Tom Hicks Jr has resigned from the Liverpool board, after the club director and son of owner Tom Hicks made the now infamous decision to write “Blow me fuck face” to a fan sending him an email. This, of course, will be used everywhere as an illustration of how not to communicate with your customers, or fans, or whatever your preferred phrasing is.
The club’s press release did not exactly express sorrow for the incident: “Liverpool Football Club today announce that Thomas Hicks Jr has resigned as a director of both the club and its parent company Kop Holdings.”
Supporters opposed to the ownership of Hicks and George Gillett played a smarter PR game than Liverpool on this issue (though even Hicks Snr. surely found it hard to defend his son on this one), quickly capitalising on the incident and putting pressure on Hicks Jr to resign through the press. This was the work of Sons of Shankly, the Liverpool Supporters’ Union set-up last year. The group has had its own PR disaster in the past, though that does not mean, of course, that they are not right to pursue this issue, and the broader need for Liverpool fans to have more say as their club is run into the ground by bumbling, incompetent ownership.
- Our own Richard Whittall has a sensible post at his blog offering some “caveats” to the coverage about Angola: “The Footy Blog and the Score’s James Sharman admirably admitted that, a few days ago, he didn’t know where or what Cabinda was. Yet many others in the same boat are plowing into instant socio-political analysis on the attack with a full-fledged list of responsible parties, each with their debased motives, primarily the Angolan government for hosting games in Cabinda to prove to oil investors the Angolan civil war is over, the separatists have lost, and the oil-rich region is open for business.” We have, of course, offered our own similar analysis; perhaps it is time to pause for reflection. On that note, and on the need for a broader perspective on Angola, Our weekly columnist, Andrew Guest, will have a post for you this morning which doesn’t focus on the Togo tragedy, remembering his own experiences of life and soccer in the country.
- Jeff Carlisle at ESPN Soccernet has an excellent historical piece on Americans who travelled to Eastern Europe a couple of decades ago in search of a professional future in soccer: “The late 1980s and early ’90s marked a dark period in American soccer. The NASL was dead. The advent of MLS was still some years away, and the flickering flame of outdoor soccer was being kept alive by leagues like the American Professional Soccer League. It meant if players wanted to advance their game, heading to Europe — anywhere in Europe — was a must. That included countries just emerging from under the yoke of the Soviet Union.
- Last year, we posted on the price a small town close to my heart and hometown, Lewes FC (who play at the charmingly named Dripping Pan), were paying for mismanagement and over-ambition. Two Hundred Percent sadly reports that they are now just 48 hours for extinction, facing the taxman the third time for £48,000 of unpaid debt: “Their single, solitary season in the Blue Square Premier was an unmitigated disaster. A trip to The Dripping Pan in January 2009 showed a club that seemed to be in disarray both on and off the pitch, with the bar closed and a team that had been decimated during the previous summer simply unable to compete with the professional clubs that they were up against. Their first winding up hearing came in March 2009, and their relegation back to the Blue Square South was rubber-stamped not long afterwards.” Sad days.
The Sweeper appears every weekday, and once at the weekend. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.