Nick Harris: Hicks and Gillett dig themselves deeper into trouble
Saturday 06 June 2009
There's a Texan saying that Tom Hicks, Liverpool's Dallas-based co-owner, will know but appears not to have heeded. "Throwin' your rope before you make a loop ain't gonna catch the cow." It means be prepared before you act. Unfortunately neither Hicks nor George Gillett were prepared when they bought the club in February 2007 to deliver the asset that underpins their future: the new stadium.
"The first spade will start going into the ground on that project by March ," said Gillett back then. More than two years on, not only has the spade yet to break ground but the plan is mothballed, funding of some £400m is no closer and Liverpool are stuck in a rut. Just as Bill Clinton once taunted one of Hicks's Texan buddies, George Bush, that "it's the economy, stupid", now the future of Liverpool is all about the stadium, stupid.
Anfield is old, crumbling, has five useful years left at most (according to the club's own latest financial report) and holds 45,000. That's 15,000 fewer than Arsenal's Emirates and more than 30,000 fewer than Old Trafford. A new 73,000-seat Stanley Park would offer not just huge leaps in match-day revenues but umpteen corporate sales via conferencing, banqueting and other business trade that swells the the playing budget – and chances of success.
Building the stadium would make Hicks as happy as a gopher in soft dirt, as they say in Texas. Pity he didn't plan how.
Latest in Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo vine: Real Madrid forward sent-off for kicking and striking opponent during 2-1 win over Cordoba
What time is the 2015 WWE Royal Rumble on? TV details and full card
Sam Burgess: Bath and England's next big thing
Brighton 2 Arsenal 3 player ratings: Did Tomas Rosicky's performance and goal make him man of the match at Amex Stadium?
Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd