Si Steers

Columnist

LFC – Planning for success or mediocrity?

Si Steers takes a look at how Liverpool’s owners, FSG, are still suffering from the previous owners and mis-management at Anfield.

Since the sacking of Kenny Dalglish there have been some Liverpool fans that are questioning the direction the club is taking under Fenway Sports Group. They point to a number of incidents as proof that the owners are aiming for mediocrity, not success. There is a sense amongst some that FSG are in this for a quick profit.

Every single decision and move by the owners is now dissected into so much detail – it is difficult to know if the club is progressing or not. There is an understandable cynicism embedded deep in the traditionalist support: those that were the first to see through the greed of Hicks and Gillett and campaigned so hard to remove them have a right to be wary.

But the difficulty now is that cynicism is breeding the instinct of a section supporters – the experience the club went through under our previous owners cut deep at every level. The simple fact is that the direction the club is taking now – and the decisions that are being taken are open to interpretation. Some interpret those decisions with optimism, others with cynicism.

There are a number of key issues that the owners have been criticised for such as:

The stadium

A lot has been said about the stadium in recent weeks. It is absolute fact that Martin Broughton said it was a ‘condition of sale’ that a new stadium would be built. It is fair to say that after almost 24 months in situ, it is disappointing that the stadium solution hasn’t progressed. It is a fair criticism.

But there are factors that need to be considered. The stadium solution has to make economic sense for the club; whilst there had been a lot of work on designs and plans – there was a gaping hole in exploring the economic viability of a new stadium. FSG have taken the time to explore options – rather than rushing into a decision that comes with £150-200m of debt.

Recent indications suggest that despite a decade of being told otherwise – the club maybe close to finding a solution to stay at Anfield. If that is the long term stadium solution it will mean that the club can stay at its spiritual home.

What we do know is that FSG’s preferred option is to stay at Anfield – I am sure that is the preferred option of the majority of Liverpool fans. There has been progress made, but it is a complex project that requires multiple issues to be resolved.

Surely if the intent of the owners is to stay and develop Anfield – supporters can get behind that plan, with the understanding that progress will be slow, but the end game will be Anfield.

Sacking Dalglish

There are many Liverpool fans that believe the sacking of Dalglish was a bad decision. It is by far the most difficult and divisive decision the owners have made so far. There is an incredibly strong argument that Dalglish deserved another season. Sacking Dalglish was a nail in the coffin of the ‘Liverpool Way’ for a lot of traditionalist supporters.

Dalglish did progress the team, and he united the club. He gave us hope again. He saw us through one of the most turbulent periods in our history; and he gave us back our identity. Dalgish is an icon: one of the architects of the foundations on which the club is built.

But Dalglish was never FSG’s long term plan. His early impact in his caretaker role demanded that FSG give him an opportunity as the permanent manager. But FSG have always favoured a younger man at the helm – somebody that shares an ideology of progressive football and is comfortable operating in the modern game.

Whilst FSG have been criticised for sacking Dalglish – they also brought him back. They gave him the opportunity to take the club to Wembley and win a cup. Kenny Dalglish will always have unfinished business with Liverpool FC – but at the very least, Dalglish has written another chapter in his love affair with the club. Sacking Dalglish was always a risk of bringing him back.

The easy option for FSG would have been to keep Kenny on for another season – but they chose not to take the easy decision. FSG want to progress the club – they want to plan for long term success. That was the rationale for sacking Dalglish –it wasn’t a political decision, it was a long term footballing one.

With the appointment of Rodgers FSG haven’t brought in a ‘yes man’ in the mould of Hodgson; they have brought in a young, hungry, progressive manager that has a footballing ideology that fits into the cultural fabric of the club. If sacking Dalglish wasn’t a popular decision, bringing in Rodgers is a progressive one. Rodgers is a man with a strong mind – he looks like the right ‘fit’ for the club.

Time will tell if he is the right man for Liverpool – and if FSG have got the decision right.

They don’t have a clue about football

It is a fair observation that FSG don’t have any experience in football. Since they acquired the club they have been on a steep learning curve – and have been reliant on outside advisers to fill in the knowledge gap. This has led to inevitable mistakes.

