Archive for the ‘ Sports! ’ Category

Business drama over, its time for some football

‘Finally!’ – That was the one word which was on every Reds fan’s mind yesterday.
October 15th, 2010 – A date which could be the turning point in the history of one of the greatest football clubs of Europe.
New England Sports Venture – New American owners of Liverpool which will have to work hard to live up to a lot of expectations.

The long running saga of Liverpool FC takeover finally came to a conclusion yesterday. This tale had all the makings of a bestseller. It had all the elements: Mighty rich businessmen from America, a powerful bank of Europe, one of the world famous sports clubs, a hugely passionate group of fans, court cases running across the Atlantic and of course greed, power, ego and money!

With NESV paying off all debts to RSB and taking control from the yank pair of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, the Reds fans sighed a breathe of relief. Although, whether another American owner will understand the nuances of successfully running an English football club remains to be seen. NESV has an impressive background as the organization which turned around the fortune of Boston Red Sox and ended the curse of the Bombino(for the unaware, Red Sox sold the greatest ever baseball player Babe Ruth to New York Yankees in 1918 and never won the world series again until the 2004 season, 2 years after NESV became the new owners of the club). All the Liverpool fans will be expecting nothing less of the new owners. But given Liverpool’s current situation it seems a herculean task at the moment. NESV will definitely not splurge money like the Sheikh at the helms of Man City because they know its not going to help much. What Liverpool needs is a complete rebuild under a capable manager. The current manager Roy Hodgson who took over the job only 3 months back certainly not made it easy for himself by applying extremely defensive tactics on the pitch which resulted in club’s worst start to a season in 57 years. He is a good manager but certainly lacks the skills to manage a big club. Top clubs usually rely on a more attacking strategy to win the games and remain on the top. Loss of Xabi Alonso and Macherano in last two seasons has not made it easier as well with Liverpool’s midfield being one of the weakest in a long time. Lack of a supporting striker for El Nino and a his own poor form is also a major concern.

It is expected that NESV will be providing a higher than average budget for January transfer window. Hodgson(or his replacement in case he is sacked) will be looking for a left back, a quality playmaker in the midfield and a proven striker to join the ranks but it seems unlikely that he will get budget for all three signings. It seems more probable that he might get around £20-25m for a striker and another £15-20m for a midfielder in this transfer window and a promise for more money during next year’s summer.

In any case, it seems that there will be a lot of changes at the Kop in coming months, how much these changes help getting the team back on track cant be said. Whatever happens the support of the fans is going to be there, now that they have seen the golden sky at the end of the storm, they are awaiting the sweet silver song of lark…

Frustrated ramblings of a Reds fan!

This has been a really long fortnight so far for me and all the other Liverpool fans! Rumor mills have churning out wild guesses at a mind boggling rate. But at the end of the day there has been zero progress.

Liverpool FC Crest

YNWA!

The Yanks are still trying out all their old school tactics to block the sale, the CEO and managing director have been unsuccessfully trying to finalize the buyers, various consortiums from around the world have been getting a lot of free publicity just by wishing that they would buy the club and the fans have been eagerly waiting, clasping their hands in prayer. But it seems that the prayers of hundreds of thousands of Kopites will not be listened to as quickly as we were made to believe. The end of the transfer window is lurking around. Even if they finalize a buyer now, the completion of the actual transfer of ownership will certainly go beyond the 31st August shutdown of the transfer window. With that all hopes of finding a good striking backup for El Nino and finding a solid left back will be gone, unless Roy Hodgson pulls out another miracle and can get another world class signing for free!

The good news is that come this October, the Yanks will surely be removed from the helm of this great club. Either RBS, which is owed £237m debt by the club, will make sure that the club is sold by that time-frame, Or in a worse scenario RBS will take control of the club which will mean that Liverpool go into administration and there will be a 9 point penalty in the league table. Well, we are not contending for a win this season anyways, but it was important to get back into top 4 again to rake in the Champions League moolah next year. Those 9 points can hit the Reds very hard.

There are a lot of problems with the sale. Firstly the Yanks want to earn a lot of profit for their failure to run the club properly and putting the club in steep debt since they got the control in 2007. Neither the fans nor the prospective buyers want to give them anything on top of the debts owed by the club, which seems justified. Another problem is on the prospective buyers part, none of which could provide the proof of funding in time. I don’t understand why could they not submit a final offer with proof of funding the first time when even they agree that taking control of the club before transfer window gets over is critical? Anyways, another bigger problem that I see now is that once the transfer window gets over, the valuation of the club will drop further because there will be very less chances of qualifying for next year’s CL without a backup for Torres who is struggling with injuries since past year. If that happens, there are great chances of going into administration. That is going to be a big mess for not just the Reds but the whole league. Once of the top clubs going under would be a big impact on overall functioning of the EPL.

Well, the good news is that on the ground the Reds have started the season well under the new commander, Roy Hodgson. Victories in three Europa league matches so far was satisfying, though nothing to be appreciated too much for. But it was the draw against the Gunners which was more important. It was the first match of the EPL season and even after playing sluggishly in the first half and the unjust Red card to Joe Cole in 45th min, the Reds dominated the whole of second half. If it was not for Reina’s bad luck in the injury time Gunners would have lost, deservedly. But anyways, I am happy with a draw against the gunners. Hope they continue to play like that and give the fans something to cheer about.

Here is hoping for a quick sale and a good season ahead!