Thursday, August 1 – 2002
Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry has launched an astonishing attack on Lee Bowyer after the collapse of the players £9 million move from Leeds. Bowyer’s transfer was all set to go through until Anfield manager Gerard Houlllier called the deal off, citing the midfielder’s lack of commitment.
Houllier’s stinging criticism has now been followed by further remarks from Parry. Writing in the Anfield programme before this week’s friendly with Lazio, Parry described how he “had doubts on day one with Bowyer.”
“We offered him a fantastic chance to relaunch his career and help get him back in the England squad,” he continued. “The longer the discussions went on the less convinced we were that the player had his heart set on joining us.”
Bowyer was pictured shaking hands with Houllier after Elland Road chairman Peter Risdale agreed to allow Bowyer to leave. At that point, Leeds – desperate to bring in at least £15m to reduce their debt – had still not sold Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United for a British record fee of £30m.
But a hitch over personal terms brought the Bowyer deal grinding to a halt. Parry said: “There was a gap between what we were offering and what the player wanted, but that’s not unusual.”
The deciding factor, he said, was Bowyer’s lack of commitment to the Anfield cause. “We don’t want ant tension or difficulties because a player is not committed,” added Parry. “Togetherness has been one of the big things in our progress under Gerard. We have a real desire to win trophies. At the end of the day, if that’s not enough to fire a player’s desire to join us, what is?”
Bowyer would have been Liverpool’s only English signing in a summer spree that has seen the club pick up defender Alou Diarra, French playmaker Bruno Cheyrou, goalkeeper Patrice Luzi and Senegalese pair El Hadji Diouf and Salif Diao.
Parry also issued a warning to other potential signings who might adopt the same attitude as Bowyer. “If we sense any potential signing is not right, we will walk away. With Bowyer, it was down to sensing a lack of passion and commitment from the player to join us.”
(Daily Express, 01-08-2002)