Unprofessional Foul


September 15, 2009

Liverpool have money!

Purslow, King Kenny, some guy from the bank

Purslow, King Kenny, some guy from the bank

Well, they have 80m, but it’s a start, and they can thank the biggest commercial deal ever done by the club for that cash.

Beginning in 2010/11, International bank Standard Chartered will be the club’s new sponsor in a 4-year, 80m deal (pffft, a team could buy CC Sabathia for that), and prompting some pleasing comments from the managing director Christian Purslow.

In his first soundbite adventure since taking over for Rick “The Dick” Parry, Purslow outlines where that money’s headed: “The fans will be relieved to know that Liverpool’s revenues, profits and income belong to the club. I can assure you that as we drive forward our turnover, we will invest a sensible amount of that in our wage bill and our transfers. None of that money will go anywhere other than into the development of the club.” So that’ll be nice. I’m sure it’ll end up being spent wisely (no more full-backs, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD).

He also alluded to the ridiculousness of the existing sponsorship deal, one that speaks rather embarrassingly to our provincial nature: “We have to strive to have the most successful commercial agreements in the market place,” Purslow said. “We should not be satisfied with having OK agreements, agreements that run a long time but are not as economically advantageous as they could be. That is why we set ourselves a goal in terms of this key aspect – shirt sponsorship.

“I hate words like ‘brand’. I don’t want Liverpool to be the biggest brand in the world, I want to make it the best team in the world. But there has been a pretty clear link to being the best team and having the best performance off the field. That has not been our position, historically, but there is no reason why we cannot be the biggest, the best run and the most commercially successful football club in the world. But I stress we will pick our partners carefully and do deals consistent with our history and our soul.”

He’s referring to the 17-year deal we had with Carlsberg that was worth 7.2m per year. This deal ties Manchester United for biggest/most lucrative shirt deal… Arsenal struck a 15-year deal with Emirates in 2004 worth 100m that suddenly pales in comparison.

The article goes on to discuss stadium plans, which sound amazing but are still so fanciful that it’s not worth getting worked up about just yet. While the need for a new ground is clear (we’re lagging by some 25,000 seats to the Uniteds and Arsenals, who thus scoop up that much more ticket/concessions money per week), it’s still going to be quite some time before everything is ironed out. Plus, are we really in that much of a hurry to leave behind the storied grandeur of Anfield?

I like Purslow thus far. He’s smart and has some big-think ideas that make Parry look myopic and old-fashioned by comparison. Here’s hoping he manages to keep the club moving forward in this new era of hyper-active money grubbing (as opposed to the more sedate cash-hoarding of the pre-Roman days).

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James T