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Morning Ticker: Americans to sell Liverpool, Chelsea feuding and Chastain eyes comeback (no really)


Good morning all. Does the gloomy weather have you reaching for another cup of coffee? Here are a few soccer stories to tide you over and help keep you awake (well, except for the third one, which may put you to sleep.)

American owners to sell Liverpool. Tom Hicks and George Gillett are reportedly ready to sell English giant Liverpool just a year after buying the club. Apparently running a soccer team was tougher than they thought it would be. Hey Tom and George, if you REALLY want to own a soccer team there is this opportunity in St. Louis you might want to take a look at.

Drama at Chelsea? Let’s face it. Chelsea wouldn’t be Chelsea without some drama. On the heels of their Carling Cup loss comes word that captain John Terry and assistant coach Hank Ten Cate nearly came to blows in training before the Carling Cup. Is it a big deal? Probably not, but manager Avram Grant’s lineup selection policy certainly has the Blues unsettled. Is he losing his grip on the team already? Has Roman Abramovich told him to shaky things up ahead of a roster makeover this summer?

Brandi wants to back in. From the "Please just let it go" department comes this sappy piece from the Star Ledger’s Frank Giase on Brandi Chastain’s desire to return to the U.S. women’s national team. For those keeping track at home, Chastain hasn’t played for the national team since 2004 and she turns 40 in July. She has approached head coach Pia Sundhage about a comeback (shockingly, Sundhage hasn’t taken her up on it.) It’s a nice idea and all but Chastain really just needs to let it go.

Liverpool fans baptize Hicks Jr. So much for a victory celebration. Tom Hicks Jr., son of Liverpool’s American owner, received some harsh treatment from Liverpool fans last week. It seems TH2 decided it was a good idea to visit the Sandon Pub, one of the most well-known gathering places for Liverpool fans near Anfield. Wrong. A beer was dumped on him and someone spit on his general direction. Is that so bad? Who hasn’t had beer thrown on them at a pub after a match? Based on the story above, Hicks Jr. won’t have to worry about unhappy Liverpool fans much longer.

Share your thoughts on these stories below.


  1. Ives in Frank Giase’s Column he mentions that Edgar Davids may want out at season’s end ,any chance that RBNY can gat him?

  2. I’d love to see Hicks, Gillet or both jump in with St. Louis United. They wouldn’t have the cultural issues, could start from scratch and could make money on the real estate there as well.

    Maybe Gillet would be more interested in Montreal though…

  3. BTW

    I think the local fan uproar against Hicks and Gillett is completely over-the-top. I don’t think they have covered themselves in glory, but they have done what they can to strengthen the squad and don’t deserve the blanket criticism.

    Furthermore, Rafa Benitez has not been unimpeachable in his management of resources or his management of the squad. He is an excellent manager, but he is not performing like one at this juncture. Gerard Houllier actually got more out of an inferior side in the league. Benitez is on his way to a non top-five finish for the second time in four years.

    Signing Torres (a year late) was a great improvement. But the continuing time and opportunity wasted on Kuyt (when he could have had someone like Anelka for the same or less), Aurelio and their ilk shows a man who is too stubborn for his own good. Benitez needs to get a strong right-hand man who is not afraid to speak his mind. He would also do well to avoid being so petulent to the press. He has been treated with far more respect than he was ever given at Valencia and yet he acts at times as if he is so beleaguered.

  4. John

    I agree with you on many of your points. Unfortunately you are totally wrong about the Hillsbrough incident. You would do better to leave off making blanket characterizations of a complex and poorly managed incident. The police in Sheffield did a terrible job using the archaic crowd flow system at Hillsbrough. Fans were forced into holding pens by police long after they had exceeded their designated capacity. There is WAY more to it than a stampede of crazy drunken fans the way you are talking about it.

    Reds fans do deserve a measure of the blame in Heysel because they were reacting to aggressive behavior by the Juventus fans. But the policing in that case was terrible. Italian fans were lobbing objects into Liverpool sections with impunity. And I don’t think that anyone would reasonably expect that a major wall would collapse simply because a few dozen people were pressing against it.

