5 sporting directors for Liverpool to consider afer Ian Ayre’s departure


Ian Ayre’s departure from Liverpool could bring a structural change at the club, which may see a sporting director arrive in the hierarchy.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 5, 2014: Liverpool's Managing Director Ian Ayre during the FA Cup 3rd Round match against Oldham Athletic at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool announced Ayre’s decision to leave the club in a statement released on Monday evening, with the chief executive officer to step down from his position at the end of the 2016/17 campaign.

This marks three years in the role, having overseen a record kit manufacturer deal, as well as plans to redevelop Anfield; off the field, Ayre’s work can be considered a major success.

But Liverpool’s much-criticised transfer committee has tarnished Ayre’s reputation somewhat, with the 52-year-old held accountable for a number of a mistakes in the market alongside former manager Brendan Rodgers.

Ayre’s departure could prompt a reshuffle of Liverpool’s backroom staff, and John W. Henry and Tom Werner may to appoint a sporting director – as they had originally planned to prior to Rodgers’ appointment in 2012.

Such an appointment, especially a high-calibre, experienced sporting director, would aid recruitment — an arrangement manager Jurgen Klopp is comfortable with from his time at Borussia Dortmund.

Here are five potential candidates for the role, including Klopp’s former colleague, Michael Zorc.


Andoni Zubizarreta

Leaving from his role as Barcelona sporting director at the beginning of 2015, Zubizarreta has spent the past year on the sidelines, following an overhaul by the Catalan giants’ president, Josep Maria Bartomeu.

A former Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona and Valencia goalkeeper, Zubizarreta has a wealth of knowledge in La Liga, and this aided him in his position at Camp Nou.

Signing Javier Mascherano, Adriano, Cesc Fabregas, Alexis Sanchez, Jordi Alba, Alex Song, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Marc-Andre ter Stegen among others during his time at Barcelona, Zubizarreta proved his ability to seal high-profile deals.

But while Mascherano, Alba, Neymar, Suarez and Rakitic remain key first-team regulars under Luis Enrique, the failures of Song, Fabregas and Thomas Vermaelen, along with the sale of Thiago Alcantara to Bayern Munich, hinted at a shortsighted approach from the 54-year-old.

However, the former trio were all hugely successful in their time at Arsenal, and the successes of Suarez and Co. outweigh their struggle.

If Liverpool want big-name clout, Zubizarreta would fit the bill.


Nicola Cortese

Former Southampton man Nicola Cortese has already been mooted as a potential replacement, and it is easy to see why; the Italian fostered a strong reputation during his time on the south coast.

When Cortese resigned as the Saints’ chairman in 2014, the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino as manager was heralded as his finest achievement.

But while plucking the Argentinian from relatively obscurity should be commended, as Pochettino has since proved himself as one of Europe’s finest managers, Cortese’s influence spread much further.

In four-and-a-half years at Southampton, Cortese oversaw the club’s rise from League One to the Premier League’s top half, bolstered by intelligent, measured recruitment.

Cortese’s business acumen saw Jose Fonte, Rickie Lambert, Jason Puncheon, Jack Cork, Jay Rodriguez, Nathaniel Clyne, Steven Davis, Victor Wanyama and Dejan Lovren arrive to boost Southampton’s fortunes, with many going on to produce a profit.

Cortese has Premier League experience and has reportedly met with FSG previously.


Fabio Paratici

Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici was linked with a move to Liverpool days after Klopp’s arrival in October, with Klopp said to have identified the 43-year-old as the ideal candidate as he looked to bring success to Merseyside.

Paratici remains at Juventus, however, but is believed to favour a move to the Premier League in the future.

If the former midfielder is open to a move to Liverpool, he would bring considerable pedigree, having initially cut his teeth with Sampdoria.

The jewel in Paratici’s crown in Turin remains the signing of Paul Pogba in 2012, with the Frenchman’s rise to become of the world’s best midfielders central to Juventus’ success in recent years.

Meanwhile, the signings of Sami Khedira (free), Patrice Evra (£1.1m), Daniele Rugani (£3.75m), Carlos Teves (£6.75m), Domenico Berardi (£3.4m), Fernando Llorente (free) and Arturo Vidal (£10m) further highlight Paratici’s ability to find value in a competitive, top-level market.

