Barry: Champions League football important

Liverpool target Gareth Barry is still trying hard to show the utmost respect to his current club Aston Villa, but seems to be trying to prepare them for his departure from the club.

End of season, Gareth Barry says goodbye to Villa fansAlthough 27-year-old Barry hasn’t yet been given permission to speak to the Reds, he obviously knows about their interest. The first public sign of this came when Martin O’Neill responded to a Liverpool Echo article reporting a Liverpool bid. O’Neill had assumed Liverpool FC had fed the story to the Echo and complained bitterly in the press, although he should have looked closer to home for the blame. But his outburst confirmed the bid had been made.

After a personally memorable game for England last night he was asked he was keen on joining Liverpool FC. He was keen to emphasise his deep feelings for Villa, but pointed out it might be the right time to look a little higher up the league: “Just to think about it makes it a tough decision. There’s so much to lose at Aston Villa. I’ve been there more than ten years, got a good rapport with the fans, I’m captain there and have a great relationship with the manager.  But Champions League football helps any player.”

He scored for England in the friendly with Trinidad and Tobago, wore the captain’s armband for the second half, and sees that to get more of this he may need to move on: “You only have to look at the England squad to see the amount of players who get in the squad and start the games – the majority play in the Champions League. That’s all about the decision that will have to be made. Liverpool are in the Champions League and Villa are trying to push for that. That’s all part of my decision if a bid gets accepted.”

Officially he can’t speak to Liverpool as Villa haven’t accepted a bid, but he is believed to be hopeful they will so he can discuss a deal. Steven Gerrard’s public call for him to join him at Anfield was unexpected: “It was a bit of a surprise to see Steven go so public. It’s obviously very flattering the team has made a bid for me, but until the bid gets accepted I can’t even think about it. I would like things cleared up, the sooner the better.”

For all concerned he feels the situation has to clarified sooner rather than later: “It would be easier for myself and for the fans as well, so I’m sure we can get it done pretty soon. I’ve got nothing planned with Martin O’Neill, but I’m sure the manager will want to speak to me and I’ll eventually want to speak to the manager. That will come soon enough.”

Gareth Barry, England captain for 45 minutesAs for his 45 minutes as England skipper he doesn’t expect it to lead to him getting the role full time: “If you were to lead the team out from the beginning, I could have looked at it a different way, but it was still a great feeling just to do it for the second half. It will give me a lot of confidence going into next season and was a perfect way to finish the season.”

It was ahead of the England game that Gerrard aired his views on Barry as a potential club team-mate: “I know all about Gareth. We’re good friends off the pitch and I’m desperate for us to sign him. Gareth would certainly help Liverpool be a better team next season.”

Asked if Barry would agonise over leaving Villa, Gerrard said: “I’m sure he will. He has been a fantastic servant, but sometimes opportunities come along in football where you can better your career. Gareth is 27 now and needs to play Champions League football. In my opinion he can do that.”

Gerrard also spoke about the age-old debate over where on the pitch he should play, but says he’ll play anywhere. He was speaking in terms of England, where he had played on the left of midfield against the USA: “You know my favourite role. I don’t need to go on record again to say what that is. But I’m mature enough to adapt to different roles. I’m sure this manager will be ruthless if you don’t meet his standards. The important thing is to be in the starting line-up and part of this team, because I believe we will improve and get to the next level.”

At the moment there is a gap between Liverpool’s initial £10m offer and Villa’s £15m valuation.

79 thoughts on “Barry: Champions League football important”

  1. @jofrad: Look a little further up and you’ll see the Post’s story was shown as nonsense by its own sister paper the Echo. The story you linked to by The Times was based on the Post’s non-story.

  2. @Jofrad: Which stories are a load of nonsense Jofrad?

    There’s nothing much depth to that story, as in there’s a two paragraph summary of one set of accounts from one of the club’s parent companies.

    Just to briefly go through what it says…

    Kop Football (Holdings) Ltd, one of the club’s parent companies, made a £33 million loss in the year ending July 31, 2007, according to accounts submitted to Companies House last week. The club’s £350 million loans will also have to be refinanced as early as January and the club must pay interest on a £64 million loan from Kop Football Ltd, its immediate parent company.

    The figure for the loss sounds right.

    Note the use of the words “as early as” for the refinancing – the actual accounts point out that the finance runs for a year until January 2009, but that the company can extend it for a further six months by writing to the lender. In other words, it’s the company’s choice whether to extend beyond that or not.