    Heysel was entirely substandard as a venue and it was never again used for a major sporting event following the disaster.

    English fans get so much stick but invariably the sporting culture in England is less racist, less violent and more family-oriented than it is on the continent. Just take a scan through the stands at your average EPL game.

    English fans even from minor clubs like Bolton get into trouble on the continent because everywhere they go, police and ultra fans do everything they can to get a response out of them. There is no way that you can suggest that fans from places like Man Utd (last season), Tottenham (last season), Liverpool (in Athens), Bolton (in Madrid), Leeds (in Turkey a few years ago) etc are all aggressive fans. They get targeted.

  5. 1) the telegraph: a bastion of truth if there ever was one…oh… /sarcasm
    2) last time I checked, Hicks and Gillette weren’t the ones making the terrible team selections.
    3) the bath they would take on taxes selling in one year while the club has appreciated very little in value makes this story almost certainly BS unless DIC (very appropriate for a potential English club owner) is going to offer a big premium on the shares.
    4) by the summer Rafa will be gone and G&H will still be there (unless the massive premium on share value is given to DIC)
    5) this would change absolutely NOTHING LFC fans. DIC is taking out massive loans to acquire the club as well and are no more concerned with ‘tradition’ than G&H are. It’s all about business. If they really wanted a club Preston North End has some history and is on the block on the cheap but they don’t have cache.
    6) Liverpool fan are an absolute embarrassment.
    7)@northzax: 3 of those 4 clubs have all won titles in the last 20 years and the 4th is one of the wealthiest clubs in the league who happen to be plagued by constant mishaps. (the Cubs routinely spend in the top 3 in the league so it’s not for lack of trying)
    So unless your point was that corporate ownership gives you boats of cash to compete with and normally titles at some point, then I think you need to rethink your position.

  6. Heysel:
    Liverpool hooligans forced the collapse of a fence while rushing Juventus fans. 39 people died. If it was the stadium’s fault, isn’t it amazing how no one died in the previous 55 years of games there.

    Several hundred Liverpool fans without tickets rushed the stadium and created a crush that killed 96 people. Amazing how the Taylor report failed to mention the millions that died at English matches because of the poor stadia – oh wait, no one died at the other games.

    Both these events happened because of the Liverpool fans behavior. End of story.

  7. did they really blow it at liverpool? from a business standpoint, no! they doubled their money! so maybe these guys don’t care about the sport – thats going to happen. people forget how much money these guy’s made! by being able to double the price tag on the club, they clearly helped the club. hands down.

  8. “Now, I may not be up-to-date on the issue with Hicks and Liverpool…but I am struggling to see how Liverpool’s poor domestic form is attributed to the owner.”

    I agree. But since Liverpool’s owners are American, they will be the first to get blamed. That’s just how it goes.

  9. I was with you John until you called the core LFC fan base murderers, that is patently false and shows a fundamental ignorance of the two events, especially the tragedy at Hillsborough.

  10. I think H&G are getting a raw deal. Great post John. Really, what’s your major beef with them, if you aren’t English and/or don’t want to see American owners? Benitez has been slammed for years now over a) failers in the EPL and b) his ridiculous rotation policy, where at one point he trotted out a different line-up in 99 straight games. Really, if Gerrard doesn’t put them on his back and wins the CL, is Benitez really a “genius”?

    But, in other news, what’s up with the word that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has “a hole in his knee tendon”?!?

  11. Anyone who believes what they read in the British press is a moron.

    Also, its nice to see the typical ‘football’ posers on this board – Americans are to blame for everything, and couldn’t possibly understand how smart you are.

    Let’s run over H&G’s resume with Liverpool…

    (1) broke the club transfer record for player/striker.
    (2) broke the club transfer record for a defender.
    (3) also funded the transfers of 4 major contributors, making their year in charge the most successful transfer period for LFC in 15 years.
    (4) have an agreement in principle to break the club transfer record for a midfielder in June (mascherano).
    (5) launched a 24/7 television network.
    (6) financed the upgrade to the Melwood facility.
    (7) launched the first International marketing effort in the history of the club — something their primary rivals having been doing for years.
    (8) financed the stadium slated for 2010, loading only 105MM in debt on the club (less than Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea currently carry).