More recently, Juventus’ £24 million move to sign Paulo Dybala from Palermo showcased a swift, decisive approach from the Italian that could give Liverpool an edge as they rebuild under Klopp.



Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo "Monchi" poses for a photo outside the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, in Seville, Spain. Verdejo, who still goes by the nickname from his goalkeeping days, has become one of the most sought-after football directors in European soccer after revolutionizing Spanish club Sevilla with a scouting system that helped rescue the team from the brink of financial collapse and turned it into a perennial contender in the continent’s second-tiered competitions. (AP Photo/Miguel Angel Morenatti)

The first signings of Klopp’s reign on Merseyside, Marko Grujic and Joel Matip, show the German’s willingness to scour the market in search of bargains; and this will no doubt prove encouraging for Henry and Werner.

While Klopp has stressed he is not deterred by high valuations as he looks to build a squad capable of challenging for honours in the Premier League and Europe, this could continue.

If this is the case, Sevilla’s long-serving sporting director, Monchi, would be the perfect addition, with the 47-year-old highly capable of finding value, including the signing of Dani Alves in 2002.

Monchi can name Geoffrey Kondogbia (£3.5m), Ever Banega (£2m), Grzegorz Krychowiak (£5m), Carlos Bacca (£6m), Timothee Kolodziejczak (£2.5m), Gerard Deulofeu and Denis Suarez (both on loan) as success stories in recent seasons, identifying lesser-known talent to bolster Sevilla’s charge.

This would align with Klopp’s ideals, particularly in terms of young players, suggesting Monchi would be a strong candidate.


Michael Zorc

After 20 years as a player at Dortmund, Zorc retired in 1998, graduating to the role of sporting director, and has helped the side to three Bundesliga titles—two of which, in 2010/11 and 2011/12, came alongside Klopp.

Zorc enjoys a healthy relationship with Klopp, and working with the manager and CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, the ex-BVB midfielder has seen a number of exceptional talents come through the doors at the Westfalenstadion.

This includes Shinji Kagawa (free), Lukasz Piszczek (free), Robert Lewandowski (£3.3m), Mats Hummels (£3m), Ilkay Gundogan (£3.9m), Neven Subotic (£3.1m), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£9.1m); all signed for under £10 million, before going on to become key players at Dortmund.

Zorc was also instrumental in Dortmund signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan from under Liverpool noses in 2013, with the Armenian one of the most disappointing failures of Ayre’s reign on Merseyside.

Under contract at Dortmund until 2019, Zorc will be difficult to prise away from the Bundesliga club, but Klopp could hope to use his relationship with the 53-year-old to his advantage—as Zorc would be a surefire success at Liverpool.


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  1. Kind of an odd article. Places no importance of the attractiveness of a club to players. Zubizarreta can clinch big deals! Really, that’s a surprise at a club like Barca! Him selling Thiago to Bayern wasn’t shortsighted the player wanted to follow Pep.

      • Odd in what it focuses on relating to Zubizarreta. Hence what I mentioned above. Picking one player that leaves for example as a way of saying he is shortsighted. That’s odd.

  2. Some good candidates in that list with (in my opinion) Micahel Zorc being the pick of the bunch. It should be noted as the article suggests that even if we did bring in a top quality Director of Football we’d still have a vacancy for a CEO, they should be and are two totally separate appointments though both would need to be able to work together and even more importantly be able to deliver Klopp with what he needs…

    • Taken from RAWK I found this to be a good post –
      “The sponsorship and marketing has been headed up by Hogan and a huge team for a long while now, in fact Ayre won’t really have been involved in that, to a huge degree, since he became CEO.

      As for evaluating players, he won’t be evaluating anyone. He’s part of the group involved in transfers as he’ll have to make sure the player is affordable and not gonna cripple the club. Evaluating them will no doing be down to the scouts and manager.

      He is involved in negotiations, but then so is the Head of Recruitment and I’ve also read that Hogan and Gordon have been involved too.

      Ayres role as CEO is to bring all aspects of the club together so they are moving towards the aims set by the owners. To keep check that these are all moving in the right direction and achieving everything they should be, and dealing with any issues which arise.”

      Between Gordon and especially Hogan, someone I had forgotten about, Ayre’s responsibility seems a bit more limited than I had originally thought it to be. Now, if a sporting director is hired, I’m guessing the CEO position might have even lesser responsibilities, and a future appointment could be more of a figurehead.

