16 Sept 2009

Here's to the man who has made Manchester United and Chelsea envious of Liverpool FC

In the wake of the recent new sponsorship deal with London-based bank Standard Chartered, new Liverpool-Kop writer Joe Rimmer believes it’s about time somebody praised the job that 'managing director’ Christian Purslow has done since he arrived at Liverpool in June 2009.

author: Andy Nugent source: Panasonic DMC-FZ5 ...Image via Wikipedia

Criticise the Americans all you want, but the one thing they seem to have done well since they arrived from across the pond is to increase the commercial value of the club. Whether that is for the club’s or their own gain is open to debate but it is something that Liverpool have always lacked and they seem to have set about correcting this.

The two ‘Yanks’ are hard-nosed businessmen and if there is one thing that they have proved to be good at it is marketing a brand, and nobody can argue that Liverpool’s brand has not been strengthened since their takeover in 2007.

Liverpool made their highest ever turnover last year, and despite the club being in huge debt and most of the profits going to service that debt, it is still an excellent turnaround from the previous regime’s commercial value.

Liverpool fans may not like the smug way Manchester United go about their business but it is about time the club followed suit. Indeed, I suspect that the Asia tour this summer is just the first of many pursuits into the Far Eastern market.
And take one look at the electronic hoardings around Anfield, which almost every other club in the Premier League had before Liverpool, and it is clear that every possible change is being introduced in an effort to make the club more marketable.

It certainly seems that the appointments of Purslow and commercial director Ian Ayre are paying dividends and our new MD looks to be everything that Rick Parry wasn’t. As such, I believe that because of all the criticism aimed at Parry during his time at Anfield it is only fair to now praise Purslow for doing in three months what Parry failed to do in 11 years at the club.

The criticism Parry received was sometimes merited and sometimes awfully harsh; to accuse him of buying Robbie Keane was ludicrous, but then so were his dealings with Carlsberg and other sponsors after we had just lifted the European Cup for the fifth time. He arrived at Liverpool promising to bring the club into the 21st century, and left us light-years behind the other top clubs.

Purslow and the rest of the commercial team at Liverpool deserve credit for all of their dealings this summer. Firstly the new sponsorship deal is nothing short of a masterstroke. With Carlsberg, Liverpool were reportedly earning around £7 million a year; according to reports, the Standard Chartered deal will provide £13 million more, and will give Liverpool the joint highest sponsors in world football.

The Spirit of Shankly group speculate that Purslow is RBS’s man on the board as part of the conditions for refinancing’; well that may be so, but how can they deny that this is not a great deal for Liverpool Football Club? After all the criticism that Parry received his inability to cash in on Liverpool’s world renowned name surely some praise should be reserved for Purslow’s first major deal as MD.

There may be more than meets the eye to the Standard Chartered deal, and I suspect that the bank will be eyeing up naming rights to the new stadium when it is completed probably sometime in the next millennium.

But after so many years of living in United and then Chelsea’s vast commercial shadow Liverpool have finally done a deal which will be envied by David Gill and Peter Kenyon and puts Arsenal’s deal with Emirates firmly in the shade.

Purslow’s player dealings have also been equally as impressive. Whether you believe the fees for Glen Johnson and Alberto Aquiliani where overpriced or not, it cannot be denied that both were done quickly and with the minimum of fuss, a far cry from the ‘Gareth Barry saga’ of last year.

When Xabi Alonso made perfectly clear he wanted to move to Real Madrid he was sold for a handsome profit and Aquiliani was announced as his replacement the next day. Part of the praise has to go to the manager for his more hands on role in player dealings, but Purslow is still the man who delivers the players and he has certainly done that so far.

The new man spoke to the Liverpool Echo recently and argued against the many criticisms levelled at the owners and the club’s finances; we might not all believe or agree with everything he had to say but he was never going to criticise the owners or the club.

Also if he expressed any doubts about the club’s ability to compete he would be doing what every Liverpool fan complains they don’t want doing, i.e airing dirty linen in public. If he has any confidence in himself and his job he will speak with a little arrogance about his position, I wouldn’t expect it any other way.

It is early days, but Purslow and Ayre have set the bar high at Liverpool with the world’s best sponsorship deal, let’s hope they can keep it that way.
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  1. Joe'
    excellent piece and any Liverpool supporter who does`nt endorse
    it shows the lengths LFC have to go to drag SOME fans kicking
    and screaming into a new LFC future.
    CP actually endorsed the business acumen of RB who,as far as i am
    concerned took this club by the scruff of its neck and changed it even
    with Parry tying his hands behind his back,AND if any of our fans think
    any other football club is different to having to bow to big money,they
    need to think again.
    A brilliant future starts for LFC

  2. Very go article Joe...not too sure about the stadium name though.. "The Emerates" has a ring to it, OK it's no Highbury, but ho hum...but "The Standard Chartered"???? or "Standard Chartered Anfield", not really flowing off the tongue...

