Meet the man who “runs Liverpool” – and it’s not who you think

If you were asked who “runs Liverpool” you’d immediately think of manager Brendan Rodgers, principal owner John W. Henry, chairman Tom Werner or managing director Ian Ayre. However, a report suggests there is another key man in the Reds’ machine.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 24, 2010: Liverpool's new owners New England Sports Ventures vice chairman David Ginsberg, investor Michael Gordon, chairman Martin Broughton and co-owner and NESV Chairman Tom Werner during the Premiership match against Blackburn Rovers at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)
Michael Gordon (second from the left) pictured alongside Liverpool director David Ginsberg, former chairman Martin Broughton and LFC chairman Tom Werner at Anfield in October 2010. Pic: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda

According to Boston based radio station WEEI FM that man is Michael Gordon – a director at Liverpool and Fenway Sports Group.

Gordon is “in many ways the member of the ownership group who is most directly responsible for the day-to-day activities of the soccer team” writes reporter Alex Speier.

He was appointed to the Liverpool board of directors upon FSG’s purchase of the club in October 2010 and was the “member of the ownership group with the most grounding in soccer” and therefore “quickly became a critical figure in the daily running of LFC”.

The report quotes John W. Henry explaining about Gordon:

“He is, by far, FSG America’s most knowledgeable person with regard to soccer and is involved on the football side daily in constant communication with the members of our football committee and our manager.

He took a lead role just about the same time as we brought in Brendan Rodgers [who became manager of Liverpool in June 2012]. All of us give him a lot of credit for Liverpool’s improvement over the past 18 months.”

And an “industry source” is quoted explaining:

“He runs Liverpool. He’s the point person [among FSG owners] for the people in Liverpool. If it wasn’t for him, it wouldn’t function.”

Gordon is described as the person who deals with Ian Ayre on a day-to-day basis, discussing “issues including team resources for player transfers and the complex questions surrounding the renovation and expansion of Anfield.”

Gordon is also listed as a trustee of the Liverpool FC Foundation.

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  • Jay Byrne

    We know who to fire now !

    • Jaymyson

      You are a complete joke mate.

      • Jay Byrne

        Because I’m serious…..

  • Gano1

    He is one of 17 investors into FSG!!!……………………..

    • http://www.thisisanfield.com This Is Anfield

      And? He’s one of the 6 LFC directors.

      • Gano1

        A very secretive man by all accounts?, J W Henry trusts him totally as do FSG!!!!

        • Totokia

          Why the 5 exclamation points? So you now know one of the 6 executive directors. There are also several non-executive directors. It takes more than one person to run a near billion pound business wouldn’t you think? Not like this is some earth shattering news. Jeez.

  • http://www.thisisanfield.com This Is Anfield

    What on earth are you talking about? There is no sinister inclination to this article whatsoever. Not many supporters will even have heard of Gordon let alone know the key role he plays.

  • Dave

    It might just be my screen but do the people below them look photoshopped?

  • Zanatos

    Interesting Article TIA. Fairplay to the guy, he seems to have done well so far. It does make sense them having one of there own in charge here running the club daily. I like the fact he isn`t overly public either. I enjoy the “behind closed doors” approach than the “speak every chance I get to make myself a star” one.

  • JTLFC

    Unusual to have somebody so influential in the background from a public sense.
    Makes sense tho and reassuring to have a FSG member having constant contact with W J Henry, who is making those day to day decisions at the club,
    I like a lot of what the man has achieved up to now. 8/10 For Liverpool’s progress on and off the field.
    So the buck stops with Gordon. He would give “the yay or ney” to Ayres in any transfer developments. hmmm! 4/10 need to do better.

    • Gaz

      Why is this? Because we have a set amount that we value a player for and we refuse to be held to ransom and pay more because the parent club wants more? I think this stance deserves more credit than it’s given, we were burnt buy Dalglish’s buys on the whole. Had Downing had cost 10mil instead of 20mil, he would have been a good buy, had Carroll had cost 15mil instead of 35mil, he would have been a better buy, although not exactly our type of player. Henderson should have also been more of a 10mil buy rather than the 16-20mil he purportedly cost. After all, for the same amount we paid for Downing, we got Coutinho AND Sturridge, proof that there is world class talent for sensible, uninflated prices.

      • JTLFC

        I am not saying Liverpool should be paying through the nose for players. Liverpool are at a distinct disadvantage when competing against teams in the Champions League and / or massive spending power, so needed to be more savie, decisive in the market, especially in the latest transfer window. Needed a minimum of 2 signings to help keep the Reds on course for top 4 spot. Lets hope this tight unit is not hit with any serious injury!

  • joe mckeown

    As far as I can see, Mr Gordon is doing a top notch job and obviously has a good working relationship with BR.

  • Abyss

    Interesting. I always wanted to know more about the inner workings about the club. I realize that that type of information is deliberately hidden from the public eye for various reasons, but as a fan you still want to know what the inner workings of the organization are like. Surely, a big institution like LFC can’t simply be run by 4 people only.

  • Maps

    as far as i care he is the one who pinches the pennies to kill the transfers. I agree he is the one to fire

    • Gaz

      You are the type of fan that complains when we spend too much for a player who then fails to deliver and then complains when we are more sensible in the transfer market. Frankly, it doesn’t matter what your opinion of a man who has helped take our club back towards where it belongs is.

