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Chelsea fan comes to Liverpool's rescue

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David Bond | 11:33 UK time, Friday, 16 April 2010

Before Friday's announcement, Martin Broughton's interest in football was restricted to watching Chelsea.

He says he first fell in love with the Stamford Bridge club when, led by Roy Bentley, the Blues won the old First Division in 1955. Despite being chairman of British Airways plc, he still manages to get to half of Chelsea's games.

Now he has been given the job of sorting out the mess at one of Chelsea's main rivals, Liverpool.

For most Liverpool supporters, Broughton's allegiance will be irrelevant. They have grown so frustrated at the boardroom stalemate between Tom Hicks and George Gillett that they are probably just relieved to see confirmation that the Americans have finally decided to sell up.

The fact that a City big hitter with a serious reputation like Broughton has been brought in tells you how bad the situation has become.

So what's Broughton like?

hicks.jpg
Gillett and Hicks saddled saddled Liverpool with huge debt when they took over the club in 2007

Calm and assured, he comes over as a genuine sports fan. He used to be chairman of the British Horseracing Board and, after our interview on Friday morning, he told me a story about last week's trip to Aintree, where he had a decent winner on the Friday before the Grand National.

But can he deliver the investment Liverpool need to not only get the club back competing in the top four of the Premier League but also deliver the money needed for their new home at Stanley Park?

He says he is confident the owners' decision to sell 100% of the club will make it easier for him to find the right buyer.

And he has also been given what he describes as "sufficient time" by the Royal Bank of Scotland, who are owed £237m by Hicks and Gillett, to complete the sale. This is probably six months.

More broadly, Broughton believes there is too much debt on Liverpool's books and in English football in general.

Whoever buys the club will, he says, not be doing it with the sort of debt financing Hicks and Gillett used in 2007.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Finally some progress is being made, this can only be good news surely?

  • Comment number 2.

    http://www.shareliverpoolfc.co.uk/

    Please don't forget that the fans want a stake in the club's future beyond paying the boardroom's salary, and as far as I can see ShareLiverpoolFC have been working for two years to build a realistic offer. This must be taken into consideration to ensure the credibility of Broughton's position. If he's a football fan he ought to understand how fans think. If he doesn't understand, and this will become evident through his actions, this 'change' is all hot air and we'll be in the same position again in a year or two when whoever the new owner is packs up for pastures new with our money in his (more's the pity that it's rarely a woman) pocket.

    C'mon Kopites - make some noise!!!!

  • Comment number 3.

    I believe his Chelsea allegiance is irrelevant. He will find the best deal for the club regardless. Here's hoping he can do it in time to get the money in to buy the players needed in the summer and bring in a new manager if Benitez is heading back to the continent.

  • Comment number 4.

    Who gave Broughton the job? Was it the Americans or RBS?

    That's going to have a major impact upon what approach he takes to getting new owners and who it will be a best deal for. If it's to line the American's pockets, I'm very worried that we might be in this situation again in another three years?

    What I don't understand is whether new owners will mean a reduction in the debt or that they will borrow against the club to buy it (again!).

    Interesting times.

  • Comment number 5.

    Definately a good thing for LFC that the Yanks are leaving town - albeit in a precarious financial situation. The Barcelona model may be the way forward for the club in the long term as they are blessed with numerous passionate fans all over the world who would surely take up the option of a share if offered. However, this may lead to a few years of mid table results whilst the strong academy is built again and players such as Torres and Gerrard may have to be sacrificed to help balance the books. As with all clubs though - are the fans prepared to suffer a few years of pain with the prospect of a better, more stable future in the long run?

  • Comment number 6.

    The american chickens have come home to roost. When they bought LFC the "This is Anfield" phrase used to strike fear in all and sundry. LFC was guaranteed a top 4 finish for the then foreseeable future. As they plan to leave "This is Anfield" has a hollow ring. As Robbo puts it in another blogg there is no squad to talk of. A look at the bench on any matchday leaves all opposing teams the morale needed to puncture the LFC beach ball.

    I hope whoever makes decisions at LFC has learned that the yanks are not what they promise. Just ask the South Africans. Only Gillett and Hicks appear to have moved forward. They leave LFC much worse than they found us, and to say the least I can wait to say "Good riddance to bad trash!" when the quarellsome duo finally fly off.

  • Comment number 7.

    At last there may be light at the end of the tunnel to actually compete in the main arena - especially after our disastrous season so far.
    Let's hope the "new" investors prove to be backed with some funds to build the new stadium, and provide a decent transfer kitty for quality playing staff.

  • Comment number 8.

    Surely by selling now when they are struggling to get fourth spot instead of last year when they were challenging for the title is a huge mistake on the owner's part?

  • Comment number 9.