    There are also notes in the accounts about something called a “Master Swap Agreement”, in fact two of them, one with RBS and one with Wachovia. My understanding on those is that it protects the company from a hike in interest rates. The finance itself is on a variable rate, (3.5% above LIBOR if I’m not mistaken) but the MSAs mean that if LIBOR gets high they can switch to those rates instead. These agreements run until January 2011. (LIBOR is an inter-bank lending rate, similar I suppose to “base rate”).

    I need to read more into the inter-company loan, but I think it’s actually the debt that the club had when they took over. In simple terms the holding company has the purchase debt, the club has the rest.

    The accounts also say that the club had only used something like £14m of its £105m facility – the facility is there waiting until they need to use it. The accounts are dated right at the end of May, so there’s about £90m sitting there waiting to be drawn down for the stadium and whatever else they wanted to use it for.

    The accounts reveal that the owners wrote off £10.3 million when they scrapped the club’s design for a new stadium after their takeover in February 2007 and Liverpool fans will be irked to learn that the co-owners claimed more than £1.4 million in expenses in the seven-month period concerned.

    The write-off of the Parry Bowl plans has been mentioned before by me (if not here then over on the forum). This is I believe an obligation that had to be met – once they knew the plans were no longer going to be used they could no longer spread their cost over the potential lifetime of the stadium (or actually a long period, not the full lifetime of the stadium).

    In terms of the expenses, Hicks claimed £331,000 and Gillett claimed £1,198,000.

    This is further broken down as…

    Hicks: £133k for “transaction related expenses” + £198k “travel, legal and other expenses”.

    Gillett: £823k for “transaction related expenses” + £375k “travel, legal, personnel and other expenses”.

    @LFC Malta: They’ve used the Times report as a basis for their article, so much of what I’ve said above applies. But this bit is wrong:

    “In figures obtained through accounts… the £350million of loans must be refinanced by January”.

    The word “must” is untrue – it’s an option for the company to end it then or to extend it to July 2009.

    Other highlights in the accounts include that neither of the two holding companies mentioned paid a dividend and also that when the first finance package was arranged the owners put in a total of $100m US in “letters of credit”, which is effectively like putting cash in – although I’m prepared that someone with better knowledge than me might explain this isn’t the case.

    For the new finance package they have put in a total of £185m of personal guarantees and letters of credit, the remaining amount is secured on the club.

    I recommend reading this – http://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php?topic=220943.msg4413531#msg4413531

    It’s a very balanced summary of the accounts from someone who is a Liverpool fan but isn’t generally in the business of selectively taking what he can find to suit a pre-determined agenda.

    You’ll see he generally shows the worst picture, the best picture and the likely picture, when he talks about certain points.

    My overall view, after having had little time to take it all in, let alone decipher it, is that it’s not as bad as many thought – but it probably still isn’t what everyone expected.

  3. Which ever way you look at it these accounts show the club is in a financial mess for the first time in its history and dare I say it (I do, I do), we wouldn’t be in this mess if DIC had succeeded in buying the club last year.

  4. The performance is one I expected, and is no way near the ‘financial mess’ that people are stating.
    The club is investing in it’s future.
    And we can clearly see that it’s the stadium (i.e. Matchday Revenue) that needs addressing. Fix that and we should become profitable.

    Also, it’s interesting to note the larger figure claimed by Gillett…but does this include Foster’s claims as well. ?? Surely with him living over here for a good portion of time this figure was bound to be siginificantly higher.?

  5. @Jofrad: That one does contain a bit of nonsense actually.

    The accounts also show that during the January refinancing of the club, an inter-company loan of £64m was made, seemingly to service the interest repayments incurred.

    It’s not to service the interest payments at all.

    The inter-company loan was basically the debt that the club had when the owners took over.

    The club was sold for, in total, 183.5m (inc 8.5m acquisition costs). The owners have borrowed £245m at holding company level, and have personal guarantees for £185m of it, along with cash/letters of credit.

    The other £60m of the £245m was effectively lent to the club. It’s not purchase debt. It’s operating debt, the same as what was on the club at takeover. In essence it’s just changed from an overdraft to an inter-company loan. There’s no indication of what the interest will be on it.

