What is Liverpool Football Club? Is it a “brand”, a corporate entity , or the sum of the physical parts made up from the stadia and staff etc?
To Americans it may look like that. North American sports culture views sports franchises as being basically the same thing as a McDonalds franchise. The franchise serves a utilitarian purpose (the delivery of “sports entertainment”. ) American culture is stereotyped as shallow philistinism. And to some extent that is true. American sports culture values showmanship first, and regional pride secondary. It’s a very basic way of looking at sports, and the reason why Americans will never understand football.
Just consider this, and try to explain it to an average yank. LFC is one of the 5 most globally supported sports teams – but unlike the other five (inc. ManU,Barca,Real) Liverpool have not dominated the sport for more than 20 years, does not sign international megastars, and occasionally puts out some very dour and unattractive teams. Liverpool does not have the glitz and glamour of a NY Yankees or a Real Madrid. Which is fine, because that’s not what real football fans love. Football supporters tend appreciate more subtle charms about a team. At this point in a conversation with an American (or Canadian) they would be looking at me like I’m from Mars, especially for what I’m about to say.
Liverpool Football Club is not a brand, company or franchise. It is an ideal. It is a set of beliefs, and an outlook on life. Liverpool is the only form of socialism which has been an unqualified success. It is a benevolent form of totalitarianism. Liverpool represents the greatest values and aspirations of its members. Liverpool supporters are not customers, they are the living embodiment of the club.
For these reasons, there cannot, should not, and must not be any further affiliation with heartless and gutless American robber-barons than is necessary. Let them do what’s needed to get the team back into the European Cup and then sell their shares at profit. What I hope is that by that time enough supporters will realize the only option for a stable and successful LFC will be to follow the model set by Barcelona, and do away with “ownership” of the club completely. LFC is a club for the people, and should be controlled by the people. Barcelona is known as a registered association, whereby the supporters of the club purchase membership, and play an active role in how the club is run. FC Barcelona is run as a representative democracy. It holds regular elections, and the board of directors are accountable to club members.
Just imagine what a club run the Liverpool Way would like today. A club with the same ethos of Shankly, but with the global reach afforded by 21stcent. technology. A club that doesn’t exist right now.
What we have right now is an authoritarian oligarchy. We exchanged one set of tyrants for another. And until we take control of the club, we will continue to be ruled, and live in worry and fear for the future well-being of the club.
Scousers of the world, UNITE! All you have to lose are your chains, but a world to win.