    I think your spot on with saying Broughton's allegiance is irrelivant. I am neither a fan of the board or Rafa (and never have been, i've not just turned after a poor season). Personally I think Liverpool has struggled behind the scenes since Rick Parry "left". Rafa is a poor tactition and has either bought poorly in the market, or, purchased some very good players then ground their confidence into the floor through poor management (Babel springs to mind). So the fact he keeps demanding more money to solve the problem is irrelevent as he wastes it on rubbish or make them rubbish. They need big investment, totally overthrow nearly everything and everyone at the place. Short of Kenny D, Pepé, Johnson, Carragher, Gerrard, Kuyt, Bable and Torres everyone else should be cleared out. In an ideal world they would get Martin O'Neill in, followed by a few of his current squad a Villa, no points for guessing the main few, would like to see Joe Cole there also but he'l most likely re-sign or go to Utd (would be a top signing for them too). So to sum up, it's happy times the boards going, don't care where the investment comes from aslong as its not the USA and the sooner Rafa takes a running jump out of the UK the better...

    Given his track record of poor signings im supprised he's not already signed Owen Harrgreaves for £40 Million this season.

  • Comment number 10.

    Whatever investment Liverpool get they will not be able to replace City and their spending power in the top four.

  • Comment number 11.

    New owners do not guarantee anything, it's still a business and you don't usually get new investment unless there is a high chance\rate of return. The exception being if you get a sugar daddy who buys the club as their personal train-set aka Man City and Chelski.

    The only 'normal' way to do it is by generating revenue through ticket sales and merchandising. Pouring money in will not guarentee a Top 4 finish anymore and thus banking on the revenue from European competition is no way to run the business as the yanks have found out.

    There's no point getting a bigger stadium unless you can fill it and hopefully Liverpool do that.

  • Comment number 12.

    David is this a blog just for the sake of it? You said you had a meeting with him and never said what was discussed!! I would have thought anyone could have written something like this.

  • Comment number 13.

    The 'owners' have wrecked their own 'product'. Force Gillet and Hicks to sell at a personal loss.

    It is time the right message went out. English and Global Football can start rising again but there still is a snag in Manchester, UEFA and FIFA!

  • Comment number 14.

    Fascinating insight. No, really, there is so much I have learned from this blog.

  • Comment number 15.

    a football league that represents your society to some extent. the notion that even if we have a mortgage, lets max all our credit cards, lets borrow, borrow and borrow more. we could be patient, work for it an enjoy it in a few years, but NO. I WANT IT NOW!

    and when things go wrong it all comes crashing down. Worst economical crisis and worst financial situation in football in western europe. Instead of trying to be successful on the pitch, all these clubs tried to buy success. portsmouth the same.

    I do feel for the fans and for a league that way before it was 1st or 2nd in europe, way before it had all this bling, was my favourite. I lived in Italy, France etc, but that september 1996 I discovered the EPL and it has been my favourite since.

    Until the board, the media, and the fans, yes those fans that always want new signings, more trophies, only offer support if club is successful come to their senses, that the best way to succeed in sport is what you do on the pitch first and foremost, more clubs will follow pompey

  • Comment number 16.

    I wonder who Rafa will waste money on under the new owners.

    £50m for Theo Walcott perhaps?

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment is awaiting moderation

  • Comment number 18.

    Did David Bond really meet this guy, or did he just overhear him talking in the toilet? Hardly a quote, to be found!

  • Comment number 19.

    Why are so many comments hidden ?

  • Comment number 20.

    I am sure he is a nice guy, i saw his interivew.

  • Comment number 21.

    What are the moderators doing?

    * 1. At 1:04pm on 16 Apr 2010, Zell182 wrote:

    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.
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  • Comment number 22.

    Seriously as an LFC fan this is the best news in what has been a very depressing 2 and a half years. I'll be so glad to see the back of the charlatans who bought in only hoping to make a quick buck. The FA must seriously do something about this kind of owner, to make sure they have real fluid funds in place before the buy clubs.

    The Americans have proved themselves greedy and ruthless with no love for the club or for its future. They nearly killed a great and proud British institution like Liverpool football club and serious questions must be asked.

    I am cautiously optimistic for the future and pray we do not do a Portsmouth. There's talk of investors from Syria, China and all sorts...I mean lets get serious here. Whoever the new owner is I hope they arent a Faraj, an Al-Fahim or some other deluded person living in wonderland. The same goes for faceless consortiums of mystery businessmen as happened to Notts County.

    I hope Broughton manages to get serious investors, preferably fans with serious cash. I think it will be awesome if DIC came back in again or an equivalent and we manage to get a proven championship winning manager who can spend wisely and equip them with funds to take us back to great heights.

    Hicks, Gillett, Parry and Moores, bow your heads in shame.

  • Comment number 23.

