29 Dec 2007

Shut up, Hicks. You're making a mockery of everything Liverpool FC stands for.

In yet another childish display of one-upmanship, Tom Hicks has dragged his rift with Rafael Benitez back into the public domain, accusing the Spaniard of ‘pouting’ during the recent public spat.

Hicks dredged up the row over transfers, which saw Benitez publicly accuse the American duo of failing to understand the European transfer market. Hicks said:

"We wanted to see what we could do with the players we had already bought," said Hicks. "We just wanted to see if the team was going to gel. Then he (Benitez) went to a press conference and kind of pouted and answered in the same way 20 times: 'I'm focusing on my team.'

Quite why he feels the need to drag the club’s good name through the mud again when the matter was apparently resolved is a mystery. Such behaviour is petulant, unprofessional and destabilising in the worst possible way.

Hicks’ latest comments starkly illustrate that he still holds some resentment towards Rafa over the recent rift, which is bad news for the Liverpool boss, as it means that the situation has not actually been successfully resolved.

Even if Hicks’ comments were innocent, and he was merely commenting in response to a direct question, he should have the intelligence to answer the question in the right way, i.e. a positive way. He should understand how his comments may be perceived by the media and the fans. The fact that he is seemingly unable to do that is disturbing.

Hicks also had the gall to criticise the team’s approach to the recent defeat by Manchester United:

"Our team played like they mentally didn't think they were good enough to win. They played tight."

They played ‘tight?!’ What exactly does that mean? Nothing is the answer. Such ‘analysis’ is typical of someone who obviously has no knowledge of ‘soccer’ whatsoever.

Hicks has barely been in the country since he bought the club yet he seems to think he knows enough about the game to pass judgement on the mentality of the team?!

Hicks is clearly right about Rafa’s pouting; In fact, he is arguably right about the negative approach of the team. However, he should not be saying these things in public!

Before Hicks arrived in a blaze of glory, the club had gone 115 years without the ignominy of internal strife being splashed across the media. There had never been a situation where the Chairman had criticised the Manager in public. The possibility of a Chairman engaging in public warfare with a Manager was an alien concept.

In just ten months associated with the club, Hicks has destroyed this long-standing harmony with key involvement in a very public spat, which he has now needlessly reignited.

As such, in my view, Tom Hicks is not fit to run Liverpool FC. He is not deserving of the honour and privilege of owning the club and he is woefully bereft of the personal qualities needed to be an effective leader and ambassador.

He just doesn’t understand what Liverpool FC is all about, and his behaviour over the last two months proves that.

Criticising the Manager and the team in public is a cardinal sin. If Hicks has anything negative to say it should be said behind closed doors. He should have learned that after the recent public debacle, but his latest comments prove that he has learned NOTHING.

David Moores had his faults, but he never criticised the Manager or the team in public. Indeed, Liverpool’s most successful chairman, John Smith, would never have dreamed of denigrating the team or the Manager in public.

That is the mark of a good owner.

Hicks would do well to take a look at Mr Smith’s conduct during his tenure as Chairman and try and learn something about grace, professionalism and humility - concepts of which he clearly has has no understanding.


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