Is Our Club Finally Trustworthy?

Posted: January 19, 2011 by mcdonaldtaf in Business, Finance, Liverpool FC
Tags: , , , , ,

Trust. Such an important word and yet so often trodden all over in the pursuit of personal interest or greed.

I was listening to the radio in the car yesterday when I heard a rather strange statement “you keep saying you don’t trust the banks, yet you continue to use a bank account”. On one level I can see what the interviewee was attempting to say, but I did have to wonder why this sweeping statement didn’t include some sort of caveat. Because realistically in today’s age we have no option but to use a bank account. Try going into your boss and telling them you want paying by cash or cheque. After the raised eyebrows, insist you want paying by cheque at the very least, but tell him to make it out to cash. Then live with the additional complications of cashing in your cheque and where you store your money. It’s simply not realistic anymore, is it?

It’s never been realistic for most of us to stop following our football club either, and nor should it be. Which is where the idea of my custodian theory came from. The relationship with our club is set on foundations of trust and when those foundations start to falter we may not leave, but we’ll insist on some sort of remedial work.

It took a while for it to sink in with a lot of fans, but we shouldn’t have trusted Hicks and Gillett. Ever. While it may not been as easy to see at first. It became increasingly clear during their tenure that they weren’t here to put the needs of the club first. Certainly not ahead of their own desires to make money, and so trust was lost. Trust which never had a chance of ever being recovered.

Admittedly it’s not quite as clear cut as that. Trust wouldn’t have been lost, or certainly not as rapidly, had they been able to deliver on their promises. They would say the problems were not entirely of their own making. In fairness there were plenty of other businesses and individuals who didn’t see the squeezing and eventual freezing of credit markets coming. On the other hand of course there remains a very valid argument that they never should have bought the club with other people’s money in the first place. Whichever way you cut it they failed, lost trust and lost the club.

Roy Hodgson was appointed as manager with a reputation as a likeable journeyman and for getting results from low to mid table clubs. It never felt quite right to me. Although the constant media ‘trumpeting’,his recent accolade and having pushed Fulham to a cup final settled some nerves. But he still arrived at the club having to earn trust, which so often would have come as part of the title for earlier managers.

From there on it seemed to be downhill all the way for Hodgson. I’ll remember him as the manager who had Liverpool FC playing poorly with archaic tactics more so than the results. Although I do wonder whether there were still problems in the dressing room. His press conferences went from bizarre to depressing. Watching Kenny Dalglish now makes you realise how bad Hodgson was at this element of the job, even if the results haven’t improved (yet). Hodgson never earned our trust and his bumbling and stubbornness meant that in the end he had to go, as swiftly as he arrived.

There have been others associated within the club who have proven to be untrustworthy, or at the least under suspicion of being so. Christian Purslow is the first name which springs to mind. Another individual who arrived at the club and injected some much needed confidence into the fan base, only to later on let us all down. There are plenty of simulation games out there if you want to ‘have a go’ at football management Christian. But it wasn’t only his interfering on the pitch which caused problems. In many ways his continual politicking, particularly against Rafa Benitez, only served to undermine the very thing he was reputedly trying to save. That’s before we even consider his failures to secure investment (the main reason he was brought in) or even run a meeting appropriately, as detailed here.

In all of the power plays which we’ve lived through over the past few years I often wonder how so many lost sight of exactly what a football club is. Yes you can earn money from it and I don’t doubt that Liverpool Football Club can become a very profitable venture. But that should be a by product of it’s raison d’etre. A football club is a community which isn’t constricted by local or national boundaries, which should serve its fans with something to be proud of. I’m not talking about trophies or league titles either. I’m talking about a team unified to also serve its fans, to play with heart and to give everything to the cause. It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? Yet it’s getting lost in a myriad of money issues, player’s wages, egos and power plays. I believe the state of football as we know it is probably in the most fragile state we have ever experienced. Some people are starting to switch off. While others are moving their allegiance much further down the league pyramids, to where the true meaning of football can once again be found. Can you blame them?

For us the future looks a bit brighter. Although, of course, we all remember the ‘for everything else there’s Tom and George’ banners in the early days of their ownership. It’s early days for Fenway Sports Group, but to date they haven’t put a foot wrong. Only time will tell whether they can earn our trust fully, without question. I feel more confident about the future but we’re yet to see exactly how the finances of the club are stacked up and just how their vision will unfold.

The appointment of Kenny Dalglish, unless it goes sour, looks like a very shrewd move. He has accelerated the healing process and the owners have installed someone at the heart of the club that we can trust, unreservedly. Now it is up to them to generate their own trust from within the fan base. It will take time but I am hopeful it will be achieved. If it isn’t I genuinely fear for the future of where our club may eventually end up.

Trust. Such an important word and hopefully this time it won’t be trodden all over in the pursuit of personal interest or greed.

  1. Trayn says:


    Stumbled across your article.
    Like the look of the website and what you’re doing, other than the mistakes.

    You probably think I’m being rude, but I’d prefer you to think of me as someone that tells you your flies are undone or that there’s a mark on your face. I’m telling you because I want you to succeed.

    I’d be more than happy to proof read your work if you want. I’m not saying I’d spot every mistake, but another pair of eyes always helps.


    • mcdonaldtaf says:

      Hi Trayn, I think I’ve come across you on TTT?

      To be honest this really is a hobby for me. I think I’d get frustrated having to wait to post something. I often realise some of my mistakes when I re-read the articles days later. I think the articles are (usually) intelligently written even if some of the grammar is not always technically correct.

      Glad you liked the site and content and thanks for the offer. I am planning the launch of a new site later in the year, which will be more professional than my ramblings here. I may well come back to you then.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s