The return of Keane from a championship chasing club to a relegation flirting club just six months after he went the other way for more money, is proof if it were needed of the financial disaster facing Liverpool Weetabix.
Liverpool were, let us not forget, held up as a model of how football could move forward. Like Manchester Bankrupt they had Americano investors who used modern financing techniques to buy the club for nothing. They would then sell it on at a profit. And the person buying would sell it on at a profit, after loading it with more debt.
It was just like, oh, what, I don’t know, what can I say? Houses, that’s it. Just like houses.
Buy this house at an insanely inflated fee. Borrow far more money than you can ever repay. But that’s ok because in six months the house will be worth far more than your mortgage. And you can sell it to someone else who borrows far more than the house is worth, because in six months…
And when sad, disbelieving souls, like me, ask, “But how long can this go on?” they are told, “no reason for it to stop…”
And when such sad little nerdish people say, “But how, in the real world, is anything ever paid for?” they say, “DON’T ASK”.
If you want a real life version of the Emperor’s new clothes this is it. Buy the club. Spend money and money, and then some money. Employ a manager who only knows money spending. Allow him to Spend Money. And keep thinking, one day we’ll sell it for a profit.
Benitez, still utterly unable to believe that this insanity-go-round could ever end, wanted to buy more and more. And suddenly he was told to stop, not by the madder than hatters Yankee boys, but by your bank and my bank. The Nat West, of which you and I own 70 per cent. The Nat West said, “no more.” They said yes, you can have your £350 million until July, but here’s a diddly widdly bit of small print that says, YOU CAN’T SPEND A PENNY ON TRANSFER FEES, and oh yes, we absolutely completely want our money back in July.
So what is happening, you may ask, although you might have fallen asleep. Sheik Yermoney has said, “I’ll buy your little team for, oh, £150 million, no make that £130 million, no make that £110 million,” and the Yankees are fuming and foaming as their profit slips away like the sand it always was. And no one quite knows for sure if Sheik Yermoney really is going to buy this club. After all he could always buy, oh, what, err, Palestine. Or Mali. And there’s always that annoying little fact that in 20 years the oil will run out.
Up (or maybe it is down) the road at Manchester Bankrupt they are holding their collective breath. Sir Alex F-Word, unlike Benetiz, is untouchable, and all the owners can hope for, is retirement. Let him win the league this year, bribe every ref under the sun if need be, but FOR GOD’S SAKE GET HIS HAND OUT OF THE TIL.
Manchester Bankrupt is in such financial chaos now, that it cannot find a way out, and the next manager will find that – as Sir Alex F-Word walks with his reputation in tact in the press, but whom we ultimately see for what he is, the man who destroyed the club, 100 years after it moved into Very Old Trafford.
And Arsenal? Utterly refusing to budge on the Arshavin money, it will survive. I know that most people don’t believe that other big clubs can slip away, carefully forgetting the decline of Leeds Untidy. But that’s how it goes, and Arsenal look unmoveable. The finances are secure, and the choice is simple.
Shall we destroy the entire future of the club, and lead us into the wildnerness of League Two, or shall we just stay where we are for a year or so, before rising again, with no one left to challenge us? An EPL challenge today, and bankruptcy tomorrow, or careful nurturing of funds today, and a golden future?
I want enternity for my club. As we watch the insane slip into the darkness illustrated by Leeds, I want my club to remain on high.
And I believe it will.
The return of Keane to a relegation laden team is a sign of the disaster at Liverpool. Forget for a second that Keane is a Tiny Tott, the reality is that he is a bloody good player, and Liverpool could do with him. But Keane is the iceberg hitting the Titanic. As the club goes down, Benitez will probably get a lifeboat all to himself. After all would you like to sit in a boat with him on the open sea while he negotiates transfer rights with a couple of polar bears?
Better not to have gone to sea at all.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
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