The Suarez affair was hugely damaging and was an epic fail by the club. The owners have to take responsibility for that – and there can be little doubt that the restructuring of the club was partly influenced by that incident. It highlighted real failings in structure. But as with any failure – how you learn from it is the most important outcome.

The one thing FSG haven’t done is rush into decisions. They have taken time to understand and make informed choice. Rather than come into the club making brash promises they have taken time to try and understand the club and what it means to its supporters – they haven’t got everything right, but there is clear intent to try and run the club in a sensible and responsible way.

FSG have engaged some very credible football people to advise them – this is evident from the ideology that the club is pursuing under Rodgers. They may not understand the game in depth; but they have been advised by people who know how the game is progressing.

They have also attempted to engage with fans – with the supporters committee a direct link between fans and the club. The club’s principle owner and new communications director are both on Twitter; allowing direct interaction with supporters. How many other clubs have that?

Communications is something the club has been poor at in recent years; but in the short time that Jen Chang has been in situ, there has already been an improvement.

There is still far more to do – and incidents where things go wrong like the Dempsey article on NESN do not help credibility. But there doesn’t appear to be a desire to hide behind decisions: and that is a positive and progressive communications strategy.

Finances

FSG did acquire the club for a very good price – below market value. But the cost was still around £300m. FSG were one of a few bidders when the club was up for sale, but how many of those bidders were cash rich? There wasn’t a ‘sugar daddy’ style investor waiting in the wings – out of the interested parties at the time, FSG had the most credible offer – and had a track record of building success in Boston.

The most important factor is that FSG acquired the club with their own money. Unlike Hicks and Gillette (and the Glaziers) they have not put the debt on the club. This isn’t a leveraged buyout – FSG acquired the club with their own money.

This means that the clubs debt repayments have been reduced from over £20m a year to around £2m a year. In addition to the initial investment, the most recent accounts show that FSG have written off £35m on failed stadium plans that were an ‘asset’ on the books from the previous regime.

There may well have been more interested if the club had gone into administration in 2010; but it was FSG that committed and prevented that scenario. Saving the club is probably too strong a statement – but they did take a risk when the club had few other options.

In addition to the £35m stadium debt – FSG also inherited a number of ‘bad contracts’ that are still influencing transfer policy.

Transfer policy

Under Comolli, the club made some poor decisions in the market. Not in terms of players or ability so much, but in terms of value. Whilst the net spend was only around £45m – we did over pay on a number of signings.

FSG have swiftly identified that we didn’t source value under Comolli and have moved to correct. There is now a more collaborative approach to transfer policy; and negotiation is the responsibility of the MD – who is the right person at the club to source value.

Despite speculation that the club has to ‘sell to buy’ this summer, that doesn’t tell the entire story of our transfer strategy. Transfer fees are only part of the policy; the more critical part of any transfer is how they affect your wage bill.

In 2011 Liverpool’s wage bill was running at 63% of total revenue. We were paying Champions League wages despite not being in the CL. With the departure of Kuyt and Maxi our wage bill will have reduced – but the return of Cole and Aquilani mitigates that benefit. Cole and Aquilani would both be surplus to requirement if we could move them on – but with a combined wage of £170k a week moving them on is impossible.

FSG have made it clear that they want to reduce the wage bill and bring the ratio close to 50% of total revenue. But that it difficult to achieve when you have the legacy of ‘bad contracts’ and players you cannot move on.

This is the difficulty for Rodgers this summer –he will have to build Cole and Aquilani into his plans as the club cannot afford to pay £170k a week for two players to be surplus. That means that to bring in new players in certain positions, Rodgers will need to manage his squad and move on players that he may want to keep – but will need to sacrifice to find an exact fit into his style and formation.

I expect that if we could move on Cole and Aquilani, moving Carroll on would be a remote option. But if Rodgers has to make room in the squad and on the wage bill – he has to take ruthless decisions.

I would be surprised if it was inability to pay fees that was an issue this summer; but more to do with managing his squad and being constrained by who he can move on and who he is stuck with.

