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SBD Global/July 8, 2013/Franchises

Liverpool Tries To Find The Right Balance Between Success, Economic Responsibility

Liverpool has called for "realism" when it comes to managing success, finances.
Liverpool fans "want the impossible -- instant success on the one hand, and a sensible, well-run club on the other," according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The club's Principal Owner John Henry said as much in an open letter at the start of the season. As Liverpool prepares for a preseason tour of Australia and Asia, Henry and Managing Dir Ian Ayre hope that "the message of prudent, long-term planning is sinking in with the fans of one of the world’s most famous clubs." Ayre "calls for realism." He said, "We are in a kind of virtuous circle. The more revenue we can generate, the more we can invest in our team." Henry's Fenway Sports Group "embarked on a spending spree on new players after buying the club" in Oct. '10, notably paying £35M for striker Andy Carroll. The club "is once again buying new players, but without the recklessness of the past." Barely a week into this summer’s transfer window, four players have been bought for a combination of no more than £25M ($37M), and the club has cut its losses with Carroll, selling him to West Ham United for £15M ($22M) (FT, 7/5).

RISING TICKET PRICES: In a separate piece, Blitz reported Liverpool is "calling for a co-ordinated approach from the Premier League to deal with the rising cost of tickets, putting it into conflict with league officials who say ticket prices are a matter for the clubs." Liverpool fans "are particularly riled at the club’s decision to introduce a tiered ticketing system for the coming season, which in some parts of its Anfield stadium has meant an increase" of up to 9%. A single ticket for a top game at Anfield can cost up to £52 ($77). Ayre: "I absolutely have some sympathy for fans in terms of ticket pricing. What is important is we find a solution as a league. It is very difficult to find it as an individual club. The solution has to be found within all clubs." That view is shared by U.K. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson. He said, "It is a Premier League issue" (FT, 7/5).
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