  3. This is a great deal for the club Erm... let me refrase that it would be if it was n't going to service Randolph and Mortimers debt! What makes anyone think any of this revenue is going to filter onto the pitch? It's total hypocrasy, they 're  telling us we have had our most profitable year to date, so where is the money for transfers?  bastards! I'll believe it when i see it!

  4. Well written and honest article - shame it had to be spoilt by the silly headline

  5. Maybe,this bank will negotiate to have all LFC finances transferred to them and then they could lend us the dosh with very small interest payments of course to buy our new ground.We need this new ground sooner rather than later,the longer without it,the further we will fall behind. CP know this,if he can pull this one off he,s worth his weight in gold.And then it will be HAPPY DAYS!

  6. it's only silly becuase you're a Chelsea fan ;-)

  7. Have to agree, what part would Chelsea or ManUre be jealous of. How you run your club is down to you, I dont see anyone being jealous. Shame a good interesting article has to lower it self with a rubbish heading

  8. Great article and a breath of fresh air to read something that doesn't follow the bandwagon by slagging off the owners. SpiritOfShankly are nothing short of an embarrassment to the Liverpool and Shankly name. Constantly dragging the club through the mud in some self-important crusade that has nothing to do with them.

    Gillett and Hicks may prove to fail in the long run, but I would like to get behind them and give them the chance to succeed with my support or fail all by themselves. At least then we can say they gave it a go. All this criticism just undermines any ambition of success they may have had.

    As other clubs grasped the financial prospect of the Premier League and moved on, the man who helped found the Premier League sat on his hands and watched us fall further and further behind our rivals. It is going to take a long time to catch up, but there are signs we are doing so. Purslow, Ayre, Rafa and the closer ties between team and academy, as well as some awesome signings, are all steps in the right direction.

    Now let's get behind the club and show some patience as we eat away at the advantage the other lot have had for too long.

  9. Great points.  I agree with you re the 'Hicks and Gillet are the devil' bandwagon.  it's almost becoming a cliche now.  yes, they have made some major mistakes, but they have done good things too. 

    I also agree about Spirit of Shankly - they should be banned from using Bill Shankly's name.

  10. Some people can be swayed so easily. I couldn't care less if we made a killing from our sponsors when alot of this will go into servicing the debts the owners have placed on our club. Do these people need to be reminded how Benitez was promised further cash for players over the summer but only bought after he sold players. I would rather have a stable club with less of a sponsorship deal than the potential to be another Leeds FC. I want to see what happens in the january window before making any concrete judgements and not let one sycophantic article determine my thoughts. Judging by history these 2 leeches will only line their pockets from this sponsor deal  

  11. Peter Kenyon has left Chelsea.  Rumours that he was sacked by Abramovich because he failed to match Liverpools' new sponsorship deal are unconfirmed ;)

  12. I'm not slagging off the owners when I say this but I have serious reservations about a) their motives and b) their ability to run the club successfully.

    The evidence from their American and Canadian sporting ventures is mixed to say the least.  Stories of top players being sold and 'franchises' being dragged down league tables.  Not to mention their attempt at re-defining 'transfer fund' to include new contracts for existing players.

    I really hope I am wrong about them as I love my club and I hope the strength of feeling from the fans is motivating them to make sure they get things right.  However, they have shown by their protracted negotiations over Rafa's contract they have very limited knowledge of how the game works in England (even contacting Randy Lerner at one point to clarify things).

    Yes, this guy may be good - we shall see in time.  But as for the owners, they have it all to prove.

  13. It's obviously very early days but Purslow seems to be making a lot of right moves and his interview suggests he's a genuine life-long red and has the best interests of the team at heart. Couldn't agree with him more about the Chelsea CL semi in 2005 - a breathtaking atmosphere - which he spoke about with real feeling.

    Securing this deal is a great step and I think we have to give the yanks some credit in bringing CP & Ayres into the club - they both strike me as highly accomplished modern executives, a far cry from Krusty the Klown who's tenure did so little to move us forward. 

    If he's close with the banks, which given his previous career seems indisputable, then all the better - high finance plays a part in all major clubs these days and having someone at the helm who has great contacts and an inate understanding of how the market works can only help - be it to get us out of debt or make profitable deals.

    All sounds unusually positive, next step has to be reducing the debt of Kop Holdings (it's not the club that carries the debt) and moving towards a new stadium which is imperative for us to compete consistently in the future. Purslow is well suited to driving this forward.