FSG have made it clear that they want to pursue a policy of bringing in younger players on lower wages; rewarding as player develop and contribute to the team. But it will take time for that policy to bear fruit; and this summer there is still the legacy of our previous owners influencing what we do in the market.

A lot of supporters talk about FSG ‘digging deep’ – but in reality that isn’t how they will run the club. They have been very transparent that they want the club to be self-sufficient; but squad management and the wage bill will also influence what we do – it isn’t just about the transfer fees.

We can and will be competitive in the transfer market – but it will be at a sensible and pragmatic pace with a focus on developing the stars of the future.

I still expect to see 4-5 players in this summer – but it is important to look beyond the ‘profile’ and make a judgement on how they fit into the ‘system’.

Talk of sell to buy was where we were under Hicks and Gillett when we were paying £20m a year in interest – we are growing revenue under FSG and have little debt, so there is no comparison. But there is the legacy of a wage bill that needs to be reduced – so that is perhaps a driver behind policy rather than the club being ‘skint’.

We are progressing

Every single one of those factors is open to interpretation. But I don’t think you can draw a conclusion that FSG are ‘bad owners’ or ‘cowboys’. They have made mistakes, they are on a learning curve, but it is important to look at intentions.

I think they have done enough to prove the intention is good – as owners they have to be allowed the freedom to make decisions. Not everybody will agree with every decision – but if a decision hints at attempting to move the club forward it can be understood.

Ultimately it comes down to what do supporters want from owners? We may look at envy at City and Chelsea’s spending power – but both of those clubs have no soul. And as Ian Ayre said recently the solution at those clubs isn’t the solution for football.

What Liverpool has with FSG are owners that will build the club at a sensible and pragmatic pace – it won’t be built on debt, it will be built on sustainability and growth. That does mean that a compromise is needed – if we want long term stability and success, it won’t be instant.

I believe that a good relationship with our owners is important to our future. I’d like to think that one of the options when FSG decide to sell is a fan ownership model – in a similar structure to Barcelona. Those options will be easier to explore if relations stay strong.

FSG haven’t got everything right so far, they are not perfect. But they are trying to progress the club – there is a plan that supporters can get behind.

I want the owners to succeed as I want the club to succeed. We all share the same goal. I accept they will make mistakes on the way – but it is how they react that matters.

All signs point to the owners being in it for the long haul – success on the pitch will determine the goals of FSG as well.

I hope that this season will see a transition from cynicism to optimism so the club moves forward as one.

Professional communicator and fanatical Liverpool fan. I write for This is Anfield, Paul Tomkins (The Tomkins Times) and Liverpool FC.
All posts are reactively-moderated and must obey the comment policy.
  • fudgiey

    finally someone who knows what they are talking about and talks sense…we are not as bad on the field as whats been made out..and off the field things are progresssing..gillette and hicks nearly ruined us..it will take time to right their wrongs.but as a club we are heading in the right direction

  • baber

    now this was pathetic.. on the one hand the author is rationalizing the football business and calling Liverpool a great club and City and Chelsea ‘clubs without souls’.. on the other hand he is accepting mistakes and accepting mediocrity in every other sentence, far too many times to be plausible… he is rationalizing us accepting defeat for LFC, only, not calling it defeat but ‘development’… the oldest way to sell a poison pill.

    The way its looking right now, these owners mean to turn the club into a cash cow which will generate revenue for their other businesses within a year.. only its easier for them than it was for the last owners because since FSG have come in, fan optimism has fallen to such low levels that most Liverpool fans have no expectations at all. They don’t see us ending in the Top 4 for at least 3 or 4 seasons now and would rather watch much fewer games this season than actually believe we can do anything to compete (and that makes more sense than the pro-optimism owner-loving unrealistic fluff in this article).. nice try mate… but its not going to work. You cant rebuild a club when you’ve never been at a peak… 20 years of failure is a telling sign. Liverpool are no longer a top club in England, and as a lifelong fan it kills me to say that. Now, we have owners who will create world class players from talented youngsters and will sell then for a premium to bigger clubs in 1 or 2 seasons. The club will get nowhere, become another Arsenal, but without a new stadium.

