BBC BLOGS - David Bond
« Previous | Main | Next »

Revealed: How Goldman Sachs drew up financial rescue for Liverpool

Post categories:

David Bond | 06:59 UK time, Wednesday, 14 April 2010

One of the world's greatest football clubs owned by a group of investors put together by the world's most powerful investment bank.

It sounds far fetched doesn't it? Except, until six weeks ago, it was one of the options being looked at by Liverpool's beleaguered owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

According to senior sources I have spoken to over the last day or so, Goldman Sachs held detailed discussions about fronting a refinancing of the club back at the end of February.

A spokeswoman for the American banking giant denied they were ever considering a takeover bid and insisted the project never got to a "serious level", but banking sources have confirmed that Goldman Sachs held "exploratory discussions with a view to a possible investment" in Liverpool.

Exact details of that investment remain unclear but it is thought representatives of the bank were working on a deal that valued the club at around £500m.

Talks were held over several weeks and two Goldman Sachs representatives even attended Liverpool's 1-0 victory over Unirea in the Europa League on 18 February, although they did not sit in the directors' box.

The bulk of the money for the takeover was to come from loans - either provided by Goldman Sachs directly or a syndicate of other banks - with a smaller percentage of the capital coming from at least two private overseas investors. Goldman Sachs insist they did not instigate the idea and were responding to an interest from wealthy individuals they advise.

George Gillett and Tom HicksAre Gillett and Hicks asking too much for Liverpool? Photo: AP

In addition to buying the stakes of Hicks and Gillett, the deal would have refinanced the owners' £237m loan with Royal Bank of Scotland, raised new loans to pay for the clubs' stalled new stadium project at Stanley Park and provided a fresh injection of transfer funds for manager Rafa Benitez.

Although the bank worked up what was described by one source as "a viable business model", which was primarily based on the vast increase in revenue associated with the move to a new purpose-built, 60,000-seater stadium, Goldman Sachs eventually decided to drop the plan.

There were concerns over the valuation of the club, which they believed to be too high, and the negative publicity attached to a deal involving one of English football's most revered institutions and a bank that has come to symbolise the worst excesses of the banking sector.

You may wonder why anyone should be interested in a deal that didn't come off. All sorts of ideas are floated in football by all sorts of financial advisers and City institutions all the time.

And for regular watchers of the Liverpool ownership saga, this will go down as just another false dawn for a club which is now in serious danger of sliding out of the Premier League's top four thanks, in no small part, to the ongoing boardroom instability.

But it is significant on two counts.

Firstly, Goldman Sachs is arguably the biggest and most successful bank in the world. Besides the Red Knights project at Liverpool's rivals Manchester United - which is more a personal crusade by the bank's head of global economic research Jim O'Neill - these masters of the universe have never previously shown any interest in getting involved in the Premier League.

That they developed a business model - however sketchy and premature Goldman Sachs would like us to think it was - based on the development of Liverpool's new stadium should give hope to the club's long-suffering supporters

Secondly, it is revealing that a deal put together by a bank of that stature - and after so many failed attempts to resolve the financial problems at the club - still fell down because the price Hicks and Gillett were asking was too high.

Now, with time running out for Hicks and Gillett to pay off £100m of their £237m debt with RBS in July, the owners have been forced to take drastic action.

In the next few days, they will appoint British Airways chief Martin Broughton as their new chairman. He will work with a new investment bank, Barclays Capital, to lead the search for a new buyer.

In light of this development, RBS have extended the repayment date for their loan by a further six months. And that will give Broughton the breathing space he needs to ensure the next time a serious player like Goldman Sachs shows an interest, they don't decide to just walk away.

Update 1600 BST: Interesting this - the American news agency Associated Press filed a report which says the Goldman Sachs proposal - outlined in my blog - involved the owners of two US sports teams.

The report doesn't name the owners involved but does report that the plan included Goldman Sachs taking a share in the club.

It adds that the consortium was made up of other British and American banks as well as an Asian real estate developer.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Makes you wonder how these clowns got rich in the first place.

  • Comment number 2.

    God only knows why David Moores let this happen, surely he must have known they had no clue?

  • Comment number 3.

    How can you value the club at £500m? Maybe after we have added a few world class players and built the new statdium we can look at such a huge figure but at the moment it seems very expensive for a club who are struggling to get European football of any kind never mind the riches of the Champions league.

  • Comment number 4.

    Makes you wonder whether the yanks actually understood the British, and indeed, worldwide football transfer and recruitment market, whereby you actually have to pay money for players, not like the American sports(????) system of college recruitment and trading of draft picks whereby no money changes hands.

  • Comment number 5.

    How are put up such high price? The club was bought at 350million and these Yanks fooled Liverpool buy borrowing money, and promising a stadium. They have failed the club big time. They have further put impediments on the way all genuine football lovers who want buy them out or have a stake. The Yanks are money grabbers and run the club a business to gain big time, not for the sake of football.
    I look to a day when it would over for Yanks. It should be soon.

  • Comment number 6.

    " And for regular watchers of the Liverpool ownership saga, this will go down as just another false dawn for a club which is now in serious danger of sliding out of the Premier League's top four thanks, in no small part, to the ongoing boardroom instability."

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Which shows you know something about business and nothing about the football end of things. Liverpool are where they are because they sold their best midfielder and didn't replace him, because they rely on one capable striker who is often injured and simply put, because the manager is not astute either tactically on the pitch or tactically in the transfer market. It has nothing to do with the boardroom whatsoever, unless you are hinting that they should have fired the manager long ago and didn't.

  • Comment number 7.

    I think this is a good article and one which a lot more liverpool supporters ought to read.

    I know there is a whole load of anti-Benitez sentiment flying about at the moment. But for my part it is totally missing the point.

    No other liverpool manager has had a more difficult environment to operate in (terrible owners, a disfunctional board and lack of finance internally and externally lots of cash pumped better run rivals clubs, chelsea, man city, man u, arsenal, spurs etc).

    I think those that are calling for his head are a little blinkered and really missing the bigger picture. The real problems at LFC are with the debt, the owners and the boardroom.

    Becareful what you wish for, even if you really don't like rafa (actually his record is very good especially given the wider state of affairs) Would you trust the owners and board to appoint a better long term replacment? Or will we get lumbered with Jurgen Klinsman or alike?

  • Comment number 8.

    Have to agree entirely with collie21 the blame lays soley at the feet of Rafa!

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    I find it staggering that these 2 "Business Men" are still clinging on to the club and now think it's worth far more than they paid for it. What exactly have Liverpool won since they took control of the club???? Answer.........NOTHING!! And worse still no Champions League football next season and if there is no substantial investment in the team and a new stadium there will be little chance of any CL football in the seasons to come. This is just one big mess the owners have got the club into and I fear for the clubs future.

  • Comment number 11.

    AhoyTarrr...the reason we have desperately been trying to hang on to the coat tails of the other clubs is because of David Moores. For all the will in the world, from a business perspective he was incompetent, and in cohoots with Rick Parry we fell further and further behind. It is instructive that we had no Commercial Director until the Americans came along. At the same time here we are, 20 years after Man U started redeveloping Old Trafford, still nowhere near a stadium to provide the revenues to compete. So there was no chance that David Moores was going to be able to see through the gleaming plans of the Hicks and Gillett.

    On a more current point, the hard ball game of Hicks is both astonishing and extremely worrying for Liverpool fans. Dont forget, Hicks and Gillett paid £216m + debt for Liverpool. Their equity investment would have been relatively limited. Hicks is now seemingly refusing to budge on a £500m valuation. Yet, that valuation is based on an assumption of what the club will be worth once the new stadium is built. Yet take a step back. There is no stadium. Nor is there any sign of a new stadium. So Hicks wants new owners to both pay for the uplift in valuation the new stadium will bring, and then pay for the construction of the new stadium as well. Effectively pay twice for it. No wonder there are no takers. And I fear that when the 6 months are up on this particular refinancing - which of course LFC will pay the usurious interest on - there will be another muddle through.

  • Comment number 12.

    Quite simply these guys had no idea what they needed to do when they bought the club. They spectacularly failed to recognise that the value of a football club is led by success on the pitch which leads to increasing levels of revenue from gate receipts, merchandise, TV rights and prize money.

    It would seem that they blindly expected that the club would continue to qualify for the CL and that banks and investors would fall over themselves to finance the new stadium. Couple that with the fact that the squad is relatively weak, reliant on 1 injury prone striker and a captain who despite his best efforts and infinite passion cannot carry the 7 or so players he needs to each week and you've got a recipe for a huge decline. Particularly in a time where the financial pain for not qualifying for the CL is so great. Remember 2005 when Liverpool almost begged to get their spot re-instated - the opportunity to defend the title was not top of the agenda.

    Other teams have significantly closed the gap on Liverpool and quite simply they havent got the necessary qualities on the pitch or in the dugout to turn it around.

    I'm no Liverpool fan nor am I a Liverpool hater. This is just another example of a foreign club owner coming in with no idea what is required to make the money they so crave at the back end of their (relatively short) tenure.

    Success on the pitch must always come first - forget that and you'll lose every time.

  • Comment number 13.

    6. At collie21:

    That really is one of the most ill informed comments I've seen on here for some time.

    Benitez remains one of the best coaches in Europe. I would take Juventus' and Real Madrids interest as a yardstick before I took your opinion.