    Kop Holdings, the company two levels above LFC, lent the club £64m over three years for the apparent purpose of servicing the interest repayments of the refinance, believed to be around £30m each year.

    Small point, but the £64m was loaned by Kop Football, the company that sits between Kop Holdings and LFC. As I say, a small point, but doesn’t lend much hope to the accuracy of the report. Pity Tony Barrett was away.

    There is nothing, anywhere in those accounts, saying how long the £64m has been lent for. It’s mentioned as “approximately £64.0m” and is in the notes relating to events happening after the end of the financial year. But if it was for three years, and was to service £30m a year for that interest, does that not sound a little short? What’s 3 x 30m? Not 64m.

    Add a bit more to the inaccuracies here. The club has £105m debt available from the RBS finance package but it’s actually only drawn £14m of it. But even if it draws the lot, its interest payment is still only on the £105m. Kop Football is responsible to the bank for the interest on the £245m – even if it gets the money for it from LFC, it doesn’t need to “lend” LFC £64m, for it to sit there attracting more interest, just to pay off interest! It sounds like nonsense, unfortunately.

    However, what is frightening, is that the interest rate is 3 month Libor + 3.5%. Libor is currently 5.8%, so that’s a rate of 9.1%. That makes the interest on the £105m £9.5m.

    The parent company of Kop Holdings lent Kop Holdings £43m, which added to the £245m Kop Holdings borrowed paid off the previous finance. This is the Caymans version of the Kop companies, it doesn’t say where that got its money from.

    The club’s £350m loans may also have to be refinanced as early as January, meaning another intensive search for backers by Hicks and Gillett may need to begin again almost as soon as the season kicks off.

    They only need to be refinanced if the owners choose to do so. The deal ends in January but can be extended by the owners if they so wish, the facility is there waiting.

    The accounts also reveal that the owners wrote off £10.3m when they scrapped the club’s design for a new stadium after their takeover in February 200, and the likelihood of work beginning any time soon on the new stadium is remote.

    Again nonsense. The first bit is correct, the Parry Bowl was written off, they can’t spread the costs over a number of years now because those plans “have no value”. However the second bit is ill-informed – the work on the stadium will begin in the next couple of weeks, with actual construction beginning in September. £60m not yet drawn down from the £105m will allow this to happen.

    Hicks and Gillett remain at loggerheads with each other, further complicating the picture and leaving Anfield’s financial future clouded with uncertainty.

    That’s about right.

  6. @ Jim – why was the £10.3 for the initial stadium design written off again? The newspaper are speculating that this was because Hicks wanted to hire his mates from Texas to build the stadium. Any chance of this being true?

    If there’s one thing this deal shows us is that the complexity of it – as with so many deals done by the city – is not to improve transparency or ease of understanding but for interpretation and misinterpretation to run side by side to hide the true picture.

    Hicks and Gillett may be doing it for tax efficient purposes but the perception that they’re shafting us, the fans, will continue to grow until they have that big conversation OR, get out of our club, which is the preferred option.

    Trust is hard to rebuild, once faith is broken. H & G must take note as they look to go forward with our club.

  7. @midlands-red: It says this:

    [i]”Costs relatlng to the revlsed design of the proposed new stadium in the amount of 3.8 mllllon are carrled forward under the headlng of Freehold land and buildings. On 6 November 2007, planning permission for the revised design of the new stadium was granted by the Llverpool Clty Council. Planning permission costs relatlng to the original design of the proposed new stadium have been impaired as in the opinion of the Directors such costs carry no economlc value going forward. The impairment of these assets amounts to £10.3 million and has been included as an exceptional cost.”[/i]

    (It’s not mentioned the latest version of the stadium there.)

    The £10.3m will have been long-since paid by the club, but they put it on the accounts as an asset that’s written-off over time. Players’ values are written-off over the length of their contracts, other items are written-off based on an estimate of their useful life. If you’d installed a new computer system for £1m which you thought would last 5 years, you’d put it down as reducing in value by £200k each year. If you completely scrapped it after 1 year you’d have to show it as being written off at £800k. You’d have probably paid the £1m at the outset.

    We binned the plans. If we could sell them on we’d be able to knock that off the figures of what we’d lost. But as it stands we just stopped having any use for them, so there was no point spreading their costs over a number of years.

    We actually paid that £10.3m in the past somewhere or other, the architects and advisors weren’t waiting for their fees.