    • michael

      Baber, so what kind of ownership do you want that guarantees success? Do you want the City and Chelsea model? What will your thoughts be when these owners decide they no longer want to run these clubs? where will it leave them in the future? the days of ‘custodian’ ownership are gone. people say football is a business, not true, but football ownership certainly is and always has been. Shankly, Clough et al had to fight to get money in the ‘good old days’. There’s a misconception that because we were successful in decades gone by that we should return to that model. It will never happen again. What is wrong with FSG wanting to make money. They bought the club, saved it even. Now you want them to spend, spend, spend until they are broke. You might win a title that way and end up in court all over again in the future. Nobody wants hat for LFC. The problem for supporters is a disconnect between what is success on the field for the team and what is success for the club, they are separate entities but intrinsically linked, they require a relationship that is mutually beneficial. I am jealous of City’s and Chelsea’s present success but I still would be very uncomfortable knowing my beloved club and family of fans could end up crashing at any given moment.

      • Rederik

        You need a bit of realism with out resources we cannot buy the players needed to win major trophies, baber is right the owners we have now are business men first and foremost making a prophet is their God we will be watching great x Liverpool players winning trophies for other teams for ever, until some one with money to burn buys the team out I know it,s a sad reflection on our past history, but it is the truth.

        • ProfessorChaos

          You do realize that for them to make a profit, the club would need to be profitable, and for the club to be profitable, it would need to be successful. So I don’t understand how that’s a bad thing. How about you try to logically think about things before you post them?

    • Tim Jones

      ‘now this was pathetic.. on the one hand the author is rationalizing the
      football business and calling Liverpool a great club and City and
      Chelsea ‘clubs without souls’.. on the other hand he is accepting
      mistakes and accepting mediocrity in every other sentence, far too many
      times to be plausible… he is rationalizing us accepting defeat for
      LFC, only, not calling it defeat but ‘development’… the oldest way to
      sell a poison pill.’

      That’s exactly what I thought

      You’d expect your average fan to fall for all the club ‘spin’ about us progressing etc when anyone with a brain cell can see that we are declining at an ever-accelerating rate, but for people who actually make a living out of writing about LFC falling for the same sh*t it does wake you up to how bad things really are

      It’s no secret that I think the biggest, colosall mistake the owners have made is in appointing Brendan Rodgers as manager – a flavour-of-the-month appointment on the back of one decent season managing in the Premiershp.

      Taking that logic to its illogical conclusion, wouldn’t the likes of Peter Reid, George Burley or Sam Allardyce be viable contenders

      This appointment shows, that for all their good intentions, FSG simply don’t have a clue about running what’s meant to be a successful football club.

      The players Ridgers has targeted would be great additions to his Swansea team, but he seems completely unaware that Liverpool have higher standards, and completely unaware of our greater pulling power despite the fact we’re not in the Champions League

      I don’t for one minute expect us to be competing with the likes of City and Chelsea for the top players, but there’s many, many better players than those he’s targeted

      It’s either that he thinks the likes of Allen and Dempsey are good enough to get us back to the top 4 – in which case he’s living in dream land – or he simply dpoesn’t the charisma oir the clout to get the players we do need – which makes his arrogant refusal to work with a director of football all the more ludicrous

      Coimparisons to Arsenal are off the mark, We’re more like the old Tottenham or Everton, a club in terminal decline thanks to a combination of factors, of which inept ownership is at the top of the pile

      To see the so-called expects, who are Liverpool fans, try and dress it up as progress is scandalous

      • Butragenio

        Dear Tim, thumbs up. Vast majority of fans have really had enough of sugar coated sh*t. We want the honey and peaches that are being enjoyed by the chelski and manure fans, even though without soul.

        • Tim Jones

          ‘Vast majority of fans have really had enough of sugar coated sh*t.’

