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Liverpool saga heads to High Court

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David Bond | 06:48 UK time, Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Not since Terry Venables and Lord Sugar took their battle for control of Spurs to the High Court has the Strand witnessed such a key moment in the history of one of England's most illustrious clubs.

Back in 1993, Lord Sugar, or Baron Sugar of Clapton to use his full title, was just plain old Alan and Venables was a footballing folk hero with the prospect of managing England at Euro 96 all to come. How innocent football seemed then.

It wasn't, of course. And it was Sugar, remember, whose satellite dishes made Sky's revolution of the Premier League possible.

But the courtroom tussle for control of Liverpool that begins on Tuesday demonstrates, perhaps even better than Portsmouth's financial collapse, the end of an era of rampant commercialism first ushered in 18 years ago by men like Lord Sugar.

When Sugar bought just under half of Tottenham in 1991, the club was valued at a little over £16m. What is at stake in the High Court on Tuesday is the sale of Liverpool to the American baseball team owner John W Henry for £300m.

That sum would be much, much more if Liverpool were not, to use the City parlance that has entered our footballing lexicon, such a distressed asset.

What Sugar and his fellow pioneers might not have foreseen all those years ago was just how damaging a problem debt would become. Nor would they have guessed just how high a price the national game would pay for the Premier League's love affair with money and the Football Association's inability to regulate the changing landscape properly.

For it is debt that has brought Liverpool to the High Court, where the Royal Bank of Scotland will argue that American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett breached the terms of a £237m loan extension by attempting to block the takeover by Henry.

With Gillett no longer really in the picture - Mill Financial, a US hedge fund, took control of his stake when he reneged on a loan he used to acquire his 50% share in the club in 2007 - Hicks is fighting hard to retain Liverpool.

As we know, it was Hicks who tried to reconstitute the Liverpool board after it decided to sell to Henry last Tuesday. He wants his son Mack Hicks and Hicks Holdings colleague Lori Kay McCutcheon to replace managing director Christian Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre on the board. But RBS says this is against the conditions laid down in a refinancing agreement put together in April.

If the bank succeeds in persuading Mr Justice Floyd to rule in its favour, Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton can push ahead with a second court hearing to rule on his right to approve the club's sale to Henry's New England Sports Ventures (NESV).

If RBS loses, there will effectively be no sale agreement with NESV and Liverpool will be back to square one. Such an outcome will give Hicks control of the club again but his joy may be very short-lived. On Friday, the £237m loan is due to be repaid to RBS. Unless he can come up with the money or persuade the bank to extend his credit again, then the board may be left with little alternative but to go into administration.

Peter Lim and John W HenryPeter Lim and John W Henry - will one of them become Liverpool's new owner?

That would lead to a nine-point penalty from the Premier League and possibly scare off other potential buyers, such as Peter Lim, the Singapore-based businessman revealed as the rival bidder to NESV by BBC business editor Robert Peston on Monday.

Liverpool would also become the biggest financial casualty yet of the supposedly booming English football business.

It is a sad and sorry mess. And although the Premier League must be commended for introducing tougher regulations for future owners in the last 12 months, many fans may reflect that it is too little too late to save great clubs like Portsmouth and Liverpool from the side effects of unchecked capitalism.

Even now, we learn that John W Henry has already passed the Premier League's requirements for new owners. And yet we know very little detail of his plans.

He may well be exactly the sort of owner Liverpool need but, having been burned once, the club's supporters will be right to read all the glowing backgrounders on the Red Sox owner with a high degree of caution.

And even if he does take over, how much more money will he need to find - and where will he find it from? - to finance the investment in the team and the move to a new stadium? That could be another £300m to £400m on top of the cost of buying out Hicks and Gillett (Mill Financial).

With British businessmen like Lord Sugar now out of the game - he remarked after selling his majority stake in Spurs for £22m in 2001 that Tottenham had been a "waste of my life" - it is foreign investors who still show the keenest interest in acquiring England's biggest football clubs.

And whatever happens in the High Court in the coming days, Liverpool's experience shows - again - that the game's administrators should be asking more searching questions as to why that is so and whether it is the right thing for English football.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I don't think it goes back to the Spurs saga - the real death knell for football began with Abramavich. All clubs then knew that they could only compete with very rich owners of which there is now an noticeable absence of British owners.
    As a Liverpool fan I was guilty of the following: (1)realising that David Moores was one of these (poor) British owners (2)wanting to compete financially with Chelsea/Man U and others who were beginning to attract rich foreign owners (3) wanting someone to buy Liverpool to 'take us to the next financial level'.
    We got what we wanted and I am utterly chastened.
    Chasing success has made our national sport a foreigners playground - not being xenophobic by the way. but as everyone keeps on saying, it just happens to be Liverpool at the moment. Which club will it be next?

  • Comment number 2.

    Whatever happens, Liverpool will be starting again. There will be no rich sugar daddy to buy their way out of trouble. Worst case is relegation this season - a real worry if they get points deductions, best case mid table. No prospect of champions league for a few years, difficulty in retaining top players. Life is going to be very difficult for Liverpool for some time.

    And the same problems potentially loom for other clubs, either because of debt or because they are spending beyond their income. However, I see don't see much sign of reality creeping in yet at clubs until they have gone over the brink. I'm not an Arsenal fan, but given the comparative lack of resources with Man U and Chelsea, I think Arsene Wenger is looking a great manager of a football club, not just a football team.

  • Comment number 3.

    And yet because Wenger hasn't spent millions and millions and sent arsenal to a similar financial position just to spend an afternoon at Wembley, there are fans who now want shot of him.

    It's the problem with football that people just assume you can throw massive pile of cash after massive pile of cash and everything will be alright, even when the bubble has burst, the liverpool fans are assuming that the new owners will come in and spend spend spend.

    Unless you get your oil baron/middle east prince who want your club as a play thing and not an investment, then you've got to accept that you won't compete.

  • Comment number 4.

    What would the impact to the Hedge Fund be if RBS take over the Club on Friday? Would this have financial implications in some markets somewhere or would they hold onto their holdings?

  • Comment number 5.

    3. At 08:32am on 12 Oct 2010, TheBoltonsMum wrote:

    It's the problem with football that people just assume you can throw massive pile of cash after massive pile of cash and everything will be alright, even when the bubble has burst, the liverpool fans are assuming that the new owners will come in and spend spend spend.

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

    Actually, the vast majority of Liverpool fans are not expecting spending for fun. Most actually seem to expect something very similar to the Arsenal model. Yes we are expecting a new or improved stadium as that is what has been promised, then we are expecting to spend some of the money that had been previously going to the bank on paying off the debt.

  • Comment number 6.

    One way or another the pragmatists among us will take whatever comes and carry on with whatever package we end up with. Whether this is the "sensible owner who will look after the club" or as a once great entity that has been raised to the ground in blitz like fashion.

    If it is the former - all well and good and we can look forward to regaining our place at the top table of English football at some point (soon?). If it is the latter, then we will steady ourselves for a long hard struggle and build Liverpool Football back up brick by brick.

    Either way, the proposed destination is the same. Its just that one pathway will simply take more time and effort.

  • Comment number 7.

