A short critique of Capitalism via Hicks and Gillett

Posted: October 15, 2010 in Uncategorized
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The takeover saga at Liverpool Football Club may be hilarious, but also a pretty scary omen for other football clubs owned by unscrupulous people, particularly the parasitical Glazer family at Manchester United.

If there were any justice, Hicks and Gillett, the worst a club can get, would be jailed for conspiracy to defraud and abusing the legal system. Buying a company on the proviso that you will build a new stadium, for instance, usually means that you will be held to account by the shareholders. But of course Hicks and Gillett are the major shareholders, so moral decency would suggest you are accountable to the club’s lifeblood: the supporters. So the fact that the pair have essentially lied about a core part of their manifesto suggests walking away, alone or not, would be the honourable thing. We are so far ignoring the fact that, like the Glazers, they seem to be putting other people’s money into the club while withdrawing real club income for themselves.

Anyway, the pair’s comical financial misadventures had led to them appointing a new chairman, Martin Broughton, whose express purpose has been to seek out a buyer for the club as quickly as possible, to wipe out the debt and allow the dastardly duo to make like a tree. But wait, he has apparently done what was required: he has found a new buyer to wipe out the debt and run the club: NESV, also from America, which according to the intellectually-malnourished proportion of Liverpool support means they are also villains. So the deal should have been concluded quickly to allow the present incumbents to make a less-than-graceful exit.
Unfortunately, the pair have decided this deal is less-than-satisfactory, as it will cost them £144 million. By ‘them’, we assume they must mean their creditors Royal Bank of Scotland, who still may force the club into administration if they decide that the £230 million payment must be made by this week.

Many people malign these two buffoons and scream about their lack of morals and such, but ask yourself this: isn’t this how capitalism works? Think about it: the financial/political system that seems more like Dieism (where currency is God) is all about convincing the lower classes to spend money they don’t have on products they don’t need by repayment structures they don’t want. Meanwhile, at the top of the sacred money tree, big important men in suits buy companies they’ve never worked for, with money they don’t have, on the premise that it will be paid back in endless instalments by the company, rather than the men who instigated the deal. This leaves you with the laughable scenario of unscrupulous characters BUYING a football club with DEBT, but still drawing an actual income-based salary for themselves, usually obscenely large. It’s the big business equivalent of paying for your grocery shopping with an I.O.U. note, and when it’s time to collect the creditors chase up the makers of the paper you wrote the note on.

Hicks and Gillett, as well as the Glazer family, may seem to be fiscally inept, but in fact they are just well-groomed students of the capitalist hierarchy, using and abusing a system which in any other context would be criminal, but is the way to get ahead in their chosen ‘career’. And in case those smaller business owners are seriously wondering why the part-public-owned banks are so reticent to lend them money: it’s nothing but transparent greed. Giving a loan to a new small business is highly risky, in that the company is more likely to fold than survive, thus the bank will most likely lose out on their full remuneration with little assets to seize. Loaning ludicrous sums as in the case of a football club means that the interest payments will be staggering, and after a few of these have been collected, the bank will be repaid the original sum by the time they choose whether to force a liquidation and seize the highly valuable assets. Unfortunately money talks louder than social conscience or morals, more today than ever.

Hicks and Gillett seem to be on their way for good, now we must fight to see the back of the Glazers. Football clubs are hubs of their communities, and thus must be owned or completely democratically responsible to the supporters.



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