My fellow Liverpool fan, Angelo mentioned in a previous post about how Liverpool has been “rebuilding” since the late 80’s. That right there is the truth. Our lack of success has been the result of this total lack of planning for the future and a lack of continuity in execution.
Any organisation with an intention to be a going concern must plan for the future. By plan I do not mean scribble on a piece of paper what you want for breakfast tomorrow. To be successful into the future you need a plan that looks years ahead – out towards the horizon. It takes into consideration the market conditions, competition funds available etc. Once such a plan is in place it becomes the custody of the Board of Directors. Their duty as custodians is to install a capable executive management to implement the plan and to continuously review the plan in order to make sure it remains relevant to the constantly changing conditions of their industry.
Liverpool FC for 20 odd years has been unable to do this one thing!
Under the Moore’s regime we had stability of ownership but no vision for the future. At the dawn of the premier league era Liverpool was in pole position to make the most of the new enlarged market. We were the most successful team with the largest global following. A lack of vision from the top saw us fail to recognise the scale of the Premier League market and therefore not enlarge our capital base to be able to compete. When it was time to spend we just could not rely on the pockets of one family of former industrialist to fund the changes needed. We needed to build a world class stadium and buy the best players in the world to appeal to the new market. The Man United’s of the world listed on the stock exchange and were able to draw on a massive pool of investors to give them the money to build themselves up to the scale required. Liverpool looked on in disgust at the loss of football tradition. We missed out big time! As a parting gift after Moores gave us the Americans Part I!
Hicks and Gillett will go down as one of the biggest disasters to ever strike Liverpool Football Club. Fury builds up in me as I ponder these two buffoons. It should have been obvious from their business model that this was a disaster. Geared finance with a view to moving the asset for a profit based on value appreciation of the entire industry. It’s like the housing bubble. If you were credit worthy you could get a loan and buy a house that if you give it a couple of years would have given you a nice tidy profit. All you had to do was survive the mortgage repayments in the meantime. Hicks and Gillett = Epic Fail. They will be forever the example of why you shouldn’t invest at the top of the cycle! To add to the uselessness they fire Rafa!
I mention Rafa here because in the preceding 20 years he stands out as the only manager to have a solid long term plan for the team. His plan was all encompassing, covering a revamp of every facet of the club from the Academy, fitness staff, scouting system. Planning at this level is not the manager’s job! Why didn’t the board have such a plan in their hands? A club stuck in the 1980’s as Liverpool has been needs a plan that touches everything! It’s shocking that no such plan existed.
We cannot afford to be a club that is constantly reshaping itself. The only way to do this is to plan at board level with a long horizon. This needs to be backed up by continuity at both board level and football manager. We definitely cannot afford to be changing owners and managers at the same time. A prolonged period of stability is what we desperately need.
We risk disappearing as did many family owned mega co-orporations of the 60s and 70s if we cannot reinvent ourselves to be competitive at the new scale required.
P.S. based on my above argument I am a bit weary of Jose Murinho coming to Liverpool next season. I think there is a strong likelihood of this happening but it scares me. Jose has shown that he is a CV filler. He’s not going to come to Liverpool to structure a plan for a decade of success. He wants to come in win a league title and leave. To do that he’ll buy in players and leave us with a massive wage bill when he leaves. We need to be more ambitious than just a season of happiness and a lifetime of debt!