          Totally agree – although reading most of the posts on this forum you wouldn’t think it

          The sad thing is that Rodgers and his band of followers will just dismiss us as part of that group of fans that he claimed were satisfied, which is totally unfair, because in my mind we know a f*** site more about this club of ours than he does

          Looking at it optimistically you could argue it’s a ‘win, win ‘situation for us because either Rodgers achieves the impossible and gets us challenging for the CL with his bunch of mediocre players – in which case I’ll be the first to take my hat off to him – or the far ,ore likely scenario we fall further off the osce which will undoubtedly mean the bullet at the end of the season

          That’s the way I’m looking at it – only thing I can do because, as big a c*** as Hicks and Gillet were, it’s the current regime’s mis-management that are causing my restless nights at the moment

          • Butragenio

            Tim totally agree – today Henry claims that Rodgers isnt expected to qualify for Champions League!!! never has Liverpool’s targets fallen so so low :(

      • james757

        must agree that if we are thinking of 15 million for Joe Allen why not 20 for Gaston Ramirez, a player who would light things up with Luis, a guy in the same class as the new boys at chelsea. But having spent stupidly, ignorantly on middle table dross the last two windows the owners set a limit. Dempsey and Allen are decent players, perhaps even improvements over the dross, but they won’t come carrying the bags of goals or attacking talent we need to challenge for the the league – won’t happen. Chelsea have added Hazard and Marin and who knows what else. from where I sit it looks like a 3 or 4 team race for the last champions league spot.

        • tim jones

          it’s the argument that we’re making progress that grates most, because when you think about it it’s not so much a myth as an outright lie
          How can a team that’s gone from 2nd to 8th in the league table, not even in the champions league, let alone reaching the knock out stages, and has lost the vast majority of its world class players and has replaced a league title (spain) and champions league winner wiyh someone who was unwanted by reading and watford, be described as ‘making progress’?
          An answer would be appreciated

          • blakey

            Can I ask how you know that we are not making progress? There hasn’t been a competitive match played under Rodgers. How about waiting to see what the results are like? Just a thought. Anyway, people talk about progress because they see Rodgers as a man with a great deal of potential and the right ideas about how to coach a football team. Whether you like it or not, he’s the man in charge and you haven’t given him a chance. Wait and see, you might be wrong, you might be right, but at the moment, we just don’t know. Why not try to be positive and ‘supportive’ of your team.

          • james757

            there is no good answer. brendan is at best a roll of the dice. rafa would have been better, in my opinion. brendan will quietly work within whatever limits the owners set. rafa would have been noisy and demanding. in a rational world we have decent owners, but football is now run by kleptocrats and sheikhs who are turning it into a petro-dollar circus, i fear football is a rigged game from here unless fair financial play is real. don’t hold your breath. the rich tend to get richer.

    • james757

      no soul? that was harsh, tbh, but also honest to say that city and chelsea won the petrodollars lottery, and their success will last as long as the oil. one stole it from the russian people and the other requires the continuing protection of the US fifth fleet. obviously, this is no way to run a fair game. I’m one of the liverpool fans who wish we had princely thieves for bosses, but sadly, after two lotteries we have business men. once the wages book is adjusted and commercial revenues reach their peak liverpool can be competitive again. but it’s a grim picture versus 5 years ago. today there is but 1 champions league place for 3 or 4 teams. the others are bought and paid for well in advance. so much for fair financial play.

  • JK

    I think what you say is right.
    Chelsea have had all there success with the wallet, If you had given me half a billion quid and said build me a winning team, I or any one else could have done that.
    Will the fair play rule make a difference ? who knows.
    Liverpool is an institution that must be handled right and I think the new owners with Mr Ayre are going about it in the right way.

    • Mark Fairbank

      The wallet helps yes. But not fully. There still has to be structure. Chelsea were a consistent top 6 side winning a few cups AND in CL in 1999. BEFORE R.A takeover. People need to get fcts right. And jeez….. didn’t Liverpool buy success in 70s & 80’s. Littlewoods?? And Man Utd have NEVER been big spenders have they (gosh!!) Real Madrid Years ago 190 mill in debt an buying left right and centre. Someone else mentioned Chelsea had no soul. Now that is a jealous comment.