    (1) talked to Klinsmann about taking Rafa’s place, after Benitez had publicly lobbied for the jobs at Barcelona and Real Madrid.
    (2) they don’t listen to the core fan base of murders (Heisel, Hillsborough) who consistly demonstrate they are the biggest disgrace in the game.
    (3) they won’t take the blame for the 17 title-less years before they were associated with the club.

  12. There are conflicting reports about H and G selling to DIC.

    I think it will happen, but not in a fast manner.

    As a LFC supporter I am thoroughly confused. If not for our run in the Champions League it would be very easy to become disillusioned with the only club I have ever supported.

  13. Hicks probably wants out because he realizes its a bit different than owning mediocre Texas franchises. And I say this as a fan of both teams he owns. It’s been well documented he only owns teams to make money, and saw this as a great chance to make a bunch of money with the new stadium opening. What he didn’t take into account is the fans actually care how the team does, and will actually do something about watching the team struggle. These aren’t Rangers fans who continue to show up now matter how many years the team finishes last, or if he continues to raise ticket prices. Let’s be honest, Hicks is a good business man, but a terrible sports owner. The sporting world would be much better off if sold off all his interests, but that will never happen because he is an arrogant asshole and stubborn to prove he can do whatever he wants without recourse.

  14. I love how people are saying that Chelsea are falling apart because they lost one game in their last 11 or so.

    Was Jose a terrible coach because he couldn’t win the Champions League with Chelsea?

  15. oh, one more thing: for examples of how well corporations do owning teams see:

    Cubs, Chicago.
    Mighty Ducks, Anaheim
    Angels, Anaheim
    Dodgers, Los Angeles

  16. Reds fans should be careful what they wish for. Sure, Hicks and Gillett are unpopular, as all foreign owners would be, but at least they are PEOPLE. now the place will be owned as a small chunk of the portfolio of a investment firm. (anyone notice this is the same firm that owns Dubai Ports World? remember them?) the team now becomes a paper asset on a spreadsheet. When bad things happened this year, at least supporters could rail at Hicks (see the last story) who are they going to complain to/about now? a hedge fund manager in a high rise in Dubai trying to make his quarterly numbers?

    teams need leadership from the owner, for better or for worse. someone has to decide to write the checks and take chances.

  17. Now, I may not be up-to-date on the issue with Hicks and Liverpool…but I am struggling to see how Liverpool’s poor domestic form is attributed to the owner. He has paid for a number of class players, but Rafa insists on changing the line-up constantly.

    Maybe one the Liverpool fans on this blog can fill me in, because I hate being mis-informed and not having the full details of the situation.

  18. Kevin,
    Check out the explanation of the supposed deal on The Daily Telegraph’s website, to me it explains why Hicks is denying the rumors, as apparently he wants to maintain a prominent role in the club and has agreed to only a phased buyout, while Gillette wants out now is willing to sell his entire 50% share to DIC as soon as possible. I just hope it is resolved soon.

  19. Unfortunatly Hicks has denied those rumors on Sky Sports News. It may be an attempt to pry more money from DIC but he seems adament about not selling. Maybe rumors are coming from Gillett who wants out or DIC who want in.

    As a Liverpool supporter I hope they just sell.

  20. Brandi…IT’S OVER. Sorry.

    Chelsea are falling apart. The only reason they are still having what could be considered a good season is because they’re stacked with some of the best players on earth. If they had a coach who knew how to coach they’d probably be just as dominant right now as they’ve ever been.

    I think what happened to TH2 was probably well deserved, for one reason. If I were him or any member of his family common sense would have told me not to go anywhere NEAR a Liverpool supporter, much less a pub full of drunken ones. What a tool. I mean, can he read? Does he really not know what most British football fans think about Americans, and especially American owners?

  21. These two should be shot for not only contributing to the already bad reputation that wealthy American investors are getting in English football, but for also ignoring the sport here.

    If you can’t get into it and get some forward traction in the first 90 days, you don’t belong at all.

    The best part of all of this is Rafa is going to have the last word. Who would’ve thought that a month ago?


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