    "Liverpool are where they are because they sold their best midfielder and didn't replace him".............Oh, really?
    Liverpool's best midfielder is still at the club. It was Alonso who wanted to go not Gerrard, so get you facts right.
    Alonso was replaced but with a player of a different style who, unfortuantely has spent some of the season injured and the rest suffering from a virus. This was a calculated gamble as Benitez didnt have the funds to address all areas that needed seeing to.
    RB Johnson replaced Arbeloa
    When Hyypia decided to leave there was no option to go for a bargain basement replacement like Kyrgiakos at a pricely sum of 1.5 mil.
    The NET spend for Liverpool over the past two summers has been zero.

    Sacking Benitez wont help the situation - it will exacerbate it. But keep reading the sun or the daily mail as I'm sure you find fabrication much more entertaining than fact.

  • Comment number 14.

    And welcome to the "free speaking" BBC. If you criticise the writing of their editors you get your comment referred to the moderators.

    Pathetic. Really.

  • Comment number 15.

    If this board is post-moderated, as the statement says, why are all comments awaitig moderation before they are posted? Have you got confused about your own rules?

  • Comment number 16.

    @collie21, when you read your comment at #6 back to yourself, you will see how foolish it is. You describe the problems yourself: Selling players and not replacing them, relying on a stretched, thin squad, and punching below your weight in the transfer market. These are all things that a well-financed club can avoid.

    I'm no Liverpool fan, but this scenario is all-too familiar to fans of many clubs.

  • Comment number 17.

    collie21

    I think both are relevant, but if Benitez had not been told he had to sell to buy Alonso would still be there, along with Barry (for better or worse). Alonso was not in great form when Benitez decided to try and effectively swap him over for Barry, though hindsight is a wonderful thing of course. And I think Hyypia and Arbeloa going also had an impact because Hyypia is a rock (on and off the field) and Arbeloa is versatile. Both wanted to go and could not be persuaded to stay.

    I don't think Benitez going will solve much, though i think it is likely. Having bickering joint chairmen (so who's the chairman?) who promise much and then say there is no money makes the club feel let down. You can hold off that feeling for a while but eventually it percolates down to manager, players and fans no matter how hard you try. Liverpool FC will continue to under perform until something changes upstairs to allow the club to move forward, and by the look of it that won't be sometime soon.

  • Comment number 18.

    They totally failed to understand the complexities of the relationship between English football clubs and their communities. Yes, globally a club like Liverpool can sell a lot of merchandise and gets a lot from the media but its still the 45000 who turn up to the matches who provide roughly a large portion of turnover each year.
    Unfortunately those people are tied to the club and it's almost impossible to punish the owners without punishing the club you love. In the US you can move a franchise relatively easily and people accept that.
    Not acceptable here and probably never will be in all but the rarest of cases.
    Can anyone please tell me if there is a feasible way to punish the owners without punishing the club too? And I don't mean by waving blue and white scarves.

  • Comment number 19.

    As a Liverpool fan I obviously want us in the Champions League each and being in contention for everything we enter. However, maybe missing out on the CL won't be as bad as it seems. No CL football would surely decrease the value of the club and H and C's bargaining power. It's clear that their huge over-valuation of the club is killing us. I'd love us to be sold to an owner that cares about the club and won't run it into the ground even if they don't pump millions into player transfers. For long term stability of the club, I'd take a new stadium over the signing of top class players for the next few years until we start clearing the debt. And for anyone that thinks any other manager would have done a better job than Rafa with the constraints he's had (not that he gets everything right, but who does?) I'd love to know who that would be.

  • Comment number 20.

    Collie21 I totally agree with what you say.

    Liverpool fans can whine and complain about the 'difficult environment' that Benitez has had to operate in and the 'lack of finance', but the fact of the matter is that since Hicks and Gillett bought the club in February 2007, money has been made available to sign Torres, Arbeloa, Keane, Aquilani, Glen Johnson, Babal, Riera, Dossena, Leiva, Skrtel, Benayoun, Cavalieri.......the list goes on. Many of these were signed for quite substantial sums. So are Liverpool struggling because of 'financial restrictions', or because funds have been squandered on sub standard players? I have to confess that I haven't even heard of some of these players!!

    The fact of the matter is that the only significant trophy Liverpool have won under Benitez was the European Cup. Yes, this was a fantastic achievement, but the club should have then gone on from there to be competing on a regular basis for the Premier League, which they haven't.

    It seems to me that Benitez is using the ownership problems as a smoke screen to hide his own shortcomings as a manager

  • Comment number 21.

    Parry & Moores is to blame. He and Parry sold to the Americans knowing they'll keep their seats on the board whereas the DIC bidders didn't want Parry if they'd taken over.

    We need better direction and hopefully someone will buy the club in the summer.

  • Comment number 22.

    "Which shows you know something about business and nothing about the football end of things."


    Doesn't that statement sum up the owners?

  • Comment number 23.

    It is indisputably evident that the reason further investment, or even a sale of the club are proving so elusive is that Hicks and Gillett are looking for a return, a profit. The Rhone deal looked good for the club but unspeakably bad for those two, and it is clear that they currently over value the club which is why a deal cannot be agreed. It may get to the stage where time runs out for them and they have to hold their noses and accept an offer they consider unpalatable - here's hoping anyway.

    I agree with the author, that although these negotiations appear to have come to nothing it is a very interesting development that Goldman Sachs were interested, to the point of drawing up a business model.

  • Comment number 24.

    Just to touch on the above comments about Rafa. Firstly i agree that the majority of the blame must lie at the feet of the owners. They have promised things and just not delivered. They have put Rafa under all kinds of pressure which has put us in a position we are in now, but they have also supported him. The patch we are going through was enough to get Houllier sacked but they have come out and supported Rafa.

    My problem with Rafa is the way he reverts to what he knows too much and that is to be safe. Too many occasions he has played 2 defensive midfielders, too many occasions he has pulled off Torres or Gerrard when we needed a result (see Birmingham as the latest).

    He also has to be one of the most stubborn men alive, he seems to do exactly the opposite of what everyone else is thinking, be honest how many times have you screamed for Kuyt to come off because he is having a stinker but he wont do it.

    Because of Rafa we have lost players like, Crouch, Keane, Bellamy,Alonso (He tried to sell him to any man or dog who happened to have a few quid). I have never seen Rafa walk up to the Kop and applaud them, everything you hear or read is that he actually doesnt talk to players much. Maybe its time we had someone who showed some passion & got some team spirit around the club, someone who can get the best out of talent like Babel instead of concentrating on talent like Kuyt becasue he works hard!

  • Comment number 25.

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

  • Comment number 26.

    Gerrard may have been Liverpools best midfielder a few years ago or even last year, there is a collective consensus on other blogs on the BBC that Liverpool miss Alonso greatly, and that Gerrard is not on form this season. To my recollection even Phil McNulty asked the question at the start of this season, as to who would be missed for, Ronaldo for United, or Alonso for Liverpool.
    To number 13 , 16, and 17, If Hypia and others WANTED to leave what does that tell you about the manager?
    I would also ask what was the sense in buying Robbie Keane for 20 million, and selling him back six months later for 12? That has nothing to do with the boardroom. That is bad decision making by Rafa. Even if Rafa didn't want Keane there in the first place, he had him and should have made use of him. Rafa has had as much to spend as anyone else in the top 6 in the last 5 years, give or take the price of a very average player. He is famous for not buying well, he is famous for buying and then not letting his signings play for weeks, and he is famous for being stubborn.
    I am not reading the Sun Star or Mail either, I rely mostly on this site for my information and glean some more information for other sources in Europe.
    I understand Liverpool fans love Rafa, but you have got to start being real. He is the one managing the team, he is the one dealing with the players, he has a bunch of very average blokes with one or two great players. It has taken him 5 years to develop a team the pinnacle of which was second place in the league and nothing else. Yes he got your lot a European cup, on Houliers team. Since then nada.

  • Comment number 27.

    Football isn't a business, it's a rich man's plaything, and sadly the number of rich men prepared to throw money at it has dwindled, hence the arrival of ownership based on huge debts resulting in the current state of so many clubs. Having said that, it would be extremely interesting to see how much Gillett and Hicks have personally taken out of the club during their tenure. It does appear quite common for the owners and senior executives to continue drawing vast salaries & dividends whilst at other levels the clubs make huge losses.

    At the other end however, fan's expectations appear to be largely based on money being magically produced out of thin air. They expect the best players and the best facilities when costs have spiraled hugely, and they cheer and applaud when players are brought in on multi-million Pound transfers and with salaries of additional millions per year, even when it's obvious that it's not financially viable. They criticise clubs that make money selling players and then try to use the money to balance the books rather then immediately spending it, and they welcome with open arms anybody waving a big enough cheque book. Football in it's current state is unsustainable because costs far outstrip income, and if TV revenues ever fall then the whole thing will implode because fans won't accept ticket prices doubling or trebling to cover the costs. The authorities need to impose rules to ensure that clubs operate in a financially viable way, except of course that it requires the clubs themselves to accept this before it can happen, and why would they vote to cut off their own gravy train? It's going to take a few clubs bigger than Portsmouth to fold before anything happens, by which time it will probably be too late.

  • Comment number 28.