    At last a decision LFC needs! The Hicks & Gillett show has been an ignominious fiasco which has tarnished the club. The best thing now is for us all to put this laughable duo into history's deepest bin,remember the lessons learnt (HOPEFULLY) and move on. The damage has been done but we must forge ahead. Martin Broughton's track record is excellent - he seems to move in and generally improve situations wherever he goes - he has the ear and the contacts to bring in serious ownership and with it investment. My only worry is- will a man who is a life long Chelsea supporter be impartial when it comes to negotiation and short listing? This is a concern. Yes I realise he is a total professional but what exactly are his links to the Blues? What if a zillionaire from Dhubai turned up, 'fit&proper' ,and a Thai consortium with half a billion,'fit&proper' - who would he recommend? We do not want another partnership.We want a one man band,preferably not family run and not from the USA,cos they do not understand footeball and all they want are quick dollars. Ultimately I would love to see LFC owned by the fans and I long for the day when this will happen.A stop gap zillionaire will do in the interim, or a bona fide businessman, BUT I urge all serious LFC fans to stop what they are doing right now, think deeply about their commitment to the club and then say to themselves- what the hell is happening to our beloved club, how can we the paying fans be held to ransom for so long by profiteering owners,when will stability return? Then they can say -Perhaps,if only,- YES I would love to have a share in LFC and it would mean ONLY a £500 investment. THINK!!!! This will have to happen surely. In the current financial climate things are not going to get easier.Greed is rife in our game and guess what? The greedy get greedier. And the bottom line is, the real fans are the ones who suffer, every time. We need to take control, the sooner the better. I am convinced that a modest investment in a great club will pay dividends in more ways than one. I have not been a Share LFC advocate until now. I read through the material on their website and what with all the wrangling going on over the ownership issue,all the uncertainty,the madness, I stopped and thought. What a clear simple way to go forward. Buy into the club itself. Let's do it.Commit.Go to the website.Be a part of a historic first.

  • Comment number 24.

    It says all that needs to be said about our current owners that they have put the future of our club in the hands of a life-long Chelsea supporter.

  • Comment number 25.

    I just hope the Broughton man had no hand in the recent strike at BA.

  • Comment number 26.

    Great news for us - the long awaited news that we've all been dying to hear for the past 2-3 years!

  • Comment number 27.

    I see the BBC moderating is up to it's usual standard!!! Over an 1½hours and still no post yet!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    liverpool like the other premiership clubs who are quick to sell their soul for 30 pieces of silver will now pay the price and should have no sympathy from the average sports fan.

  • Comment number 29.

    I imagine this comment is waiting moderation.

  • Comment number 30.

    90 minutes later - has the little old lady that moderates these died or something

  • Comment number 31.

    Don't moderate too quickly mind; we just might end up with some form of debate.

  • Comment number 32.

    For Liverpool's Stakeholders: I think selling the club is not the next solution for adjustment or in order to maintain the usual position in the English Premier league. I think an error was made by selling the major strong midfielder, Xabi Alonso, who have contributed immensely to most of Liverpool's wins.

    I think Liverpool management should try and rebuild their midfield.

  • Comment number 33.

    The excitement is killing me! Which comment from the last 2 hours will be moderated first! I just down know.

    I might pass out.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    LOL - say what you like about Gillett and Hicks, they're great for a laugh:

    "Having grown the club this far we have now decided together to look to sell the club to owners committed to take the club through its next level of growth and development"

    Translation from American business-speke:

    "Having flushed the club down the toilet, we are now desperately trying to bail out, and seeking new owners unprincipled enough to siphon a fortune out of the club and into our own pockets."

  • Comment number 36.

    looooooooooooooooooooool LIVERPOOL fans worst nightmare a chelsea fan on the board trying to save their club!!!! How worse can this get for a scourse!

  • Comment number 37.

    I began supporting Liverpool in the mid 80s while growing up in East Africa - I liked the theme song of Big League Soccer and the guy with the funny mustache (whom I later learnt was called Ian Rush). Oh and they had a black guy. Big fans of John Barnes, we were - and we had no trouble remembering *his* name.

    Anyway, I wouldn't care if Broughton was a purple pokey-faced tutu-wearing Klingon as long as he gets Liverpool far from the AWALOKs (Americans Who Aint Lerner Or Kroenke).

    At least he's not got season tickets to Old Trafford. Not that we'd think he'd sabotage the selling or nuttin' - these suit types how to keep professional and personal life separate - but coz we'd never hear the end of it from Man U fans.

    Chelsea fans don't have the moral rec- recti- rectal- don't have the balls to rub it in coz we've won Champions Leagues and they haven't.

  • Comment number 38.