  • Butragenio

    one cannot throw all his life savings on three lemons – and then speak about sustainability and growth!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharkio.fisher Sharkio Fisher

    I think the games moved far to quicky, the F.A should have introduced a wage capping, many years ago, with greedy agents and footballers alike the games become a fiasco over the years. If a top flight football player ( most highly paid ) cant manage on £50,000 a week, then you know thiers something not right? If you look at it logically its this thats killing the beautiful game off, “GREED” I love my team, my club and my city like most scousers, but i personally dont think any footballer is worth more than £1million a season do you? its killing the game off, and until something is done about these rediculous wages the games going to be a farce, were the big money teams throughout Europe will just get stronger, eventually its going to get like the SPL, were thiers only 4 or 5 teams challenging for the tital,and all major cups throughout the premiere league and Europe. Just look whats happend to Rangers this season? with higher wage demands, and clubs not being able to compete with other clubs, who have multi billionaire owners who have also caused this wage war, in allowing the agents to name thier price, basically to land thier intended targets,this hasin`t helped the smaller clubs who obviously are then put under pressure, to try and compete with these wage demands, from more mediocre players, just to try and sustain thier position within the premiere league. Its gone beyond the love for the game now, its all about how many million pounds they can credit too thier bank accounts. The soul as completely gone out of the game, As much as this sounds depressing its true. Just hope Brenden Rodgers can build a team that can challenge these teams without having to pay silly ammounts of money in transfer fees or players wages, and this will then show other teams that you dont always have to go out and pay top dollar, for these greedy so called elite players. Im behind you 110% BR and LFC..

    • jc

      Its also killing the future of the game, as these cash rich players don’t return to football as high class coaches upon their retirement.. on 50,000 a week they could invest for their old age and stay in the game longer (as coaches) for the need of a living wage. the sport would benefit from a wage cap in more than one way!

    • tommygun

      exactly right. It raises a cynical laugh when I hear players going on about loving and respecting their fans. It’s largely their never ending greed that’s lead the game to this point. Players wages, agents fees, insane transfer fee’s. The loyalty and passion supporters feel for their clubs is just something to be ruthlessly and cynically exploited by clubs in order to milk every last spare penny out of them. When football changed and more and more money started to come in from sponsors, advertising, and tv revenue, did our clubs think “oh great, that means we can lower the ticket prices for our loyal supporters who have stuck by us through thick and thin?” No of course they didn’t, instead our ticket prices go up and up and up to the point where many lifelong supporters have been priced out of the match day experience altogether or at least seen the number of games they can attend reduced over the years. The premier league is particularly guilty of this trend of taking their supporters for granted and milking them for everything they can get.

      We could learn a lesson from the Bundesliga. In Germany 51% of the club must be owned by club members, supporters groups in other words. Thereby supporters retain control of the club but there is still scope for private investment. It’s also notable that the average ticket price for a top flight German game is around £15. Bit of a difference to the prices we are expected to pay.

      The never ending cycle of greed is warping our game. It’s widely known that governing bodies are corrupt & that shady deals and cash stuffed brown envelopes are par of the course. Match fixing has reared it’s ugly head in some of Europe’s top leagues. Agents are screwing our clubs for ever greater sums of money. And we have pampered players who earn more in a week than the vast majority of their supporters earn in a year. Enough money that many of them could live the rest of their lives in luxury without ever having to work again, with less than a years worth of their current and completely undeserved wages…..And yet they still demand more more MORE MORE MORE MORE.

      I love football but I despise what goes with it, I despise what greed has done to our game.

      • cris

        nutshell

  • Rederik

    Feel sorry for Brendan Rodgers other peoples mistakes are having a significant influence on how he runs the team justifying the fact that the man needs about three years to get Liverpool on the right tracks, thanks to Moores and all the other wasters who have nearly ruined our club we will be the poor neighbors for ever unless a mega rich Russian or Arab buy F.S.G out, I reckon they would sell out tomorrow for the right price, supporters should do their bit by getting behind Brendan and the team by giving them the support they deserve no matter who owns Liverpool F.C, I personally hope some mega rich Arab King buys Liverpool F.C as soon as possible we can,t compete at the highest level without the resources needed, sure Chelsea F.C have debt, but who do they own it to their owner, and I can,t see him taking himself to court for it

  • Dal

    Why have they still not employed a CEO? I don’t see how Ayre is the man to be negotiating transfer deals and contracts as well as running the club day-to-day. This is where things went wrong for Parry – taking too much on.

