Liverpool were ‘seconds’ from financial ruin, reveals Ayre

The Reds’ managing director says the situation was “horrific” before John W Henry’s €364 million acquisition of the club prevented possible administration

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has revealed the club were “seconds” away from financial ruin before John W Henry completed his takeover of the club.
The American, heading Fenway Sports Group, bought the club for €364 million in 2010 after the current Premier League leaders faced administration under previous owners Tom Hicks and Tom Gillett.

And Ayre admits the current forecast of success the club is enjoying – with a return to the Champions League confirmed and a first league title since 1990 in their sights – could easily have not materialised.

“I do not think there was a Liverpool fan in the city or anywhere who was not worried we would not get to this position, for many reasons. It was more to do with the governance of the club,” he told reporters.

“It is no secret, it’s like that TV programme ‘Seconds from Disaster’ – we were sort of in that vein. It was horrific to see the football club in that state. 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’s easy to say it’s about time we are back in the Champions League.

“But if you think about where we were financially, just because you are Liverpool FC it does not mean you have a right to get back up there. There are plenty of teams who could have slipped and slipped, despite new owners.

“So it’s an unbelievable achievement to get back where we are. As one of the few people who was here with the last ownership and through this one, the club is in a fantastically sustainable position now.”

The takeover was finally resolved via the High Court, but Hicks and Gillett launched a lawsuit against FSG the following year which was settled out of court.

Ayre continued: “The hardest thing after the event was the previous owners never felt the right thing had been done but it was the right thing.

“We went from the court ruling, two years of scrapping via lawyers. One of the biggest parts of the court case was they said we could not legally make the transaction. John W Henry was waiting for the ruling to do the deal. It was horrific.”

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