Former Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow says that the club was one day away from administration before being sold to current owners Fenway Sports Group.
Purslow said on Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme:
“People have short memories, it’s only 15-16 months ago we were a day away from being in administration. We are now stable financially.
“It’s year one of what they (Fenway) said when they bought the club would be a long journey.”
Purslow was appointed by former joint owners Tom Hicks and George Gillette in June 2009 with a brief of finding new owners, and left his post shortly after Fenway completed their takeover in Oct 2010.
Purslow believes the Fenway Group should be given more time, but stressed the importance of Champions League football and a move to a new stadium if Liverpool’s fortunes on the pitch are to improve.
“The club has had some investment (under Fenway) and it will take time for that to work,” he said.
“I think everybody’s disappointed with the league performance but it’s year one.
“One thing I will say about American owners is the idea that there is some emotional connection is obviously rubbish.
“It’s an investment game, Liverpool is an investment and the value of that investment will hang largely on two key planks in the strategy they would have put in place when they bought the club.
“The first was to get the team back into regular Champions League football.”
That would not only increase profits by £20-30million a year but also help the club retain and hire the best players, Purslow explained. But he revealed his disappointment the club had not made any progress towards building a new stadium, the second part of that strategy.
“If I am disappointed about one thing under this new ownership is that they’ve got nowhere on the new stadium,” he said.
Chelsea’s announcement this week of plans to build a new stadium on the site of the Battersea Power Station would put them in a stronger financial position than Liverpool.
“It’s critical. If you look at Chelsea’s news in the last few days, Arsenal have already stolen a march on us,” added Purslow. “If Chelsea get that stadium up and running then it’s another team that’s ahead of us in the queue.”
That a club as big as Liverpool was only a day or so away from going into administration, shows how dire things were in the last days of the Hicks/Gillette reign.
But while the administration quote got all the headlines, the bigger story is the new stadium. As Purslow points out, Chelsea are gong ahead with plans to build a new stadium in London as our Spurs. Those are two Champions League contenders of Liverpool’s who will make more money than Liverpool with every home game. Unless Liverpool gets their own stadium, they will soon find themselves unable to match the financial buying power of their rivals.