    One can argue Arsenal have got it right but fans want success and the media is very balck and white in terms of comparing everyone to Che, Manu and soon City in terms of challenging for the title. Liv were touted as title winners only 2 seasons ago. The reality is that money wins the PL. First ManU and for a while, Ars were spending relatively big on the likes Bergkamp, Henry, Overmars, Peres, Reyes etc. Then Abramovic arrived and changed the entire landscape with his riches.
    Up until then, Arsenal had been winning titles and pushing Manu all the way but they suddenly got blown out of the water. Only Manu, with their already expensively assembled sqaud and continued financial muscle (Berbatov, Carrick, Hargreaves, Anderson, Nani etc) could realistically compete and Che still over took them. Now it's City who are looking to muscle in pushing the others further down the pecking order.
    Everyone else either has to accept they can't compete and live with picking up the scraps or try and find investement to compete. When the super rich clubs hoover up most of the best players and leave them on the bench, it's very difficult to mount a serious challenge on the pitch.
    The media has a massive part to play in this too by constantly criticing clubs who have less resources for not winning the title when it's plain to see money rules. The media is very simplisctic. Comparing teams based on the cost of their squads, whilst realistic, doesn't make for exciting headlines. Football journalism needs to be far more realistic and fair minded instead of trying to stir up storms and reaction to generate headlines.
    I am not an Arsenal fan but in my view, they have got the balance right in terms of how they run their club, but they won't win much (if anyhting) until the likes of Che and City implode or the new Uefa measures for operating within the boundaries of each club's revenues is successful. Arsenal are then potentially sitting pretty. Lfc need to get into this position and develop their already established global support to generate legitimate profits.

  • Comment number 8.

    As a Spurs fan, I have to agree with comment number 1. Which club will it be next, indeed. We've seen Portsmouth swap ownership like it's underwear, we've seen Man City thrust from one mega rich owner to another and now what we're witnessing at Liverpool must be dire for the fans to have to witness. All because they wanted some super power to come in and fund success. I think even Man Utd fans would testify that it doesn't quite always work like that. Personally, I'd hate for Spurs to be bought out and for us to go and splash £100m on new players immediately. Genuinely, I feel Spurs to be an old fashioned, family club, not a conglomerate or enterprise. I like the way, for us, it's a new signing big signing each season and slowly but surely building the club within our relative means. I'm sure we are in debt too, but it's self created and self managed, which is the way most football clubs run. Liverpool, what a tricky situation you've got yourself in, and I have to say it's of your own making as you watched Chelsea and the likes, go out and buy quality - naturally you wanted to match it. Whether you go into administration or not, you'll lose Torres soon and Gerrard is getting no younger. This whole affair seems to really have taken the sting out of Liverpool FC.

  • Comment number 9.

    Much vitriol has been poured over the head of Mike Ashley over the way he has run Newcastle United, and some of it has been justified, especially pre-relegation. It was easy to see the hand of a retailer rather than a football club owner at work.

    However it seems that relegation has helped both the club and its owner come to terms with what is needed. I understand he is still funding the club, but I also understand that Ashley is looking to achieve a sustainable financial model based on anticipated revenue and expenditure levels within the next two years (assuming they stay in the Premier League) that doesn't need continued chunks of huge investment.

    If football continues to fund itself via forms of commercial debt, as has been the fashion for some time for those without a super-rich benefactor, serious trouble looms. RBS, Northern Rock, Lloyds ring any bells? No wonder the Man Utd fans are concerned - they should be.

    Let's be clear. NUFC without Mike Ashley's injections of perhaps up to £200 million may well have gone the way of Portsmouth - or Liverpool: living on your history is a recipe for future disaster, as we are now seeing. Liverpool's glittering past in the 80's and 90's does not make it a special case, exempt it from a real threat to its top-table future. Its fans may yearn for their return - who wouldn't - but at what long term price?

    An English owner at an English club that can compete at a high level but which is largely self-sustaining. That is an attractive and sensible business model, and might even create an asset that is really worth something.

    If Ashley achieves it - in fact even for trying to achieve it - he deserves a lot of credit. He might even get his money back, after a while. I hope, not for jingoistic reasons and not just for NUFC supporters but for all football fans, that he succeeds.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think people are getting blinded to the realities of the situation by their loyalty to the clubs. Is Hicks going to walk away with a £144 million hit? Is he Hell! This is brinkmanship to get more money and - considering the NESV bid is only offering £300 million - that's hardly surprising. The noises over the weekend about how NESV will pull out if there is a points penalty are just the same - tactics. I think Liverpool will be sold - for more than the NESV are offering - as, ultimately, Hicks will want to salvage something and he'll get nothing if the team goes into administration and NESV (or the Asian bid) will utterly lose interest if Liverpool are relegated - which could happen with a points penalty - so something will happen before administration. RBS don't want to be closing down Liverpool Football Club - great PR!

    It is the people at Liverpool who allowed this deal - with horrendous leveraged debt levels - to go through who I blame. And BTW as a Spurs fan, I know the debt my club owes Alan Sugar. Man's a hero. Grumpy and annoying, but hero nevertheless.

  • Comment number 11.

    Is it Peter (copy) or Paul (photo caption)?

  • Comment number 12.

    It's sad to see the state of a great club like Liverpool go through this.

    It is a result of chasing success. I remember the joy in the faces of Liverpool fans when Gillet and Hicks took over. They believed that this was the revolution that will see them compete for the title again. Sadly it's not to be.

    Clubs must follow the Arsenal model of ownership which has extended to allow fans to buy shares. Although many want to see the trophies roll in, it's far more important to know that the club will exist 2/3 years down the line.

    Wenger has foreseen the direction football clubs are heading at and made the necessary changes (building a new stadium) to secure the clubs focus.

  • Comment number 13.

    #1's post has a great deal to commend it. Great to hear it from a Liverpool fan as well - for too long there has been too big a sense of entitlement from many fans of the larger EPL clubs.

    Liverpool have made their bed and will have to lie in it. The vast majority of the major decisions at the club (the appointment of Hodgson is an exception) have actually been made with the support of the majority of fans (as, one assumes, will the sale to NESV if it goes ahead) and it has only been in hindsight that it has become apparent that greed for quick success has blinded everybody involve to the dangers of their business model.

    Also think that #9's post bears reading for many Newcastle fans. I have long felt that Ashley got a raw deal from many supporters (the previous owners were equally as much to blame for Newcastle's predicament). Whilst he certainly made mistakes, in comparison to the owners of Man U and Liverpool who have simply used their clubs as a vehicle for debt he looks like the model owner.

    As bad as the situation is in our league at the moment, there are reasons to believe that we have reached a nadir and things are looking up. The UEFA FFP regulations are going to have a significant impact on Man City's bid for European Glory, and go some way to ensuring that simply having a sugar-daddy a la the Sheikh is not an automatic fast track to success. The down side of these regulations is that Barca and Real - whose TV contracts are negotiated individually and are therefore disproportionately large in comparison to their league rivals and other European teams - have a significant leg-up in the CL. That said, at least the distribution of Sky money between EPL clubs is relatively egalitarian - a preferable position to the Spanish model.

    It has been said 100 times, but surely the German model is the way forward. Yes, when adopted it would mean that the clubs competing in Europe would initially suffer from a less level playing field, but this would soon balance out and the likelihood is that more countries would follow suit.

  • Comment number 14.

    In a previous blog on this very same subject I followed a link and discovered a new and topical verse of the Anfield anthem. I thought it brilliant and decided to share it with you guys.
    Go on, pay the fees
    Go on, interest too
    As your dreams are tossed and blown
    Go on, go on, and soon you will learn
    That you’ll never want a loan
    You’ll never want a loan

    YNWA ????

  • Comment number 15.