      • Yeah I’ve seen that and a lot of similar articles, it pretty much underlines what I’ve always maintained that the things we associate the CEO with (player negotiations, marketing and sponsorship) are not his main or sole responsibility. I would disagree however that his responsibility is that limited, the day to day running of the club (like any other business) is still a massive area of responsibility (staffing, hiring and recruitment, maintenance, policing, payroll, budgeting, dealing with the LCC on planning applications, liaising with the FA, PL, TV companies, vendors, purchasing, the list goes on and on) overseeing the stadium expansion in itself would be virtually a full time job in itself. Ayre will have a big team working under him on all of those issues but the coordination and overall responsibility rests with him, for that reason I don’t think it will ever be a ‘figure head’ position. I see the CEO as a business/admin position as opposed to a ‘football’ position, a sporting director (director of football) is a totally separate remit which in no way diminishes the need for a top level CEO at the club, I suspect the club will appoint a sporting director and also hire a new CEO with a proven track record of running a football club, maybe even promote somebody from within…

        • Yeah good post. Figurehead was wrong on my part to use I guess. Let’s just say lesser direct impact on the football side of things – like player negotiations gone wrong and that sort of stuff.

          • Exactly, it’s also worth remembering that we already have our ‘figurehead’ at the club, namely David Moores who’s ‘honorary president for life’, it’s going to be interesting to see how FSG restructure the club management, the hope of course being that they get it right…

          • Well, if it wasn’t for Rodgers’ rejecting/resisting the earlier model we’d probably be continuing with a sporting director at the moment. Oh well..

  3. I’m not going to criticize the work done in advertising because I know nothing about it. However there were just too many failures with regards to transfer negotiations and such, the shambles that was the pursuit of Sanchez when we held all the cards, the number of targets that slipped away due to lengthy negotiations, the treatment of Steven Gerrard’s contract situation, the pittance offered to Dele Alli, the embarrassing amount we shell out in agent fees.
    Ayre looked even more out of his depth in that side of the role than even Ed Woodward does at United, this is for the best.

    • Yeah I think I agree…one too many PR blunders and transfer failures. I can’t even really blame Ayre for that..I mean he’s in a position he shouldn’t have been in really. Rodgers didn’t want to work with a DoF/sporting director, so FSG went for this shambles of a system..a CEO sent to do the transfer negotiations with no real background in football. He’s great to have in terms of handling finances and accounts and the commercial deals – that’s the reason he got promoted to CEO in the first place, but that lack of footballing background is an issue.

      • Agree about pr blunders, we should have a football man talking to players .Alot of British coaches don’t like the DOF system I wonder why that is?

    • the lad can only work in the limits that he has been given by the owners. Sanchez I was convinced would go for Arsenal from the start weather you like it or not they have been massively more consistence over the years. I here your point about Ali but how many prospects have not made it with us or after they leave but we did really miss the boat with that. but just the same Kane was stuck in reserves until sherwood gave him a chance im only saying young players can be great prospects but stuck in reserves

    • Some targets were missed because the players waited to see which other options were available to them.I agree that we need a D.O.F someone who will oversee the whole of the football side of things that person would be a better option when talking to players and negotiating contracts.The club were right not to offer Steven a new contract .Regarding Dele we made him a decent offer based on the fact that he hadn’t kicked a ball in the premier league we have good options in our own youth ranks so missing out on Dele is no big deal.

    • Cortese looks pretty influential though and he fits our transfer strategy. I’d go for Paratici because he managed to beat a lot of competition to bring some of those players !

  4. Some good names there!

    On paper atleast, from what little I know of these guys it would be Zorc, Monchi, Paratici, Cortese and Zubizaretta in that order.

    Actually I always did wonder how Juventus end up getting the best talent in Europe for such low prices despite making about the same reveneue as we do overall, perhaps even lesser. So, given Juve’s buys in recent times I think Paratici might be a great call as well. I mean Pogba was a no-brainer really, but when you see Evra for 1.5mil, Lichstiener, Tevez, Khedira for free, Berardi, Vidal for 10mil you’ve gotta acknowledge the director for those buys.

  5. i don,t care who they get so long as they stay the fukc out of Klopps road the last thing we need now is someone coming in and pissing off the best manager we have had in years

    • Zorc kind of guarantees that won’t happen..I actually don’t think that will be a problem with any of these considering his experience working with sporting directors in the past.