    Also if players are going to be rewarded for what they do on the pitch, then why can’t we sort Skrtel’s contract out?

  • LFC_Daily

    Great article. Really hope fans see the big picture and understand that instant success (Chelski & City) isnt possible.

  • Redblooded Male

    Whatever happened to that Saudi Prince who wanted to purchase us 2 or 3 years ago? how we could do with him now eh! Admittedly they (FSG) did give Kenny £100M+ to blow only last year, but I believe they only did so as they knew they would recoup it from the £125M record jersey deal, condemning us to the
    God-awful kit manufacturer Warrior Sports for the next 5 years. Even Everton are “Nike’d up” now. As for the proposed development of Anfield, I don’t think it will happen during FSG’s reign. I’ve come to this conclusion after Wiki’ing Fenway Park, & discovering that the Red Sox, bought by FSG in 2002, have sold out every home game since 2003, have the 4th lowest capacity in major league baseball (39,067), & STILL hasn’t been expanded! Missing out on vital additional ticket sales. So why would they begin developing Anfield in only 2 years? Having said all this, most of the blame should be placed at KD’s door i.e :
    1.Bryan Ruiz (£10.6M) – Downing (£18M)
    2.Van Der Vaart (£8M) – Adam (£7M)
    3.Diame (£3M) – Henderson (£18M)
    4.Jelavic (£5M) – Carroll (£35M)

    • Alv

      Regarding the transfer fee, hindsight is 20/20 mate. In hindsight we should’ve bought Silva, Dani Alves, Villa, get it?

      Why should most of the blame is placed on Kenny? He didn’t negotiate the transfer fee. They were good players bought at the wrong price.

      F*cking hell it makes my blood boil when someone mindlessly have a go at a club legend, what have you done for LFC lately?

      • Redblooded Male

        1.GOOD PLAYERS????
        2. I buy tons of official merchandise.
        3. At this rate there won’t be another club legend for a generation, after Stevie G of course.

    • Catfish

      Um…Im not sure what wiki page you are reading, but they have expanded and improved seating and the experience at Fenway Park almost every year since they bought the team. It is the oldest professional sports stadium in the US, and they keep finding ways to squeeze more and better seats out of a building that has been standing for 100 years…that seems like a pretty fine comparison to the problem we have facing us at Anfield. This is quite possibly the BEST group in place to tackle that specific problem as they have experience tackling the exact same issue.

      As for the xfer money problems though you are spot on, but I will say this: Enrique wasnt a bad buy, and Hendo will be worth 18m easy when all is said and done. Carroll was a panic, downing is terrible.

  • Doggie

    Excellent article, well done.

  • tommygun

    Good article & an interesting take on thing’s. One thing though, Si mentions that the owners have tried to interact with supporters and cites the committee. He later mentions that he hopes that if FSG sell in the future a supporter ownership model is something he hopes can be pursued.

    Well before FSG closed the deal for the club they spoke to certain supporter groups & asked them what they would most like to see from them. One of the thing’s the groups mentioned was the chance for supporters to buy a stake in the club and possibly have representation on the board, FSG said they were open to this idea. Since then there has been no progress on this idea at all, shareliverpool is still waiting in the wings ready and willing to try and facilitate this. That would be a fantastic thing for our supporters, to know that a number of our own have a stake in the club & that we have real representation within the club. And if FSG do sell up in the future it would further aid the cause of our support buying the club, whether outright or by gaining a majority stake.

    On the rest of the article….well players our manager may not need or want sitting tight on big money contracts will certainly effect what he’s able to do in the transfer market. It isn’t just a case of sticking to a transfer budget, the total cost of a transfer has to be considered. Take Joe Cole for example…signed on a FREE but costing us £90,000 a week. So apart from the transfer kitty there is the effect on the wage budget to consider. Some may call doom and gloom on that situation, but lately spurs have made top four with a annual average net spend of around £12 million and a wage cap of £70k a week. It can be done. And no doubt if we regain CL football and consolidate our position, the increased revenue will see an increase to our transfer funds and wage bill.

