Let me be clear: playing for Liverpool Football Club is a privilege and not a right. The club has every authority to decide that a player’s services are no longer needed. I know that. Kirsty Linnett and Becky Jane know that too. I want to lead with this, because the bad faith discourse around this recent and, at this point, predictably disappointing treatment by LFC to their women’s players has been that the women are just mad that they got dropped from their contracts.
It started on Friday with Kirsty Linnett. She put out a Twitter statement regarding being let go from the club.
My time at Liverpool has come to an end... I have seen a lot of similar experiences to what I have explained below in women’s football recently. Something needs to change, people need to be treated better, it’s not good enough. pic.twitter.com/jkzqcuf1ww— Kirsty Linnett (@kirsty_linnett) May 21, 2021
Linnett claims that the club didn’t bother to tell her that they’d rescinded her contract until her agent called emailed them to further negotiations. The unprofessionalism is breathtaking. The disregard for a player who served them for three years, even donning the captain’s armband at points, is stunning.
Former Liverpool manager Vicky Jepson even chimed in to offer support for the player she brought into the club.
Keep your head held high Kirst. You’ll find another club— Vicky Jepson (@Vick_Jepson) May 21, 2021
The outrage over that development had barely settled before Becky Jane chimed in with her own story.
Unfortunately, similar to @kirsty_linnett the club have retracted my contract offer in a similar way. As female footballers with zero security as it is; the least we deserve is to be treated better and with respect. It takes nothing to be kind. Thank you to my teammates ❤️ https://t.co/yfYhKmFE0v— Becky Jane (@beckjane18) May 21, 2021
The fullback had been with Liverpool for two years when they apparently cut ties with her following Liverpool’s third place finish in the WSL2.
While the men’s operation is busy negotiating multimillion pound contracts with the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho, and the slow-moving conscious uncoupling of the club and Gini Wijnaldum has stretched out this whole season, apparently the women get booted from their jobs with a “new phone, who dis?”
Unacceptable. Unprofessional. Unsurprising.
And if fans spent Friday thinking that the club couldn’t possibly make things worse — oh, don’t worry. Because they released a statement.
Though, ‘released’ might be a strong word since it wasn’t posted to the official site or any of their socials, a perfect microcosm of their general lack of care for their players and concern over any possible backlash or lasting detriment to the club. Though given the content of the statement, maybe it was for the best.
Full statement from an #LFC spokesperson following tweets from players Becky Jane and Kirsty Linnett. pic.twitter.com/3cyQx0lMVv— Emma Sanders (@em_sandy) May 21, 2021
Can you feel the contempt dripping from every word? The annoyance this spokesperson feels at the inconvenience of being asked to comment on such unimportant matters?
Comment below with your favorite part of this. Mine is “We of course thank all the players who will be moving on” - oh, do you, anonymous spokesperson?
I want to be outraged, but at this point I’m just tired. Embarrassed and disappointed and so, so tired.
And again, no one is saying that these women deserve a spot at the club. Not even Linnett and Jane are saying that. It’s the way that these women are having their careers irrevocably changed and their livelihoods threatened with all of the concern of someone swatting away a pesky fly. It’s so hard to watch and hard to stomach from a club I love so much.