Liverpool Football Club being dragged through one embarrassing financial disaster after another. It simply seems like you do not have any money. Sorry you have plenty of money, but you will not invest it in Liverpool Football Club.

The awful debts may force us to sell off our prized assets in an attempt to be a viable and sound commercial entity. We are like a steam train heading on the tracks that Leeds United steamed down not so very long ago.

There are reports in the media that your asking price for Liverpool Football Club is around £800 million! This would suggest that in the time that you have been in charge, the value of the club has increased four times! This is a preposterous notion.

What the fans see in that figure are two businessmen who are attempting to make an absurdly large profit and have little, actually no, regard whatsoever for the club.

For you, gentlemen, it is all about the money. What would be best for the club would be for you to sell at a reasonable level, leave and let the new owners pick up the pieces. 

It has been reported that the value of the club is in the region of £300 million.This would still represent a profit for you, however Mr. Hicks has been reported as saying he is willing to hold on till a buyer matches their offer and that this could even take up to two years!

Mr. Gillett and Hicks, please, please, do the right thing. Please accept a reasonable offer for our beloved club. Sell and leave us to lick our wounds and try to right the wrongs you have perpetuated and let us get back on the road to stability.

For the sake of a great icon of British and European football, just go and leave us alone.


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