          • Klopp was on a sabbatical and looking for a new club.
            BR was dead man walking
            There was a pretty high probability of him joining us.
            But anyways if Zorc does join us, it would be really great news!!

          • There was a pretty high probability of him joining us.

            Said who? Besides me that is. I always said he was more likely to take this job than say Real Madrid. Klopp hates the hiring and firing mentality at a place like that. And he likes to build things. I know a fair number of commenters here didn’t think we had enough pull anymore to get someone like Klopp.

          • Well maybe. But honestly speaking
            Was I sure that Klopp will join us – No
            Did I want him here – Ofcourse Yes.
            After all the debacles Fg finally pulled of a miracle this time and Yes klopp is here only because he wanted to come .
            All the clubs he has managed have YNWA as their anthem! Coincidence not.
            Also you are right Klopp would have hated madrid for sure.

  6. I’m all about a DOF because the job is about securing the long term where a manager is about securing the short term and bringing in silverware.

    However It’s not just the DOF that has a vast knowledge of the transfer market It’s about having a large scouting system that works around the globe.

    Maybe just promote the head of scouting and expand the scouting system.

  7. Some good options on that list,I’d be happy with any of them really.
    But if it was my call it would be Zorc,as much as anything because he’s worked with Klopp and they are likely on the same wavelength.
    After the mess of the last few years we need stability at the top of football and I reckon Zorc and Klopp would provide that nicely.

  8. Ayre was an accountant. He did ok on the commercial side of things but was not so good on the football side. We need a sharp business type who like Peter Robinson and John Smith will do their job quietly in the background. For the football side of things we have Steve Heighway and Kenny at the club who are vastly experienced and can help JK if he needs it.

  9. Zorc is Dortmund through and through. Although many fans 1st choice (inc mine), I just can’t see it happening.

  10. Cortese would probably be the bookies favourite. Nothing to do with the Southampton link, more a case of being out of work, previous EPL experience and having already met with FSG.

    • You think he’d be a good DoF for Liverpool? It’s tough to tell honestly..like ofcourse getting the quality academy players was a good thing, but that was Southampton and this is LFC. The kind of players I want to see LFC be linked with are more the type that end up at Juventus because I feel like they’re very similar to us as far as revenue streams are concerned. Ofcourse, I get that there are multiple factors to consider here, like Juve are the top club in Italy so that helps them and Cortese could do more with greater financial resources and all of that.

      • No idea I just think he would be the favourite as EPL experience and already approached by FSG back in the days before they were looking for a DoF before Rodger’s insisted they didn’t. They probably have an american in mind :(

        • Cmon I’m sure they don’t…they’re not naive owners. Comolli was our first DoF, I’m forgetting if he was appointed by FSG. I’m sure they’ll get someone with the proper experience into the club. This would be like appointing Bruce Arena for LFC coach cause he’s American.

          • I feckin hope not! But whilst Mike Gordon is at the club,…all eventualities are possible

          • We got Klopp as manager under Gordon…we were likely going to get Cortese if Rodgers was ok with the DoF model, and I think Gordon was in charge even back then. No reason to think any differently this time around. Nothing has changed in that aspect.

          • Gordon was the driving force in us nearly missing out on Klopp too, by not seeing what the entire football world could, and that Rodger’s had to go at the end of last season. He is the reason Klopp has had to put up with signings like Benteke and had no pre-season. It was only John Henrys decision to finally ignore Gordon that resulted in Klopp arriving. Even then the board was split with Gordon (reportedly being one of the two voting members not convinced on Klopp.

          • Wow! Do you have a source on this stuff by any chance? I thought the reason we continued with Rodgers and got Klopp afterwards was because Klopp was on vacation and wanted to take time out of the game…he’s stated that publicly multiple times after all. Seemed like a pretty simple 2+2=4 equation to me going by the events…that FSG were keeping their eyes on Klopp and were waiting to see when he might be available. Klopp definitely took an extended break in the summer though..he said he was approached by West Ham.