    Kentspur

    You are wrong. The fans of Liverpool are not to blame. They were told in good faith during the press conference that the club would not be loaded with the debt and therefore with the endorsements from the board of LFC what else are you to believe if you are not privy to the contractual arrangements? No this sorry saga unfortunately is a lesson that poor due diligence by those in charge of any company can result in poor business decisions.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Forget the blame game, I'm just saddened that this has happened to my once great club. I was once proud to pull on a Liverpool shirt every weekend to go out, now I'm the butt of all the jokes that were levelled at the Pompey fans last season (I live near Portsmouth).

    The sad thing is that the football club itself is profitable, we need to learn to live within our means and expand those means where possible.

    Realistically, we have to face up to the fact that until we are in the new stadium and we can generate enough revenue to fund new player acquisitions without resorting to wealthy owners with bottomless pockets, we will not be able to compete.

    We have to 'do an Arsenal'...

  • Comment number 18.

    As along time Liverpool supporter now living in the USA I watch the events with Horror from Afar.
    Like Kentsur I think there's a lot of brinkmanship going on here but this whole thing has made me ashamed of being an American. I can't see a clean way forward but hope that RBS wins, holds over the October 15 date for things to settle and we can move on. I do think that Hicks missed a chance to walk away from this mess and allow the club to rebuild.
    Relegation is not an issue clubs like Liverpool have too many stars and support to allow us to think of relegation, but as we focus on things off the field what about the new manager is he the guy to take us forward.
    It makes my head spin, too many issues for a club to bear right now
    The coming few days will be vital for Liverpool as the effects of these could well decide the fate of the club for many years to come.

  • Comment number 19.

    Having read many various blogs on this issue over the course of the past days, weeks, and months, I would be surprised if Broughton got things wrong from a legal standpoint. He does not seem the kind of man who would his much vaunted reputation without having gone to the nth degree in terms of checking the legal ramifications of his decision. I expect Hicks to be fended off and for things to go through in good time.

    Assuming that is the case, I would expect the club to try and do some business in Jan. Enough to stabilise the team. I also think the plans for the new stadium/ refurbishment of Anfield will be at forefront of initial efforts, what better way to show fans a tangible difference from the previous American owners. Long term, however I see no reason to think that the business model will vary greatly from that used at the Red Sox. Ensure that the club can compete on the field and let the clubs commercial success, which is an area Liverpool are already performing well in, be the basis of this success as well as helping to fund the stadium. I doubt very much we will b relegated but convincing our one star name who mite leave to give another 'one more year' could be a difficult task.

  • Comment number 20.

    This might be simplistic...

    Why cant RBS just wait till Friday? Its fairly clear that the loan isnt going to be repaid, surely they would then take over the club and would sell to who they wanted. Just like a bank selling your house if you default on the mortgage.

    Im no financial expert, so someone tell me where im going wrong.....

  • Comment number 21.

    Last season at the height of the banking scandal, despite all the controversy RBS managed to refinance Liverpools debt on £237M. Now I can understand this if the club were in financial difficulty even though I as under the impression that Hicks and Gillett bought the club to avoid this.
    However Liverpool immediately bought Glen Johnson for £16M- so RBS didn't have funds to provide small businesses to keep them afloat, or homeowners to keep a roof over their heads, but managed to find money for Liverpool to buy football players.
    I wonder how many Liverpool fans still go to Anfield when they can afford it, are now out of work as a direct result of this?

  • Comment number 22.

    As you say David, the bottom line is whoever and whatever it is that's OKing people like Hicks and Gillett, Portsmouth's previous owners, I suspect the Glazers, and a few others I'm sure, are not fit for purpose. Your ordinary fan, myself included, hasn't got a clue about high finance so are depending on the people who have, for which we pay a lot of money, through the turnstiles, Sky subscriptions, merchandise, etc, to check the credentials of these characters. Is the huge injection of capital that a sale brings clouding their judgement?!

    On the other hand, as Tiger says, fans push to go the next financial level to compete, but as BoltonMums says, if you can't, then you have to accept you won't, and the fact is most English clubs and fans have increasingly accepted this as the gap between the haves and havenots has widened. Liverpool and Manchester United have dominated so much of recent English football history so it may be difficult for some of their supporters to swallow that more barren times are ahead. Will they still go to watch their teams week in week out if fortunes plummet?

    Finally, it's a real sickener to read Gillett, with a champagne glass in his hand, can renege on repaying a loan that helped him buy the club, while families struggling to get by get thrown out of their homes for failing to pay the rent or defaulting on the mortgage. This is symbolic of the unchecked greed that has been eating away at the values of our society and no better exemplified than by our football, the working man's game!

  • Comment number 23.

    @ 12

    "Wenger has foreseen the direction football clubs are heading at and made the necessary changes (building a new stadium) to secure the clubs focus."

    Wow, I had no idea that Arsne Wegner was responsible for the building of the stadium, even more impressive than I thought!!

    @12

    "I remember the joy in the faces of Liverpool fans when Gillet and Hicks took over. They believed that this was the revolution that will see them compete for the title again. Sadly it's not to be."

    This is one Liverpool fan who was not smiling when they took over, I had a bad feeling about them.
    @10

    "Is Hicks going to walk away with a £144 million hit? Is he Hell!"

    The choice may not be his, if the court rule in RBS' favour, he's up the creek


  • Comment number 24.

    Hi, am from Mauritius Island and there are lot of Liverpool fans who are very disappointed with all this stuff. Many of us consider that the Americans have fail in their committement and have 'take LFC" to another lever. People and fan of other teams are laughing at us. We consider that the club should not be put again in the hand of americans.
    LFC have loss his Roman Abramovich long time ago when the club refuse the bid of Dubai Investment.

  • Comment number 25.

    Should be interesting case
    Either takeover will happen

    I do not expect Liverpool to enter administration

  • Comment number 26.

    John W Henry :'we know very little detail of his plans'

    Am I wrong or did I read an article the other day that Liverpool council "had firmly rejected a proposal by Henry to 'redevelop' their existing home at Anfield"? His Boston Red Sox franchise are the only team in MLB still playing at their traditional home and it makes sense that his plans for the Merseyside giants would follow a similar 'build on your history' route. Reports of other bidders entering the fray may make this all academic anyway ofcourse!

    David, you mentioned the court case arrives at a time The Reds are struggling in the league and state the potential catastrophic effects a 'nine point' deduction may have on proceedings, buut despite clear early season wobbles I'd say most Liverpool fans still would expect their team to rise up the table eventually and few give up hope of a European place so early on...'form is temporary, class is permanent' - so the question is will their current 'relegation position' really have such a big bearing on todays' court decision or will 118 years of pretty succesful history have greater influence?

  • Comment number 27.

    " Yes we are expecting a new or improved stadium as that is what has been promised,"

    Who has promised a new stadium?
    Liverpool supporters should remember that whoever bails them out of this mess, NESV or Lim, is not doing it because they love the club or they've "supported it since they were boys" they are doing it for a return on their investment.
    Both are only offering to buy the debt {like legalised loan sharks really} neither have come forward with any future plans for the club, neither has promised a stadium, neither has indicated how they will take what's owed to them plus interest back out of the club. LFC's fans are under the illusion at the moment that RBS are doing them a favour, when in fact they are the ones who are guaranteed to get all of their money back plus interest, so come Friday RBS will have their pound of flesh, how long will it be before NESV or Lim want theirs?

  • Comment number 28.

