11 June 2007

Waiting is the hardest part

It’s annoying to have so little to write about in regards to Liverpool, but it’s not completely unexpected. For all the complaining about a lack of signings, it is only June 11th. And the fact that Manchester United has made 3 signings (which will probably be the totality of their summer spending) only exacerbates the situation.

I’m in the process of shifting to summer mode. I do apologize for posting so infrequently, especially when I’ve tried to have new content up daily for the duration of the season, but I’m still figuring out what I want to write about when there aren’t news updates or transfer gossip. I do want to reassure that even if trends continue, and there isn’t much news, I will still be updating fairly regularly.

During this dearth of information, there has been a ton of wild speculation. In that vein, I want to highlight, and copy/paste parts of, a feature interview with George Gillett that ran today in the Montreal Gazette:

He speaks glowingly of Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, both as field boss and businessman, and downplays any talk of Benitez lighting a fire beneath himself and Hicks to spend lavishly on new talent in a league where the phrase "salary cap" does not exist.

"I read that Rafa (Benitez) is throwing hand grenades at us and making demands ... that there's a tension or disagreement between him and the Gillett and Hicks families," Gillett said. "Nothing could be farther from the truth.

"As far back as February, Rafa laid out a program for us. Each one of our sports businesses has a core concept. You can't just flop around looking at opportunities here and there, go left, go right. It has to be part of an integrated plan. We have one at Liverpool, as we have with the Canadiens, one we understand 100 per cent, believe in and support.

"The plan involves us spending money, but it will be part of a plan, not just spending like a drunken sailor."

I realize many expected big names, and immediately. I’m still not all that surprised that nearly a month later, that’s not the case.

Signings will happen. And I still believe that more money will be spent than in the last few summers, even though the team needs less of a makeover than it did in the past. It’s still also worth noting that the spending from the three previous summers was approximately between £20-25m each year. Things will happen, it’s just a matter of waiting. And no, not waiting as in there will be last-ditch signings in August when Liverpool misses out on its top targets. Please. Patience.

And also, please, a stop these Diego Forlan rumors as well. They’re not healthy for anyone involved.

Update: One more point. Despite the talk going around of a budget nearer to what’s been spent in previous years, and dependent on player sales (see here, here, and here for starts), I find it exceptionally hard to believe that Liverpool would have spent £5m on a player that needs to be developed in a position that’s arguably Liverpool’s strongest in Lucas if that were the case. If money’s so tight, that makes little sense.

Bascombe is one of the best Liverpool reporters around, hands down. And the fact that so many blogs, columnists, and message boards are seemingly worried about the course of events is, well, worrisome. But I find it tough to think that after looking for the right investor for so long, after the laudatory remarks coming from Parry, Moores, et al, and after all the public statements Gillett and Hicks have made, there will be little to no transfer funds outside of players sold. Not only would it be massively disappointing as a fan, it’s idiotic business sense. I still believe Liverpool isn’t as far away as some make out, but it’s clear money needs to be spent for Liverpool to be where they need to. And underwhelming and disappointing fans at one of the first times of asking is absolutely the wrong way for new owners to make friends and influence people.

I’m still more than willing to give the benefit of the doubt, but admittedly, this does make me more nervous. And is also a prime example of why I dislike the silly summer season.


Anonymous said...

I happen to know Tom Hicks (through his son who I went to school with). I can tell you that he is a major class douche. This doesn't surprise me at all that he'd pull this shit on us. God help him if the story comes out into the open and he makes some classless remark. Can't believe I ever believed his ass in the first place...

nate said...

Well, that's less than reassuring.

It's one thing to be a douche. Taking over the club, spouting false promises while proclaiming to be custodians of the club, and stringing the fans along solely for what appears to be new stadium revenue (which opens a whole different can of worms) would be a few circles of hell beyond "douche."

But I'm pretty sure we're nowhere near that point. I hope.

It still hasn't been a week since Hicks said they might be close on signings.

Anonymous said...

I hope you're right. It look like Torres is going to be on the block for Atletico, so maybe there is hope that Hicks and Little George can make something happen.

I wasn't sure how to respond to Gillette's comment that the team wouldn't "spend money like a drunken sailor." God help us if he thinks that's what it means to spend money on high quality players. Also, if that line were true, what would that make Chelski? :)

nate said...

I just figured that the 'drunken sailor' line was a shot at Chelsea.

I can't think of a better way to describe £300m+ spent in four seasons.