SBD/April 25, 2014/Franchises

Liverpool's Ayre Credits FSG With Saving Club, Building Sustainable Situation

FSG took over the club in '10 from former Owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr.
EPL club Liverpool Managing Dir Ian Ayre said that because of team Owner Fenway Sports Group, the club has "recovered from being 'seconds from financial disaster' to re-establish themselves at the top of English football," according to Chris Bascombe of the London TELEGRAPH. FSG's takeover in '10, which came after former Owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. were forced to sell their shares, "avoided administration and has been the catalyst for the restoration of Liverpool as a club of substance rather than image." Ayre said, "People sometimes forget how bad it was. I speak to people now and they have really short memories. When you think about that day when we tipped it over the edge and finally pulled it back, we have come such a long way. It is no secret." He added, "It was horrific to see the football club in that state. I do not think there was a Liverpool fan in the city or anywhere who was not worried we would not get back to this position. We went from the court ruling to two years of scrapping via lawyers." Ayre: "As one of the few people who was here with the last ownership and through this one, I can say the club is in a fantastically sustainable position now and that’s down to the people running it in the best interests of the club, not the best interest of the owners. ... It’s an unbelievable achievement to get back where we are today. That is testament to the people who invested in it and worked on getting us back there." Bascombe notes this week’s unveiling of designs for a new Anfield and announcement of the latest commercial partnership with Subway "was further proof that, unlike previous title challenges in the last 24 years, this one has stronger foundations" (London TELEGRAPH, 4/25).
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