It’s a bit unfortunate that we’re not privy to behind-the-scenes machinations at Liverpool, particularly when it comes to the current owners.
It would be so much easier if we knew exactly why relations between Hicks and Gillett deteriorated (although all hints point to the way Hicks has dealt with the press over several issues), or why Parry has now been asked to step down by Hicks.
As things stand, we have only press reports and a few quotes here and there to go on. On that basis, one thing is clear:
Tom Hicks is incapable of reconciling differences over control of Liverpool – and his inept handling will keep dragging Liverpool into mud unless he goes.
The man has alienated supporters with his open admission of courting a replacement for Benitez (where were the PR advisors then?), he has alienated his partner over (presumably) the DIC deal, he has alienated the DIC with his bid to retain control of the club and he has now alienated the only person who, at least in public, was presenting a neutral facade – Rick Parry.
I don’t care much for Parry – Liverpool’s strength at this point is in their manager, fans and players (in that order), and the rest is based on a specific system of doing things (scouting, transfers, day-to-day club management, youth academy, etc) that can be handled by other ‘management’ types.
But by going after Parry, Hicks has thrown away whatever little chance he had to retain long-term control of Liverpool. If Hicks had tried to improve relations – either by holding a press conference here in England or by taking sincere steps to restore stability at the top of the club – he might stood a chance. Football has proven that it takes a very special performance (on the pitch or off it) to bring fans around, and although Hicks shows no signs of being capable of turning things around, he still had that sliver of a chance.
Parry’s response was swift and dignified:
“It is my intention to remain focused on the job of serving Liverpool Football Club to the best of my abilities at this very important time of our season.”
And there you have it – Hicks isn’t focused on serving Liverpool, he’s focused on having Liverpool serve him. Even if he’s in this for money, appearances are worth gold and at this point Hicks has done nothing to improve his image as a greedy bastard who wants to milk the club and the fans for every last penny.
Parry could still go – if Hicks and Gillett agree to it – but that doesn’t help Liverpool one bit. There were two ways out of this before – DIC or a possible reconciliation with the fans. Now, the best thing for Hicks would be to get out of this with a profit as quickly as possible – unless he’s seen the light and decides to treat fans and club with some respect.