    Quite a few people referencing Arsenal as role models for other clubs to follow. But a huge part of Arsenal's currently strong financial position must be attributed to the redevelopment of Highbury, whereby the club were able to sell apartments in a 'trendy' are of London for massive amounts. Clubs like Liverpool (if they move to a new ground in Stanley Park) will never be able to sell expensive apartments on the defunct Anfield site for such sums. Indeed, their current stalled plans for the redevelopment of the Anfield site don't make anywhere near stunning revenue earning streams. In other words, Arsenal had the fortunate benefit of high London property prices to boost their position. This just magnifies Arsene Wenger's superb team recruitment and management. And, crucially, unlike Liverpool, he is allowed to sell players when he deems fit. Compare the millions made from the sales of Anelka, Adebayor and Toure to the blundering at the end of the contracts of Owen and MacManaman. Liverpool lost up to £25million each for those two players. £50 million lost to any business is careless. And the problem with the recent Liverpool boards is that they haven't been able to translate the passionate fans, community, environment, culture or people of Liverpool into anything that can help to engineer the strongest scenario for the future. Once people achieve director or chairman status, they only see things in terms of money, money, money. It's what drives them. The fans are kidding themselves if they think they'll ever have any real say in the club's direction. Maybe a listening now and again but nothing fundamental to the club's identity. I hope I'm wrong, but if you put millions into a business, are you going to be told what to do by people you look down on in everyday life? Unlikely. My boss certainly won't listen to anything I say! I just hope somebody in the new owners (because it is inevitable, Mr Hicks, you fool) has the intelligence to calmly sit down, research and understand the club, then find a unique way to push the club forward. Because there is a way. There is always a way...

  • Comment number 29.

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

  • Comment number 30.

    stebluenose
    ---

    Your points interest me, ive asked people them before but no one has really answered.

    These guys are not doing it for love. We know its very difficult to make a profit in football at the moment due to the ridiculous running costs.

    So why invest £300m into a company that makes what £30m profit yearly? The return isnt there. So they are obviously going to clear the debts, bring some stability and maybe try to sell in a few years, making a £100m profit??

    I dont know the answers, but I cant see anything else happening....

  • Comment number 31.

    Post #29 - This was a sensible discussion until you arrived with your childish and purile attempt at taunting.

  • Comment number 32.

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

  • Comment number 33.

    MR post 31. forget sensible.

    why should hicks and the other dude take £144mil just because the players on the pitch arent performing and rafa spent wildly on garbage.

    why is it all you hear from liverpool fans are "we're too big a clubbbb likeeeeee to go downnnnnnn"

    arrogancy at its best.

  • Comment number 34.

    i meant why should hicksy and gilete mach3 take a £144mil loss

  • Comment number 35.

    @ 29, 33 & 34

    Sad, unimaginative and just plain boring.

  • Comment number 36.

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

  • Comment number 37.

    @34 - Hicks taking a loss or not isn't his choice - it's the way the financial climate has gone. If we took out a mortgage and then the value of our house went down and we had no money for repayments then we would have to take the loss on the house to pay the debt - we couldn't just say "no, I don't want to, because this way I lose money".

    @20 - Liverpool going into administration does 2 things RBS don't want - it knocks a chunk off the value of the club, and it leads to negotiations about what % of the money owed will be repayed - they'd quite like all of it back :-)

  • Comment number 38.

    "Why cant RBS just wait till Friday? Its fairly clear that the loan isnt going to be repaid, surely they would then take over the club and would sell to who they wanted. Just like a bank selling your house if you default on the mortgage."

    The problem for RBS is that to takeover they have to put the club into administration, which effectively lowers the value of the club and reduces that chance that they'll recover their money. The best case for RBS is for someone else to buy the club before they have to step in. They really don't want to get saddled with a football club.

    As for people having a go at Liverpool fans because they were excited when Hicks and Gillett tookover, why wouldn't they be excited. A lot of exciting promises were made, but they were never kept. More importantly, most fans naturally expected that you actually had to be rich to buy a football club. They didn't realise Hicks and Gillet had mortgaged the club to the hilt with no real prospect of paying the banks back. Unless that is they managed to turn the club into something massively more profitable than it or any other sports club had ever been. The club was doomed from the minute the previous owners sold up.



  • Comment number 39.

    #23

    "Wow, I had no idea that Arsne Wegner was responsible for the building of the stadium, even more impressive than I thought!!"

    Yes, Wenger did have a major part in the plans to build the stadium. He helped build a team that was economical in terms cost as well competitive on the pitch that would allow the finances to build a stadium.

    How do you expect to build a stadium if your manager spends left right and centre. The key to a new ground is to have the right finances in place and that can only be achieved by capped spending on players.

    It is not easy to remain competitive when you plan to move to a bigger ground. He has sold players as well as bought sensibly (bar a few) that has seen the club make profit and keep a managable debt that just about every premier league team would envy.

    I hear the shouts about an empty trophy cabinet but I'd rather have a club that can sustain itself than flirt with Administration.

    You can't say you're securing the future of your club by making a new ground and then spend £18m on Glen Johnson!

  • Comment number 40.

    David you just skate over this in your blog:

    "With Gillett no longer really in the picture - Mill Financial, a US hedge fund, took control of his stake when he reneged on a loan he used to acquire his 50% share in the club in 2007"

    So where do Mills Financial get their money back from? Are they now likely to finance hicks in the hope of finding a buyer?!

    This for me is the only worry. The Mills conundrum as I call it.

  • Comment number 41.

    @27

    In Martin Broughton's interview he stated that NESV have a commitment to stadium development, which reads that they will either develop Anfield, or fund a new stadium.

    As a Liverpool fan I would be more heartened by the NESV offer than that of Lim. The worry is that Lim is financing this out of his own personal wealth, which at any time can take a downturn, or worse still, he could decide that he has suddenly lost interest, and go elsewhere. Of course, NESV could do the same from a business decision, but they have a proven sporting record, albeit in the US, and I'm sure their plans for future development of the club are well backed by past evidence. I know some will say it's Yanks out, Yanks in, but let's not tar everyone with the same brush.

    Whoever comes in, in the end, will all but wipe the debt from the club and then we can start rebuilding, starting by clearing out some of the dead wood from the pitch.

  • Comment number 42.

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

  • Comment number 43.

    Quite a few people referencing Arsenal as role models for other clubs to follow. But a huge part of Arsenal's currently strong financial position must be attributed to the redevelopment of Highbury, whereby the club were able to sell apartments in a 'trendy' are of London for massive amounts.

    ----

    I don't think that's strictly true. Yes, the Highbury apartments are going to be a good source of income, but the club has always maintained that the property business is separate from the football business, and that the club would still be in a good financial position even if they didn't make anything from those sales.

  • Comment number 44.

    "Even now, we learn that John W Henry has already passed the Premier League's requirements for new owners. And yet we know very little detail of his plans."

    I'm sorry, I don't see why the details of a multi-million pound business deal would or, moreover, should be made public knowledge, particulry to an industry shrouded in decit and propaganda i.e. the Media. I'm not directing this at yourself David, but what I don't see is why you expect to be given the details of this deal and subsequently made this comment.

    It's not as if people have the right to know the ins and outs of private business deals i.e this proposal, those involved do and should be in a position to make and informed astute decision. More so follwoing the epic failures of the current owners of Liverpool FC.

    What we do understand is that a highly profitable and successful business is interested in lightening the financial burden of this great club and aiming to restore it to its former glory, a blueprint executed equisitly with the Boston Red Socks so what more than that what do you expect at this stage? A list of transfer targets? A Stadium design? The 2014 away kit?

  • Comment number 45.

    The way football is managed needs to be structured. I propose that:
    The Premier League as a body be done away with, the FA can do the job.
    Clubs should only be allowed to spend what they earn.
    Club ownership needs to change, Fans should own 70% of the ownership.
    There should be a Junior League and financially supported by the FA.

