The last time Liverpool touched the summit was 20 years ago.
The last time they touched rock bottom was last Sunday versus Blackpool, and before that a couple of Wednesday’s ago against Northampton. Who knows where and when the next rock bottom will come … Goodison on the 17th, perhaps?
It’s the wait that’s the killer.
86 years makes a couple of decades pale in comparison, but ask any fan of Red Sox Nation what it feels like during those lonely, barren years and the response will be the same.
It’s the anguish, the hurt, the anger, and the humiliation. And it doesn’t go away until the Holy Grail is achieved because just down the road, your biggest rival is giving you the finger while guzzling from that special and sacred cup.
The New York Yankees tortured Boston until that series in 2004 and England’s very own version of the Bronx Bombers has done exactly the same to Liverpool — step forward Manchester United.
Back in 2001, the Red Devils entered what many thought was an unholy alliance when they teamed up with the Yankees. The two biggest sporting franchises in the world (excuse me FC Barcelona & Real Madrid — small potatoes) had ideas of global domination long before the Glazers even knew the Reds from the Red Sox. The idea was simple … brand each other and reap the benefits on both sides of the Atlantic.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, baseball is a tougher sell in England than top quality football is Stateside, so they never truly reaped the benefits. United on the other hand have had more tours in America than U2 and in most cases they have sold out to fanatical crowds while moving the odd tee-shirt or two.
Now Liverpool has been offered a similar lifeline and it’s not the Texas Rangers this time. It’s the real deal. One of the most storied franchises in all of American sports — the Boston Red Sox.
So who is behind a bid that has basically come from left field (ba-boom)?
John W. Henry may look a bit nerdy, but he is the gaffer of an outfit called the New England Sports Ventures group that has turned the Red Sox around and made them into a highly profitable — and more importantly — a winning organization.
He’s got the required bankroll — approximately $475 million very large ones will seal the deal and he’s willing to bet it all on a club that has the potential to make that Fenway Park celebration in ’04 looked like a nun’s tea party.
There is a stumbling block though and it’s as stubborn as the late Yankees owner, George Steinbrenner. Current Liverpool owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, whom I’ve spanked before, can’t let the club go without lining their pockets — a reasonable argument in a booming economy — not so clever with an asset that is declining in value … daily.
Sources close to Tom Hicks are saying, "The offers were less than 50% of the Forbes value.
I’m sorry Tom, as a businessman it’s only worth what someone is willing to pay and to be honest, if you’re not careful, you’ll end up with nothing as the Royal Bank of Scotland, the holder of the note, is surely licking its lips. The chance to take the Liverpool asset back in default must have the number crunchers humming ‘you’ll never walk alone’ all day long.
With Hicks and Gillett digging their toes in though it looks like this whole sorry mess will end up in the courts. For LFC this has to be the final nail in the coffin as this is a club that has rarely aired its dirty laundry in public.
Current chairman Martin Broughton (handpicked by the American duo) will go to the high court in order to sell Liverpool against the wishes of Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
Broughton says he has the legal right to sell the club to the right buyer. It’s in the contract, it’s in the small print and it was given to him by … Hicks himself!
Ultimately though, Liverpool fans just want the issue resolved, but there is a price and it does involve imitating their fiercest and most hated rivals, Manchester United.
They’ll be forced to look in the mirror and ask themselves some very uncomfortable questions.
Who are we? What are we? United or Chelsea — teams that have bought recent history? Or are we Reds (Sox) Nation, a team that ultimately writes its own destiny, regardless of who pays the bills.
How long are you prepared to wait?
Nick Webster is a senior writer for FoxSoccer.com covering the Barclays Premier League and the English national team.