Six weeks after that night in Hamburg and with the players 10 days from reporting back for pre-season our talismanic manager jumped ship. Nobody could really blame Roy for accepting the Liverpool ticket. Motivated people need challenges, it's not all about money. What an opportunity to put your stamp on one of England's most famous clubs and work with the likes of Gerrard and Torres. A club where you are wrapped in the aura of Anfield...the Kop, 18 league titles and five European Cups.
A club owned by two clueless Yanks, at war with each other, and the rest of the boardroom, A club carrying a debt approaching £300 million, with the clock at the bank ticking ever louder. Plans for a new stadium have been shelved, fans are seething and marching in the streets. A poor record of transfers from the outgoing manager has undermined the team, big spending on new talent proscribed by financial considerations. Only Martin Samuel of the Mail at the time expressed the down side, the rest of the media worked themselves into a lather over Roy's move north.
Fulham's fate was peripheral to the story. The club got on with their pre-season tour of Sweden managerless, before Martin Jol emerged as the preferred successor. Ajax were not amused, nor Fulham after Jol had a change of heart. Barely two weeks before our first game Mark Hughes took up the reins and set about getting to know the players, while frantically scrambling to add some new blood at the tail end of the transfer window.
And now we move into autumn. Fulham remain unbeaten in the league, the addition of Dembele and Salcido appear to date to be rock solid pieces of business, Mark this weekend gives a long interview in Saturday's Mail which will cheer the heart of every Whites fan, while Liverpool...
As events over Liverpool's fate have unfolded this week I resisted the temptation to blog on the subject. I have been too long in this game to gloat at another side's misfortune. Wither Fulham some years down the line should al-Fayed's surviving family decide they want their money back? I am not going to share in the general schadenfreude at Liverpool's predicament or wish ill of Roy. In fact, I'm cheered to see he has a £3 million pound pay-off clause built into his contract should any new owners seeks to dismiss him. Shrewdly done!
The villians in all this are of course Hicks and Gillett. Why Liverpool fans think things will be any better under Red Sox ownership is to my mind misguided. Ownership of a big name club should be seen as a vanity project, not a 'commercial opportunity,' - a bit like Qatar pouring millions into a bid for the 2022 World Cup. Of course, the Premier League must also take its share of the blame, having with great alacrity already decreed NESV to be ' fit and competent' individuals to take ownership of such an iconic club. How the hell do they know? I'd like to see that research document.
Regular readers will know I have previously blogged on the sick child that is football's broken business model. UEFA recognise the very dangerous precedents being set by billionaire distortions of core values in football. The German Bundesliga hosted a conference in 2009 to outline their own fears, and present the German model for efficient, solvent and well run football clubs. Not surprisingly, fat cats from the EPL told them they were wrong!
There is the very real possibility of Liverpool going into administration this coming Friday and being docked 9 points. The battle rages all next week in the courts, but without a resolution come the 15th the loans will be called in.
Will the Glazer family be the next to see their house of cards crushed by the debt mountain?