    Ok - yet another blog about the state of Liverpool Football Club that repeats much of what we already know. Coming from the other side of the Mersey divide, it should give me great pleasure to see the continued demise of the Red side, but it doesn't. And the reason it doesn't is the continuing (and growing) dominance of Manchester over Merseyside. The powerhouse of United, just one step away from becoming the most successful English club ever, and who will doubtless be 'rescued' from the Glazers due to their enormous fan-base and wealthy people in high places and City, seemingly on-track for much improved fortunes with owners who seem to have a (slightly) better understanding (than their US counterparts) of the importance of establishing a large and talented squad as the first step towards success.

    So - thoughts on the state of play and what might transpire.

    David Moores sold LFC down the river and made a lot of money. His grandfather, Sir John, who had significant interests in both Merseyside clubs, always said he was a business buffoon, and he was right. Messrs Hicks and Gillett (aka Waldorf and Stadtler) had no real clue about owning a UK footballing institution, as opposed to owning a US sporting franchise (and the two are a different as chalk and cheese). The sooner they are gone, the better, although no-one is going to pay the asking price in the current climate.

    Rafa Benitez has to take some of the blame for Liverpool's demise, even though the supporters have been incredibly tolerant of his eccentricities. The fact is that he has spent something like £220m net on players (compared to c£80m net by David Moyes) and with a couple of exceptions - Fernando Torres being the obvious one - there have been a lot of journeyman French and Spanish players who are simply not top quality. And this appears to have been at the expense of young Liverpool players coming through the system. The last one to come through the ranks was probably Gerrard or Owen !

    On the financial front, unless someting amazing happens, there will be no new stadium for either club for many years and this will see the Manchester clubs pulling further away in terms of revenues and cash generation.

    The only practical solution really is a ground-share, although an awful lot of heads will have to be banged together to see that happen. Will financial reality prevail over sentiment and tradition ?

    Over the short-term then, Liverpool's demise will probably continue (slowly) and Everton will (slowly) improve but will hit a glass ceiling (if David Moyes hangs around and a reasonable level of investment is found - which probably means selling their best youngsters).

    Either way, if you were landing from Mars tomorrow and wondering who to support and where the real action would be over the next 5-10 years, you would be looking towards Manchester, not Merseyside.

  • Comment number 29.

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

  • Comment number 30.

    1. At 08:02am on 14 Apr 2010, Kíllìnghölmê_Clᥠ(aka Charlie Cheesecake) wrote:
    Makes you wonder how these clowns got rich in the first place.


    ++++++++++++++

    Good point... I hope they write a ''How to...'' book

  • Comment number 31.

    8. At 09:06am on 14 Apr 2010, rockin_robin25 wrote:
    Have to agree entirely with collie21 the blame lays soley at the feet of Rafa!

    =========================================

    What's it all got to do with a Manc - they've got their own problems sonny! WUM OFF!

    Anyway:

    It's obvious to everyone that the 2 cowboys from the states have no idea. As someone else has said "how have they ever got rich". They don't seem to have a clue. What is encouraging is that an institution as powerful as Goldman Sachs would be interested. The down side of course is that the investment would be in the form of loans - so more debt to pay. That is countered by increased revenue from a new stadium etc so all in all I think things would have been going in the right direction. But of course the big spanner in the works is the 2 daft yanks overvaluing the club. The sooner the pair ride off into the sunset the better. Hope this new guy can get a decent deal sorted before the start of next season. We need stability in the club and then hopefully we can start building for the future.

    Enough about Rafa now as well. Ok sometimes his tactics are a bit bewildering and some of his signings have been off the mark but who else would come to the club at the moment.

    At least he didn't blow £30m on a sulky Bulgarian :D

  • Comment number 32.

    Ha ha Numsig - you sad little man.

  • Comment number 33.

    I am not sure if anyone has answered or asked this already but given the size of debt against the club am i right in thinking a portion of that still represents the 60 million or so for the new stadium and if thats the case why has that debt not been removed given the club has basically gone nowhere with that development. From my laypersons point of view how can there be a debt when there is nothing to have the debt for. Its ironic that before this pair DIC put a proposal together stating very clearly their intentions to build the cluib up over 7 years or something turn a profit and sell it on, it caused massive outcry about how crude a deal it was on the face of it, how i wish we had taken it now!

  • Comment number 34.

    We are talking about a football team here! At the moment just an average team with a past history of being a great team ONCE..
    Preston North End and Doncaster were as equally great as Liverpool at one team.
    Despite the vast amount of money that has been thrown at Liverpool FC they are still in decline . in Decline with debts they can no longer services is not a recipe for investors..

    Football must face up to the fact that too money is being borrowing without security to cover.. how much is LIVERPOOL FC valued at £500million ..Really suggest bankers think somewhere about £10 million in really security.. reasoning what else could you use the ground for ? Supermarkets ... what price on value on players, ? ask the administrator
    at Portsmouth ... Are the football contract still enforceable? doubt it they value nil... So which loony would invest in a failing football team know that the club value is declining be the second

  • Comment number 35.

    One of the big problems for us this season is Rafa sticking with the 4-2-3-1 formation, one which requires a good deep playmaker (Alonso) and playing Lucas in that role when it's not what he is good at. Gerrard managed to play in CM a large part of his career and did a cracking job, sure he wouldnt score as many but we should have played 4-4-2 with Mascher and Gerrard in centre mid like we did against Sunderland. Just makes no sense to play one up front with no real playmaker because we always end up with Carragher pinging it up and we then lose possession.
    The board haven't helped things with their lack of investment and poor financing but a lot of blame is with Rafa as well, far too negative against the "poorer" teams.

  • Comment number 36.

    @26.collie21
    I would also ask what was the sense in buying Robbie Keane for 20 million, and selling him back six months later for 12? That has nothing to do with the boardroom.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    Your figures are incorrect. And so is your assumption. Its well known in Liverpool circles that the Keane purchase was heavily influenced by Rick Parry. Benitez it is said, didnt want him. Keane flopped and was shiped back to Tottenham at a loss of 4.3 million. This move was vindicated by Tottenham then bundling him off to Celtic with undue haste where, in a sub standard league, he has looked entirely at home.

    For all those of you cracking on about Benitez spending "loads of money", he has over the last two summers had a net spend of zero. I believe the figure is aroung MINUS 12 million. Yes, that puts his "spend" in credit.

    If you really think that this kind of transfer policy wont affect how Liverpool are able to compete against Man City Chelsea Man Utd and Spurs (yes even Spurs) then you are more clueless than our current owners.

  • Comment number 37.

    Call me a cynic, but what are the odds on the same thing happening a further six months down the line? Giving Hicks and Gillett even more time to hang on for grim death in an effort to make a big fat profit.

  • Comment number 38.

    Have to agree entirely with collie21 the blame lays soley at the feet of Rafa!
    --------------------------------------------

    Oh dear,

    I really hope that is a sarcastic comment aimed at collie21.

    Rafa has made mistakes but he has had nowt but hassle and money constraints since day one. Ferguson's reserve and youth team purchases are not put under scrutiny or used to show how many players he has bought and sold.

    It's a wonder the man didn't walk last season. He could take his pick of clubs in Spain and Italy possibly barring Barca. That suggests he is held in high regard. Only the likes of Merson, Le Tissier and Nicholas with their vast managerial aheivments seem to think otherwise.

    The yanks will drive Liverpool into mediocrity not Benitez. Liverpool was once the model by which a football club should be run, now the likes of Spurs, Villa, City, Birmingham will look at it and do the opposite. That's down to the greed and lies of G&H not Benitez.

  • Comment number 39.

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

  • Comment number 40.

    Nathan at #11, you are absolutely correct, how can you possibly value the business based on projected revenues from a stadium that has not even been built yet? A prospective investor takes on the risk of the construction and the risk that the club might not achieve the projected revenues (e.g. through lower TV revenues, Uefa rules reducing Premier League dominance or a myriad of other factors). Why would a buyer take on this risk? The answer seems to be, that no one is willing to at the moment.

    Whilst pre-recession, deals that were based on inflated future performance in order to service debt and shareholder returns were relatively common, that is not the case now. In football, the wealthy oil rich Sheiks and Russian billionaires have all felt the effects of the recession and there are questions over the stability of revenues from The Premier League whilst footballers salaries and transfer prices are still high and growing.

    If the rumours about valuation are to be believed (and are not confusing the issue of debt when putting a valuation on the club), then H&G's valuation methodology just does not stack up, especially when you consider how much the club was bought for and the change in profits since then. There is potential for LFC to grow and this may well be factored into the price of the club, but not at the level the greedy Americans demand.

    Whilst in some ways it is comforting that prospective bidders have been interested, a miss is as good as a mile. No matter how many failed bids occur, no failed bid can solve our problem and change the ownership. The longer this saga drags on, the more damage is done by the uncertainty it causes. Perversely, this could frustrate G&H's hard nosed strategy to seek out the high value for the club, the nearer we get to having to pay down the £100m, the more able a buyer is able to put pressure on the price!

  • Comment number 41.

    Slightly off topic but I feel this Robbie Keane talk is all ridiculous. Did you watch any of the games Keane played for us? He was awful; he missed chance after chance. If Keane had stuck a few of the opportunities in the back of the net we may have won the title last season, who knows. As far as I'm aware we spent £19m plus £1m worth of clauses which I cannot imagine were activated seeing as he hardly played or scored. Harry then bought him back for £12 and around £4m worth of clauses (again to be fair not activated yet, but potentially could be - I think they were linked to Tottenham winning silverware).
    The main point though is Harry then loaned him out to Celtic. So it seems obvious that it's not only Rafa who had no faith in Robbie. Whoever made the decision to sign Keane in the first place, it was Rafa that was left to pick up the pieces and I personally think he did the best job he could.

