Off with their heads

Okay, so, this LA Times article about Liverpool fans turning against their owners. I'll try not to post the whole thing, but there are lots and lots of choice quotes.

Liverpool Football Club, a privately owned for-profit enterprise that pays its players and charges money for admission - sorry, end of story right there.

Don't agree? Okay. Liverpool Football Club, founding member of the Premier League and of the G14, first British professional team to have a sponsor on the front of the jersey - LFC have played a non-trivial part of making sure capitalism and soccer stay happily married, or at least live pleasurably in sin.

And yet, Liverpool have filled books with their history - you can count the number of clubs with a similar epic range of triumph and sorrow on one hand. To say that tradition has been "wiped out in a year" is just Alt being a drama queen - occupational hazard, I suppose. But it doesn't make Liverpool's alleged plight relevant or genuine.

The bottom line is, if Riise hadn't bungled in the own-goal, and if Liverpool went on to win another European championship, no one would have complained. Posturing about debt loads and unsavory ownership would have been miniscule. How do we know this? Boy, if only there were some sort of test case, where a major English club was bought by a callow American to the shock and horror of their traditional fans. I wonder how such a club would ever recover its standing.

Yes, if Manchester United bungles this Sunday and/or in Moscow, criticism of Mr. Glazer will once again hit a high-pitched dental drill whine. But it's a little amusing that hate site www.malcolmglazer.com hasn't been updated since November.

Granted, Tom Hicks is a tool. But if he couldn't destroy the Texas Rangers, a club with microscopically less prestige and glory than Liverpool, then I think the soccer team is safe. But let's say the worst happens, and the Hicks empire utterly collapses. You know what happens then? He sells the team, and Liverpool carries on.

I know, I know, Leeds United. See Leeds United anywhere in these articles? At some point, a brand becomes so famous as to be pretty much indestructible. The kind of global economic crisis required to turn Liverpool into third division stragglers would be so vast that, frankly, "Will my soccer team be able to pay Fernando Torres?" will be a tad less important than "Will I be able to defend my grain against the roving gangs of radioactive mutants?"

Fiorentina came back. Juventus survived relegation without blinking. The god-damned San Jose Earthquakes won't stay dead, after two tries at killing them! Liverpool is in no danger.

Well, except of continuing to be an exemplar of runaway capitalism in the sport - but I think that boat has sailed. I can tell, because of the laughable idea that Dubai International Capital would represent some kind of positive change. Criticize American foreign policy all you want - I certainly do - but think twice before disrobing and leaping into bed with these gentlemen.

So yes, the fan-owned club can be a roaring international success. But converting an existing megacapitalist behemoth into a "mere" athletic club" hasn't been done. It would literally be easier to violently overthrow the government, and nationalize the soccer teams into various Spartaks, Dinamos and Lokomotivs. Of course, you'd only have three or four clubs that ever won anything, but that wouldn't be very very different from what the Premiership is now.

In fact, that's a wonderful idea, and a much more productive use of time. Forget the online petitions - get to work beheading the Windsor royal family. If you can't be like the Packers, be like the 49ers.