By Tony Attwood
The regular daily praise of Liverpool FC piece in the press today has taken a new twist, as shown in this comment in the Telegraph…
When Fenway Sports Group bought Liverpool in 2010, John W. Henry reserved particular praise for one English club. “I admire Arsenal very much,” Henry said, citing Wenger’s formula of creating rather than paying world record fees for superstar footballers while still qualifying for the Champions League every year
It was another commentary that suggests that Liverpool is run by nice blokes who don’t spend money on players but unlike Manchester City have gained top position in the league by buying bargains and being prudent.
It is a story that is repeated very regularly and clearly the general word from the media is that this is and always has been true. I’ve regularly tried to counter this with a few facts, but facts are not exactly good currency in the world at the moment and we regularly get comments saying that Liverpool are not big spenders at all. Yet the facts are all I have. Here are the transfers from just the five most recent transfers…
- Fabinho, Midfielder — from Monaco, £40m
- Naby Keïta, Midfielder — from RB Leipzig, £52.8m
- Xheran Shaqiri, Winger — from Stoke City , £13m
- Alisson, Goalkeeper — from Roma £65m
There were no major sales to counteract this. Outlay over £170m
- Virgil van Dijk – from Southampton, £75m
Fundunded and more by the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona – £106m. Profit £31m
- Mohamed Salah, from Roma, £36.9m
- Andrew Robertson, from Hull City £8m
- Naby Keïta, from RB Leipzig, undisclosed
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, from Arsenal, £35m
Part funded by Leiva and Stewart for £5m each. Outlay over £70m
In January2017 the club had no major transfers
In the summer 2016
- Loris Karius – Mainz – £4.7m
- Sadio Mane – Southampton – £30m
- Ragnar Klavan – Augbsurg – £4.2m
- Georginio Wijnaldum – Newcastle – £23m
But against this they received £81.6m. Profit of £19.6m
Thus the total expenditure minus sales income is somewhere around £190m. So how come this story about the club not spending has legs?
The answer I think is that all Liverpool stories are believed. It is rather like the story of Suarez’ buy out clause in which Arsenal bid £40,000,000 for Suarez, in accordance with the buy out clause in his contract. For a very long time the Liverpool owner claimed there was no buy out clause and made a derisory comment about “what they are smoking” at Arsenal.
But of course liers need people to know how clever they are and in 2014 the Liverpool owner boasted at a conference that had lied persistently about the lack of buy out clause, and simply denied it because they wanted to keep the player.
It did make the papers, but the amount of criticism of the owners’ lies and indeed the boasting he did at getting one over Arsenal, was downplayed. We covered it in a little more details in the 2014 article Liverpool owner admits he lied about Suarez’ buy out clause
In this case Liverpool took the position that they were not selling, but also they took the view that they could lie to the world’s media with impunity. And indeed they can because the media were not ready to go digging. It’s Liverpool. They are always believed.
With Liverpool the past is not just another country but a country in which stuff didn’t happen. Does anyone now recall that in 2017 Liverpool were banned from signing any more academy players for a year because of their behaviour?
Or that in July 2017 the club was accused of submitting a falsified document to the Premier League when trying to lure a 12-year-old schoolboy from Stoke City. They then failed to make amends for leaving the lad unable to play academy football and for leaving his parents in massive debts after Liverpool failed to pay his school fees. Also the case revealed that the club was falsifying documents, as witness the fact that it instructed the parents not to date documents they signed. The parents did not go along with this and Liverpool was found guilty of falsifying documents submitted to the league – by changing the date.
The father said: “What Liverpool have done brings shame on that football club. They have ruined my son’s career and left him in despair. He has been in limbo for a year now, thanks to the £49,000 price on his head, and is being blackballed by other clubs. No-one will touch him….
“The richest league in the world sells its dream of football to youngsters across the globe but its rules have created a nightmare for my lad.”
But such tales are of course history and what can be learned is that the Liverpool approach works. Liverpool are only spoken about in the most fulsome and positive manner. Thus it is of course an excellent way to maintain PR among newspapers that work on the basis that last week’s news is of no value. And even more so if Liverpool is now up for sale. This story of the sale emerged last month… and you can be sure that the compliant media will certainly not be reminding possible buyers about how the club has been run, nor that the constantly repeated story that over time Liverpool don’t spend money on transfers is actually not true either.
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