    It's very easy to say all Rafa has won is the CL. Only 1 team can win the league and the CL each year (sometimes the same team win both). Does that mean every other team should sack their manager each year when they don't win? I won't hold my breath to see United getting rid of Fergie if Chelsea take the title this year. At a time when Chelsea are bankrolled by a billionaire and Manchester United had the best team in Europe, I think Rafa's record (other than this season) stands up very well. Don't get me wrong I want Liverpool to win the title as much as anyone, but it's been 20 years since we last won the league not 6 - it's not all Rafa's fault.

    On to the main point of the article - the yanks are deluded if they believe that after investing very little (lack of new stadium and new quality players) and liverpool very likely missing out on CL qualification for next year they can then sell the club for a profit. The club simply cannot be worth as much as it was when they came in, particularly in light of the global financial crisis. They need to lower their valuation if we are going to find a buyer, or alternatively they need to dig into those pockets of theirs and invest in some quality players and a new stadium. Neither of these seem likely to happen and so I just see the situation dragging on and Liverpool being increasingly weighed down by these interest payments.

  • Comment number 42.

    I support LFC, not Rafa, but my earlier point is that the root cause of the problems is the debt, owners and the board, rather than Rafa.

    Sure this season has been a stinker and sure Rafa has made some bad decisions in the transfer windows and team selection etc - But what coach doesn't make mistakes? I'll leave his detractors to spell out his faults, as I'm sure they'll continue to do.

    But in the interest of balance, he has also done some things very well:

    He has been a brilliant coach in the CL - e.g. 2 finals. This is a big deal and why R.Madrid and Juve want him. He has brought in tonnes of CL riches, which for the first time we won't get next year. As far as I can see he hasn't had this self made money to spend.

    Last year was our best EVER in the PL, i.e highest ever points in 20 years! lets not forget that even though we've been shocking this year.

    Also we were the leagues highest scorers - not bad for such a negative coach?

    Some signings not so great, but what about Torres, Masch, Reina, Agger, Kuyt, Lucas? Does any one think we'd loose money if we sold any of these? Infact which of his bad signings has he lost big big money on? Lets put it in the context of other managers big flops, e.g. Veron, Hargreaves, Shevchenko etc...

  • Comment number 43.

    I'm loving it. A stint at the wrong end of the Premier League table is exactly what Liverpool deserve. Even through all their years of "success" they rarely achieved anything approaching attractive football.

    The club's policy has always been to produce a dull, but sadly effective, sideways passing team that produced more drab 1-0 wins than any other team. Yet Arsenal were always derided for being the '1-0' team. This century the only thing they have changed is that they have become less and less effective with each new batch of players.

    I'm sick of the BBC endlessly doting on the 'great traditions' at the club and the endless lyrical waxing about how wonderful and important Liverpool are. I'm sick of the FIFA, UEFA and FA bias towards Liverpool that manifested in rules changes for them, a consistent stream of dubious decisions from match officials. I'm sick of the cheating of supposed 'top' players that is so often overlooked and in fact rewarded.
    I'm sick of the media filling endless column inches with 'excuses' and explanations that overlook the obvious fact that Liverpool are dire and have been for years. I'm sick of the expectations of success that are thrown at them - when why would anyone expect success from such a dire team? I'm sick of Liverpool central defenders being allowed a 'green card' to commit fouls wherever they please that go unpunished. (Is Carragher a defender or a FA licensed fouler?)

    When Liverpool slide to the middle and then the basement of the Premier League I will be thoroughly chuffed. I pray for them to end up where Man City were a decade ago. It's what they deserve. Go to hell Liverpool.

    ---------------------------------

    Hmmm, a tad bitter.

    I doubt you're even old enough to remember these, side-ways passing teams of old, winning 1-0 every week. I suppose you base this on 6 mind of MOTD once every 3 weeks during the 70s and 80s are you. Or, Are you getting this from UTD fans that decryed winning a final on pens until it was their turn? Fans that laugh at the European giants of Bruges, while forgetting teams rise and fall in stature, after all Utd were relegated during their 26 year fall from grace.

    I am old enough and I can remember teams being destroyed, ugly 1-0 wins, terrible loses, fantastic entertainment, drab 0-0s, dodgy decisions and so on. Nowt much different from the wonderful Utd really. But keep looking through your bitter tinted glasses.

  • Comment number 44.

    I take issue with those who lay the blame solely at the feet of benitez and also the misreporting of transfer fees.
    I'm looking mainly at posts 20,24,and 26.

    "money has been made available to sign Torres, Arbeloa, Keane, Aquilani, Glen Johnson, Babal, Riera, Dossena, Leiva, Skrtel, Benayoun, Cavalieri.......the list goes on"
    Without going into the kwality of some of these signings, I'm pretty sure that the money to buy Torres,Babel and Benayoun was raised through some sort of loan raised indirectly against the club (just like the money the Americans used to buy out the clown David Moores), hardly making money available. Arbeloa cost us £2m, and the majority of the other players were around the £5m to £8m mark. Admittedly not small prices, but when you weigh them up with how skewed the english market is against the rest of the world actually not very much(as an example Roger Johnson was £5m to go to Birmingham or Ade Akinbiyi cost £5.5m when signed by Leicester City in 2000!)
    The effective cost of Glen Johnson was very little as despite his fee being reported as £20m, this was made up of money owed by Portsmouth for the transfer of Crouch that we didn't know that we would get back.
    Aquilani was a risk, but he only cost £5m initially and the rest is in installments that depend on his appearances and performance, not a huge outlay as was reported. As such I'm confident that Real paid the majority of the Alonso deal upfront in cash, which we can't do. I'd be very surprised if from the transfer cashflows in the summer we spent money,I would expect us to actually have been in profit.

    This leads me to my last point, which I've already touched on. The misrepresentation of transfer fees. Yes Keane was bought in a deal that would have been worth £20m after all add-ons, but I don't know exactly what we paid for him but I expect it was closer to £12-14m, likewise I don't know exactly what we got for him but I think it was circa £12m up front. Why do people only listen to the final fee and not the initial cost that is reported as the headline when assessing deals? It's very irritating. OK, I don't have time to rant any further but I really don't think we did that badly and Rafa was right to cut his losses. He has made mistakes, but people criticise him with incorrect facts, not all but most.

  • Comment number 45.

    Thank you moderators for responding so quickly to my request to remove that inane comment from numsig.

    Hopefully we can now get on with an interesting debate free of idiots.

    # 33: redsteve

    I think you will find it is a lot more than £60m for a new stadium. The debt the club has is directly due to the cowboy's takeover of the club. Unless the pair realise that they are vastly over valuing the club we will find it difficult to get new investment in. It's all a bit of a nightmare.

  • Comment number 46.

    great piece, such a shame, but then no-one knew that Turner and Hooch were so bad

    collie, numsig you are weird people. i pity you

  • Comment number 47.

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

  • Comment number 48.

    More debt eh? Makes Newcastle United Mike Ashley looks like a God.

  • Comment number 49.

    There's so many people on here that an't form an opinion of their own and are guided by tabloids. God help us in the general election!

    For the record, Crouh wasn't 'sold' he was offered a contract but wanted guarenteed 1st team footy so HE turned it down. first team footy is something which can't be guarenteed at a (at the time) top 4 club, look at Berbatov.

    The fact that people still say Crouh shouldn't have been sold leaves me to conclude that they listen too punduts too much and can't form an opinion of their own as they borrow others and don't bother to check the accuracy.

  • Comment number 50.

    Can we finally put to bed all this transfer nonsense.

    Like scottishscouser said, Crouch wanted to go because he wasn't guaranteed 1st team football every week.

    Keane - Rafa didn't want him, that a strange behind the scene deal, Keane was rubbish for us and we rightly got rid. I think the fact he is now in a very very poor Celtic team sums it up.

    Alonso, I'm so sick of this, he had one good season for us - we made a lot of money out of him - enough already about Alonso.

    Sammi - great player for the club but his time was up.

    Yes there have been a few turkeys on the transfer front but what manager gets it right everytime. I think Rafa's transfer balance sheet is good considering the circumstances.

  • Comment number 51.

    #38 Scottishscouser said;

    'Ferguson's reserve and youth team purchases are not put under scrutiny or used to show how many players he has bought and sold'

    There isn't as much scrutiny because he wins trophys, and most importantly the Premier League. Don't get me wrong, he has made mistakes in the transfer market, every manager does. I just think that Liverpool should still have mounted more convincing title challenges aside from last season. It's easy to blame the board, but they don't make the decisions on transfers or tactics and I don't think that Rafa has utilised the resources he HAS had as effectively as he could have.

  • Comment number 52.

    David
    I hear that in addition to the 237m owed by Kop Holdings that Liverpool FC itself also has a seperate trench of debt around 100m.Is that correct?

  • Comment number 53.

    The blind leading the blind, with Rafa in between! Moores and Parry were hopeless. Left a mess for the Americans to deal with which were even more useless. They have no clue re how to run a British football club! They thought they can get in, earn some quick cash and sell. Didnt happen. I cannot wait to see them go, either buy out LFC or Barclays get that £300M and pay off the debt and leave a bit for Rafa to get a decent LB and SS !

  • Comment number 54.

    The only hope for Liverpool now is for them to perform worse and worse - ideally, to get relegated. (And if you think that's impossible, consider the once rulers of Europe, Nottingham Forest.)