    If that’s what the papers speculating then I suppose you’ve got ask yourself what you believe. Did Hicks and Gillett scrap the previous plans purely to give some friends of Hicks’ (if they are friends, I thought he had none!) some work? Or did they scrap the other plans because it looked ten years out of date, had a capacity far lower than they felt we needed, and so on?

    The longer this drags on the worse it is for all. All these months on from the initial fall-out between the owners, with DIC hovering at the side waiting, surely now there’s little left in terms of what they know about each others’ positions.

    The papers will continue to word everything in a way that isn’t necessarily false, but at the same time isn’t really telling us the true picture. The fact so many people don’t like each other is enough to ensure there’ll always be a leaked document, or a pointer to maybe go and get a document that one party has been keeping quiet about.

  8. You don’t need to be an accountant or economist to know that these guys do not have the resources to build a new stadium for Liverpool.
    Roll on DIC.

  9. @ Jim
    @Jofrad

    I’ve long since resigned myself to not making comment on the ownership issue until I hear quotable things from all of those in a position to actually buy the club.

    These figures, however, demonstrate that action speaks louder than words and on that basis Hicks and Gillett appear to be failing pretty badly.

    Hicks’ business dealings aren’t going according to plan in the US. He is not alone. Afterall the credit crunch is taking care of a few peoples investment plans. But where I think we have alot to be concerned about is that the figures, for both Gillett and Hicks, show they are taking the club for a ride on expenses and that the interest payments are likely to grow not shrink.

    The money set aside for transfers is borrowed – or rather earnt from Rafa’s progress in the CL (and to think they even considered to sack they’re cash cow!). Any additional monies will need to be clawed back in sales.

    @ Jim – Is this a model the Glazers followed? I think I asked you this before but not sure you responded.

    @ Jofrad – I do think the media et al are loving this story and some things are going to be made-up. However, the real point is whether either Gillett or Hicks have shown us the substance to ignore the negative headlines. The answer is no. But their time for potential redemption is coming when, if, we see the stadium being built. The question is can they deliver it and who is going to be saddled with the bill. Somehow, I think Hicks and his family are to wily to give up their funds too easily.

    PS Wasn’t it great last night to watch Kuyt play so well for Holland. All season our so-called experts have been having a go at him for not scoring enough. Yet his assists and overall play is of the first order (and he scored many goals for us in the CL). He’s slowly getting over the loss of his father and I’m sure Rafa – he’s made him into a trojan horse on the right-hand-side (if not his natural position) – will be thinking long and hard about deploying him (and Babel) as Torres foil.

  10. @midlands-red
    I’ll believe the promises over the stadium when it starts going up but one thing you can be sure of is that H&G aren’t going to take on further debt themselves. The accounts make utterly depressing reading.
    Yes Kuyt was great last night, a real 100 %er and an asset to any side.

  11. @midlands-red: Lot of points to cover there!

    Without wishing to set certain people off again, this is still only a snapshot of life under the US owners.

    It was 7 months it covered, December – July, and in some parts it was only covering March to July (from the actual fulltakeover day).

    A lot of what you’ve read in the papers about the figures is wrong too, unfortunately. Other points are not exactly being reported as it is, even if they aren’t false as such. There’s one claim in particular I’ve hunted for in the accounts, and there’s no sign.

    The £64.0m intercompany loan, which more than one report says is for three years, to cover £30m a year interest. It’s also reported as being from Kop Investments LLC, when it’s actually from Kop Football.

    In reality the purpose of the £64.0m loan isn’t specified as far as I can tell. I’m not going to go and get the figures now, so these may be a little out, but the £245m financed in the name of Kop Football was to cover the purchase costs, and the pre-existing debt at takeover of £60m. £185 was secured on the assets of Hicks and Gillett. The other £60m (or £64m) went to LFC, and covers the pre-existing debt at takeover.

    LFC are getting charged interest on the £64m, by Kop Football. The club isn’t borrowing this to then pay £30m interest for three years. It’s not enough for starters.

    I’m not explaining this too well, but there is no mention in the accounts of what the purpose of that loan is, and the speculation of what it might be for doesn’t really add up!

    Seriously, a better place to go and look at some explanations is the thread on RAWK I’ve mentioned previously.

    Again I feel there is an overreaction to the expenses. They’ve not taken a dividend from any of the three companies KFHL, KFH or LFC. It’s not all travel expenses, and it isn’t personal expenses either (it mentions their names ‘and associated companies’).

