On January 21st, supporters union, Spirit of Shankly, met with Christian Purslow, managing director of Liverpool FC. Unfortunately, the minutes of this meeting could not be agreed and this has resulted in two different sets of minutes being published today on the Spirit of Shankly website, I would encourage you all to visit and read these minutes:
Christian Purslow’s appointment looked like a positive step by the club. He was welcomed by both Hicks & Gillett, so he could be a possible bridge between the two, plus he was a season ticket holder, therefore viewed as being quite sympathetic to the fans’ concerns and in the absence of actual fan representation at board room level, a stated aim of SOS, better than no voice at all. His failure to agree the minutes of this meeting and his subsequent version reveal this may not be the case.
Whether it is described as a “key priority” or Purslow’s “project and task”, it is purely semantics, he must find £100m worth of new investment, which will go straight to reducing debt. This, in itself, raises the question: Does Purslow work for Liverpool FC or RBS? None of this investment will go where it is really needed, the playing side. The few positives from this are, mainly, the dilution of Hicks’ & Gillett’s shareholding plus a lengthier refinancing deal negotiated on better terms (hopefully). However, we, the fans, are unlikely to see any benefit in the short term to this new investment.
One major difference between the two sets of minutes is that Purslow’s dislike of Hicks & Gillett, quite apparent in SOS’ minutes, is missing in his own account of the meeting. This is understandable. Who would put into print their dislike for their current employer, if they wished to stay in their job?
An issue everyone agrees on is the need for a new stadium. Personally, I would love to see Anfield redeveloped but realistically, a new build is the only only viable option. Sadly, I do not think we are closer to this goal than we were 3 years ago.
Purslow’s minutes conclude with an attempt to dissuade Spirit of Shankly from further direct action against the owners. Hopefully, this will fall on deaf ears. SOS speak for me and I expect, the majority of Liverpool fans. I urge you all to continue the protests but also to persist with dialogue with the club. They, the owners, know they are not wanted in our club. Make sure they do not forget it.
Sometimes, when a business or organisation turns bad, becomes unproductive, and unprofitable, you need to start at the top and cleanse as you move down. Hicks and Gillett may not be 100% of our trouble, but they are not running the club as it should be run and need to be removed. When that tumour on our club has been excised, if problems persist, we can then look at other issues people perceive to be responsible.