    That should drive the price down so much that someone with a brain - since nobody with a brain would buy overvalued football clubs *now* for purely business reasons - would buy the club and rebuild it. The club will still be able to compete for big prizes in future - today's football bubble economy will not last forever.

    If bankers want to rebuild their rep in the public, they should sponsor something less ostentatious, not a football club. (Of course, bankers don't care about their public rep - they live on a different planet from the rest of us.)

  • Comment number 55.

    We have no money..

    We have 2 owners that clearly think that they deserve a huge profit from the sale even though they bought the club with debt..

    The plain facts are we cannot afford to sack Benitez (figures being banded around being £16M), so, we have to get behind the team regardless.

    As a fan I think we have to be reallistic that for a couple of seasons we take a step back, play Europa League football and build a squad capable of winning domestically.. The problem isnt so much that we rely on Torres and Gerrard too much, the problem is we have a team on the pitch that has weak links and absolutely no bench to back it up.

    Riera - "I hate it here.. my wife hates it here.. Benitez doesnt talk to me.. Oh whats that my deal in Russia has fallen through? Oh I was misquoted.. I love Liverpool"

    Babel - A player that spends most of the time moaning about not playing and how it is hurting his international career but offers very little to warrant playing for Liverpool let alone on the international stage.

    The list goes on..

    Players like Carra are showing signs of their age and in a few years sadly will follow Hyypia to the Legends Retirement Home

    We have no choice as fans to keep demanding the Yanks go but realistically cheer our heros from the stand.. Where`s a sheik when u need one....

  • Comment number 56.

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

  • Comment number 57.

    It is interesting that a leading contender is said to be an Indian mulyi-billionaire. That might be a good bet for the club because the emerging Indian economy is competing with China for world recovery leadership.

  • Comment number 58.

    Personally, as a chelsea fan, I feel I should appologies for having a foreign owner who hasn't bankrupted the club.

    However, that issue aside, I can't help thinking that what these American owners have done at Liverpool & Man Utd is a total disgrace.

    England 2 biggest teams, not only in historical terms but in worldwide fan base, are in the process of being distroyed.

    Football is at stake here and I would rather be battling it out for the title with both of you, and losing, than watching to play each other in 5 years time in the League 2 after the Americans sell off every aspect of the club to get their money back and then leave.

    Can the Birtish government do anything about foreign ownership?

    There is only one way to get rid of these 2 owners and that is to hit them where it hurts - money. Stop giving it to them. Stop going to the matches and buying the replica kits. If only 2,000 away fans turned up to every matches they would both be gone in 3 months. But it is up to you how much you want to get rid of them.

    Good luck to both clubs.

  • Comment number 59.

    I have supported the reds through thick and thin for the last 47 years and enjoyed most of it until the big money came along (Which a lot is gread by the stars of today)which included the old ham shanks out to make a buck or two by playing in smokey joe's salloon bar but unfortunatley they are against supporters who would die for our team however I do not belive in my mind that those two gun slingers should take all the blame. Poncho, he must accept his downfalls, team selection and most of all his moaning.

    To conclude lets hope we get a sale which will bring on our new stadium and players, most of all a manager who can purshase players who are fit for wearing our famous colours and know from the off-set what YOU Never Walk Alone Stands For.

  • Comment number 60.

    no additional comment

  • Comment number 61.

    Rafa seems to have a lot of support on this forum but not so much from Liverpool's hardcore away support. I refer to the audible boos when he subbed Torres against Birmingham. I know plenty of reds that follow Liverpool home and away and can't wait for Benitez to go.

    You can bang on all you want about how much money Benitez hasn't had compared to even the likes of Spurs but generally, save for the odd game in a blue moon, the football on show is absolutely dire. This is down to the manager and his decisions. I'll give him some credit as he's match for anyone in a two legged tie but I'd go as far as saying that this is the worst Liverpool side for half a century. Everyone knows that Liverpool want the league and Benitez is stealing a living at present in my opinion.

    To me, as someoneone who works and lives in liverpool there seems to be a schism between the local fans and those from further afield. I think the further you drive away from Liverpool the stronger the support for Benitez becomes.

    If there are any local reds on here that are in full support of Benitez, can you honestly say that most of your red mates are in agreement?

  • Comment number 62.

    Many questions exist concerning Liverpool's future, notably the chances of winning any silverware next season or seasons ahead. Should Benitez be sacked or provide him with additional funds to purchase more talented players for the club? In effect, as one of the Liverpool's fan for nearly 10 years, sometimes when I saw the defeat or equalizer of this club, it led me to think of sacking the manager if I were the owner. Right now, I am really eager for Liverpool to be revolutionized, if possible. Frankly, I'm perfectly sick of Rafa's management style: first, selling the club's veterans, and last season, selling Alonso and lavished cash to buy the injury player, Aquilani who's all but impossible to feature on the pitch. By the way, the both co-owners should sell the club to other potential investors who could afford to splash out cash to buy better players to partner with Torres and Gerrad with the replacement of Benitez with possible managers such as Mourinho, Klinsmanh, Hiddink or someone else who might lead the Reds to Champions. Benitez out!

  • Comment number 63.

    Those blaming the manager are short sighted and naive in thinking that the world of football does not revolve around money. Rafa has spent no more money than either Man Utd with Fergie's his wasted millions over the years, or Chelsea with the bottomless pockets of Abramorich. The difference is that those two clubs can absorb the enormous transfer fees year on year whereas Liverpool can't, especially now that the club is laden with someone else's debt. To maintain the value of any asset you have to invest in it, that is one of life's simple and unavoidable facts. The Americans have done the opposite- they have saddled the club with debt that it did not have before they 'bought into' it, and thereby have massively damaged the transfer kitty. This means that the team will stagnate (don't even think about arguing that Premier League clubs don't need to continually buy players) in relation to competitors lose ground to them. The only solution is for someone who is prepared to invest in the club to come in.

  • Comment number 64.

    What happened to Shareliverpoolfc? They were hoping to raise £500m and bid for the club and run it for the fans.. the last email I got seemed as if they were taking a back step.. now is the time.. IM IN!

  • Comment number 65.

    13. At 09:13am on 14 Apr 2010, Kíllìnghölmê_Clᥠ(aka Charlie Cheesecake) wrote:
    6. At collie21:

    That really is one of the most ill informed comments I've seen on here for some time.

    Benitez remains one of the best coaches in Europe. I would take Juventus' and Real Madrids interest as a yardstick before I took your opinion.

    "Liverpool are where they are because they sold their best midfielder and didn't replace him".............Oh, really?
    Liverpool's best midfielder is still at the club. It was Alonso who wanted to go not Gerrard, so get you facts right.
    Alonso was replaced but with a player of a different style who, unfortuantely has spent some of the season injured and the rest suffering from a virus. This was a calculated gamble as Benitez didnt have the funds to address all areas that needed seeing to.
    RB Johnson replaced Arbeloa
    When Hyypia decided to leave there was no option to go for a bargain basement replacement like Kyrgiakos at a pricely sum of 1.5 mil.
    The NET spend for Liverpool over the past two summers has been zero.

    Sacking Benitez wont help the situation - it will exacerbate it. But keep reading the sun or the daily mail as I'm sure you find fabrication much more entertaining than fact.

    ------------------------

    Are you suggesting Benitez is not at fault for your current predicament in football (not finance)?

  • Comment number 66.

    20. At 09:40am on 14 Apr 2010, woodsforthetrees wrote:

    Your Point 1

    Liverpool fans can whine and complain about the 'difficult environment' that Benitez has had to operate in and the 'lack of finance', but the fact of the matter is that since Hicks and Gillett bought the club in February 2007, money has been made available to sign Torres, Arbeloa, Keane, Aquilani, Glen Johnson, Babal, Riera, Dossena, Leiva, Skrtel, Benayoun, Cavalieri.......the list goes on. Many of these were signed for quite substantial sums. So are Liverpool struggling because of 'financial restrictions', or because funds have been squandered on sub standard players?

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    My Reply 1

    Summer 2007
    Spent 39m
    Recouped 20m

    Total Outlay 19m

    Jan 2008
    Spent 6.5m
    Recouped 8.2m

    Total Outlay -1.7m
    Total Outlay To Date 17.3m

    Summer 2008
    Spent 35m
    Recouped 20m

    Total Outlay 15m
    Total Outlay To Date 32.3m

    Jan 2009
    Spent 0m
    Recouped 12m

    Total Outlay -12m
    Total Outlay To Date 20.3m

    Summer 2009
    Spent 40m
    Recouped 37m

    Total Outlay 3m
    Total Outlay To Date 23.3m

    Jan 2010
    Spent 0m
    Recouped 5.8m

    Total Outlay -5.8m
    Total Outlay To Date 17.5m

    So, over the course of 3 seasons Rafa has spent in total 17.5m. That equates to 5.8m per season. Do you really think that this is a massive outlay for a Champions League and League title challenging club? If you do I think you have very little idea about the money that is spent in the football world.

    It's interesting to note that, whilst I can agree he spent a lot in the first 18 months of the new ownership (which is actually to be expected if you study the past behaviour of Hicks and Gillet with their other interests - invest immediately and then bleed the club dry based on success) you must also take into consideration the fact that in the past 18 months we have a negative transfer spend of 14.8m. How exactly do you expect a manager to improve, or even sustain, the performance of a club when money is so blatantly taken away to pay the interest on the loans rather than being reinvested to strengthen the squad?