          • It’s a well known fact that it was Gordon who (twice) stopped John Henry from pulling the trigger. Once the previous season, and again after the Stoke debacle. With FSG in america being keen to pull the trigger.
            It’s also a well known fact that the appointment of Klopp was not universal, and that two voting members voted no, so Klopp was appointed by a majority vote and John Henry full backing. It has been reported by some journalists (speculation) that Gordon was probably one of them.
            We all know Klopp would have taken the job in the summer, as his agent was making all the noises through Bild that he would. 24 hours before the Rodgers would be staying announcement was made public, Klopp then announced he would be taking a sabbatical…I’m pretty sure he knew Regardless of his views on Klopp, the fact that he was the one alongside Ayre who ferociously backed Rodgers to stay for the beginning of this season, and between them convince Henry to keep him, is enough in my book to want him gone, as he has clearly demonstrated a very poor judgement call

          • Seems like a lot of speculation and rumors to me man. How would the inner workings and decisions of a board room be well known facts? You say 24 hours before Rodgers announcement Klopp said he’d be taking time off…don’t you think it’s the other way round? That the decision to keep Rodgers longer could have been made instantly after they knew that Klopp was going to take some time off?

            After working non-stop for 7 years at Dortmund and 7 years at Mainz before that I find the need to take a mini sabbatical from Klopp quite a realistic explanation.

          • Not at all. Every journalist including the respected ones, and those close to the workings on LFC all reported the very same. Gordon and Ayre were the sole reason why Brendan stayed (twice). His backing of a lame horse is what concerns me about his judgement, and why I wouldn’t be surprised by a crazy DoF appointment.
            And no I don’t, as it was being reported 48 hours before the announcement to keep Rodger’s that Gordon and Ayre had convinced Henry to keep Rodgers and that an announcement would be made in the next 24-48 hours.

          • Agree with you…. Klopp was not available at pre-season because of vacation needs and the moment Klopp’s camp shows green light, off Rodgers goes and in comes Klopp. There are even rumours then that some of the signings are based on Klopp’s “agreement” so to speak. I don’t think it is but I’m not “insider”.

  11. The title of the article is confused. Ayre doesn’t need to be replaced by a sporting directory. He needs to be replaced by a CEO type, a general business manager who will run the club on a day to day basis. There is no reason why the club couldn’t hire a sporting director right now and leave Ayre to do what he normally does which is to run the business side of the club. At the end of the day a club the size of Liverpool will always need a business manager because of the massive amounts of money involved. Football experience helps, of course, but the club will always need someone who’s primary focus is keeping the club from losing money, attracting sponsors and commercial partnerships and generally running the day-to-day. None of the above mentioned names could be trusted with the actual running of the club and the 100s of millions pounds of revenue it generates every year. No, football is not just about money, but in the modern game it’s extremely important, so you want someone in charge of that money who really knows how to handle it.

    I’d be happy to see a sporting director come in and take on some of that responsibility for transfers and development. Rodgers clearly didn’t want someone like that so it was abandoned, but perhaps this summer FSG and Klopp will discuss together if they want to move forward with such a role or keep things the way they are.

    • The confusion appears to be yours and yours alone. The article is clear from the offset that the departure of Ayre could bring about a change to the structure, and a Sporting director now being appointed.

        • And the paragraph directly below the headline is…

          Ian Ayre’s departure from Liverpool could bring a structural change at the club, which may see a sporting director arrive in the hierarchy.

          • And the first sentence of my comments is …

            “The title of the article is confused. Ayre doesn’t need to be replaced by a sporting directory. ”

            Spelling mistakes aside, I’m just pointing out that the title is making a false claim. No sporting directory will ever “replace” Ian Ayre. Jack is no fool, so I’m surprised he’s written it this way. He either genuinely means that he thinks Ayre will actually be replaced by a sporting director, or he means what he says when he mentions a “structural change”. You’re probably right, but skimming the title of articles is fairly common for ‘net users these days, so it’s not entirely incidental.

            The other point I made is that this change could be made now, or in the summer. No one has to wait for Ian Ayre to leave in order to appoint a director of football.

          • The paragraph was directly below the title and way above the body of the article. So nothing to be confused about.
            It is crystal clear that the article is implying the structural change where a Sporting Director is brought in to take over the clubs transfer duties from Ayre.
            The key phrase was “structural change” We would not have a need to replace Ayre with another C.E.O, if a Sporting Director was appointed. His other duties on the commercial side will probably be resigned to another member of FSG…or possibly the structural change will be to replace Ayre with both a Sporting Director and Commercial Director?
            The fact remains the same, the article is not misleading or confusing. Ayre will be leaving and FSG may replace him (meaning his transfer duties) with a Sporting Director.

