St John: Liverpool's off-field issues a 'shambles'

April 15, 2008

Liverpool legend Ian St John has described the current off-field situation at the club as 'a shambles'.

Chief executive Rick Parry yesterday said he intended to hold clear-the-air-talks with manager Rafael Benitez after the latest twist in the Anfield boardroom saga.

That came after Benitez expressed his disappointment at co-chairman Tom Hicks' revelation Parry had been present at the club owners' infamous meeting with Jurgen Klinsmann last year.

It had been thought only Hicks, his now estranged business partner Tom Gillett and their sons had been present as they sounded out former Germany striker Klinsmann as an 'insurance policy' should Benitez leave.

'It is a real shambles,' former Reds striker St John told BBC Radio 5 Live. 'When you think about it, has it ever worked having two people running an organisation like a football club?

'One guy at the helm, fine - he carries the can. You can't have two people doing it because if they have a disagreement what is going to happen?

'And you have Rick Parry who is supposed to be the liaison between them and Rafa and then Rafa finds out, `Hang on, he's hiding things from me'.

'I was amazed to tell the truth. I thought, like everyone else, the Americans had done it over there with Klinsmann and that was it.

'But when we heard that Rick Parry was over there. Rafa must feel right out on a limb here. Where is he going to get any support from?'

Hicks revealed Parry's attendance at the meeting in a robust response to the chief executive's refusal to resign as the Texan requested.

Hicks wants Parry out and last week wrote a letter listing a number of perceived inadequacies as to why.

Yet with Gillett refusing to agree to his fellow 50% stake-holder's demand, Parry has remained in post.

The situation is threatening overshadow the team's progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Aside from the falling-out between Hicks and Gillett, Parry's relationship with Benitez is thought to have been under strain for some time.

Parry now wants to speak to Benitez to make clear he attended the meeting in New York only under instruction and was not present at a follow-up meeting in California.

'I am more than happy to sit down and talk to Rafa about this,' Parry said yesterday.

Benitez also said after Sunday's victory over Blackburn that he wants to speak to Hicks and Gillett about the situation.