Liverpool are looking to move home and to do that they need to get some money from somewhere. They have a lot of options in front of them as to how they do it, but for now Chief Executive Rick Parry and Chairman (and majority shareholder) David Moores have not revealed at all which option they would prefer, let alone decide on the option they are to take.
One of those options is for investment into the club. It’s not the only option by any means, but if a suitable investor can be found then it’s probably the option that will be taken. The key word in that though is “suitable”. Moores and Parry are Reds and they don’t want to see the club suffer. If they are going to hand the club over to someone else then they want to look back with pride that they made the right choice. Parry has made it clear that Liverpool have to move to a new stadium, but he’s not going to talk publicly about the options open and which they will take.
His understandable unwillingness to show his hand has upset a few people who would like a nice public debate about the issue. Liverpool have an AGM where they reveal certain happenings, and they also have some legal obligations over revealing certain other events as they happen. Apart from that the club can keep things internal as much as they like. That’s where interested parties get upset – they want to have public slanging matches where they can say their piece and win some sympathy from onlookers.
The only way to achieve that is through the press, and despite being left with egg on their faces last week by their own sister paper, it seems the Liverpool Daily Post are still willing to be used by those wishing to put unnecessary pressure on the club. This week though the “Daily Post Correspondent” involved has managed to get the story onto the Independent website as well as the ICLiverpool.com website.
The name of the reporter might be familiar to you – Paul Walker works for the Press Association and was responsible for judging two Peter Crouch goals as own goals last season. The Press Association’s decision is always taken by the betting companies as being the decision they pay out on, but both times those goals were later credited back to Crouch by the FA’s “dubious goals panel”. Ever since that I find it hard to read anything he writes without remembering how he was a big part of that anti-Crouch bandwagon last season.
His report on the financial situation at Anfield suggests that he’s been fed snippets of information by people involved in trying to invest at the club. Perhaps it’s Steve Morgan’s people who have been speaking to him, because the story revolves around a claim that LFC directors “are thought to have pressed potential buyer Steve Morgan to work with chairman David Moores for the good of the club”. It could be of course that Walker has spoken to other directors at the club rather than Morgan.
Walker also reports that Morgan “is understood to have said he is not interested in working with anyone else”. Morgan’s wife was memorably outspoken at a previous AGM, claiming that Moores wouldn’t speak to Morgan about the possibility of him investing. Morgan has made some odd moves in recent years, at one time even putting forward an idea of how he could take over the club. He looked at the books at one point though and then backed out of his plans – but now he’s back on the scene. Perhaps his wife is the “source close to Morgan” who has told Walker: “There are senior shareholders who want to see Morgan and Moores work together on the same board, but Morgan has not made another bid just yet and won't become involved with anyone else. He prefers to row his own boat on such things.”
There certainly does seem to be a lot animosity between Morgan and Moores. Moores isn’t in a position personally where he can buy Morgan out and keep him quiet. Morgan isn’t in a position where he can make Moores an offer he couldn’t refuse either. If they won’t work together then this stand-off is likely to continue until one of them decides their actions aren’t for the best of the club and steps aside. Morgan wants a seat on the board and in turn a bigger say in what goes on, but Moores won’t let that happen.
The articles also talk about 15,000 of unsold shares which Moores could release. The article says that those shares could bring in around £50m from Morgan, but it doesn’t say how much power that would give Morgan. And £50m i not enough to fund the stadium on its own, let alone guarantee funds for player purchases for the future.
Speculation about who else might want to buy into the club continues, with the latest links being a “Dubai investment fund” and “a southern-based consortium”. For an added bit of guessing games for fans the articles add “It is understood that a well-known figure with connections to Formula 1 racing is also involved with one of the parties.”
The urgency of finding cash by the end of the week is the key to both articles, but in reality Liverpool don’t need to prove as much as some reports would claim. The club aren’t sitting back waiting for someone to appear with money, but have no doubt got a list of options in order of preference. The club could get the money from the bank tomorrow if they wanted, albeit with certain securities added to it, but if possible they want to find better ways of raising the money. All Liverpool have to show to those with public grants is that they have the ability one way or another to raise the money, not which way they will finally choose to raise it.
Unfortunately for Liverpool fans, the small details don’t always make for good headlines, so expect a lot more to be said this week whilst very little is seen to actually happen. Investment will happen if and when everything is in place – but there really is no big rush.