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Your Point 2

    I have to confess that I haven't even heard of some of these players!!

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    My Reply 2

    Torres, Arbeloa, Keane, Aquilani, Glen Johnson, Babal, Riera, Dossena, Leiva, Skrtel, Benayoun, Cavalieri

    Of course you haven't heard of some of these players before - that is what scouts are for! I doubt you had heard of Sami Hyypia before Liverpool signed him, no? Turned out pretty good though, didn't he? I suggest that the fact that you had not heard of a player before actually has no bearing on how good a player is or can be.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yout Point 3

    The fact of the matter is that the only significant trophy Liverpool have won under Benitez was the European Cup. Yes, this was a fantastic achievement, but the club should have then gone on from there to be competing on a regular basis for the Premier League, which they haven't.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    My Reply 3

    Interesting that you use Benitez's success as a stick to beat him with. It is widely accepted that the squad that Benitez won the Champions League with was not good enough and had displayed over a number of years its inability to compete in the Premier League. If you actually look at what happened as a result of the investment in the following 24 months then you will see that Liverpool DID progress to challenge for a league title and had improved gradually pretty much year on year due to a lot of wheeling and dealing by Benitez.

    The reason they have not further continued this trend is the fact that players have been sold on the premise that Benitez will get the transfer funds to spend (plus the usual additional investment that you see each season of between 15m and 20m) only for the owners to refuse to provide the funds once the players have been sold.

  • Comment number 67.

    'The fact is that he has spent something like £220m net on players'

    No. 100 million. We haven't spent anything in three transfer windows. Hell, we have made a profit.
    Added to the fact that we had a weaker team then Arsenal, Chelsea and Man U before Rafa arrived. About on level terms with Villa and Newcastle at the time.

    We are fifth in wages, which is something like 20 million a season behind united and chelsea. We have spent the money we got from champions league exploits on players, not the americans money. If it wasnt for the Americans, Alonso would still be here. If it wasn't for Hicks and Gillette we would have proper backup for Insua, who has basically been thrown to the wolves this year because we didnt have another choice. WE had to use Ngog because we couldn't use any of the money in the summer to backup our squad with at least a decent replacement for Torres.

    And comeon those of you critisizing Rafa's 'bad buys' Remember Shevchenko? Anderson? Berbatov? I havent seen much of that 8 million pound signing Tosic. Or that 5 million pound signing Obertan. What about Bosingwa and Zhirkov, the 34 million pound wingbacks who don't play?

    Please dont try and portay Rafa as lord of the bad signing. He has done the best he could in trying circumstances. It's been a piss poor season, but there have been alot of problems. Blaming Rafa entirely for it is nonsense.

  • Comment number 68.

    Firstly, there's a lot bile going around.....(bar a few sane and measured posts - Scottish Scouser/Fields of Anfield Road/Persian Green etc) and it would serve those - who are letting their albeit admirable passion and emotion for our club cloud their judgement - well to realise that the monumental commercial failing of Liverpool FC over the last 20 years was always going to cripple the club eventually - not the manager (although I do not relieve him of blame in certain areas).

    The lack of business acumen to recognise that without a similar size stadium as United, without a competitive level of global commerce and marketing, they were always going to become more and more dominant (the Premiership years essentially) and our boardroom just sat there after winning the title every other year for nearly a decade up until 1990 let this happen even though there was the success and the fanbase to continue to compete if the right decisions had been made - and because those decisions to build a new stadium and capitalise on the commercial revenues of so much success were not made we are now reaping what was sown so long ago.

    I love Anfield, we all do but I can't physically sit down in the Kop (not that I want to of course but alack I am forced to by people complaining that they can't see when I stand up) because there are too many seats crammed into too small a stadium when taking the hit and building a new one would've been the sage long-term business model.

    So without a ridiculously unsustainable investment (Chelsea, City), we were always going to hang - and even when there were said investors sniffing around the Premiership, no-one in the Liverpool boardroom was savvy enough to recognise the economic models developing until it was too late.... then once they realised the problem, they brought in totally the wrong type of investment anyway (Hicks and Gillett).

    Compeltely embarrassing... and it pains me to say we deserve it.



  • Comment number 69.

    'If there are any local reds on here that are in full support of Benitez, can you honestly say that most of your red mates are in agreement?'

    gotta surprise for you
    http://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php?topic=256408.0

  • Comment number 70.

    Firstly, Moores and Parry are to blame for selling the club to the Yanks. They both talked how much they loved the club and would never sell the club to people who had no interest in it. Basically, the only thing they loved was money and was waiting for someone stupid enough to pay what they wanted. Moores and Parry - you two are a disgrace and shouldn't be barred from ever entering Anfield!!

    Secondly, the Yanks bought the club with the sole intention of trying to make a quick profit!! They had or have "NO" idea how the "football world" functions - normal business rules doesn't apply as football is based on people's emotion!! They thought that they could exploit people's emotion (by talking about building a new stadium, increasing ticket price, merchandising, etc) to increase the value of the club, hence sell the club at a higher price. However, what they didn't envisage is that in order to exploit those emotions they needed to invest heavily, but the credit crunch put a stop to it!!

    They never had any intention to spend their own money - it was all about "borrow, borrow, borrow" to make money!! Since they bought the club, and when it became obvious that they were "village idiots" who neither had the money or knowledge to run LFC, their only intention has been to make money!! There has been many offers (from the Middle-East) to buy the club outright, but they refused as the offers haven't met their ridiculous valuation!!

    Thirdly, Rafa is a clown of a manager, and people who support him do so blindly - probably the Old-LFC mentality of never disclosing things in public and trying to keep everything in-house!! What they don't realise is that everything to do with the club has been made public since those clown Yanks took over!! The initial appointment of Rafa was very good but he has taken us as far as his capabilities. Just like the Yanks, he just doesn't understand how the premiership works - for the last three seasons we had the players and the team to really be pushing for the title. But with his non stop "rotation" policy, constant resting of players pre-christmas, and trying to stop the oppositions from playing rather than trying to beat them, has cost us many points!! Also he has no system of play and relies only on the talent of Torres and Gerrard to win games!!

    Furthermore, his buying of players has been absolute diabolical. He buys players without thinking if they will fit into his system (which he doesn't have anyway), but expects those players to adjust to his defensive mentality and running like a headless chicken!! Hence, why talented players doesn't improve under him, e.g. Ryan Babbel, Bellamy, Reira, Morrenties, etc!! And also what is happening to our "youth system" - we have some very talented players but they never get an opportunity as Rafa doesn't have the courage to play them!!! He also pays and waste money by paying over the top for average players like Keane and Johnson, and then moans that he doesn't have money like other clubs!! Also his treatment of Alonso was a disgrace, and trying to replace him with Barry just shows his lack of people management, players and football.

  • Comment number 71.

    Mogba1 those audible boos were so audible because they were actually from the Birmingham fans and were aimed at Ngog who dived to win a penalty for Liverpool to get a draw and not at the substitution, but let's not allow facts to get in the way of a good anti-Rafa story eh?

  • Comment number 72.

    Liverpool fan here.
    For all those complaining that it's all the owners fault and nothing to do with Benitez - take a look at Avram Grant at Portsmouth.
    Compare the situation of the two boards as well as the players Grant has at his disposal compared to Benitez - I think you'll agree that Grant has it much worse. He's had no money at all and even less time and yet Portsmouth are in an FA Cup final. But more importantly, he's got them playing as a team. They don't even know if they're going to be playing for the club in the next few weeks, yet they still fight for each other. That's something that's been missing from Liverpool all season, and it's obvious that Rafa's 'people management' skills are somewhat to blame for this (the same thing happened a few years ago when Paco Ayestarán walked out).
    I'm not saying it's all rafa's fault, but those of you saying the American's haven't delivered on their promises must also see that Rafa hasn't either - he guaranteed us fourth remember.

  • Comment number 73.

    It's nice to see some constructive comments and posts on here, it is just a shame that the actualy writer of the blogs on BBC never actual comment, seems to be a kop out really. I will write an article emcourgae discussion but never respond.

    Anywho, firstly Rafa, this season and others some of his decisions have been bewildering but you do not become a bad manager during pre-season. We may have only one the Champions League once under Rafa but we have reached the final and semi finals as well and we were a feared team across Europe.

    Change for change sake does not work, look at Manchster United, it took Fergie 5 or 6 years to win anything when the league was nowhere near as competitive. Rafa has just took full control of the Academy and to me that will be the acid test in 2-3 years if we can see some geniune talent coming through the ranks. With the club saddled with debt this is the way forward.

    Look at the quality and spine of the team

    Reina - The best keeper in the Premier League
    Johnson - Englands right back
    Agger - A good footballing centre half and still only 26 (I think)
    Mascherano - Aregentina captain and one of the best holding midfielders around
    Gerrard - not a great season but still one of the best around
    Torres - The best goals per minutes striker in the PL

    True Carra sometimes looks a little flustered but he is still great at what he does and thats is defending. Our problem this season is confidence, that magic ingredient that every team needs to build and sustain sacking Rafa will not make any differnce for next season.

    As for the Yanks, the Premier League and the FA need to be more accountable for making sure owners do not saddle clubs with debt, these poeple should never be allowed to even entertain a bid let alone buy a club but unfortuntaley they both have the moral fibre of the greedy City bankers as well as the large scale incompetence that is inherint within football clubs.