    28. At 2:52pm on 16 Apr 2010, dudevandude wrote:
    liverpool like the other premiership clubs who are quick to sell their soul for 30 pieces of silver will now pay the price and should have no sympathy from the average sports fan.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    Nobody is asking for yours or any other fans sympathy in regards to this. Liverpool fans just want these yanks out and this ridiculous soap opera to end. Mistakes have been made at all levels and perhaps this has seeped down to the pitch with the below par performances we have seen from Liverpool.

    Make no mistake we dont deserve 4th place and good luck to City or Spurs if they achieve that, but im convinced if harmony can be restored at Anfield and a new ownwer can bring some funds to purchase a few quality players, Liverpool will recover whether Rafa is there or not.

  • Comment number 39.

    the league must be mindful of foriegn investment and the rising cost of running football clubs. let market forces determine the outcome. most players are over rated, over priced, and over paid. it's about time these excesses are pruned. let the clubs wipe their debt and the league board should cap salaries.

    on liverpool, rafa is a waste. he's totally destroyed the club and all he's done in the last couple of seasons is waste money on dead legs in the transfer market. he sold the best of his players and recruited junk. it's time he left without any compensation.

  • Comment number 40.

    As an American Ive always wondered how nice it must be to be able to blame anything and everything that goes wrong on the great evil that is America. I mean billionaire businessmen who are greedy and want to make a profit? YOURE JOKING ME! I guess I didn't realize that was solely an American trait. What a bunch of football dorks you all are.

  • Comment number 41.

    As soon as the sale transaction is completed, Gillett and Hicks should leave Liverpool and go as far as the border of Texas :)

  • Comment number 42.

    At 1:34pm on 16 Apr 2010, Paul wrote:

    Who gave Broughton the job? Was it the Americans or RBS?
    ___________________________________________________________

    Purslow is the RBS man. That is why he currently has control of operational spending including transfer budgets.

    Aside from that, there are some very sad,bitter individuals who post comments on these articles. Why are people repeating comments about Benitez (for or against) on this article and why are the moderators letting those comments through? They just destroy any decent debate.

  • Comment number 43.

    I think you're all underestimating how difficult it will be for Hicks and Gillett to sell the club, personally. They're not just going to give it away, that's for sure, and they will most likely be looking to make a profit on it. Then there's the debt factor... And the world economy still isn't in particularly good shape, either. I wouldn't expect the club to be sold anytime soon.

    Not that I care, though. Quite frankly, I despise the club and wish it nothing but ill will. :D

  • Comment number 44.

    Good interview David.
    I hear what you are saying about loading debt on to a club as an acceptable way of doing things in the credit-rich good times etc, but sometimes I wonder if we forget our sense of moral outrage about what these men have done ... they have not loaded debt on the club for the sake of Liverpool FC ... the club now pay £30m per season to repay the loan they took to buy the club - unlike Arsenal, who are repaying the loan the board took to finance a new stadium. Hicks and Gillett also charge a fortune to the club to come and watch the games. It's absolutely disgusting, immoral, obscene.

  • Comment number 45.

    ok well there is no need to even mention this guy being a chelsea fan or who employed him as ultimately he is the head of on of the largest UK companies (although going down hill fast and even quicker taking over iberia who have the worst customer service in the world). He is a pro as has been said and wont want to ruin his 40 years reputation here by getting us involved with another partnership (90% of which fail within 2 years in any business of individuals i mean).

    The real issues are the timing and economic situation, which may prove to be the deciding factors. Basically we are in the same position as when these guys bought the club, although revenues have increased!! but i mean in terms of a big, very big club, but that has 20 years without living up to its potential. Although the champions league was a big improvement on all previous managers achievements as far back as Souness.

    It may be another case as it was then, of looking and looking and in the end being forced to take the best offer out there. I am afraid to say that although liverpool have a huge fan base, they dont have a hige RICH fan base like utd or barcelona do. So although i would like the idea of fans owning the club as they do in Bcn where i also lived, i dont think it will work as the average person from the city who goes to the games is not as wealthy as in barcelona... believe me i wish they were as this would be a good step. So we now need a business man/group who can
    1. negotiate a good price as 500M is not going to happen or if it does happen then there will be no 80M to spend on players as thats they 600M plus staduim building another 250M and soon we are looking at a billion which is not the true value.
    2. i think the owner does not need to be a fan as fan like the previous chairman and executive get involved and buy you players, give guidelines on their ideas of values etc and you end up with Robbie Keane to partner Torres and we have seen how that worked out
    3. you need impartiality and someone / group that can see there is uncapped potential there and they can fill a 60k stadium week in and week out as arsenal kind of do and hence revenues go up.
    4. they can tap into foreign markets which they currently dont
    5. basicaly they see it as a business and one where they can make money but realise they will need to invest in the team and maybe that paying 40M for a player who sells you 1 million shirts etc is not a bad idea and increases your fan base which in turn brings returns etc. rather than a small minded view where you never spend as much as the other teams.