    We can’t spend like city or the plastics, so the club needs to be smarter in the transfer market. Hopefully the phasing in of FFP rules will aid us, IF they are properly enforced the clubs that will benefit most are teams like Liverpool. With a prudently run club, low debt, a massive global fanbase, hefty sponsorship deals in place, and steadily increasing revenues off the field, we could really receive a boost from FFP. Fingers crossed that the powers that be are serious about it’s implementation & cracking down seriously on any club that breaks the rules. Football needs FFP to work. FSG said themselves that one of the reasons they decided to move for the club was them hearing about FFP being on the horizon & believing that it could level the playing field.

    Whether pessimistic or optimistic this is where we are at, so the best course seems to be ‘wait and see’ and do what we do best….support our team

  • Joe

    brilliant article, Si. as always, a calm and direct look at the facts as opposed to getting caught up in the hyperbole of the conversation. i for one have been a supporter for 25 years. Great times and awful times thru that era. Hicks and Gillett being the lowest point of all, and in all honesty i feel in my heart that FSG are in it for the right reasons. at the very least we owe them slack in the dept of criticism due to their honesty in dealings with the fan.
    we need to stay positive until proven otherwise. theres no reason as to why not.
    YNWA

  • Suarez!!!!!!

    Gimme Lucas for a full year in front of Aqua and Gerrard and Suarez. Gimme a ful year of Agger and Skrtel and Johnson in the back. Lets see who’s on the up end of most games after that.

  • Bobby

    Well, I for one believe in the owners intent to get this club back to the upper echelon of Europe. However, Im not delusional enough to think it’s going to happen over night. There will be not be an open check book. There will be younger players that are scouted and signed on ability and potential, with the occasional established star to supplement needs. If we are able to keep are proven guys, we are not that far away for competing for a UCL spot, but Cavani, Falcao, etc. are not going to come here now. I know many supporters are jaded, and rightfully so, but I believe good days are ahead of us. FSG didnt buy this team to flip it for a small profit, that isnt their MO. They bought it to build it into a consistent winner, in in turn profit for a long time off of that.

  • http://twitter.com/chriskylepeters brownchris

    Great article but I have to disagree with your sentiment about Aquilani being surplus to requirements and needs moving on. His passing game is tailor made for Rodgers system imho.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Don-Clark/100001108477144 Don Clark

    Some want a superstar signing, I am sure FSG can afford to do so in the future once the rest of the squad is strengthened. But we won’t win anymore matches with just one superstar. Teams win, not one player. They would spend 40 million on one player, when we need four 10 million players to strengthen the squad.

  • Paul Mancini

    The reality of the situation is quite dire, FSG came in rescued us from the brink of eternal damnation we would have been in had it not been for FSG. They paid out our debt from 300 Mil to 2 mil, they gave us money to spend and we wasted it on Henderson, Adam and Downing, when a bit of research would have told you we could have done so much better with our money Aguero vs Carroll transfer fee (dont even go there) we loan out our promising players and sell out the few quality players we had ie Aquillani (come on I guess Spearing is SOOOO MUCH better ) or maybe Adam or MIA Henderson not wanting to slate our own team but when will anyone take off the Rose tinted glasses of Istanbul 2005 and come to the realisation of exactly what mess we are in at our peak 2009 we had beaten Manure and Real Madrid in a week scoring 8 goals and conceeding one now we cannot even beat Toronto on a pre season tour WAKE UP at this rate Top Ten would be rather ambitious if we sell Agger, Carroll and Suarez not because we want to cash in but because as any footballer they will want to be at a club progressing not regressing.
    We should either pull our finger out and get stacks of youth in and play them and rebuild with youth or accept we are to become eternally a feeder club to the clubs we used to feed off in our hey day the Chelseas and Man Citys of this world.
    I dont want to become a Chelsea or a Man City but be sensible with our spending Spend big dollars on 3-4 World Class players that can get us back where we belong or spend 150 on average players who will have us where we are eternally.
    Commercially it makes sense to attract top players and sponsors , and from a footballing aspect well it’s hardly rocket science 2 quality wingers , an Attacking Midfielder in the Aimar or Kaka MOULD not them they are past it but in that mould and a Quality World Class Finisher .