          • I stand by the comment: replace just isn’t the right word. Transfers are a small portion of what Ayre does for the club and a sporting director could be brought in today, with Ayre still present. The notion that Ayre somehow stands in the way of a role like this is erroneous.

          • And I stand by the comment there is nothing to be confused about as the title and subject matter was quantified prior to the article.
            ” 5 sporting directors for Liverpool to consider as Ian Ayre’s replacement – Ian Ayre’s departure from Liverpool could bring a structural change at the club, which may see a sporting director arrive in the hierarchy.”

          • Too much.
            Although I have to admit Jack’s headline’s have become “click bait” like as of late. It was only last week that he titled an article on Rodger’s comments in a very misleading way, that was clearly designed to enrage. I did have words with him about it on twitter, but I guess his apology was hollow!

          • I agree…There was no need to mention Ayre in this article at all. Snide attack on the man.

        • Nonsense it was crucial to the article.
          Ayre’s duties are split between that of a commercial director and a sporting director.
          The article was simply pointing out that with Ayre stepping down FSG could choose this opportunity to restructure.
          An article not mentioning Ayre leaving would give the story no basis for discussing a SD.

    • Good point.

      Sporting Director and CEO can and should be 2 different roles. We can have 2 of these even right now unless the article implies that Ayre is standing in the way of a new Sporting Director?

    • The title isn’t confused, and the opening sentence reads:

      “Ian Ayre’s departure from Liverpool could bring a structural change at the club, which may see a sporting director arrive in the hierarchy.”

      And then: “Ayre’s departure could prompt a reshuffle of Liverpool’s backroom staff, and John W. Henry and Tom Werner may to appoint a sporting director – as they had originally planned to prior to Rodgers’ appointment in 2012.”

      So there’s no confusion, the article is suggesting LFC replace Ayre by going back to their idea of appointing a sporting director; leaving the likes of Hogan and Gordon run the business side of things.

      • I was giving you the benefit of the doubt, assuming it was just a mistake. In that case I disagree and the rest of my original comments stand. Running the business side of things is a massive job. I think this is another example of how little people actually appreciate what Ayre does. Running the business aspect of the club is a full time job and he’s done it extremely well. It’s hardly something that Mike Gordan can just pick up in his spare time and the suggestion to me is quite daft.

        Do people seriously only thing of Ayre in terms of his place on the transfer committee? It’s a tiny part of his actual job, the rest of which involves managing the 300+ million pounds of annual revenue the club generates. Just because transfer are the thing we care about the most, doesn’t mean that’s how the club is run.

      • Awww crap….. He’s probably the best compared to the 5 mentioned. Assuming he’s in this role for a longer time, it is quite impressive that AM has players like Torres, Aguero, Costa and now Griezmann. Not to mention Turan, Koke, etc. Someone that we should be trying to sign of DoF is something that we are looking to establish.

        • Well it’s just a rumor though..so nothing finalized yet. Also, I think Torres was with them a long long time ago, doubt he was DoF 10-15 years ago. Spain has a lot of talent so I’m not that surprised in all honesty. I think Atletico actually do more with less as far as their talent is concerned.

          • Yeah I know…I was just saying that I don’t think the sporting director was a part of this club back then is all.

          • Agree…. I’m just thinking that someone in Atletico must be doing the right thing for them to be able to churn out top players every year. Although Spain has a lot of talent, you’d notice that most of those are actually not Spanish. I put it down to smart scouting, both internally and globally.

  12. Great idea, but has to be Zorc or Monchi for me. Either one will help our great club to bring some fresh quality new talent in. The days of paying out ridiculous transfer fees like for Carroll and Benteke and even Firmino have to stop. Ian Ayre was hoodwinked into making these costly buys because he was too weak. Enough is enough.

  13. Does Liverpool need a CEO? Perhaps Ayre doesn’t need to be replaced.

    Billy Hogan is our Commercial Director (formerly Ayre’s role) – looks after the business side. We just hire a DoF – looks after the sporting side. They both report directly to the Chairman, Tom Werner.

    Manchester City doesn’t have a Commercial Director. It’s the CEO (business) and Txiki Begiristain (DOF).