    All this wont be easy and will take a man like the new chairman who you can be sure will earn his % a few million for the short time.. who may later become chelsea chairman hence also has a vested interest in doing well so no issue there at all.

    I would hope we have learnt the lesson from current owners and that something good comes out of blue and i do think it will be from an arab or chinese who want to maybe get their name known and even better if they do not "need" to make a profit, but we will see.

    I also hope people stop going on about Rafa, its so frustrating to hear about his bad signings, never winning anything, bad management etc etc.
    its quite simple really; he won the champions league and got to the final a few years alter and played better than the 1st time and should have won it again. He did this with by far the worst squad in europes top 8 clubs and by far the lowest budget for spending.
    hes not perfect, hes signed bad players, hes not good at talking to some of them, he has a temper, he creates problems in the press sometimes to suit his own needs... but tell me one manager who does not.
    he has NEVER had a big transfer budget and in the last two years, whats his "net" spend? yes alquil... mistake looking back but next year could be good, yes our brazilian midfielder is a mystery why hes there everyweek, but he was never there every week when gerrard and alonso andmasch were fit and in his home country, he was and is very highly rated but agree he will never work for us.
    but we have torre who is the best in the world and that works for investment, we have gerrard who although playing well below par is also of interest but only for next few years.. we have a good defence although johnson should be a winger and buy a new defender full stop.. but leave benitez alone, give him the transfer budget the other clubs of our level have and then 2 years and we will see why they did get him again, although the CL was enough to show his potential. but even he cannot spend average 12millio on a winger and get a world class one...

    and credit where its due, hotspur have a good squad and deserve to be there more than we do right now.. but 40 50 60M and next year it will change

    good owners leaving him to decide on players... and getting on with commercial activites and thats the match you want

  • Comment number 46.

    G_K, took the words right out of my mouth. Out of idle curiosity, I'd like to meet whomever came up with the phrase: "Having grown the club this far..." He or she really is a comedian of genius.

    I'm a neutral, but hope, at least, that a way out of the problem of Yanks and others coming in to loot clubs. All I know is that it's worked very well for the Green Bay Packers (NFL team), so I don't see why it couldn't work in other leagues (not that I'm an expert.)

    Otherwise, the problem is that to the sort of people who created the last crash, a football club is a big sponge full of money, just begging to be squeezed dry.

  • Comment number 47.

    Post 4 no one seems to have answered your question. The most likely scenario is as follows.

    RBS wanted a significant reduction in the debt this year. Every other business in the UK that operates in debt or via an overdraft has had the same medicine and no doubt the truth re Man United selling Ronaldo and not buying other players equally had something to do with reorganising debts.

    Last summer Liverpool were only days from having the administrators pulled in before RBS backed off (see link below)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8114377.stm

    Purslow was brought in last year to try to sort things out and that has failed. No doubt RBS were not prepared to play ball about rolling over the debt or giving better terms so Hicks & Gillett had to find another banker prepared to lend them the money.

    Barclays Capital, who bought out the US parts of Lehman Brothers, would appear to be the only game in town for them. I imagine Barclays demanded a "name" Head to ensure that the promises Hicks and Gillett made to Barclays are kept.

    If you wanted my opinion as to the likely scenario it is as follows.

    1) RBS refused to extend the debts leaving Hicks & Gillett (H&G) to either sell up or get a new banker.
    2) They have failed to sell at a price they deem acceptable.
    3) They need Barclays to effectively give them a bridging loan to give them time to try and make what wouldn't be a quick sale at an obvious loss. The Barclays deal will give them this time.
    4) Barclays have demanded the imposition of Martin Broughton in order to protect Barclays interests.
    5) I fully expect the offer H&G got from Barclays was at less favourable terms than from RBS.

    I expect a sale before the World Cup starts if they are lucky.

    How long ago this all seems

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6244441.stm

    I can't see how the club can be worth GBP 500 million since they only paid GBP 219 for it. The link above is very interesting as it confirms that Liverpool were only GBP 45 million in debt in 2007 and now only three years later these debts have risen by over 750% and there is no new ground anywhere near.

    All very interesting. As the saying goes follow the money! Where has it all gone?

  • Comment number 48.

    www.yanksout.com

  • Comment number 49.

    Broughton does seema strange choice - life-long Chelsea supporter and Chairman of British Airways. The former does not instill confidence in his ability to switch his footballing allegiance, and the latter does not speak well of his governorship competence.

    The one thing is sure is that whatever the outcome, neither the FA nor the Premier League will allow Liverpool to go down the same path as Portsmouth. Receivership and administration can't happen to one of the 'big teams'.

  • Comment number 50.

