Ayre excited by ‘new era’ at Anfield

LIVERPOOL managing director Ian Ayre believes losses like the £20 million (€22.5m) reported by the club in their latest set of accounts can now confidently be consigned to a different era.

The figures for the year ending July 2010 are the final vestige of the financially-restricted reign of Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

Having made a profit of £8.3m (€9.3m) the previous year, the results for the 12 months ending last July made worrying reading.

But within three months the Americans had been ousted as Fenway Sports Group bought the club and in one fell swoop the burden was immediately lifted as around £200m (€225m) of acquisition debt was paid off, relieving the club of annual interest payments in excess of £17m (€19.1m).

It is not a situation Ayre envisages seeing under the new ownership.

“I definitely see it as a new era. I think we started it four or five months ago,” he said.

“They (the figures)) don’t paint a picture of today. At that time it was a very different period and a different situation for Liverpool Football Club.

“I think we have all moved on since then. They very much represent a footnote in that era of the club’s history. It’s an era that was very well documented and published for all sorts of reasons.

“Nobody, whether you’re the managing director or anybody else connected with the club, wants to see any report ever that talks about the sort of losses that report talks about.

“But I think we take comfort and optimism in the direction we’ve headed in since that period.

“We’re very fortunate we have a great ownership group that are very supportive and very committed to Liverpool, but we’re also equally fortunate that over several years we have built up a great team within the football club.

“It’s nice to see lots of people who worked very hard in very difficult times are now walking with a spring in their step at every level, whether it’s players or right through to the staff here in our main offices. We definitely see good times ahead.”

While a successful commercial operation can provide the stability and resources to put the club back on an even keel, it is progress on the pitch which is the main focus.

Kenny Dalglish, who took over after Roy Hodgson’s six-month spell was ended in January, is still to sign a permanent contract but that remains a matter of when and not if after marked improvements in performances and results.

The Scot was backed by the owners in the transfer window as all the income from the sales of Fernando Torres to Chelsea and Ryan Babel to Hoffenheim was ploughed into bringing in Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez for a combined £57.8m (€65.1m).

Now interest payments are down to a manageable level more money can be diverted to rebuilding the squad.

“On and off the pitch since the end of the last financial year, the picture is an improving one as we focus on growing profitability and strengthening the first, reserve and academy operations,” added Ayre.

“We’re starting to see great signs of improvement on and off the pitch and we have a great team of people with everybody rowing in the right direction with unity.

“I think all of those things combined — a greater level of access to funding and a greater level of unity and clarity — just sets us up for a great future.”


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