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August 2019
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Ahead of the match: Liverpool’s finances not in the best of shape.

By Tony Attwood

With Arsenal not playing until Sunday Saturday afternoon took me to my local football ground – Corby Town.  They are in what we used to call the Conference North, now the Blue Square Bet North.  Either way it is 6th tier of English football.   The ground is 10 minutes from my home so it is a case of leaving 15 minutes before kick off and being back in the car to hear the results on the radio.

Today it was Corby Town 4 Bradford Park Avenue 5.  Quite a jolly affair unless you are an avid Corby supporter.  The crowd was 381, entrance fee £10, car parking free.  Being pro-Corby but no such much that a 4-5 home defeat hurts desperately I quite enjoyed matters from my seat in the grand stand on the half way line.  (Our local council built Corby a new ground 18 months ago – it is rather fine and the seats are very comfortable).

Corby also have a Vieira in their team – Avelino Vieira in fact, which makes me feel at home.  It is a fine ground for this level of football, but the team is lacking in its defence.  If I was a billionaire I think I’d start by giving them some money.

But I’m not, so back home, and contemplation of Sunday’s game.   Continuing a little on the theme from this morning’s piece, Liverpool remains an interesting club.  Liberated of their wealth by their previous owners (who I believe are still suing the club in the American courts for billions), and rescued from one sent of Americans by another set of Americans they find they are no longer a top four club.

And they have (or at least in the last set of accounts I saw, had) a big hole in their accounts.  Indeed the fact that Liverpool are in a spot of financial trouble seems to be a story that has passed by those fans who rather like the notion of rich financiers coming in and buying clubs.  The new ground is not happening, and the mega investment needed to buy lots of new players is not happening – and now it seems they can’t actually buy Clint Dempsey from Fulham for about £5m.  Dempsey is 29 but he scored 23 goals last season, so surely he must be worth something.

So they have (unless I have missed something, and if I have that would not be for the first time) Luis Suárez and Fabio Borini up front.   Of course there might be some others in the youth ranks who are ready to step up (maybe Samed Yesil is one such), and if there are others please let me know.  I’m not trying to take pot shots at Liverpool – I really am trying to follow the story.

Charlie Adam, Jay Spearing and Nathan Eccleston were sold and Carroll went to WHU on loan.   Borini, Joe Allen, Oussama Assaidi and Yesil,  came in while, as we all know, Nuri Sahin came on loan from Real Madrid rather than coming to Arsenal.  I suspect he took a look at who we have got in the mid-field and decided he’d not get many games.

So what are we to make of Liverpool’s financial situation?  The owners have said that the idea of a new ground is dead, which means their match day income stays where it is, below that of Arsenal match by match and without the boost of the Champions League money.   Their marketing income has historically been good because of their previous achievements in the league and Euro Cup, but each extra year without the Champs League reduces their standing both in a marketing sense and in their European co-efficient if they are to get back in.

Which leaves us all asking: how do Liverpool climb out of their financial muddle?   A year ago the owner said, “Our main goal is to qualify for the Champions League. If we don’t, it would be a major disappointment.”  So we can take it he is disappointed. A year ago Billy Hogan, managing director of the owning company said, “You’re seeing the desire to win and the desire to compete in the transfer market.”  So they bought Charlie Adam.  And sold him again.

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Liverpool lost £49.3 million before tax in 2010/11, and I am not sure their buying and selling since those figures will have helped them much – especially since the last set of figures included £43 million from selling Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano. On the other hand their wages were a ridiculous 70% of income, and that must surely have come down a bit.

Of course Liverpool have now written off all the money spent on the new stadium project so that should help them, but I am still not sure that the club has come out of the last two months of transfer activity very well.

We’ll see what they have in store for us on sunday.

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The club that changed football

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20 comments to Ahead of the match: Liverpool’s finances not in the best of shape.

  • royce

    They got almost 70 mill pounds from the sale of Torres and Mascherano get your facts straight also we have no Gerards and Lucases and that Allen is vgood.
    So i think Sahin may just favour them or they offered more what u reckon .

  • revi

    stupid & greedy owners leave us

  • akasuna

    I came here early to read the match preview. Miles, where are you? 😛 I’m tired of all this negativity surrounding a lot of Arsenal blog.Some pray we loose, some say they want to boycott the match. I don’t understand…where are our true supporter?

  • Matt Clarke

    Thanks Tony,
    Sad for Pool to become a cautionary tale.
    And, I suspect that there is something in the psyche of that club that is not quite right.
    Any Liverpool fans reading, please put me straight if I am wrong, but there seems, for many years now, to have been a strange, deeply sad, mindset at the club.
    Probably since Hillsborough: and if because of that incident, then quite understandable.
    Anyway, as you are alluding to, the current financial dealings do not seem to be giving the healing that it needs in any way, shape or form.
    Although I wish the supporters well, I hope that we can take advantage of the collective malaise and give them a thumping.

  • Phil Sorsky

    I notice Gooners don’t predict a score ? I expect an LFC win – just like Emirates game last year.

  • Asanda

    Sahin is at Liverpool because of murihno

  • bob

    Tony,
    On August 25, the Boston Red Sox – the US pro baseball team owned by John Henry – shed $262.5 million in payroll (in a mega-trade with the LA Dodgers). It remains to be seen whether and by how much that money will be used to help the John Henry owned Liverpool team. It is a wild card in the mix and needs watching.