    It's all your own faults what has happened to you lot. You support and chant to one of the worst managers the premier league has ever seen. He's wasted so much money yet you's selfishly moan at the owners Gillett and hicks for giving him the money to blow away.

  • Comment number 51.

    So then,the Yanks are bailing out.
    What will this lead to ?
    Here's a suggestion -- I will come new owners who will not want the fat Spanish waiter in charge so he will be sacked and they will attempt to poach our manager Martin O'Neill to take over.
    With him he will try to bring James Milner,Ashley Young and Gabby Agbonlahor and the Scousers can change their name to Aston Villa Mark 2.
    Mark my words it is going to happen.

  • Comment number 52.

    11. At 1:57pm on 16 Apr 2010, tommy wrote:

    There's no point getting a bigger stadium unless you can fill it and hopefully Liverpool do that.
    =======================


    Well son if the norwegians start getting fed up with no glory then you's wont even fill analfield as it is now.

  • Comment number 53.

    £237 Million in debt

    ELP £3 Billion and debt

    And some hypocritical supporters of top clubs say Pompey have bought their success..... Typical.

  • Comment number 54.

    While I agree that fan ownership may be difficult to get rolling, I would still say every effort should be made. The alternative is finding someone with money who cares more about the club than about money. Listen to how silly that sounds. The likeliest outcome is a new owner who sees further opportunities for looting the club--dressed up, of course, in PR speak about love for the club and its fans, and determination to do the best for them. This is followed by a repeat of the latest fiasco. And this cycle continues till the club is t-up.

    Public ownership, on the other hand, might very well make Liverpool a mid-table club in the short term, but should provide real stability and prospects of debt-free growth and improvement down the road.

  • Comment number 55.

    Great news about the Yanks FINALLY going.There is now a lot of pressure for the next step to happen quickly,ie.the sale.The reason being we need to be getting those 3/4 key players in Rafa and Nando mentioned , this summer.We need a £50m - £60m NET transfer spend , this summer.That means we need the sale to occur before the end of the World Cup at the latest,2/3 months.Anything less may endanger the future of Torres/Gerrard at Anfield.We also need the correct owners to be brought in this time, not someone who is gonna put debt against the club,to make a quick buck.Money can be made from Liverpool, but only in the long term,Liverpool has the potential in 6/7 years to be worth well over £1 billion in the right hands, but they have to put there hand in there pocket first to do that

  • Comment number 56.

    I have read all the serious blogs and some of the nurdish and most inbetween - let's remember we're talking about Liverpool FC here - keep the comments dignified.Facts are facts. We need new investment yes,we need to pay back RBS 100million by early 2011,service the interest and give the deadly duo their share of the spoils. We have 2 high calibre men in place now to oversee this.The crux will come when they have to agree a price and a structure package - how much will the deadly duo demand? The full whack? Could be. Then there'll be stalemate and LFC could be in limbo for weeks/months. Scenario of doom, god forbid. OR window of opportunity for the fans. Gary blogger suggests that the fan base of LFC is not on a level with say, a club like Barca, so the money could not be raised. Its not a question of comparison its a question of fan commitment and the future of LFC. We are not guaranteed a decent new owner that is clear. We could end up further down the pan. Who's to say in 3 years time RBS will come knocking again, demanding 200million? I would not want this nightmare scenario. Would you?
    I urge all LFC supporters to visit http://www.shareliverpoolfc.co.uk and then to think,discuss,debate,talk about THEIR clubs future.For as little as £500 a share they could be part of a genuine revolution. Let us stop greedy owners exploiting Liverpool Football Club once and for all.

  • Comment number 57.

    As a Man U supporter (please dont groan)I'm pleased for all 'Pool supporters that the yanks have gone. Despite our troubles with the yanks too, what I hate and despise is the fact these people with billions think they can come and buy clubs to make a quick buck, they have no interest, no thoughts and above all and most importantly no respect for the clubs history.

    The Man U's, Liverpools of the world ooze club history and tradition and i feel this has been one of the major problems too, to see the history just pour down the drain is quite sad.

    Good luck with the new ventures, hope you come out of it well and hopefully the clubs history wil come back shining as part of the British way of life

  • Comment number 58.

    Well at least when Benitz fails this time you Liverpool fans can't blame the Yanks anymore.
    Benitz cant blame anyone else.............maybe the pitch, referee, little bird in the middle of the pitch, the sun being too bright and it being to cold. :O

  • Comment number 59.

    1. The Americans may have saddled the club with debt and been unpopular, but they are not the issue (loads of clubs, Barcelona etc, with massive debt). Fans found it easy to make Americans targets. Lack of brain!
    2. Benitez is a disgrace: as a coach tactically he has failed repeatedly, and as a boss he has squandered multi-millions on average players, let alone selling key playmakers (e.g. Alonso). The CEO of a FTSE company would have been sacked for disastrous investments long ago.
    3. Jamie Carragher is one of my all-time favourites, but the best managers have a succession plan to cope with ageing players.
    4. He does not have man-management skills. Wenger is an ace on a tiny budget (albeit he has different lessons to learn).