    Then again talk is cheap.

  • Comment number 46.

    41 wrote.
    "In Martin Broughton's interview he stated that NESV have a commitment to stadium development, which reads that they will either develop Anfield, or fund a new stadium."

    Not being pedantic here mate, but he was talking in the past tense, he didn't give any answer as to what the plans for Liverpool may be, and as I said earlier, whats in it for them?
    If we say £300M to pay of the debts another £300M for stadium and team development? so a £600M total investment, where does the return come from? when do they want a return? or are they just buying because they know it's massively undervalued and will look to sell for profit in about 12-18 months?

  • Comment number 47.

    Quite a few people referencing Arsenal as role models for other clubs to follow. But a huge part of Arsenal's currently strong financial position must be attributed to the redevelopment of Highbury, whereby the club were able to sell apartments in a 'trendy' are of London for massive amounts.
    ------------
    Also everything is relative - I'm sure the costs of Ashburton Grove would be very different from any projected costs of Liverpool moving into a new stadium (and further savign could be amde by a groundshare which i see as a perfeclty sensible option).

  • Comment number 48.

    Quite a few people referencing Arsenal as role models for other clubs to follow.

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

    yes winning nothing for 5 years is the blueprint for running a successful football club. They're a good business to generate money sure, but at the main footballing values of looking after your fans [£60 a ticket?] and winning trophies? They suck.

  • Comment number 49.

    Adam Torr, you're missing the entire point opf this thread

  • Comment number 50.

    #47 Ground sharing is a perfectly sensible option to everyone execpt every LFC & EFC fan, so it won't happen regardless of how sensible it is.
    #34 If you live by the sword, you can expect to die by the sword. How much sympathy can you have for pure speculators losing money due to their own ineptitude and greed. They took a gamble and lost, its really that simple.
    Once the LFC situation is resolved, and I am confident it will be sooner rather than later, who will be next I wonder. ManU look to be the most obvious choice I guess.

  • Comment number 51.

    Is it really true that hugely wealthy individuals, and in some cases organisations, are a new thing in football?
    My, possibly incorrect, impression is that most of the successful clubs in British football have been run by wealthy, often ruthless, men, and not by the fans. In Spain and Italy isn't this also the case, maybe even more so? This may not have been a good thing always, but it seems to have been the way of the footballing world. The vast wealth which has been behind the rapid growth of, say, Chelsea and Manchester City is simply a modern, and accelerated, version of this trend.
    Fans have a natural sense of ownership but it is rarely one based on real power - they can vote with their feet, but that will tend to be counter-productive, although of course sustained pressure can oust unpopular directors and boards. The result may however be simply the replacement of one disappointment with another.

  • Comment number 52.

    35. At 10:19am on 12 Oct 2010, Bearsridingbikes wrote:
    @ 29, 33 & 34

    Sad, unimaginative and just plain boring.


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

    wow. you've just won the argument. well done

  • Comment number 53.

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

  • Comment number 54.

    I think #1 miss a bit of the point in blamming Abramovitch for the demise of Liverpool although I recognize it is a good post.
    I explain: The main issue with Abramovitch and the Mansour Family that now owns Manchester City is whetehr they will be there on a long term rather than the debit side of it. they actually, whatever you say, DO HAVE the resources. teh question is whether the interest is a long term one (although all this talk and abramovitch is already roughly on his 6-7 year tenure at the helm and has converted the majority of the debit from Chelsea to him in Shares meaning that the club is only saddled with the losses it makes in regards to the actual trade of players and managers).
    Liverpool and, as a matter of fact, what may or may not happen to Manchester United, is a different matte if you look at the original deal more deeply: Hicks and Gillett, as well as the Glazier Family, actually NEVER HAD THE MONEY to purchase either asset and relied on high interest loans to pursue their "dream" aiming to profit on the other side. That's they crucial difference.
    What comes from the american formula, contrary to the Russian and Middle Eastern one, is the corporate manouver to acquire companies and assets without actually having the means to do so.
    Similar to the owners from Portsmouth after the Gaydamack era (which was flawed by itself because of the dubious origin of the money and the disregard in spending it).
    This is what took Liverpool down and may (I hope not!!!) taken Manchester United as well (their supporters, in my view. show a genuine concern and loyalty to the club by being worried about the issue)..
    I would land the blame straight on the EPL and FA since although the created the EPL Test for new prospective owners, it seem sclearly flowed since Hicks, Gillett, and every single Portsmouth Owner has passed but this did not prevent the disaster afterwards.
    The British Press is absolutelly fast and agile in uncovering (wanted or unwanted) facts about alll sorts of people. yet, no further information is reloeased of who is behind either NESV or any other bidder for Liverpool and they already passed the test!!!
    Makes me wonder if EPL really does regulament the game or is there only for the money.

  • Comment number 55.

    As a Red, it's so hard to watch this saga unfold but know that it was of our own making, or more importantly David Moores and Rick Parry's. In the pursuit of a few dollars more for his stake, David Moores has caused more pain for the club he loves than he could have imagined. It is all well and good to be altruistic and say "we need a bigger investor" but where was the due dilligence. Kenwright wants the same, but correctly wants to see someone with a real interest for EFC come in ... is that so wrong? Why rush for the first bag of swag that lands on the boardroom table if they have no interest in the club or its fans ...?

    DIC appeared far better positioned to take over with their huge wealth and infrastructure experience. Hicks / Gillett talked a good game but as soon as we heard the Weetbix story from Hicks on leveraged debt, everyone knew the end was nigh.

    Everyone goes on about Chelsea and Man City, but these are toys for their owners and they are lucky to have them (for now?), while United's position as perfectly written about by David Conn in the Guardian is just as bad as LFC if you read through the figures to see what it really is - just another leveraged deal costing the clubs tens of millions which should be going back into the club and not paying debt / interest off.

    Arsenal's board deserve true credit, outside of their manager (who I admire but believe is too cautious as Young, A Johnson, Van Der Vaart and Snijder etc show there is value out there). The way the board have sold Highbury and the rights to get the Emirates is superb business (even down to future ticket sales and advertising being used as collateral) while not letting any of their big foreign shareholders decide their destiny but rather have their investment at an acceptable level to use positively.

    Unfortunately, the same can't be said for LFC and MUFC ... and the FA and the Premier League should have been looking to Europe as to why this type of ownership would never happen in their leagues. Shame on them.

  • Comment number 56.

    35. At 10:19am on 12 Oct 2010, Bearsridingbikes wrote:
    @ 29, 33 & 34

    Sad, unimaginative and just plain boring.


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

    wow. you've just won the argument. well do

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

    I wasn't arguing I was giving an opinion, no point arguing with someone who isn't saying anything of any worth. Thanks for the credit though.

  • Comment number 57.

    Sad times.

  • Comment number 58.

    @ 23 – It’s common knowledge that AW was instrumental in pushing for us to move to a new stadium, just as it’s common knowledge that AW has always maintained a strict and financially sound fee / transfer budget structure.
    He gets criticised by the media, opposition fans and our own plastic fans for seemingly being a tightwad (and thus depriving Arsenal of potential titles), when in fact he should be lauded for maintaining a team that consistently punches above its weight while keeping the books balanced. The very fact that we are competitive in EVERY competition we enter year after year really is a huge achievement.
    Take a look at Pompey, Leeds and now Liverpool for all the cautionary tales you need.
    Sometimes the gamble can pay off – but there is usually a price to pay (no pun intended). Take Blackburn as an example – they spent big to win the PL in 94/95 whilst suckling on the financial teat of Jack Walker, however they seemingly had no real infrastructure (e.g. youth policy, fee structure, transfer policy, long term plan) – and instead of emerging as a PL force quickly faded in to mid table obscurity and then suffered the ignominy of relegation a few years after having reached the summit of English football.
    No’s 3 & 7 see the bigger picture.
    Anyway, the current situation is a shame for Liverpool, a team I’ve always had a soft spot for.