    Hicks has claimed less than Gillett. Rick Parry’s bonus for selling to them was higher than Hicks claimed for the expenses.

    I don’t know enough about the Glazer’s model to compare it to this model, but it certainly has similarities. In the Glazer’s case there was no need for investment in anything other than buying out the previous owners. The club was already making enough money in terms of transfers and so on, so their first consideration was basically to ensure the cost of the finance wasn’t greater than what came in from their new club. After that it was in simple terms a case of deciding how much of the surplus should be spent on players, how much should be going into their own pockets.

    H&G had to fund the share purchase, fund a new stadium, and fund any additional expenses on players.

    The jury is still out on whether or not the Glazer model is good or bad. The fact they have a happy manager and just won a double suggests it’s not as bad as many feared when it first happened, but critics will say you don’t know what’s around the corner.

    As for the stadium, I don’t doubt for one minute that we’ll be paying for it.

    And Kuyt, yes, it’s brilliant to see him so happy!

  12. Certain people here again !
    Worst case scenario:- H&G have not got the funds to develop the club, cannot co-operate with each other and will not sell (particularly Hicks), result paralysis. It could happen.

  13. @Jim

    Let’s assume the figures are being written up not as they are – but as a political tool for how journalists and others would have us believe – in effect making Hicks and Gillett seem rivals to Evertonians for a place in our affections.

    What surprises me is that unlike United who had untold difficulties when the Glazers took over we cannot put a spokesman to explain what’s going on and why. David Gill was forever on the radio, Sportsweek on BBC Radio 5 especially, talking about the figures, how indebted the club is/was and how the Club was going to move forward.

    In our case, there’s none of that. The malaise at the club, in particular at the top, means no communication is coming out to appease or simply reassure the fans.

    We could blame Parry but there’s little he can do – at least now, rather than in the past – that’ll resolve anything. It’s the big guys, Hicks and Gillett who need to let us know what’s happening.

    I keep saying but it’s time for that Big Conversation between the owners and the fans. I mean a real one – not log fires and fake love for our club.

    While I’m not a fan of H&G, they can do themselves more favours than at present. I’m not sure their PR people are really helping them – with whatever Stakeholder plan they have up their sleeves. For a fraction of there costs or their expenses, I know a man who could help them out though :-)

  14. After that David Villa scored the third goal he went directly to hug EL NINO, show that they are best buddies, hope nando convinces him to join us…..

    Sorry maybe I am dreaming

  15. @midlands-red: The figures we’re talking about are for two “Kop” companies, and Parry isn’t on either board. The board is Hicks x2 and Gillett x2. It’s a pity that there haven’t been explanations of the figures.

  16. @Jofrad: Some good comments under that article J.

    Some people standing up for LFC against the Man U supporting writer.

  17. Is Dossena signed or not, when is the confirmation coming?
    What are we waiting now, lack of funds..? Do we need to wait
    for the green light from the owners now or do we need to sell some players first? He was in the medical last week and now it’s all silent. Waiting for the medical results is an excuse for something!
    Rafa wanted us to act guiqly to get the players signed last month, now it’s almost mid june..Anyway Rafa seems to be happy so that must be the only thing to keep us positive..

  18. @Jussi. Dossena is on honeymoon,, he is confirmed and will be presented after his holiday, According to the Italian press

  19. “Chelsea have been told that one of the Americans is willing to let Torres go for the right price and are planning to test Liverpool’s resolve with a bid.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/premier_league/chelsea/article4124614.ece

    More scaremongering or is there an element of truth in this report ? One thing is certain if the “ownership crisis” is not resolved soon the players will start getting restless and then who knows what will happen.

  20. “Chelsea have been told that one of the Americans is willing to let Torres go for the right price and are planning to test Liverpool’s resolve with a bid.”
    ——————–

    Whatever!….is all rubbish….
    (as everyone always says) They’re in it for the money, so why would they sell their prize asset, the one that makes them the most out of merch??
    it’s all rubbish….and the fact that liverpool fans perpetuate this rubbish is alarming…..(to me)

  21. I’ll believe anything of Tom Hicks……… thats why. And he’s in deep financial s**t, and he can’t afford the new stadium and he wants to hang on to Liverpool at all costs.
    As I said the players (all of the best) will get restless unless this mess is sorted out.

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