An Epic Swindle: 44 Months with a Pair of Cowboys Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The book makes a deep dive behind the scenes at Anfield during an almost four year long reign that seriously threatened to destroy the club. Through his extensive net of sources in and outside Liverpool Football Club, the author reveals an almost inconceivable soap opera where the 'Truly Honest and Good' proves to be few and far between. The read is both saddening and even sickening, yet hugely fascinating. The extent of the sheer madness that was played out by presumably responsible grown ups at all levels in one of Britain's greatest sport institutions is simply astonishing. Al thou the dark emotions of the H&G era came flooding back as I was reading, the book also gave equal rewards through the re-visiting of the ecstatic emotions of their dramatic ousting from the club.
Its recommended. - A must read for any red.
Reade starts off with the events of 6 February 2007, a day which will live in infamy for every fan of this great club. Reade describes his hesitation to welcome the (at the time) new American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett. Things already seemed wrong. The owners were walking around with their brand new Liverpool scarves and their smiles. Many of the promises the new regime made that fateful day would not only be proven to be outright lies, but would come to haunt them (and the fans) in the next 3 1/2 years. Things like, "We're not people to come here and milk the fans", "This is not a takeover like the Glazer deal at Manchester United. There is no debt involved" and "The shovel needs to be in the ground in the next sixty days." These statements and more would prove to be blatant lies. The debt was to be loaded onto the club (as much as possible). The stadium would never be built and the new owners were there only to bleed the club dry and sell it on for as much money as possible.
Reade does a great job of following the story from the start to the nasty conclusion in the High Court in October of 2010. In between he brings up all the events which turned the euphoria of February of 2007 to the lurid events of November of that same year, when the fans were warned by Rafa Benitez that something was rotten at the heart of Liverpool FC, and it was the new owners. He discusses the flirtation with Jurgen Klinsmann by the owners, the decision to redesign the plans for a new stadium, the flirtation with perspective new owners, the civil war between George and Tom, the fan protests and the birth of the Spirit of Shankly.
One of the areas of insight I particularly enjoyed was the insights into Rafa Benitez. Here was a world class manager (winner of two La Liga titles and the UEFA Cup with Valencia, as well as the Champions League and the FA Cup with Liverpool) who was slowly but surely being driven to madness by the immense pressure of dealing with two owners who truly did not care about the club. Reade describes Montse Benitez sitting in the stands in 2010 holding rosary beads in her hands praying for victories to save the club and her husbands job. Rafa, slightly paranoid in the best of times (as many great managers tend to be) had become the epitome of paranoia and anxiety and finally left the club at the end of May 2010.
Of course, the best part of the book is the endgame and how the two Americans finally lost the club to NESV, the group of investors who own the Boston Red Sox. The book ends with the final hearing in court in February of 2011 and mentions how, since the H & G regime ended the club went from 19th to 6th in the table (and brought in Dalglish to replace the out of his depth Roy Hodgson). What is interesting to note is that a similarly remarkable turnaround was experienced by the Texas Rangers (the MLB team Hicks was also forced into selling) who went on to appear in their first World Series ever in the months after Hicks was shown the door.
If you are a fan of LIverpool or a fan of football (or any sport) and want to relive what happened at one of the worlds greatest sports clubs, you will truly enjoy this book.
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