  • Comment number 59.

    Liverpool won't get relegated. One of the most ridiculous knee-jerk reactions to their position I've ever heard.

    If the takeover goes through, the feel good factor that will be running through the club cannot be underestimated. If this is coupled with a win at Everton, Liverpool's season will be up and running, truly.

    We're 7 games in, not 17. I expect Liverpool to be top half by January 1. And then who knows? Could be pushing for the European places come the end of the season.

    I agree Champions League is off the agenda, but Liverpool are not finished. Far, far from it.

  • Comment number 60.

    The way some of the supporters clubs,most notably SOS,have behaved I have no sympathy for Liverpool at all.
    Making demands even before owners were found was a ridiculous state of affairs.
    A 9 point deduction and a year,or more,in the Championship might knock some of their fans arrogance out them.

  • Comment number 61.

    As an Evertonian, fingers crossed.......

  • Comment number 62.

    "It is a sad and sorry mess. And although the Premier League must be commended for introducing tougher regulations for future owners in the last 12 months"

    So the administrators of English football should be commended for what exactly?

    Having spent over a decade allowing English clubs to become overlaoded with debt, setting no regulations with regards wage caps nor the financial worthiness of owners they now seek to be seen to be taking some sort of action....the phrase "shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted" comes to mind

  • Comment number 63.

    56. At 11:40am on 12 Oct 2010, Bearsridingbikes wrote:
    =============================

    right... you want me to say something which makes you happy? is that it?
    because my views are quite opinionated, you seem not to like it.

  • Comment number 64.

    Big day for Liverpool FC. Hicks and Gillett are going down in flames....I've no doubt whatsoever about it.

    Good riddance and enjoy the celebration......from a Man Utd fan!

  • Comment number 65.

    59. At 11:42am on 12 Oct 2010, Gavelaa wrote:
    ===================================

    probably one of the most deluded posts ever.

    liverpool are nowhere near playing as well as everton, so i dont know why you think liverpool will beat everton. everton have played good flowing football but just been unlucky with injuries and chances in front of goal where as liverpool have played abysmally since the start of the season. not one player has played good. so no, you wont beat everton, and i highly doubt you'l get back into europa league places.
    theres probably about 7-8 teams playing better football than you now.

  • Comment number 66.

    @martin3647: The point is that football administrators or associations (all the way up to FIFA) have no power to overrule the laws of business and fair trading.

    As we all know, football is now big business and nothing illegal has been done in the cases you would reference. Maybe not what we would like...but that's the reality.

  • Comment number 67.

    Why are some clubs 'toys for their owners' and not others? Are Hicks, Gillett, Glazier and other businessmen often not also 'toying', possibly cruelly, with the clubs they are involved with? They are playing the market perhaps, but the 'toying' is surely a likely corollary. They don't have the wealth of the billionaires, but seem no more likely to hang around if the going gets tough. Most clubs have been owned by single owners/families and carefully constructed boards who have a patchy record when it comes to business skills and loyalty.

  • Comment number 68.

    What is wrong with teams full of homegrown talent. WHat is wrong with not wanting a sugar daddy at your club. Football has lost it's roots, TODAY IT'S ALL ABOUT WINNING NOT COMPETING. Such a shame when we let big city types enter the game. It shows not only in our clubs but also our country that there are people in the city that need to be tossed out of the financial markets. Please, please, please why can't we go back to playing football as a sport not as an occupation. Blame the media for over hyping players, blame the media for sensationalism not facts. It all affects fotball in the end. It's just a game and should be treated like one. Tournaments like the world cup will actually mean something when you send a team full of your own nationals to a competition like the world cup when EVRY club in their respective countries have their own homegrown players. I watched a documentary last night about England possibly winning the world cup next time by GL. Sorry Gary you failed to spot the most obvious problem that a vast majority of us never wanted foreigners in our football at the time but were not listened to, why has it taken 50, 60 years to listen to us? Their lies the problem the football isn't for the people anymore it is for the money. Stop paying footballers massive wages, anyone with a little knowledge knows this is criminal, STOP following the Americans and their sport after all this is where it has come from. Football has been killed it will never be what it should be, a sport for fun. Too serious, I believe Bill Shankley made a comment about football being much more important than life or death how very wrong he is because at the end of the day football will just die it has never lived for the last 40 years. His comment just fuels and blinds supporters with greeed to be the biggest. It should never have got to this, healthy competition is good what we have now is just unhealthy and anything thats unhealthy will eventually die. The day we let bankers and multi millionaires into our sport was the final nail in the coffin. Most of these people have no knowledge of the clubs, the people that are involved with them they just want the prestige of owning the club for their ego. Football is dying it wil die very soon i'm afraid there is nothing that can save it now as een the players have lost sight of football's foundations. Keep watching the false sport I for one have given up on football

  • Comment number 69.

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

  • Comment number 70.

    63. At 11:46am on 12 Oct 2010, Bruce Buck Is A Legend wrote:
    56. At 11:40am on 12 Oct 2010, Bearsridingbikes wrote:
    =============================

    right... you want me to say something which makes you happy? is that it?
    because my views are quite opinionated, you seem not to like it.
    -------------------------------

    Say what you like, makes no difference to me. I was just giving my opinion on your views. I wouldn't describe them as opinionated though, more like poor, misguided attempts to wind up opposition fans which largely fail to hit the mark. Don't let me stop you though, it's clearly something you like to devote a lot of your time to!

  • Comment number 71.

    Words of Wisdom, you say 'football is now big business' - it always was wasn't it?
    Do you think the great Victorian and Edwardian clubs were run by gentle socialists with a love of the fans? Most of the histories I have read suggest all the big clubs were run by pretty cunning and often venal men who made fortunes out of the coppers of tens of thousands of the mainly working class supporters - obsessed with what H G Wells called 'morbid footballism'. They invented all sorts of wheezes to increase their income, used the media mercilessly and certainly did not invest in the greater comfort of their customers. Things may on balance be a liitle better for fans

  • Comment number 72.

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

  • Comment number 73.

    This is slightly off at a tangent but still relevant to the whole finance issue: The major spend of all clubs is wages for players. As a suggestion to ensure that competition remains a key component to the sport of football, could FIFA introduce a worldwide salary structure for every club that reduces the overall amount of money exiting into players' pockets regardless of success on the pitch. For example: Your agreed salary is £X per week, which you are paid regardless, plus X% for a win, X% for a clean sheet, X% for a trophy. Thus being a substitute, or losing, or poor defending, would seriously damage your wallet. Obviously the wealthier clubs would start with a higher figure, but it would protect clubs like Liverpool from the mediocrity that the club's players are offering on the pitch. And they couldn't complain and ask to be transfered elsewhere as every club would operate the same structure.

  • Comment number 74.

    @wordsofwisdom

    Agree with your analysis but sports such as Rugby League and Rugby Union have established early on in the professionalism of the sports arrangements such as wage caps, franchise and (in the case of the former) a requirement to have squads which include a number of players who have come through the club's development structures. All of these within existing legal frameworks

    The point I make is that football administrators are acting way too late. The outcome has been to eliminate effective competition out of football with only the wealthy being able to win...I can't see another instance when a talented manager is able to lead a lesser club to the title; success is now ourely a matter of financial clout and only Chelsea of Man Utd have the resources

  • Comment number 75.