    People like Gillet and Hicks should be run out of town like in the good old days with an old fashioned lynch mob or gun slinger

  • Comment number 74.

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

    http://www.spiritofshankly.com/why-join.html

    Say no to the banks with dodgy debt policies, no to owners with dodgy profit motives. No one but the fans should own Liverpool. If bankers that are fans have personal money, let them get involved on an equal footing with the rest of us. If there are other individuals out there with loadsamoney let 'em get involved with the rest of the fans. Football makes money, but that is not what it's for. It is a game and we are the fans who care about how it's played, how it's seen, how it's watched and how it's supported. If fan ownership isn't taken more seriously and all we get is more of the same, why won't this happen again and again and again and again......?

  • Comment number 75.

    63. At 12:36pm on 14 Apr 2010, rogerredhat wrote:
    Those blaming the manager are short sighted and naive


    ------------------------

    I don't get it. Why is everyone naiive for thinking the manager of a club is to blame for results yet you're insightful for spotting the blame lies entirely with the funding of the club and its financial position?

    It doesn't make any sense! The manager is primarily responsible for the way their team performs and Liverpool have had money to spend. You have the touted world's greatest striker, who plays for Spain regularly, in your team!

    I can understand the likes of Bolton, Stoke or Wolves stating that their manager isn't to blame for their position, due to lacking funds, but Liverpool?

    Rafa is to blame for your current position in the league and your failure in the ECL. He's also directly responsible for your good run in the Euopa league. He's the manager and the buck stops with him. Financially, if you're in trouble, that's entirely down to the board but you cannot blame this for performances on the pitch, not when you have access to some world class players.

  • Comment number 76.

    To Scottish Scouser and FedupwithGovernment, would one of you please explain Liverpools current plight without resorting to ABU rubbish and insulting the board of directors. What I mean is please make a logical argument.
    If you say players leave because they want to leave, surely it means they don't want to stay in the team and that is the managers fault. Please answer this.
    Your net spend over the last year might be negative but in the time since Rafa took over it's practically equal to that of United, give or take 5 million.
    Last season your lot were second and could have easily won the league had your manager employed different tactics against 'lesser' teams and this season the truth is that Birmingham and Sunderland had they not had a couple of dodgy runs would have knocked you out of the top 10.

    Now these 3 things are pretty much indisputable and no amount of insults or wishful thinking will make it go away. Explain to me what influence Hicks and Co had on these three things. Otherwise take off the over sensitivity you are not fooling anyone.

  • Comment number 77.

    #19 Paul
    ".....And for anyone that thinks any other manager would have done a better job than Rafa with the (presumably financial?) constraints he's had (not that he gets everything right, but who does?) I'd love to know who that would be."
    David Moyes, simples!
    Your beloved RB has spent some £140m (net) more than Moyes in the time he has been at the Reds, and poduced a team of mostly average journeymen over reliant on their one world class player (Stevie G has had his day, and has never done it for England anyway) and you moan about constraints? Join the real world matey. And before all you Reds say "yes but we're still above you", I defy any manager to have done better this season given that we had half a team absent through injury for the first half of the season. You lot moan about Torres & Gerard being injured as if it's a crisis, but you don't know the meaning of word.
    Long may Rafa reign, he's great comedy if nothing else!

  • Comment number 78.

    Mogba1 wrote:

    'If there are any local reds on here that are in full support of Benitez, can you honestly say that most of your red mates are in agreement?'

    all the regular home supporters I know want Benitez out but have no idea who'd replace him. And nor do I. I don't think there's a real reply to this one because no matter how good the manager he'll still have to work at Liverpool FC and it's rubbish there at the moment. Would any other world class manager be able to find a new set of owners, compete in the transfer market with Chelsea and Man City with the same funds as Benitez? Or play more offensively with such little finishing-power? Doubt it. There are reports Benitez isn't a personable, likeable man too. Since when has that been a precondition of success? Gordon Ramsey's a tit, but he's good at what he does (but has just lost a Michelin star for never being at his restaurant though). If you wanted to be the best chef alive would you want to work for Ramsey or Jamie Oliver, or play under Benitez, Wenger, Ferguson, Frank Rijkaard, or Pep Guardiola? I can't think of any others, but all of these benefit from financial stable clubs (Barca) and others from jobs they'll never be sacked from.

  • Comment number 79.

    'If you say players leave because they want to leave, surely it means they don't want to stay in the team and that is the managers fault. Please answer this.'

    Hypia wanted to leave for more games, Arbeloa's contract was nearly up (and Johnson is better) Crouch wanted to leave for more games because Torres was king. Alonso was a fool who believed that seasons of mediocrity would save him from Rafa putting a price on him. Im sorry, what player doesnt?


    'Your net spend over the last year might be negative but in the time since Rafa took over it's practically equal to that of United, give or take 5 million.'

    Correct. This doesnt take into Account Rooney, Ferdinand, Ronaldo (cheaper then the other two but still) and alot of other signings which made Man U a vastly superior team before Rafa arrived.

  • Comment number 80.

    I am a liverpool fan throu and throu but i have to wonder how there is stil so many liverpool fans blindly faithfull to Rafa!!! As some here have mentioned, take a look a stevie gerards reactions when he saw torres being subed at brimingham with 10 to go, total discust at wat was happening.

    Yes there is problems off the pitch but we had all these problems last year as well and where did we finish then , its not the boards fault that the team is playin total c**p football which is nothing like we were doing last year.


    Rafa has to go simple as that, he has to take responsibility for his signings and his players. Not even near good enough.

  • Comment number 81.

    Lfc fans, I see you pain and suffering, and frankly I'm loving it!
    If the are a more arrogant self-righteous bunch of 'victims' out there? I've never had the misfortune to meet them.
    They were not whining about the yanks taking over when they though they could buy their way the PL title, (but the are quick to point the finger at others) and get a shiny new stadium too!
    Long may your misery and suffering last!!

    In Rafa We Trust

  • Comment number 82.

    Someone above (39) made a good statement - "There are many problems at Liverpool", you can say that again. May I add to that - Sack Benitas, get rid of the current USA money bags owners & get in indigenous caring owners on the proposed Man U model, where the supporters will have more say in running their club. There can be no supporter that can be proud of the clubs performance this season, which surely reflects the incompetence of the manager, Benitas, who must take the full rap for poor buying of players & playing them out of position, trying to sell one of their best player Torres, unsettling the team, but trying to appease the owners & keep his job.

  • Comment number 83.

    Rafa has made mistakes, keep him..." because there is no point in employing other managers whilst there is no capital to spend. Rafa is no mug and neither are the fans...whilst the damaged ship is riding the storm, i can still see us improving after this season.We have been spoilt with success over many a years and the storms clouds are with us, but please stop looking for the any guilty persons because its not a quick fix solution, so be patient and support our club.

  • Comment number 84.

    There are many facets to why the club is in the state it is in.

    I think first and foremost, you have to look at David Moores and Rick Parry. When Man Utd jumped on the merchandising bandwagon in the early 90s, Liverpool were actually financially better off. However, while United progressed on and off the field, we were left standing.

    Then, you have to look at the manager. Now, he's done a very good job up until this season, but for me, it's not a coincidence that this slump has happened in the season where he has been given complete control over the running of the club. It's too much for one man to handle. Why does Rafa want to control the academy, when we had a perfectly good youth coach in Steve Heighway? 5 men's opinions are likely to be closer to the mark than one man's opinion when it comes to players' abilities, but Rafa seems very stubborn and unlikely to listen to a view that isn't a mirror of his own.

    On the pitch, his decisions continue to baffle. The acquisition, and continued selection of players like Ngog and Lucas isn't healthy. He has had money to spend. Since his arrival, he has been working to a similar budget to Arsene Wenger, and to be fair, has a similar record over the same period. I would argue that Arsenal were in transition at that time however. Some people might argue that it's the owners' fault for not making funds available, but that isn't my point. My point is why is Ngog getting a game when Pacheco is waiting in the wings, a player with a big future (though possibly only if he moves away from Liverpool). Why is Lucas playing if Aquilani is fit? Why does Dirk Kuyt never miss a game despite being generally inept?

    Finally you have to look at the owners. I will write something in their defence first. On the positive side, we have bought players for £20m (Torres, Keane), £18m (Mascherano), £17m (Johnson, Aquilani) since their arrival. Compare that with the club record of £14m for Cisse before they arrived. Also, I think that without the recession, a stadium would be underway by now. That said, trying to demand £500m for something you paid £350 for 3 years ago is just silly when the asset itself hasn't really improved since it was bought. I think they didn't really know what they were getting into when they bought the club. Also, they haven't brought the right people in to run the club. Instead, Rafa has been very clever in getting the fans on his side, and turning them against both Rick Parry, and the owners. He saw off Rick Parry, and is now the most powerful person at the club, which is dangerous.

  • Comment number 85.

    The whole club needs a clearout. At boardroom level, to team management level and player level.

    So many people are culpable but for this week can't we just focus on tomorrow whcih is what's really important.... 96 brothers still haven't received their justice!!

  • Comment number 86.

