Monday, October 29, 2007

Liverpool fans no longer laughing about United's debt mountain..

When Manchester United were taken over against the best wishes of the supporters and the old PLC board by the Glazer family, Liverpool fans were among the first to ram home the 'USA, USA, USA' chants. The gloating soon stopped when the Liverpool fans learnt that their club would also be taken over by American owners.

However, the Liverpool Reds new custodians weren't a bit like the Glazers', that much soon became clear. For one thing the Glazers' don't do PR, they do not believe in dialogue with the fans and paying customers. This alienated them from the start and did nothing to dispel the fears that United's new owners had anything but self-interest at heart behind their decision to push through what was effectively a hostile takeover of the club. As a result of the change of ownership United are now massively in hock to the banks.

The Liverpool Reds were given assurances that the new owners weren't going to make the same mistakes as the Glazers'. It has to be said, Tom Hicks and George Gillett have done a fantastic PR job because they were welcomed with open arms by the old LFC board and fans alike. This was in marked contrast to what happened down the East Lancs Road at United.

Not only that, but the Liverpool fans were led to believe that the club wouldn't end up massively in hock to the banks like United, because funding would come largely from the new owners own pockets. On top of which tickets for the new stadium would be priced for 'all pockets' - again this was in marked contrast to what is going on at United where the fans have been on the wrong end of huge price-hikes.

So far, so good, perhaps too good? Doesn't it all sound a bit like a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale made up for the children? Because now it has emerged that the new owners have been negotiating a refinancing package with US bank Wachovia to fund escalating costs for their new stadium as Tom Hicks confirmed: "The new financing deal will be completed in the next 30 days." The talk is that Liverpool will be saddled with United like debts of £500m.

You do wonder what the old Liverpool board are now thinking about their decision to sell-out to the new owners. At least at United it was made clear that the Glazers' were not welcome.

Refinancing can often be the sensible thing to do in business, but Liverpool fans are now rightly concerned that the original personal debts of the American duo are about to be transferred onto the club. As ever the devil will be in the detail and time will tell exactly what lies ahead for the Liverpool Reds and their new owners.

Arsenal's Peter Hill-Wood has recently made it clear that this new breed of owner investors are not welcome at his club, personally I hope that the Gunners don't follow the path that Liverpool and United taken.


  1. despite all the hype of glazer-hating, the glazers have actually stayed out of the press and the decisions leaving SAF to do what he does best. they haven't mettled with the workings of the club, and have instead ponied up the largest sum yet for buying new players - something the reds have appeared to do quite successfully this year.

    no matter what the gunners decide, the fate of liverpool was never any more glamorous bc of their american owners. in fact, the glazers have a proven track record of successful sport ownership - i wonder if the pool's yanks can say the same. if their current stint of broken promises is anything to go by, liverpool may find themselves ranking below united here as well as in the premiership.

  2. It's true that the Glazers' have kept out of the news and that they have supported the manager in the transfer market. However, to completely ignore the financial mess that they're making would be wrong. Added to which there's been a steady flow of stories suggesting that the Glazer family are looking to offload United. IMO, that will have to happen, it's a question of when and not if. Hopefully someone will bail them and United out.

    As far as Hicks and Gillett are concerned, in my view, they can say what they like. Talk is cheap.

    As with the Glazer family, time will tell what their legacy will be. I for one can appreciate exactly why LFC fans have concerns.


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