  • allaboutanfield

    How I wish that whoever is the owner firstly must know and love football. The owner must also have a great passion for Liverpool. He must have a good business mind.Most important the owner must have deep pockets who is not afraid of investing in good quality players and manager to bring Liverpool forward.

    • Gaz

      How I wish people didn’t live in Fifa 14 or Football Manager like you. Whether you agree with it or not, Liverpool FC is a business. We had owners previously who put us in serious amounts of debt. The current owners have not only removed that debt, but have helped turn us into a team that competes with the best in the league again, with a manager that is relatively inexperienced but has shown he is going to be a top notch manager. They have deep pockets, there is no doubt about that, being they are the owners of one of the richest baseball franchises in America, but they are also smart in that they keep their individual businesses separate, they don’t spend LFC revenue to buy players for Boston Red Sox and likewise, they don’t spend BRS revenue to buy players for LFC. BRS revenue funds BRS player purchases, LFC revenue funds LFC purchases, exactly how it should be.

  • http://www.thisisanfield.com This Is Anfield

    The word exclusive is not used anywhere, we clearly link to the report twice, and state the source. There is no way you knew any of the above a week ago so it is relevant.

  • Gaz

    Really? I take it from “This Is Anfield”s comment that the board of directors is 6 people, therefore those 6 people are the most important men and they run the club, not just 1 man.

    • http://www.thisisanfield.com This Is Anfield

      Well, quite clearly not judging by the quotes above. Are you not realising that? Every business in the world has multiple directors, with different levels of involvement in the day to day activities of that business.

  • Gaz

    And yet, ineffiency or not, we are sitting in 4th position only 4 points off the top and are playing with ruthlessness, so, must be doing something right.

    • http://enria.org/ JonnyS

      not according to some fans!!

  • Rederik

    Any body who is involved with F.S.G if they are honest will tell you we are only here to make a profit, and anyone who thinks F.S.G is a charity that came to save Liverpool F.C is living in cloud cuckoo land, I am not anti yank but history proves everything they touch is for their own benefit at the end of the day they don,t give a damn about football, just $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    • http://enria.org/ JonnyS

      what are you talking about? Noone thinks FSG is a charity. But your negative spin on it and the silly comments people here make about lining their own pockets is just ignorance.

      They believe in building the business and growing its value. That’s how you make money. But you have to be successful on the pitch to do it.

      So it’s a win win. They grow a business so it’s worth a lot more than they bought it for and we get a competitive football team that is sustainably run and has a bright future where we have to compete with bottomless pockets of oil barons.

      I’d say that’s a brilliant ownership with an awful lot to look forward to. If they are successful they will probably add more football clubs around the world and build a sporting empire – since the media growth of these sports is going to be huge.
      They’ll probably attract more investors to do that too. But few are likely to be as valuable as Liverpool so we will be a jewel in their crown.

      That makes for a very very secure future and it’s a crying shame more fans don’t get that.

      • Gano1

        FSG have NEVER taken a dividend from any of their teams………..EVER!!

        • http://enria.org/ JonnyS

          The club over draft was approaching £100m and they provide that (or back it). They would be entitled to get some interest payments for it (its either them or the banks that get it) but they are still committed to building the club’s long term value.

      • rudolph

        Wish I could have said it like that!!!!!
        100% spot on!

        • http://enria.org/ JonnyS

          thanks dude. YNWA,

      • Rederik

        Did I say they were lining their own pockets ? NO

        • http://enria.org/ JonnyS

          did I say you said they were lining their own pockets? NO.

          • Rederik

            did I say you said I said they were lining their own pockets

          • http://enria.org/ JonnyS

            did I…..

            this could get very silly, very quickly….

  • Aaron Abiodun

    This time no escuses,Liverpool just have to make the maque signings.

    • http://www.thisisanfield.com This Is Anfield

      Marquee signings. Boring.

  • Gano1

    Well said!!!

  • JTLFC

    Take your point.
    With Gordon being the eyes and ears for FSG, like you say there would be committee and Gordon would have a integral part of that decision making to having a set a price, wages, bonus etc. I still feel he would have a big say on whether a player is signed or not when it comes to the crunch. When it was easy to point the finger at Ayres when it doesn’t go through, like a lot of the fans did and myself was lead to believe.

    • http://enria.org/ JonnyS

      oh sure. There are limits to the overall budget which is very much a conversation between Gordon and FSG, and there will be limits on each player or even agents set by the committee.

      However there are also more fiduciary calls that he would make. For example, with KonoUplonka there appeared to be an issue with payments required in non-UEFA recognised methods that scuppered the deal.

      I can imagine Gordon vetoing that [probably in consultation with Ayre and the owners] because non-standard payment methods were required. A very key individual no doubt but unlikely to be making footballing decisions.

  • Gano1

    Will you blame Ian Ayre for bringing in the big commercial deals too???

  • http://www.thisisanfield.com This Is Anfield

    1. Nobody called ‘Ian Ayres’ exists at LFC.
    2. Ian Ayre is the managing director, thus the ‘face’ of the club.
    3. All businesses (as explained above if you are still struggling to work this out) have directors who are more or less involved than others, and more public than others.
    4. Furthermore, all we are doing is explaining what has been reported in America. As written in the article, it’s from a report there.
    5. It’s ‘allude to’ not elude.