21 Oct 2011

CARRA: Liverpool FC still the same as when Hicks + Gillett were here...

Liverpool FC has undoubtedly changed for the better since NESV (now Fenway Sports Group) wrestled the club away from Tom Hicks and George Gillett. A year has now passed since the new regime took over, but how has the change of ownership affected the players?

Has the day to day business of playing for Liverpool Football Club in the Premier League changed as a result of new ownership? Jamie Carragher doesn't think so:

"We don't notice nothing like that really. Both sets of owners are from the US; they come over for the odd game, and that was the same with the last owners.

"We have no dialogue, or much interaction with them, and I think that's possibly the right way.

There seems to be a very clear separation between the players and the senior hierarchy at Anfield, something that Carra thinks is a good idea:

"We have people running he club who are there, like Ian Ayre, and people before him who maybe keep in contact slightly, but their job is separate to our job.

"Our job is to do it on the pitch; the managing, coaching, and what goes on off the at the top of the club is not really too much to do with the players, and I think that's right".

I'm not sure whether the fact there's 'no dialogue' between the players and owners is a good or a bad thing, though I think it's always good to maintain a certain amount of professional distance, as this makes it easier for (sometimes tough) decisions to made objectively.

Under Hicks and Gillett, one of the favourite fan-excuses for poor performance was the alleged impact on the players of the behind the scenes turmoil. For me, that's always been nonsense. As Carra suggests the players just get on with their jobs, and leave the off-field stuff to the hierarchy.

To blame the owners (at any club) is just a way for players to relinquish responsibility for poor performance, and fans are the great enablers when it comes to players shirking responsibility.

Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler also argued recently that off-field problems shouldn't affect players:

"As a player, you don't really focus on what's gone on off the park. You've just got to focus solely on how you play and what's in front of you.

"If, as a player, that side of thing starts to bother you then I don't think you should be playing the game because are in it to play football and that's what you should be concentrating on."

Ultimately, if the Hicks and Gillett situation had such a negative impact on the players then how did the team manage to finish 2nd in the 2008-9 season?

As always, Carra's honesty is a refreshing antidote to the the usual cliches and bland, prepared answers.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Hi Jaimie. Do you not also think that those people who use the off-field problems of the club as an excuse for Hodgson are also wrong. I don't see how off field issues can affect how a manager coaches and motivates a team or how they would effect his tactics

  2. It undoubtedly affects the players when you aren't able to compete in the transfer market and you see dross signing on the dotted line. For me the fact that we can compete is the difference between the previous owners and new owners. In how many large high profile companies do you get to see the chief exec/chairman on a frequent basis? Providing the 'management' live up to their promises then that is all that matters.

  3. If you were a player who was playing under a manager that was constantly at odds with the owners, and who publicly aired his grievances thus making himself an easy target for the chop, then you'd ask yourself some serious questions about what was going on behind the scenes at the club, and where the club was heading. 

    I take your point Jaimie but firstly, players aren't robots - they'll think for themselves first and foremost ahead of any 'fans'; and secondly, I think Carra's place in the team was never under fire so he was obviously holding this opinion and voicing it from a position of strength. The same cannot be said for the majority of the squad. Yes, it's up to them to perform, but to suggest that their heads weren't turned by what was happening at board level seems somewhat naive. 

    I also think it's sadly become naive to expect the players to have a similar level of commitment to the cause as the supporters. 

    And finally, I think Carra can be 'refreshingly honest' when it suits him. 'Brave after the event' is another way of putting it - let's see his whistle-blowing views on his own early season form or the somewhat disappointing transfer activity by his current manager.