LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 01: Liverpool Co-Owner Tom Hicks watches from the stands during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on February 1, 2009 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Jones was featured in a Thursday piece in The Daily Telegraph, an English newspaper, urging English soccer fans to exercise patience with American owners--including Jones' good friend Hicks, who co-owns Liverpool and Stanley Kroenke, who owns, among many others stateside, Arsenal FC.
Hicks, Kroenke, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer, who also owns Manchester United, have come under heavy scrutiny from their respective fan-bases of recent.
“First of all, Tom [Hicks] is a personal friend," Jones said. "Stanley Kroenke is a friend. These people, by experience, have a way of ‘getting it’. They can and do ‘get it’. They have the experience. Basically, I’m going to call it an optional quarterback play. It is not specifically called and you run it the way the defence comes up. It is reactive.”
While American football analogies may not be so clear for the readership of the Daily Telegraph, Jones makes a decent point. But having seen half of Green Street Hooligans one night on cable, we feared that the billionaire was unaware of the passion of British soccer fans; passion which sometimes manifests itself in lager-soaked riots. This, apparently, is not the case, as Jones says he appreciates the fans' 'energy'.
“It is the unique energy of the fans and the sharp effects of the economy which have affected the situation, but you will see that the influx of these people will [Hicks, Kroenke] will have a positive effect," said Jones. "They will succeed, and yes I do think the clubs will work with them. The situation has everything going for it, and the fans just need to be patient. I would be very positive about it. These guys know how to make things work.”
Of course, the British people are as famous for their eloquence as they are for their inexplicable passion for soccer, which may explain this pithy response in the Daily Telegraph's comments section: "Football is ours," says the commenter. "These billionaire gypos can get stuffed."