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    well i was expecting a longer article but quality over quantity i guess, defo lots of good news tucked away in there

  • Comment number 62.

    Smells like an agent Johnston appointment to me, ha ha good luck with being Chelskies new nursery club, and even better, he's given Rafa a vote of confidence, well if you like him that much, give him another five years on his contract...............please !!!!

  • Comment number 63.

    I am fed up with people who continually go off-topic. In this case we are supposed to be discussing the sale of the club and the final departure of those two diabolical merchants from our club. It does not matter whether you are pro or anti Benitez since that is an entirely different topic. For all of you who want him out, do you seriously think that any half decent coach in his right mind would have considered working under the H & G regime? Of course not! Let's get the ownership sorted out and then consider how the coaching & playing staff may be improved. This thing will take time of course. As fans we will need lots more patience. Since these two lied to the fans we know we have 'lost' these past few years and we still have no new stadium. I say good riddance, thanks for nothing and don't ever bother coming back to the UK.

  • Comment number 64.

    I know best.

    Don't let a Yank older than 40 talk footie. They don't get it. They didn't play it. God help you lot if you let them buy your clubs. They can't grasp the meaning of your traditions since they weren't a part of them. Beyond that, they don't get football. To the average Yank, football is a game that isn't played with the feet. Pretty funny, that. In America, a nil draw isn't seen as positive. Hell, a draw is taboo. All sports here have to go to "overtime" to find a winner. It is pooh.

    I hope the fans of LFC (I am one for thirty years and proud of it) can find a way to own the club. And for all you silly folks, Rafa is a fine manager. I'm sure he brought in Torres, Kuyt, and a few others who have succeeded in England.

    But really, the English game in general is suffering because the only thing English about it now is the supporters. Get your minds around that, and the EPL will really take off.

  • Comment number 65.

    1) Paul - Broughton makes it very clear in his interview - "... whoever buys the club will not be doing it with the sort of debt financing Hicks and Gillett used in 2007." We can only pray that he honours that statement.
    2) As David Harwood has pointed out - Rafa is not the topic of this blog. That apart slagging off the manager in public is not our way - leave that to the Chelski's and the blue part of Manchester, whose owners hire and fire them with as much whim and frequency as they change their Bentleys.

  • Comment number 66.

    I can't believe that Hicks was allowed to remain a part owner of Liverpool for as long as he has. He defaulted on debt secured against the baseball and hockey teams he owns in the US, Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars. Meanwhile Gillett sold the Montreal Candiens back to the Molson family at a loss. During his reign at the Bell Centre, the most storied team in the NHL won nothing. What this means for English football is that it is entirely possible that Liverpool will become an also-ran until its finances are sorted. Rafa Benitez's future at the club must be considered questionable at best. The next domino to fall will be Manchester United, which has a much larger debt load which the Glazers are leveraging through a bond issue. They are also facing trouble with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which have fallen on hard times on the field as well as slow ticket sales. Even in the revenue sharing environment of the NFL, the Glazers are having problems. It behooves the Red Knights to move quickly before Man Utd are mortgaged to the hilt. For a club like mine, Crystal Palace, it should mean a very conservative approach to the transfer market when new ownership takes over. CPFC cannot compete with the the financial giants of Europe and any attempt to do so will result in the liquidation of the club. For the time being, Crrystal Palace will probably be better off biding its time in the Championship (should we avoid relegation) than trying for promotion. It may be satisfying to the supporters, but when the salary and transfer bills come due, that will be the day of a terrible reckoning.

  • Comment number 67.

    "... whoever buys the club will not be doing it with the sort of debt financing Hicks and Gillett used in 2007."

    That must be the most obvious statement of the century so far. How can you do a leveraged buy-out of a club that is already excessively leveraged? You would have to persuade banks (who are on the verge of recalling an existing £100m loan) to lend you another £400m. Eh?

    It gets worse. To build a stadium, you are into borrowing £400 or 500m, plus borrowing £400m to buy the club. No chance. I doubt the actual value of the club (asset minus debt) would be much more than £100m, probably much less. That's an awful lot of "goodwill".

  • Comment number 68.

