As you’ll probably remember, during last week I asked my readers on the blog and on Twitter to vote for their “Ex Reds” that they love to hate. Some hatred is evidently a bit tongue and cheek but when board members and previous owners are allowed onto the list, it’s always going to get a bit heated. Unsurprisingly those lovely leeches Hicks and Gillett topped the list followed by El Hadji Diouf, Fernando Torres, Michael Owen and Christian Purslow. So why are these five men, (well, six men really as H & G are a duo… though I’d question if either count as “men” after their shenanigans!) the top “Ex Reds” that you lot love to hate? Christian Purslow KD: “Know your place lad.” You voted him in at number 5, it’s Christian Purslow. With a middle name like Cecil you could be hated on that reason alone but Purslow ruffled a few feathers in his time on the Liverpool board. He was made managing director in 2009 but before I get on to the bad I think Purslow has to be credited for his role in ousting Hicks and Gillett. There is no denying that he was a big help to Broughton and Co in the court process. However, Purslow can’t escape his villain like presence and overstepping the mark when concerning his duties. The gripe that most people have with Purslow is the way he seemed to suck up to other members of the board in his time as managing director and how he ended up apparently having more control than the manager when it came to transfers. Purslow was brought in by Liverpool to secure investment and to help sell on the club to better owners and although he eventually did that, he got too big for his boots in the meantime. A managing director shouldn’t have any involvement with the football at the club or with the players or signings but it appears Purslow did. Purslow was believed to have held talks with other clubs over the signing of players behind Benitez’s back and also when Roy Hodgson was brought in. It made matters worse that Purslow boasted about this his new duties to the press, most Liverpool fans have a touchy relationship with the press and any member of a Liverpool board that is pally pally with them was always going to be disliked. Along with stories that he was helping Dalglish to choose the new manager after Rafa had gone too it was all a bit too slimy for Liverpool fans. Purslow as a managing director should have stayed quiet and done his job and although he did secure investment with Standard Chartered and also helped the club succeed in it’s sale to FSG, he went about it in the wrong way. He’s a very easy man to dislike unfortunately and the power went straight to his head, that’s why you voted him in at number 5. Michael Owen “Crap! I didn’t check the result of the 2:30 at Kempton.” In at number 4 is that man Michael Owen, once a Liverpool legend, now regarded by many as a Judas. Michael Owen signed a schoolboy contract for Liverpool at the age of 12. His debut came in 1997 for the Liverpool first team against Wimbledon. Owen scored 158 goals for Liverpool in 297 games and every season where he was fully fit he provided Liverpool with a bag of goals, he burst onto the scene when called up for the first team and despite being injury prone he always came back and gave his all for Liverpool. He loved the club and the fans loved him. The fans however didn’t take too kindly to rumours of him wanting to move abroad, most fans can accept that there usually comes a stage where a player wants a new challenge but most fans also seemed to focus on the cash element of this move. Real Madrid came calling and Michael Owen didn’t seem to hesitate too much. Real signed him up for £8 million with a nice wage packet but by 2005 Owen was already rumoured to be coming back to England. He signed for Newcastle and despite a poor reception from some Liverpool fans angered by his Real Madrid move, overall it was quite neutral. The real problem with Owen arose in 2009. Michael Owen signed for Manchester United in July of that year. The wage packet again was ridiculous enough but he had signed for United. You just don’t do it, especially not when you’re an injury prone, ex Red money grabber. Despite all this, I still can’t hate him, growing up, to me Michael Owen was Liverpool Football Club, he was my first favourite player and I was amazed watching him play. I still will never be able to grasp though that he signed for United. His Twitter remarks after some of the games too are John Terry “let’s grab the glory-esque”, it’s like that thing where you’re parents speak to you after you’ve pissed them off… “I’m not angry at you, I’m just disappointed.” And it appears many of you are very disappointed in him, that’s why he’s in at number 4. Fernando Torres “This is the happiest I’ll ever be.” You may well disagree if you have a more acceptable nature like myself but you can’t be surprised that you lot voted Fernando Torres in at number 3. Signed in July 2007 by Rafael Benitez from Atletico Madrid he was the man that Liverpool fans had been waiting for. Most had seen his capabilities on display in Spain and the excitement was bubbling when he was unveiled. Torres broke records and scored like he wasn’t even trying. 