    Just to correct some of the uninformed comments on here. The reason Liverpool is in its current situation is because Hicks and Gillett borrowed the money to buy the club and have rolled the interest up with the initial advance.

    When RBS demanded they reduce their borrowing, they took out loans elsewhere to provide the guarantees.

    Liverpool FC would be profitable if it didn't have to pay the interest on £240m debt. It is a different situation to Leeds and Portsmouth (whose payroll was more than its income).

  • Comment number 76.

    I simply don't believe the romantic view about football's past which is presented in so many of these posts.
    There are some excellent histories of the game, and particular clubs, which make it quite clear that football was run as a business or as vanity projects by a variety of people over the last century and who were neither more nor less ghastly than the many straw men so many people are asking to be burnt today. I'd warmly recommend anyone interested to read some of these books.
    In a global age it is little wonder the wealthy and the businessmen are no longer local.

  • Comment number 77.

    70. At 11:57am on 12 Oct 2010, Bearsridingbikes wrote:

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

    and you clearly cant stop replying to my posts which apparently are misguided and ill informed yet you havent shown me what ive said wrong.

    any fool can say "sad, unimaginative and boring"

    tell me what is sad about my post, tell me what is misguided about what ive said. go on son. you can do it.

  • Comment number 78.



    IF Hicks succeeds in removing the two LFC directors today, he can, and will, overturn the club's stance that any new, fresh loans cannot use the club's assets (stadium and training ground) as collateral.

    Therefore, he has a three-day window to raise funds to pay off RBS with the backing of those assets.

    Easy-peasy.

  • Comment number 79.

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

  • Comment number 80.

    @Martin: Can't disagree with any of that. I think the problem has arisen from the incredible popularity and growth of football and in particular the PL.

    The TV and other money, as it always will, flows down to every level, including the players. I think if RU and RL had the same attraction and developed the same wealth, salary caps would become a thing of the past...or at least become ridiculously high.

    It's us, the fans, who feed the beast and money corrupts. I was going to criticise Bladeforce (above) for various reasons on his posting....but then he concluded that he'd voted with his feet, which justifies his position.

    The problem is that most of us can't walk away and so we continue to fuel the nonsense.

    The other problem with regulation, like salary caps and player draft systems(can't imagine how that could be managed in football), is that it tends to breed mediocrity in that even if you run your club excellently, the system conspires to hold you back.

    I don't have a solution right now!

  • Comment number 81.

    @34 Bruce Buck Is A Legend

    I certainly don't blame them for fighting against the sale which will see them lose all that money, but its just the risk they took when they decided to embark on this. Any time you invest money in a business there's always the chance that you could lose it if things do not work out and that is just what's on the verge of happening here.

    They were never in it for the on-field glory like Abramovich is, it was always about making money for them, this is just capitalism at work.

  • Comment number 82.

    Hicks and Gillette are partially to blame for the mess of Liverpool but not fully to blame.
    The mess began long before this current loan deadline / court case saga.
    Half of their predicament is as a result of under performing on and off the picth.
    They have been top 4 regulars and have a wage structure to match the likes of Utd and Arsenal, but both of these rivals generate significantly larger incomes from much bigger stadia.
    I believe they have over stretched themselves in this department. In the last 5 years they won the CL and the FA Cup, but have not won the league in 20 years and their success overall has been sporadic.

    In the last 15 years Arsenal, Chelsea and United have all been more successful than LFC, but LFC like to think of themselves as equals, BUT both on the pitch and off it they are not. Sure they have a great history but that does not pay the bills!

    Since Rafa arrived, he won the CL with Houlliers team, and then an FA Cup. He failed to do much more to justify their apparent lofty status in the English league (and associated massive wage bill). He has slowly built a squad that has been very expensive and yet you would argue misses 3 or 4 good quality players for the starting XI, let alone the more quality players required as squad players.

    Fans argue he has had to sell to buy BUT look at how he has sold and who he has bought. He totally annoyed Alonso, by flirting with Barry (a poor mans Alonso) to the extent that he left for Real. Rafa then failed to get Barry, but spent the £30m gained from Alonso on Aquilani and Johnson. The former was a total waste of money (and he was injured for 1st 3 months), the later extremely over priced.

    Sure his net spend may be zero, but BOY! did he waste the £40m raised from sales. Look at what Redknapp has bought for the same money - Crouch, Van der Vaart, Defoe, Kranjcar, with a couple million in change. All the money spent of foreign 'talent'. He bought loads of full backs, none of which were any good (except Johnson) and failed to get back up for Torres....terrible management and use of resources.

    Rafa never 'added value'. He never bought on the cheap or took a chance on a risky player and improved them or got the very very best out of them. Look at how Sir Alex gets the best out of seemingly average players like Park, O'Shea, look at how Redknapp has tunred around the form of the likes of Gomes, Ekotto, Bale, Lennon. Look at some of the bargains achieved by other managers in the transfer market....i saw none of this from Rafa. He rarely improved players, often he ruined them!

    After a disasterous season, where LFC lacked the quality players needed and their confidence was rocked, they have now missed out on £20-£30m in the Champions League. This is a massive blow to the club, compounding the crippling effect of debt repayment.

    If Liverpool were in the Champions League, if they were winning matches and being competitive on all fronts, they they would be an attractive prospect for any purchaser and the finaces would be sounder, if not brilliant....now however they are a 'distressed' asset both on and off the picth.

    I do not fear for their future, but i do think they will need to reassess their expectations for a few years and build again...hopefully for them, the EPL will not move on so much in that time that it is almost impossible to catch up.

  • Comment number 83.

    Post #77: You really are becoming quite tedious. Most posters here are attempting to have a genuine debate. You however, are looking for an argument. The tone of your posts is aimed at inciting a response by winding people up. Your 1st post has already been removed by the moderator. This debate is not about what Benitez did or didn't do. Go somewhere else if you want to debate that. This is about the business of football. A significant and interesting decision is due today which you seem oblivious to currently.

  • Comment number 84.

    Words of Wisdom

    I reckon you have hit the nail on the head - the 'religion of football', which reminds me of Scientology sometimes, reached a kind of zenith of madness in the UK with Bill Shankly's notorious words. Those words have been taken to heart by many fans, in particular by those of his own club. They fuelled an unsustainable thirst for glory. Things move on and most football clubs eventually have their day. The disappointment is often heart-rending to watch, but also cruelly hilarious too as it expresses a terrible form of narcissism too.
    Perhaps we should set up a counselling service for desperate football fans to wean them off their deadly habit?

  • Comment number 85.

    49. At 11:14am on 12 Oct 2010, jcb211 wrote:

    just a tangent given im bored of all the plaudist for arsenal - my other previous post has some relevence but this thread is just one in a number of random hoo-haa's. Until today is done it doesn't mean anything. On one hand everyone is banging on about football being a business get used to it, then the other there is outrage that a club is being decided by court...like a business.

  • Comment number 86.

    Bruce buck why don't you go to the end of your street and shout your comments to random passers-by? You would be adding just the same value to the current debate.

  • Comment number 87.

    @WordsofWisdom

    Keep working on the right solution, I would think a combination of the considered views from the this blog should come to a viable solution quicker than the massed intelligenisia at the FA

    As for me I have walked away from paying to watch football on TV. I refuse to pay the high costs Sky charge and would rather see a live game - pity the local team's Bradford City!!!

  • Comment number 88.