  • Youssef

    Do you know what is the partnership between spurs and madrid? madrid had to destroy our late transfers. Thus sahin went to liverpool because mourinhoo said that and then mourinhoo got the othet DM we wanted from chelseaa. Funny partnership !
    I really want Arsenal to score first tomorrow to give confidence to the whole team and im sure it will be the start of something special
    Gooner 4 ever from morocco

  • Cameron Wolfe

    @ Royce
    “They got almost 70 mill pounds from the sale of Torres and Mascherano get your facts straight”

    You’re missing the point. You can’t just add up all the money you got for players that are sold. it doesn’t work like that.
    Maybe this help you understand:

    Liverpool made an operating loss of £90m last year.

    So after selling those vastly overpriced players. They were left with 43m profit from the sale.

    90m – 43m (profit from all player sales) = 46m loss.

    If the latest owner carries on subsidising the club with loans then I’m sure you’ll be fine but those loans will continue to grow year on year as will the debt ( the loans will be a debt against the club somewhere. It’s not free money), unless he either sells it to someone with deeper pockets who wants to buy players ( Man. city, Chelsea) or you win every single competition.
    You’ll make a loss again this year.

  • cameron, debt per se isn’t really the problem when the money is being put into the club by a wealthy owner. If Henry puts money into Liverpool to cover losses, he’s effectively moving money from his left pocket into his right pocket, as he owns LFC.

    Even if this is recorded in the accounts as debt (loans are made by Henry to cover losses) it doesn’t really matter – he won’t charge his own club interest. Plus he could just finance the club’s losses with equity anyway, a bit like Roman did with Chelsea – instead of having a huge tally of debt building up, Roman just financed the club through equity.

    As tony rightly points out in the article, the problem is these endless losses. Can Henry perenially cover them? Perhaps, perhaps not. Even if he can, how long will he be around if LFC stay out of the CL places and remain as an upper midtable side? If he decides to cut the club off and sell it, will the next owner be as benevolent and cover all the losses? What if he tires of forking out to cover the losses, and demands costs are slashed (read: wages and transfers) in order to stop the cash outflow?

    It’s a precarious position for Liverpool, and the Dalglish experiment has mightily messed them up. They had £100m gross spend to rebuild the side and almost to a man the signings were woeful or inadequate. Even Suarez, the apparent success, does not score enough and is a reprehensible human being.

  • bob

    Phil, Cameron Wolfe,
    On August 25, the Boston Red Sox – the US pro baseball team owned by John Henry – shed $262.5 million in payroll (in a mega-trade with the LA Dodgers). It remains to be seen whether and by how much that money will be used to help the John Henry owned Liverpool team. It is a wild card in the mix and needs watching.

  • sayantan

    Well liverpool’s situation will worsen if they don’t stop making uncalculative transfer purchases ! For instance andy carrol , now if west ham decides to permanently sign it will be further loss to the merseyside club

  • dan

    Arsenal to win.

  • elkieno

    West Ham just might want to buy him after last nights game. He assisted both goals didn’t he, defo the 1st one

  • colario

    King Kenny came in on a great wave of emotion and belief that he would bring back the ‘glory days’. He was allowed to spend freely and in the league the spending didn’t produce consistency and seemingly for this he was sacked.

    When new signings don’t immediately bring consistency at manure we are reminded that it takes time for new players to settle in. With manure its Ok if the new signings don’t crack it from game one. So why not a Liverpool? Kenny took them to two finals and one won of them. The intent was there.

    Brendon Rogers is a good manager but a new manager means more settling time and as we have seen ‘new signings out, new signings in’. Yet again another upheaval season. Its not surprising that the finances are in a mess.

    This season could have been a season of moving up a gear without upheaval had Kenny been allowed another season.

  • AmericanGunnerFan

    Bob: While it’s true that the Boston Red Sox shed a huge amount of salary obligations there are two things that you have to keep in mind about that.

    First, the amount of money saved were present and future salary obligations that were to be spread out over a number of years in the future, not just this year and/or next–so it is not a lump sum of cash that is now immediately available and the bonus money that was already paid on those contracts is gone.

    Perhaps more importantly, however, is that, even though the Red Sox will save considerably in wages for the new, younger players that they have acquired, their fans will demand that John Henry invest significantly in the offseason to make the team competitive with the NY Yankees again. As good as the Red Sox’ young players are, Red Sox fans, who are probably the most vociferous in the US, will have John Henry’s head if he doesn’t take steps to make the team competitive with the hated Yankees immediately and that will cost money, in the form of signing on bonuses that are paid to free agent players when they sign a contract with the club.

    Even if there is some money left over from the Boston salary dump, I don’t think that it will be that great a sum after Henry pays out the bonuses he will need to pay to bring in the new players that team will need. At most, I would estimate that it might amount to 10 million pounds or less available immediately. Where Henry will be saving money is on salaries over the next 5-8 years (assuming the young players acquired don’t come good and require salary increases to keep them). But having money for salaries isn’t Liverpool’s problem when they are paying the kind of wages they are paying at present.

  • Finsbury

    I know arsenal are playing Liverpool today, but no one told Amy Lawrence. Another poor piece of hackery from her today. I’d have thought a writer would want to look at both teams. Nope. Same old garbage. Arsenal need to spend some funting money! Preferably over inflated wages with cuts going to certain agents. Ooops. Let us not mention Carroll and King Kenny’s pension fund.

  • Finsbury

    < Over inflated fees

  • Limpar

    Right on finsbury
    Spend some money but no mention of which players
    We sold 2 bought 3 first teamers . Wenger doesn’t regard the fact we spent less as a weakness it’s more about the quality, if people still haven’t learnt that since 1997 they never will. When the squad is full he won’t invest unless it’s in a top player he loves. clint Dempsey Doesn’t fit that bill

  • Stuart

    I don’t suppose FFP really matters to Liverpool though.