Despite the now seriously hated Tom Hicks and George Gillett continuing to dig their heels in on the inevitable sale of the club to John W. Henry and his New England Sports Ventures company, the deal looks as though it will be swiftly wrapped up either next week or the week after regardless of what the High Court decides to rule in this king-sized squabble.
But any premature jamborees organised by the Liverpool faithful to celebrate the back of the apparently deceitful duo and announce a new, fresh and bright dawn for the club as a result of an honest and sensible American should possibly be postponed for now. Not because the new owner will be just as furtive and greedy as his predecessors, but because the rest of this season is going to be a long, hard slog.
Instability and upheaval at the apex of a club can have cataclysmic effects as to what goes on in the players’ minds and therefore what happens on the pitch. Two seasons consecutively in the Premier League there has been a club that has suffered disastrously and got themselves relegated, and both of those clubs, Newcastle and Portsmouth, had a continuing cauldron of unpalatable boardroom broth to try to cope with. Newcastle’s squad certainly was not much weaker in 2008/09 than Liverpool’s is now. Yet the craziness at the beginning of the season with Mike Ashley and Kevin Keegan set the tone and never-ending problems ensued, meaning the players were not capable of concentrating fully on their jobs on the field.
Portsmouth’s financial disaster in the last campaign everyone knows about, and with NESV promising to immediately get rid of Liverpool’s debt, that is something players and fans need not worry about. However, if the players did not have enough on their minds concerning the takeover already, what would be the effect of a new manager?
If Roy Hodgson cannot get his players to concentrate solely on playing football as a team shortly, and thus remains on the ground floor of the league table, John Henry will get restless about appointing his own man. That will only unsettle the players further – cue things spiralling out of control and the club imploding like a Newcastle, Portsmouth or even Leeds.
Liverpool need to ensure they get out of the current season still in the Premier League. If they manage that, the future may well be bright.