  14. Good call by Guest.  I'm amazed how easily H & G have managed to con a big section of Liverpool's support into believing things are going along well financially just because the Club is making money.  Here's a newsflash fellow Reds.  All that money is going towards paying Hicks and Gillett's debts and none of it is going towards Rafa's transfer kitty or the new stadium.  At the moment we're only a couple of decent signings away from the title and yet Rafa's just had to go thru two successive transfer windows of generating surpluses from player sales to pay Hicks and Gillett.  Purslow may be a good CEO but the main problem remains that we have a couple of douchebag owners who remain a massive millstone around the Club's neck. 

  15. i agree with some people here, one deal doesn't make up for all the failed promises, 60 days a shovel in the ground for the stadium, 20 mill a year minimum for players and so on. although i do agree this is a great deal for the club and thus am happy that we are moving in the right direction when it comes to the commercial side even if it is slow.

  16. Well, Rossi, we now know the 20M for players includes extending contracts and doesn't necessarily mean new players. 

    Just because we are now commercially better off doesn't make up for all the broken promises and the treatment of the manager.  And just to point out to one poster above - the club does have some of the debt on its books - despite the promises this wouldn't happen.

    This seems to be an article against the ethos of the site 'fawning' - definitely.  'Blind faith' - almost certainly.

    Will be a long time before I am convinced by anything those two clowns do.

  17. I am not saying that I am completely won over by our American 'custodians,' just that this is a good deal for the club and that cannot be denied. What the club uses the money for is another matter entirely.

  18. The article is not fawning or blind faith at all.  This site is about critical realism - players/staff can be praised but there has to be a basis for it, and examples should be provided.  Joe has explained - with examples - why Purslow deserves praise.  That's not fawning - it's just stating the facts.

  19. The article is not fawning or blind faith at all.  This site is about critical realism - players/staff can be praised but there has to be a basis for it, and examples should be provided.  Joe has explained - with examples - why Purslow deserves praise.  That's not fawning - it's just stating the facts. 8-)

  20. Totally agree. No matter how good Purslow is it's the yanks who are running the club and at the end of the day he is their employee.

  21. Dare I say that their mistakes far outway the good things they've done? That's the reason why fans have no faith in them and why they are "the devil bandwagon" started. Or is it that you approve of the lies and false promises?

  22. You are right it is the Holding company which has the debt but LFC services the debt as the sole asset of Kop Holdings.

  23. The article may not be fawning but you're comments re the devil bandwagon definitely are

  24. Let's see how much he is loved when we press ahead with a planned hike in ticket prices next season. That shirt deal will only go to the banks when we are servicing the loans again when they are up for renewal.
    Hicks and Gillett lied about not putting debt on the club.
    They lied about a spade in the ground in 60 days.
    The way they have conducted themselves has been a disgrace.

  25. jamie wa.ner  ...get with the programme ... embarrising to call yourself a fan ... just when did you start supporting the club ...you've no idea how the vast majority feel about the owners you really have'nt ... get your head outta the sand, its apethetic souls like yourself that have got us sleepwalking into this potential abyss

  26. Hi snake,sorry to reply late.
    i am old enough to remember Kenny scoring for us and it was £2.40 to get into the Kop,we went places as our history shows but what was`nt shown was commercial names on shirts,in order to move on we started
    sponsorship on our shirts,we moved on with the Moores family backing
    until David Moores could no longer take us further,and now we have new owners to bring us forward to football today.
    Even if D.I.C. had taken over there would be some amount of debt simply because they would`nt be paying cash for the ground to be built,AND i would`nt be able to own my house if it was`nt for debt,
    of course H+G are going to make aprofit on thier `investment`
    they have bought our club,but so would have D.I.C.
    As the REAL owners of LFC i actually think we have moved WELL forward and with the signing of Rafa we where always ahead of the game in commercial terms (my bugbear is we have to thank Parry for
    Rafa).The new shirt sponsorship takes us ahead of the game now,
    thanks to,like you and me a Liverpool supporter,we are on the move,oh and our reserves beat the Mancs reserves last night so i am
    well pleased,as we still stay on our perch.
    Whoever invests in something wants a `return` we as fans want our team to win everything,our boys want paying for winning us everything
    and the owners want to earn more money for winning everything, i hope we all stick together as the LFC FAMILY,and go on to win everything,regardless who is in charge.LFC YNWA

  27. Well since Shankly's family approves, I think we should leave it to them. Odd that so many people support the Americans since they have:

    1.) Lied repeatedly about what they are going to give the club - this includes the stadium most importantly (spade in the ground in how long now?)
    2.) Have saddled the club with their own huge debts
    3.) Have apparently placed a limited transfer fund (20 mil each season, including contract raises) on the club until 2014

    Your being taken for a ride, you just haven't realized it yet.