David Moores spoke out against Tom Hicks' and George Gillett's ownership of the club yesterday, and admitted that he made a massive mistake when he decided to sell to the American duo.
In an open letter to Tony Barrett, a red working for The Times newspaper, Moores said, "I hope against hope that Messrs Gillett and Hicks will see this letter, or some portion of it, and do the right thing. In holding on and holding out, they risk damaging a sporting institution of global renown and if they have any conscience or nobility they will stand aside and allow new owners to take over the club for its future benefit and that of its lifeblood- the club's fans."
Whilst the news that Moores has finally taken a stance opposed to the Americans is encouraging, and will keep the ownership issue on the back pages of the national media for at least a few days, his lack of an serious apology is startling considering it was his poor judgement in deciding to sell to Hicks and Gillett that signalled the beginning of a decline in our fortunes, both off and, more importantly, on the pitch.
In the remainder of the letter Moores seems to blame everyone apart from the main culprit. Himself.
He starts off by blaming a "loud minority" of supporters. Moores claims, "I experienced my first real backlash from the fans. It started with a few letters in the Echo and quickly grew into a campaign aimed at forcing me to sell. There's an irony there somewhere that, in holding on and giving prospective new owners the third degree I was somehow seen as deliberately holding the club back! It was a loud minority giving me stick, but this growing ill-feeling was certainly a factor I took into account."
This quote is much more shocking as, earlier in the letter, Moores claimed, "I don't really care whether the supporters like me or approve of me." Ok then David, if you don't care what the fans think of you, then why did you succumb to pressure from what you yourself describe as only the minority of supporters. This is a pathetic and weak attempt at putting the blame for the sale on anyone apart from himself. He's essentially saying to the supporters, "You brought it on yourselves."
Well, Mr Moores we weren't the one's who signed the deal with Hicks and Gillett. We weren't the one's who failed to fully check out Hicks' financial record and we weren't the one's who pushed the board to accept the yanks offer. You were! Now take responsibility and stop blaming us!
Later on in the letter Moores attempts to pile some of the blame on the minority shareholders who sold their stakes in the club to the American duo.
Moores says, "We moved ahead with Gillett and Hicks with all due speed (even now I cannot accept that we were hasty)- and here is an element of the process I accept we could have handled better. We had looked into Geroge Gillett's affairs in detail, and he came up to scratch. To a great extent, we took Tom Hicks on trust, on George's say-so. There was still the very real business of obtaining approval of the shareholders, however. I was the 51% majority stakeholder, but I was obliged to-and I wanted to- obtain a mandate from Liverpool's shareholders great and small.
Gillett and Hicks produced a very substantial offer document containing all the key assurances re debt, the stadium, investment in the squad and respect for Liverpool FC's unique culture, traditions and legacy. It was impressive stuff- and it did the trick. For the motion to be carried we needed around 90% in favour. Over 1700 shareholders voted and the result was 100% in favour of accpeting Gillett and Hicks' offer."
It may be true that 100% of shareholders voted in favour of accepting the takeover offer, however that begs the question "Why did they universally accept the offer?"
Once again the answer lies at the feet of Moores and Parry.
In a statement to shareholders Rick Parry said, "I am absolutely certain we have now ended up in the right place, with owners who will help the Club succeed and prosper." With such a ringing endorsement from Parry, and significant financial incentives, it was inevitable that the shareholders would accept the bid from Hicks and Gillett.
So, after attemping (and failing) to shift the blame onto anyone apart from himself, Moores moves onto the subject of Google, the incredibly popular, and well respected internet search engine. He states, "So many times I have had people ask me, and write to me, and quiz the people who are close to me: 'Wouldn't a simple Google search have told you all you needed to know about Tom Hicks?' I could be flippant and tell you I don't know what Google is (I have never used a computer in my life). I could point out that internet searches are as likely to mislead as to inform."
Moores contradicts himself yet again here as he comments on the reliability of internet search engines in the same breath as claiming that he has never used a computer!
Whilst Moores is certainly correct that a Google search would not be the best way to check up on Hicks' financial background, all the same it would have proven an invaluable source revealing the opinion in which he is held by the supporters of his various other sporting "franchises".
More specifically, it would have revealed startling similarites between Liverpool's situation and the situation at Brazilian club Corinthians. According to Wikipedia, a site that Moores could have easily accessed using Google, "In 1999 Hicks...entered into a partnership with Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, a successful Brazilian team... Hicks... assured the fans that a new stadium was in development, but this never materialized. After legal/financial troubles and partner infighting, Hicks retired from the company and the ownership group eventually left the partnership with Corinthians."
Sound familiar? Well, if Moores had used that wonderful invention called "the internet" that he seems so afraid of, then maybe, just maybe, he would have read about Hicks' failings at Corinthians and had second thoughts.
And maybe, just maybe, Moores wouldn't have to write a letter of apology. And maybe, just maybe, Liverpool wouldn't be hurtling headfirst towards meltdown.
Whilst I have been scathing in my criticism of Moores in this post (and rightly so) the fact that he has spoke out against the Americans remains positive.
However, it is not enough. Moores is rumoured to have received a healthy £89 million from the deal that saw Hicks and Gillett take the reigns at Anfield. If he is serious about making up for selling us down the river then Moores must follow up his words with some serious action.
Mr Moores, take the £89 million and plough it into either Spirit of Shankly (www.spiritofshankly.com) or Share Liverpool (www.shareliverpoolfc.co.uk). Not only will this clear your family name, it could go a long way to rebuilding the club that you, and we, so dearly love.