    Chelsea have the Chairman and two Directors and a Commercial Director (Purslow).

    Manchester United have a huge vareity of business minions but no dedicated DoF type person.

    Spurs is basically Levy, Levy and Levy.

    …so it seems a good opportunity to streamline the hierarchy and reporting lines keeping distinct the business-side and the sporting-side of things.

    • Yeah I was thinking about this as well..only one thing needs to change if we’re going to go thru with this. Most of our big decisions are made thru telecommunication and remotely. But I don’t think we can have a remote CEO. Hogan will have to come and live in Liverpool full time if he is to take that decision. Think he’s based out of London at the moment.

      • I’m fine with Hogan being in London if it allows him to be closer to potential commercial partners and opportunities. I don’t have a hang-up on this – that he MUST live here.

        As you said, only one change (an experienced DoF addition)…and we’re set.

        • Reason I said that is because a CEO is supposed to handle day-to-day operations of the club. As a commercial man trying to get the best deals for LFC, it was alright. But if he’s going to take over that position then it will likely be a lot more hands-on I’d think.

    • Spot on Joe.

      DOF is necessary in today’s world of football:


      should be the only options considering they have worked in MASSIVE clubs and have had success.

  14. Go Big or Go Home.
    DOF is necessary in today’s world of football:




    Should be the only options considering they have worked in MASSIVE clubs and have had success.

  15. Definitely off topic but I think it’s something worth discussing! Kompany is now supposed to be injured for another month and even Otamendi was said to come off injured after the Kiev match. This means they’re likely going to have to rely on Demichelis and Mangala!

    Ordinarily I’d think the gap is too large and unrealistic, but I definitely have a feeling it’s on now provided we’re able to get about 22-23 points from our last 10 matches. We’ll basically have to play our socks off and win most of our matches.

      • Haha thank you captain obvious right!? I was just trying to say that with the 2 injuries now it might seem half realistic. Like I can see the loss of Kompany be a factor of about 3-4 points loss for them…now that’s just a 3-4 point loss and we’ll still have to catch up by 9 points eventually. Still very tough for me.

      • True but Gunners always get their sh***t together when it comes to fighting for that 4th place…they’re like the champions of making it to top 4…too much past experience..plus they seem to be in a good enough spot for that. Not the title but top 4 yeah.

        • Yeah…Think so but I guess with pressure on Arsene growing, this might just be the season. You never know

          • There’s definitely a slight chance that’s possible but I feel as though City look in ever worse condition compared to them. Arsenal haven’t been good enough to win the title for sure but they are good enough to get that top 4 position. That pressure you’re talking about might drive him out of the club at the end of this season for sure, but I don’t see it translating to them losing a Champions League place. Actually their effort against Barcelona wasn’t half bad…they had plenty of shots on goal in the match. More than I was expecting anyhow.

  16. That’s the kind of stuff fans love to make up and convince themselves it’s true. Then they just need someone to blame. Ayre is perfect to blame.

  17. News just in from FSG source in Fenway Park –

    re: recent ticket pricing protests – sources claim FSG are stung by accusations of being greedy foggers who are only in it for money.

    The letter of appeasement from FSG is a smokescreen. Behind the scenes Messrs Henry, Werner and Gordon et al, e.g Seth Klarman and Mr Ginsberg are furious with (predominantly Scouse as they see it) fans who have publicly exposed FSG as money-grabbing businessmen.

    • The general tone is “How dare the fans make such protests and call FSG greedy”.

      There is a sense that FSG deserve unconditional recognition and gratitude for their ownership of the Merseyside franchise and as this bond has been broken by fans, moves are being made behind the scenes to sell LFC to a Wall Street investment syndicate who will be even more hands-off and view LFC 100% as a franchise as oppsoed to how FSG view it as 95% a franchise (there is some interest in the club but generally it is a business concern).

  18. Poor article by a poor writer. I think I will just pay the subscription to Tompkins Times & be done with it. The article fails in terms of context, relevance & substantiation.

    The headline, & subsequently the article, is akin to saying: I SEE YOU HAVE LOST AN ARM. HERE ARE FIVE PROSTHETIC FEET I HAVE HEARD OF.

    So I ask, why Mr Lusby, will the CEO giving notice of his intent to resign prompt the club to re-structure & appoint a Director of Football? This is after all a different position requiring different qualifications. The appointee is quite likely to be an individual you have never heard of.