    I think Liverpool supporters are in for more disappointment given the frankly delusional comments seen above and in prior blogs on this topic. I have to laugh at all the nonsense comments about the Yanks not giving Rafa money. Rafa has had larger net transfer spending than Chelsea, ManU, and Arsenal since the Americans came in and the club ranks 5th in the Prem in net transfers spending during their ownership. Only ManCity's owners would have given him more and the chances of your club getting one of those types look slim at best. Rafa spent more in the first year under the Americans than Arsenal have ever spent in a season since the Prem started. The decline in the club isn't because Rafa couldn't spend but because he bought poor players, made good players worse, and then sold players for less than he paid. A new owner won't fix that problem unless Rafa leaves along with the American owners.

  • Comment number 69.

    Cannon, do you not read? This blog is about the sale of the club NOT Rafa Benitez

  • Comment number 70.

    Firstly I'd like to say that the fact that Broughton is a Chelsea is completely irrelevant. Broughton has had massive success in all of his business endeavors and is a consummate professional that will only challenge himself to do the best job possible. Why would he sabotage the sale of Liverpool just to benefit other Premier League clubs including Chelsea as some people are suggesting? He would be a laughing stock and would never work again.

    Liverpool fans should breath a sigh of relief that finally some common sense is being employed. Liverpool FC were never going to move forward as long as Gillette and Hicks had control, or even just a portion of it. An outright sale is exactly what needs to happen. Broughton has already gone on record to say that "the right owner(s)" need to be found, not just the highest bidder...and this is precisely what needs to happen. Broughton needs to be given time to find the right owner, no knee-jerk reactions to sell out to some Syrian or Abu Dhabi based consortium or wealthy oil baron. A sound business model which at least halves the debt with proper refinancing (a realistic interest rate), a commitment to the new stadium and a decent and appropriate amount of transfer money per window is what is needed for the health and success of the club and business; security and longevity.

    In my opinion...once the "tycoon" owners of Premier League clubs are bored of their toys they will go looking for a new playground. Unfortunately they will demand huge amounts to sell the clubs to recoup their investment (as Gillette and Hicks now), which is why if the Share Liverpool scheme is serious it needs to happen this time. There will never be a shortage of Liverpool fans, only an increase. The fans pay the bills effectively, they are the customer of Liverpool FC as a business so if they can take ownership and maintain an intelligent, assertive management and board structure the future ought to be nothing but bright.

    As for Rafa. It would be completely untrue to say he has been a bad manager for the club. Liverpool have had some miracle games under his leadership and the behind the scenes structure of the club including the youth academy set up has gone from medieval to 21st Century in a matter of 2 or 3 years. His great and terrible transfer history is well documented in terms of player quality, although I believe in terms of money he has actually done much better than the media lead the masses to believe in terms of the transfer balance sheet. His tactics and player formation/selection has always baffled me at times, this season I think he's been guilty of some ridiculous choices that any arm-chair manager could point out (and have done). Personally I'd like to see a manager that shows some emotion and passion on the touchline. One that the supporters can see has strong personal relationships with his players. Riera's comments some weeks ago although ill-timed seemed pretty ban- on reading between the lines and if Rafa is too stubborn, defensive and arrogant to address a cry for help from his players he'll never bring success to the club.

    I think Rafa should go probably, perhaps its simply time for a fresh face and new ideas..but who should come in? Martin O'Neil...I just can't see him at Liverpool and although he's done "good: things I'm not convinced he can do "great" things. Capello...yes, a fine candidate there is no doubt. Mourinho...it would be entertaining, but he'd concentrate more on manager mind games and winding up the media than the pitch. David Moyes...yes, yes I know he'd never walk across the park, there'd be riots in the city...but there's no British manager that I think more deserving of a chance at a "big" club than he. (Plus, it'd scupper Utd's future management plans if you believe the rumours). Then there's McLeish...still unproven on the big stage, but a better fit than MON I think.

    Whatever happens, things are already looking up.

  • Comment number 71.

    David thank you for your reply.

    As I’m sure you’ll agree when there are 2 separate entities involved like this, Kop Holdings and Liverpool FC it is sometimes confusing when looking at the figures to segregate them from one another so having received your response I have looked back at the most recent figures posted with Companies House for LIVERPOOL FC and they indicate that their debt for the year ended July 31st 2008 rose from 43m to 86m.
    Now if we look at the figures from Companies House again for KOP HOLDINGS we see a debt listed of just over 300m. There are reports that this was reduced by 100m and with this year’s interest that leaves the 237m currently bandied about and indeed that is the figure used by you in this blog. The problem is though David that the 86m in the official LIVERPOOL FC accounts is not included in that 237m.
    They are 2 separate companies. Their earning and debt do not get posted in each others figures. One has debt of 237m and the other a debt of 86m. I’m sure your colleagues at BBC Business will be happy to confirm this.
    I also think it explains why bidders are bidding so low for Liverpool. They have seen the books and know the total debt burden is in excess of 300m. It will be interesting to see this years figure when they are posted at Companies House. I think they will be very revealing and will back up KPMG’s warning that the club is on very thin ice.

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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