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State of independence

Larry Neild on Hicks and Gillette - and how we won the war after all

Published on July 5th 2010.


State of independence

SPIRIT of Shankly supporters used American Independence Day to hammer home their demand for the two unpopular owners of Liverpool FC to quit the boardroom at Anfield.No Taxation without Representation was the battle cry in the 1770s and today the ownership issue may well have a similar tone.

Around 2,000 people, gathering outside St George’s Hall on Sunday to stake their claim for the club on the most important day in the US calendar, was a PR stroke worth it’s weight in golden dollars.

The group of LFC supporters used the occasion to announce their own “independence day”, by launching a supporter ownership scheme through the setting up of a credit union.

But Hicks and Gillett’s decision to sell will be made on a business footing rather than the shouts and pleas from the terraces.

What, though, if history had dealt a different card? What if we, the Brits, had won the war and that vast country was now known as the United States of England, with London the capital instead of Washington DC?

London is, after all, closer to Capitol Hill than Honolulu and not much further away than the Alaskan capital, Anchorage.

Would Americans be talking with British accents or would we Brits be annoying one another with cries of “have a nice day”?

Maybe had King George III and his successors ruled the Atlantic and Pacific waves, World Wars One and Two would have turned out differently.

Some think we have closer links to the US than to mainland Europe – hence no need to be in the EU and worry about the curvature of bananas.

My guess is, if we’d won the War of Independence in the 18th century, as America grew and new states joined the union there would have been a vote, relegating England to a state and putting the US capital exactly where it is now.

We would have been, like Alaska and Hawaii, outposts of the USA – land fortresses for the US mainland to protect it again the enemies of the Far East, the former Soviet territories and the European mainland.

We’d still have a monarch (Americans love the monarchy), but the Queen would be answerable to the president. The Tower of London would have been dismantled many years ago and transferred to Florida, along with the real London bridge – Tower Bridge.

And for the Spirit of Shankly it really would have been a nice day. They would have found some clause in the American constitution to sack Hicks and Gillette and ensure the fans wishes were met.

Or maybe soccer would long ago have become a vastly different game, not a game of two halves but four quarters, to facilitate TV advertising, with the FA known as the Football Franchising Association, open to filthy rich private owners.

Perhaps those angry statesman of 1770s America did us the biggest favour of all time by taking on the might of the British Armed Services and beating us. Yes, we had a lucky escape by losing the war. At least we can have a nice day in our own very British way.

And the Spirit of Shankly can thank God and Country we are not playing a very different kind of soccer, even though their beloved Liverpool FC is owned by a couple of people appearing to speak in a very foreign language.

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