    Should the club choose to bring in a Director of Football why would / should it wait until the CEO departs?

    An opinion piece is supposed to provide substantiation to support the writing. If it did not it would be called an imagination piece.

    I personally have no objection to the idea of a Director of Football at LFC. That individual, should they be appointed will absolutely not be replacing the role of the CEO / Managing Director.

    • Not sure you fully get what the article is saying. Ian is currently doing the jobs of the CEO and the DOF. With Ian making way, it gives Liverpool the opportunity to split the two positions and get in a true footballing DOF. He can solely focus on managing the transfers, scouting, etc., which is where Ian Ayres shortfalls were made apparent. Thus, Jack laid out a commendable list of DOF type guys to bring in and fix out transfer/recruitment system. It would be a very dull article if a list of businessmen were laid out as the next CEO.

    • Struggling to read correctly there Chris? Throwing around criticism when the article quite clearly works off the basis that when Ayre leaves it will give FSG opportunity to restructure the hierarchy and look again at the DOF model – this is all written in the article.

      And while your praise for Paul Tomkins is nice, you could at least spell his name correctly seeing as you’re so sharp to criticise others here.

      • Would an article also work off the basis that the poor form of Simon Mignolet will give LFC the opportunity to play Joe Allen in goal?

        My apologies to Mr Tomkins.
        I suspect that he would be more concerned that I appreciate his actual knowledge of the subject matter about which he writes & his ability to substantiate his opinions, i.e. like a real writer / analyst, than about my admittedly careless misspelling of his surname.

        Considering the word “afer’ now appears in the title for this article, do you not think the pot is attempting to call the kettle black?

        Nice work.

    • What’s your site called then Chris ? It must be really good, top-notch in fact, you obvs know a lot more than these writers.
      You need to read the article on Ayre giving his notice, it clearly lays out the options moving forward.

  19. I’m glad Ayre decided to step down. While he may have bought much needed ‘new money’ via marketing avenues, probably other financially beneficial deals and stadium expansion for Liverpool, he failed with the most important commodity, ‘the players’. Transfer deals, Negotiations, Contract Extensions etc. I believe ‘BR’ also had a part in this, so its not all Ayre.

    And to me as a fan that’s difficult to take simply because we took one step forward in season ’13-14 only to take 2 steps back with bungled transfers following 2 summers and with a huge outlay.

    Remains to be seen how Klopp will fare but I’m guessing (of the 5 here) Zorc would be my pick of the bunch followed by the Juventus guy Fabio Paratici in what is now being called the ‘Sporting Director’ role. Somewhere a beady-eyed Damien Comolli looks on with envy.

  20. At first sight I thought this piece would have insight.
    Then I saw the lie which allows the author
    To blow his tuneless trumpet
    From the top of a whingeing bandwagon.
    ‘ 5 sporting directors for Liverpool to consider as Ian Ayre’s replacement.’
    Mr Ayre has served my Liverpool long and well,
    Helping to recruit some fine players
    But has never, as implied in the headline, been a sporting director.
    That’s just nonsense.
    Then, the poor scribbler opines that,
    ‘…Liverpool’s much-criticised transfer committee has tarnished Ayre’s reputation somewhat, with the 52-year-old held accountable for a number of a mistakes in the market…’
    Zubizarreta’s failures merely, ‘hinted at a short sighted approach.’
    And then the snide jibe, ‘ …alongside former manager Brendan Rodgers.’
    And the commenting scavengers arrive round the body to feast
    And the bandwagon rolls on.

  21. Shinji Kagawa (free), Lukasz Piszczek (free), Robert Lewandowski (£3.3m), Mats Hummels (£3m), Ilkay Gundogan (£3.9m), Neven Subotic (£3.1m), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£9.1m); !!!!! That speaks for itself. Its phenomanal really by todays standards and the polar opposite of what we’ve done in recent times.

  22. Barcelona couldn’t force Sanchez to join us he would have said no.Sanchez would only have joined us if there were no other offers on the table.

  23. Some of the criticism of Ian Ayre has been harsh . He only did what he was told to do . But I find it very strange he has has resigned from a very lucrative job

  24. I was over the moon to see the back of Rodgers, and Ifee exactly the same way regarding Ayres departure. Both men clueless in football terms……so happy days ahead.

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