IS it an exaggeration to say matters at Anfield are developing into a full-blown crisis?
Had Daniel Agger scored from a simple chance in stoppage time to beat Sunderland on Saturday, many would have been tempted to see a false dawn.
Into the top 10?
Progress in the Europa League?
A soft fixture to come at home to Blackpool?
Perhaps… but for those that truly care about Liverpool – and, sadly, there’s a rather large part of the football world that finds the whole scenario cause for glee – it’s best that he didn’t. They don’t need ‘papering over the cracks’. Serious problems need addressing.
That’s why so many stayed behind in their seats after the game to make their protests known. And I’m in agreement with them. Until the stench of the ownership issue is blown away things can’t be put right at that club. Heaven help Liverpool if George Gillett and, worse, Tom Hicks are still around in a month’s time.
Gillett seems to want out. Good riddance. Not before time. He’s part of a partnership that’s lied from the moment it took over: about everything. But Hicks, by far the more stubborn of the two, just won’t back down. He takes his begging bowl from one financial institution to the next. He won’t just walk away knowing he hasn’t lost any of his own money: he wants PROFIT!
The man is unbelievable and would, I fear, seriously endanger his health were he ever to show his face on Merseyside again. Even the other directors have turned against him.
The worst case scenario is that the Royal Bank of Scotland, which holds all the cards, allows Liverpool to fall into administration with the subsequent nine-point deduction – relegation becoming realistic rather than unthinkable – and financial penalties. I don’t believe they’ll let that happen.
But far, far better, they can force the Americans out and allow prospective new owners to purchase the club at a price that would allow investment in the team – clearly, badly needed – and the building of a new stadium that’s crucial to the future health of the club.
That wouldn’t make everything right overnight. You can’t simply cast aside a disgraceful performance such as that against Northampton by saying it’s all the owners’ fault. That was down to players that aren’t and never will be good enough. But you can’t correct that scenario until the stuff at the top is sorted out.
I begin to worry about the suitability of Roy Hodgson. Hicks and Gillett don’t choose players and tactics. The manager does and, as well as a lack of quality in some and conviction in others, I detect a general air of negativity.
Morale is low and won’t have been helped being seen as second best to Sunderland for large parts of Saturday’s game: with all due respect to Sunderland. It’s difficult to see how the corner will be turned. There’s a very long walk through the storm before that dawn can be glimpsed in reality.
* Alan Green is chief football commentator with BBC radio 5 Live
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