"Today I am so happy for the people of Liverpool, finally the club can move forward and get stability."
-Rafa Benitez's reaction to the impending sale on Tuesday
So it's finally over. It feels as though every thing that could have been said and every emotion that could have been felt has already been covered in this insane, roller-coaster of a week. The high court in London, the district court in Dallas, bizarre statements from Hicks and a disappearing Gillett and wondering if it would ever get done and who the hell is this Lim guy trying to shove his way into the picture anyhow and.... Deep breath.
And now the real work begins. The work of bringing the club back to its place at the top of English and European football. There may be a Hicks lawsuit or two to worry about, of course, but he's beyond being able to truly hurt the club he once claimed to be a custodian of any more. It will be nice, I think, to not have to qualify everything with a disclaimer that we're aware that any problem has as at least part of its root cause in the two odious individuals in charge.
Before we start to move forward, though, we must not forget those who played a roll in today's culmination. We've talked of the "Home Team" a fair bit already, and we need to remember the roll played by supporters and led by Spirit of Shankly (who have just released a statement on the completed sale), not to mention those behind the scenes at the club whose names we will likely never know. That the nightmare is finally over owes a great deal to these people, and we owe them all at the very least a thought and a thanks.
In all this, though, it would be criminal of us to forget the man who first brought the nefarious ways of Hicks and Gillett to the public's attention, and who fought them at every turn to his own great detriment in the long run. Forget about substitutions and zonal marking and squad rotation and all the rest. That we got to today is in large part down to something that he started, and it is in large part down to him fighting for the life of the club when nobody else in a position of influence seemed willing to do so. Others finished the fight, and they deserve thanks and recognition for it, but so too does he deserve thanks and recognition for starting it when nobody else saw there was a growing, festering problem.
Ahem. On to the wrap-up:
* Our dearly departed former owners have--at least temporarily--dropped their damages suit. One would assume they'll start up again on it at some point, though perhaps they're being told their chances of success would be almost nonexistent and this really is the end for them. We can hope, at least.
* Over at the official site, they've put up a brief interview with John Henry. There isn't much new there, but this reaffirmation is the key pull for me:
The stadium issue was a big issue in Boston in 2001 and we went in there not knowing what we should do, whether we should build a new ball park or refurbish Fenway. We have the same issue here. We have to listen, learn, talk to the community, talk to the council, talk with the supporters, but the biggest issue of all is really what makes the most sense for Liverpool long term.
* Meanwhile, the man who definitely won't play right back under any circumstance but well okay I guess I could do a job on the left if it's really needed, aka Jamie "hoof" Carragher, signed up for two more years with the club, hoping to see out his career in red. Given his years of service to the club that I really am thankful for, I do feel somewhat ashamed that I can't find my way to feeling unreservedly happy about this news, but hopefully none of the uglier rumours are true and he'll be happy taking up a more occasional role as things move ahead. All snark aside, if he can do that then I'll certainly be heartened to see him end up as one of the few one-club players in this day and age.
Despite squeezing in a bit on the history of Liverpool and Everton on Monday before everything went crazy, this week's been all about off-field issues, but finally--at least for a little bit--we might be able to get back to actual football now. On that front, I'll be back on the early side of things tomorrow for a chat with the Everton Offisde blogger, and Ed will come by later in the day with a proper preview for the upcoming match. Hopefully we'll see you all then.