65 goals in 102 appearances and he reached 50 in the league faster than any other player ever in a Red shirt. He was loved by the Liverpool fans and “Fernando Torres Liverpool’s number 9″soon became a chant constantly ringing around Anfield. So why on earth is he hated? One word – Chelsea. As Torres began to realise that Liverpool were in trouble and after he wasn’t convinced by the appointment of Hodgson it was clear that he was having second thoughts about his stay. This is fair enough in my eyes but after the support from the Liverpool fans you would think that he would have treated his departure with a bit more tact. After being signed by Chelsea for £50 million Torres had a beaming smile and whilst you would be happy after securing a new deal his comments suggested he would quickly forget about those Liverpool fans who supported him for so long. Liverpool is a club that loves its players even when they have long gone but you have to leave properly. You can’t just leave us in the lurch without so much as a goodbye and make Chelsea out to be a bigger and better club than the one you have just left. I personally wouldn’t describe my feelings as hate for Torres because as you will see from number 4 I still can’t bring myself to hate Owen and what he has done is a lot worse. Whilst I can’t fully hate the man I can totally see why you voted Fernando Torres in at number 3 for the Ex Reds you love to hate. El Hadji Diouf “Pluck those nose hairs.” In at number 2 and voted by you is El Hadji Diouf. El Hadji Diouf is a less than popular character within the whole of football and despite the fact Liverpool fans do like a loveable rogue (just look at Craig Bellamy) Diouf took this one too far. Diouf isn’t the most talented of players and his attitude to go along with it stinks. However when he arrived at Liverpool, as always, the fans got behind him. Signed by Houllier in 2002 the Senegalise born Diouf was an interesting player for the Reds due to his versatility. The focus from fans though wasn’t on his dribbling, it was what he was doing with it. Saliva seemed to be some sort of valid weapon in Diouf’s eyes. Footballers spit all of the time, we see them doing it all over the pitch but when it is aimed at a player or fan it is one of the most degrading acts you can perform. Utterly disgraceful. Soon after signing for Liverpool Diouf was accused of spitting at some West Ham fans whilst he was warming up. Despite the disgust it was assumed that this was an isolated incident. A year later though Diouf was at it again, this time spitting at Celtic fans in a UEFA Cup quarter final. This time it became clear that Diouf was a disgusting player, he clearly had no respect for the opposition fans and he wasn’t exactly respectful to opposition players or even team mates at times. You’d think by now, after being fined and guilty for spitting at fans he would keep himself to himself and stop creating scenes. You would also think that he would realise how disgusting spitting at somebody is but no, he decided to take it that one step further didn’t he? Once again, opposition fans but this time it was an 11 year old. In 2004 he was charged by police for this unacceptable incident and still to this day I cannot understand what encourages a player to do something like that, it’s bad enough spitting at people but what on gods green earth has an 11 year old done to deserve that? He really makes me sick Diouf does and there’s still more stories about him and his mouth. Whilst at Bolton Diouf spat at Portsmouth player Zeeuw. At this stage then manager Sam Allardyce was deciding whether to send Diouf to a Sports Psychologist. Away from saliva, Diouf racially abused a ball boy whilst at Everton and tried to claim that it was because the lad had thrown the ball at him like you would throw a bone to a dog, he also tried to claim that Everton fans were throwing bananas but no evidence was found. Brawls and motoring offences are the minor things that create the hatred towards Diouf but it is safe to say that in at number 2, he is one of the Ex Reds Liverpool fans love to hate. Hicks and Gillett GG: “Ooo that was close from snoogy.” TH: “Like my scarf? That bloke in KOP block 305 paid for it.” Straight in at number 1 are Tom Hicks and George Gillett. For those of you reading this who don’t know who these two men are, I will attempt to round this all up in as simple a way as possible though simple is a word rarely used when discussing these two. Tom Hicks and George Gillett were two American business men. They had dabbled in sporting ventures before and somewhat unsuccessfully but