Liverpool FC Fans Groups Should Be Careful Over Takeover Of Club

Liverpool FC Fans Groups Should Be Careful Over Takeover Of Club

I cannot help but be concerned over the language used by the two Liverpool supporters groups - Spirit of Shankly and ShareLiverpool FC - aiming to make a bid for the club.

mark luckenbaughBoth supporters clubs - or as Spirit of Shankly rather pompously calls itself "union" - have affiliations with the Far Left, as does most of a city proud of its political past, but I fear they are barking up the wrong tree with their model for the future of Liverpool FC.

The aim of the local client takeover is to persuade fans to part with £150 million to buy a significant stake in the club. They believe that once acquired, they can run the club in a similar fashion to Barcelona and Real Madrid - where fans (or members) vote in presidents of each club with promises of transfer targets. The success of Real Madrid and, particularly, Barcelona, would be welcome, of course, but the model is soundly flawed.

Real Madrid, for example, is a financially unsustainable club with incredible debts that survives because of Real Madrid's standing as Spain's establishment club. A series of bad loans from the country's rich elite are ignored because to call them in will be financial ruin in a country which still has a rigidly-structured elite.

Barcelona, meanwhile, is perhaps a better financial model, but is on a scale so huge that it dwarves Liverpool. Barcelona represent an entire nation of Catalans, both in Catalonia, within Spain and throughout the world - and have the collateral and pulling power to match.

Liverpool can not even claim to have the complete support of their own city.

Perhaps the only UK club with the ability to create a model similar to Barcelona is Celtic, who have an unrivaled "natural" global pull because of their links with Ireland, Glasgow, Scotland and Catholicism.

Spirit of Shankly and ShareLiverpoolFC are probably right to be concerned over owners' George Gillett and Tom Hicks custodianship - after all, neither has had much success in the sports arenas of the US. However, they were better off with the Dubai connection (DIC) that expressed an interest in buying 98% of Gillett's shares last year. The simple economics of modern football dictate that the masses do not have the capital or the maneuverability to cope with the fast-changing demands of owning a club. Best wait for the next rich benefactor to come along - and hope for the best.