    #66 mattydalton
    Benitez didn't win the Champs League for you. It was Houllier's team inspired by Stevie G who almost singlehandedly won that game. Rafa had diddly to do with it.
    Benitez may have been a good coach in Spain, but over here he's shown poor judgement in transfers, man management and tactics that have landed you lot where you are now. You will never win the PL with or without the money for transfers while he's in charge. He doesn't understand English league football, simple as. If you had got Moyes instead of us, you would almost certainly have won the league by now, probably more than once. If only we had the financial resources Benitez has squandered!
    As an Everton supporter obviously I can't say I ever liked the Reds, but at least the likes of Houllier, Roy Evans, Dalglish, Paisley, Shankley (yes I go back that far) were deserving of respect. Benitez with his constant moaning and petulance, not to mention hardly ever crediting the other team, is simply annoying, and that's putting it as mildly as possible.

  • Comment number 87.

    to Collie21

    you say "If you say players leave because they want to leave, surely it means they don't want to stay in the team and that is the managers fault."

    Have you ever played football? Do you even watch it? Do you understand the offside rule? Crouch wanted first team football, who would he get that with Torres and Gerrard in devastating form some players are not content to sit on the bench week in week out. Arbeloa is Spansih, as per Ronaldo he has an affinity with Real Madrid as does Alonso.

    you say "Your net spend over the last year might be negative but in the time since Rafa took over it's practically equal to that of United, give or take 5 million. "

    No it isn't how much money have United recouped over the last 3 years?

    you say "Last season your lot were second and could have easily won the league had your manager employed different tactics against 'lesser' teams and this season the truth is that Birmingham and Sunderland had they not had a couple of dodgy runs would have knocked you out of the top 10. "

    This comment beggers belief again have you ever played football? Do you even watch it? Do you understand the offside rule never mind tactics? True Rafa has made mistakes in games and he maybe slightly cautious but so do and are the majority of managers. I don't even think you understand the word tactics, what would you have done, "stuck two upfront" which seems to be the classic answer from commentators about being more offensive.

    So how did Hicks and Gillete impact on these, well the fact we couldn't replace established PL players with quality estbalished Premier League players is directly influenced this.

    Net spend, well that is obvious and tactics again it could be argued that the players were not available to change games, and please don't tell me Babel could, cos he has all the composure of a teenager during his first time.

  • Comment number 88.

    hey mightyblooze, you up for groundshare?

  • Comment number 89.

    It always amuses me to see people criticising Benitez for taking off Torres (such as the recent Birmingham game) when the guy is flying to Spain getting his knee looked at. I take it they think the smart move would be to be playing him more while he's injured?

    The issue isn't taking Torres off; it's who Liverpool don't have to replace him. Maybe Berbatov will be available on the cheap soon?

    Perhaps the best long term development for Liverpool would be to sack Benitez and sell Gerrard & Torres to clear debt. It would be a disaster short term but would clear H&G out quickly because the value would collapse forcing a sale, and the huge strength of the brand would soon see the club come back once it got club-orientated owners. Better if H&G just cleared off though really.

  • Comment number 90.

    collie21...
    "the truth is that Birmingham and Sunderland had they not had a couple of dodgy runs would have knocked you out of the top 10".

    Apparently this is undisputable.

    You really do come out with some utter rubbish.

  • Comment number 91.

    I have nothing left to say but this:

    Plea to the current owners. Please, for the sake of our club, sell the club to someone who can afford to run it and put us back where we belong.The club isnt worth £500-600M, you wont achieve any price in this region, be realistic and sell.

    You have almost destroyed one of the greatest institutions in British sporting history(as David said). Go, now before you make the situation any worse. I know this sounds pathetic coming from a grown man but Please just sell up and go, Please!!!

  • Comment number 92.

    In response to mattydalton

    If we are using your statistical analysis as a gage, then it can be a little misleading. According to the following article;

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/170274-rafael-benitez-arsene-wenger-alex-ferguson-their-transfer-histories/show_full

    United's record is as follows;

    2007
    Spent 0
    Recouped 19.5m

    2008
    Spent 37m
    Recouped 19.5m

    2009
    Spent 51m (I have included Berbatov expenditure as the article did not)
    Recouped 83.5

    So in the 3 seasons you included, Ferguson has actually made 34.5m, which is 11.5m per season. So in answer to your question, yes, if purely going off your narrow analysis, then it is possible to sustain Premiership and Champions League challenges with small net expenditure, even with my limited knowledge on the 'money that is spent in the football world'! Both Manchester United and Liverpool lost influential players over the summer, the fact of the matter is that United, and Ferguson in particular, have coped better with the loss. The fact remains that Rafa's hands haven't exactly been completely tied when it has come to purchasing players.

    I think you miss my point about not having heard of some of the players signed. I don't claim to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of all players in all leagues around the world, and of course scouts will uncover unknown players. My point was that some of these players have been at Anfield for 2 years or more, yet I have never even seen them feature in the squad. If you bear in mind that some cost in excess of 5m, then I find this quite strange. The scouts may uncover the players, but surely Rafa has the final say on if he thinks they're good enough? It would appear that on numerous occasions he has made the wrong call.

    Your reply to point 3 is strange. I wouldn't say there has been steady improvement, they have realistically challenged for the premiership once, and that was last season. they have since lost one influential player that they may have preferred to keep, yet Rafa has shown his inability to cope. His strange and often negative tactical choices, in my opinion, has cost Liverpool points this season, and as I said previously, with the refinancing of Liverpool being in the public eye at the moment due to recent developments, it all seems like a convenient excuse for Rafa to hide behind.


  • Comment number 93.

    Yet another BBC nothing story, do you not get ever get bored making this stuff up.

    "According to senior sources" you mean you made it up otherwise name your source.

    "Exact details of that investment remain unclear but it is thought" You mean you don't know but heh lets make something up.

    You have based a whole story on nothing but rubbish, and to make it worse you get a load of numpty's giving there few pence worth.

    BBC journalists never let the facts get in the way of todays news narrative.

  • Comment number 94.

    71. At 1:04pm on 14 Apr 2010, Bombaye wrote:
    Mogba1 those audible boos were so audible because they were actually from the Birmingham fans and were aimed at Ngog who dived to win a penalty for Liverpool to get a draw and not at the substitution, but let's not allow facts to get in the way of a good anti-Rafa story eh?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ok, Bombaye, the booing point aside, what do you say about the other comments made?

    Is Rafa and his 5 year plan not to blame for assembling arguable to worst Liverpool side since you were promoted back to Division 1 in the 60's?

  • Comment number 95.

    I can just put this out there!! It could still be conceivable that Liverpool will even fail to get a Europa League place next season if they don't win it this year. What do Liverpool supporters think of that?

    H&G have done a lot to damage the club but so has Benitez as well. Why does he think it's a good thing to publicly slag and slate the owners and he doesn't even back this up with performances on the pitch. Surely the owners could class that as gross misconduct and sack him without paying any compensation.

    Like a few others have mentioned. It's been a while since any youngsters have come through the academy which use to happen quite regularly. Has Benitez or someone else stifled this growth? I know that Man C, AV and Arsenal have very strong academies and you can see them coming through but not with Liverpool.

    Surely with the debts that they have and the problems with building a new stadium it would make sense to build a new stadium with Everton and ground share which would half the cost and would make sense for both clubs and even the city.

  • Comment number 96.

    "And for anyone that thinks any other manager would have done a better job than Rafa with the constraints he's had (not that he gets everything right, but who does?) I'd love to know who that would be."

    This was posted by Paul but he obviously didn't know that Martin O'Neil was available at the same time as they appointed Rafa. You just have to look at what he's managed with Villa to appreciate that he's better in all senses of the word.

  • Comment number 97.

    I have to laugh when people say that Benitez has spent X amount etc.

    1. Most transfers are undisclosed. The Media will take a guess at the transfer fee paid.

    2. Most transfers involve stipulations based on success, games played, commercial aspects etc, rarely is just a single lump some paid.

    3. The vast majority of Managers will play little or no part in the fee paid, or the negotiations.


    This is real life not Football Manager!!!!!!!!

    As a Liverpool fan I think I agree with the majority in keep Rafa and Get rid of the Yanks! YNWA.

  • Comment number 98.

    Quickafix, I sympathise with you to an extent as you're in a difficult position. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't but there has to be a point when you say enough is enough. I think the board must be hoping he takes a post elsewhere and saves them a job. I find it hard to believe some of the blinkered support he continues to receive in some quarters.

    I appreciate that he doesn't have to be a nice man but he needs to remember that footballers are human beings, not robots or pieces on a board. Some players need an arm round them whilst others need a kick up the backside. A great example of how not to treat your players is when he refused Alonso leave to be at his child's birth. Cheers boss.

  • Comment number 99.

    A more rational explanation may be that Jim ONeills intended bid (through Red Knights) at Manchester United (again through what could be construed as Goldman Sachs) may ve vioewed as a conflict of interest with the Liverpool bid. Can you imagine a scenario where a result between the two clubs was rigged? I could. Goldman Sachs are the ultimate poison in every walk of life. You can't move without these greedy so and sos being involved. Now they are tring to permeate our National game. Disgrace.

  • Comment number 100.

    At 1:32pm on 14 Apr 2010, TheRoyalBlueMersey wrote:

    Lfc fans, I see you pain and suffering, and frankly I'm loving it!
    If the are a more arrogant self-righteous bunch of 'victims' out there? I've never had the misfortune to meet them.
    They were not whining about the yanks taking over when they though they could buy their way the PL title, (but the are quick to point the finger at others) and get a shiny new stadium too!
    Long may your misery and suffering last!!

    In Rafa We Trust

    _______________________________________________

    Schadenfreude is the biggest sign of the truly pathetic. Time to grow up.

 

Page 1 of 2

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.