they had Liverpool fans completely duped with their passionate paragraphs and determination to buy the club, unfortunately for Liverpool it quickly came to light that these two men were not in this for the good of the club or to get themselves involved in English football, oh no, they were in this for the money. February 6th 2007 was supposed to be an enjoyable day for Liverpool fans and it certainly was at the time, fans were excited, the club had just been bought for in the region of £400 million and the owners seemed trustworthy and more than willing to supply current manager Rafael Benitez with the transfer funds that he needed. These two men didn’t take long though to start digging holes, creating lies and sucking money out of their offshore “Kop Holdings” account that was set up to buy the club, it all began so quickly. Almost immediately both Hicks and Gillett, Gillett specifically in this case began to talk to the English press about Liverpool Football Club and it was well known that the two businessmen were keen on the idea of buildng a new stadium for the club in Stanley Park. Gillett was so eager and excited he went as far to say that there would be “a spade in the ground in 60 days”. As we all know, despite some impressive drawing and visualizations from an overly paid architect, the stadium was never built. Then we have the “snoogy doogy” debate. Rafael Benitez had won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005 and the FA Cup in 2006 but it was no secret that he required funds to help build up and better the side, Rafa was as passionate about giving Liverpool title hopes as the Anfield faithful were and it finally seemed as though Liverpool could start to compete with the money throwers of Manchester United and Chelsea. “If Rafa said he wanted to buy Snoogy Doogy, we would back him.” This quote from George Gillett did not only turn out to be another lie, it also began to show the clear lack of knowledge from the Americans about “soccer”. Rafa’s best and most supported transfer market was the year that Hicks and Gillett took over, Fernando Torres was snapped up for £20 million and it appeared as though what the owners were saying despite not knowing an actual footballer to insert into their comment was true. However, as the seasons went by, Rafa’s mantra in the market soon had to become “sell to buy” and the Spaniard found himself struggling to create funds himself rather than be handed them. The thing was, I don’t think Liverpool were expecting millions and millions just a healthy budget. Considering we’re on the topic of Rafael Benitez and the owners, we’ll mention Jurgen Klinsmann shall we? Yes, because Hicks and Gillett also thought it was a brilliant idea to target the German behind Rafa’s back despite the fact that back then barely anyone wanted rid of Rafa and even a greater amount didn’t want Jurgen soddin Klinsmann. As the years went on Rafa took the chance to be honest with the fans, he was trying his best but the owners weren’t backing him. As Spirit Of Shankly the Liverpool supporters group got on the case, more and more information about the owners became to come to light. Things like how the men took funds from the “Kop Holdings” they had set up, Hicks claimed £523,000 in expenses and Gillett £1.32 million. They found it perfectly acceptable to take money which in effect was from the sale of tickets and merchandise, supplied by Liverpool fans and use it as and when they wished. Relations between the owners and the fans got worse and worse and Liverpool’s football took a hard knock too. How on earth Rafael Benitez managed to almost win the title in 2009 under those circumstances I will never know and he’ll never get the credit he deserves from most for doing so. Hicks and Gillett also told us fans that the club had been bought outright and that there was no need to worry about loans and leveraged buyouts, it soon became clear though when RBS began calling for a repayment that once again, the Americans had lied to us. The debts racked up from the failure to repay this loan were massive and Liverpool Football Club was in a dangerous financial state RBS however offered re finance to the Americans but that didn’t give them as much time as they had hoped. With administration being talked about and even the deduction of 9 points, protests began headed by Spirit Of Shankly and eventually the two parasites were ousted. You’d have to go a long way to find worse “Ex Reds” than these two and I am glad that you voted them in at number 1 because I 100% agree. A real torrid time for Liverpool supporters and the above is only a glimpse of it, I never even mentioned the email from Hick’s son or the intense and almost ridiculous boardroom battle towards the end of their tenure but I am sure you get the jist, we certainly love to hate these pair!
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