Clubs owners should remember dangers of taking fans for granted
But the activism of committed fans helped oust the previous American owners – or helped persuade them to seek an exit – and were Liverpool’s results not to pick up, the chorus will grow again. Should there be a home defeat tomorrow, anger at Liverpool’s handling of the transfer window will resurface.
Even naïve new owners come to realise investment is not just about acquiring players, it is about buying another essential – time. It in turn produces patience, which is vital not least because impatience is corrosive and disruptive.
Newcastle United have experienced this. But fans’ tolerance of owner Mike Ashley changed when the team started winning. It brought a pause to resentment. That allowed development.
South in Leeds, however, is proof that time does not heal all. There is blossoming frustration again with chairman Ken Bates after back-to-back defeats. The sight of three former Leeds midfielders performing well for Norwich City a grade up in the Premier League has added fresh annoyance to existing disillusion. Now there is an injury glut.
Leeds fans had displayed patience over the summer regarding a proposed takeover that still has not come. Now they are displaying something else. Judging by recent attendances at Elland Road, powerlessness and a recession are forcing some to choose to exercise their ultimate right: they have stopped going to a club they thought of as theirs.
Today Leeds host Nottingham Forest. Were Leeds United buoyant, was their confidence born of investment in the team, then Elland Road would be busy and hostile. As it is, it can still be intimidating but Forest will not expect to lose. Every empty seat is a plus for them.
It is also the greatest modern reminder to those who run the game of the power of those who sustain it, who have always sustained it. That is its own kind of ownership.
Tomorrow everyone at Anfield, Liverpool and United, knows the cost of fans being taken for granted.
On differing levels, a variety of owners have a duty of respect.
Kompany opts for head over Hart
Much has been made of Joe Hart’s emotional response to defeat at Real Madrid on Tuesday night. It came in the seconds after Manchester City had seen three points whittled to one and then none in the last few minutes of a dramatic match at the Bernabeu. Some seemed to blame Hart for the third, decisive Real goal, scored by Cristiano Ronaldo.
But if there was a question mark against the City goalkeeper, it was over the Real equaliser from Karim Benzema. What should surely have been asked after Ronaldo’s winner is why a man and a leader such as Vincent Kompany ducked out of heading Ronaldo’s shot. That left Hart exposed. He had no chance.
Manager Roberto Mancini then responded to Hart’s post-match response with a verbal slap-down. For City’s sake this has to be a literal heat-of-the-moment spat. If not, then there is fragility.
It is just one reason why City could do with a convincing performance against Arsenal tomorrow.
The way football works, Kompany will score with a header.