    Sorry i didnt know my tone upsettled you bunch of liverpool sissies.

    shall i be more nice to your feelings in the future :-)

  • Comment number 89.

    Not an Arsenal fan but interesting to look at the number s etc …

    Arsenals’ owners have been locked in their own battle for a few years now, but have provided a relatively stable platform for the club to operate on. They’re definitely the financial if not the footballing model others should aspire to.

    Stable owners, an astute board and an exceptional manager who are not prepared to risk it all in the hunt for trophies and titles … as disappointing as that may seem to some Arsenal fans, I suspect many Liverpool fans would swap places in a heart beat.

    From the recent Arsenal accounts for the year end 2010, they have cash reserves of £127.6m (WOW!), pre-tax profits of £56 million and are now making profit on their Highbury Square development, having paid off £133 million of the development loans.

    As for Wengers’ contribution to the financial side of things …
    Per Chairman Peter Hill-Wood “.. he contributes to the responsible management of the club’s financial resources .. and the development of the club for the long-term .. not only does Arsene work within his player budget, but he understands when to extract value.” Venger made a £13.6m surplus from player trading last year.

    Arsenal policy is any unspent player budget (including proceeds from sale of players) is carried forward and added to the budget for the following season. Wenger will have around £40m to spend in January. Whether he spends it or not is a different matter.

    Contrast the performance of the profligate Rafael Benitez.

    Arsenal do still have a large debt for the Emirates Stadium … approx £239 million which costs them £18m a year in interest. In comparison, Liverpool and Manchester United, who are paying around £45m and £50m a year in interest to service their owners’ debts.

    Re the Highbury Sq development .. yes they’re in London and can sell apartments for big £’s, but redevelopment costs in London for the Highbury Sq Development and the Emirates Stadium are much higher than they would be in Liverpool.

    The sooner all these foreign investors get bored and move away from the Premiership the better state English football will be in, they’re only in it for the money, not for the good of the team or football. Imagine what will happen to Man U / Man C / Chelsea when their owners get bored with their toys!

    I hope Hicks gets his backside handed to him on a plate by the court today. RBS will do a deal by Friday to sell the club on .. the only worry is to which suitor, Peter Lim looks the better proposition but the board seem determined to go with NESV which will mean debt somewhere within the structure of club and holding company.

    Good luck Liverpool fans.

  • Comment number 90.

    I think people forget that these American Owners did actually provide decent amounts of transfer funds into the club. Its Rafa Benitex who also needs to take some of the blame - some of his signings have been absolutely shocking which resulted in Liverpool not getting into th Champions League. Its alright blaming the owners but when you had a manager like benitez who spent 20million quid on players that were never gonna do it he needs to take some of the blame

  • Comment number 91.

    @ Bruce Buck - Luis Garcia. That should do it! ;o)

    With regards to Liverpool, we need new owners as soon as possible. Hicks and Gilette have been a disaster and have taken our club to the brink. However unless you win the lottery and become a plaything for the super rich like Man City or Chelsea (although some Chelsea fans should perhaps worry about the large loan Abramovich has taken from the Russian government last year) then you will inevitably find that your clubs owners are worried about making themselves money, the club is secondary to their Business.

  • Comment number 92.

    40. At 10:35am on 12 Oct 2010, alseno wrote:
    David you just skate over this in your blog:

    "With Gillett no longer really in the picture - Mill Financial, a US hedge fund, took control of his stake when he reneged on a loan he used to acquire his 50% share in the club in 2007"

    So where do Mills Financial get their money back from? Are they now likely to finance hicks in the hope of finding a buyer?!

    This for me is the only worry. The Mills conundrum as I call it.

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

    Good call, alseno - following Dan Roan's tweeting of what's going on inside Court 16, the talk does indeed seem to have turned to a bid from Mill Financial!

    Maybe Hicks is going to find a way to cling on after all...

  • Comment number 93.

    As a Manchester United fan, I never thought I would have any sympathy with Liverpool's plights - but I do, because whatever the rivalry between clubs, both sets of fans passionately love their clubs and we have both been taken over by money grabbing 'leeches' who are sucking the life blood out of our clubs.

    For the first time (& only) in my life, I hope Liverpool win in court this week and Hicks & Gillet get stung for $140M. Glazers take note - take a small profit and get out of town, before your investment goes 'belly up' - £80M losses are not sustainable forever!

  • Comment number 94.

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

  • Comment number 95.

    'Bruce Buck Is A Legend' is a legend.

  • Comment number 96.

    Rob,
    Whats to stop RBS from owning us? and then using their money to finance our new found global domination?

  • Comment number 97.

    Call me a realist or whatever. Flas back to the early 70's "Football Made in Germany" ruled the TV air waves and of Course without many imports Bayern was the club (and West Germany the country) at the Apex of European Soccer. I am no Academic but somehow the German game deteriorated both at club and national level. Remember at this time even the Eastern bloc teams with their ruthless efficiency could not match the Germans. At the present time Germany is not ranked very highly by FIFA.

    From the Political world history is full of the 'rise and fall' stories of great empires (Roman, British, Ottoman, etc.).

    So what is happening to the Liverpools of this world is just a normal 'rise and fall' saga that will continue to dominate the soccer scene in England for sometime to come. With hindsight it is perhaps possible that the 2005 win in Istanbul may have marked Liverpools high point and from there onwards it was always going to be downhill. Even the 2nd place finish in 2008/2009 may just have been the kicks of a dieing horse.

    Believe you me it pains me, as a fan of LFC since 1973 to say so but LFC may never achieve even half of what the likes of Rush, Aldridge, etc accomplished. I wish this was not the case but I have a feeling this is the future of LFC!

  • Comment number 98.

    David - if RBS takes control of Liverpool does that mean the club will automatically 'go into administration' i.e. is it a consequence of the transfer of ownership? It seems illogical that the Bank would want to further devalue an asset it had just acquired as payment for a debt, by forcing this outcome?
    In my opinion the 'debacle' within English football started when 'TV rights' appeared on the agenda, this was the driving force that turned fairly famous clubs into potential world wide brands,e.g. Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal (who already had outstanding football 'pedigrees') and hence attracted those who wanted to 'make a killing'; it also made it possible for other clubs like Chelsea , Man city etc backed by £m's from rich owners, to dream they could do the same.
    Unfortunately, the rules for acquiring and operating multi-million pound businesses do not take into account the feelings of consumers, unless of course the consumer 'stops consuming' which of course for an 'addictive drug' like PL football, is highly unlikely to happen. Therefore the stage was set for a debacle to follow and it duly obliged!

  • Comment number 99.

    88. At 12:43pm on 12 Oct 2010, Bruce Buck Is A Legend wrote: Nonsense

    I've just had to sign up to say that you need to grow up. Liverpool are a bigger club, with better and more loyal fans, than Chelsea will ever be.

    It says a lot about you that you spend your time on a Liverpool board trying to wind people up. Well done, you've actually achieved something. You wound me up.

  • Comment number 100.

    No money, star players unsettled, planned stadium stalled, manager under pressure, a once big club, competing for the top of the table in danger of administration and disappearing to mediocre obscurity, and now it's happening to liverpool too, welcome to the world of a Leeds fan. Might do you good, now Leeds are stable, building a new team, making an operating profit. It's taken time but we are working our way back.
    Can't say i feel sorry for you lot, i remember how much enjoyment everone else got watching us implode, and fair enough, it knocked our fans down a peg or two, But i know as a fan it is the worst feeling in the world, but you will recover, aslong as the fans keep faith, thats all we could do and it may be all liverpool fans can do too.

    MOT "We're not famous anymore"

 

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