Hinn Liverpoolsögulegi Mummi póstaði hingað inn link á RAWK sem ég held að eigi alveg skilið meiri athygli.
Ef ég man rétt þá fóru einhverjir meðlima þeirra á fund með John W Henry (manninum sem fer fyrir hópi nýrra eigenda Liverpool) eftir að kaupin voru frágengin og núna hafa þeir fengið hann til að svara spurningum lesenda. Þeir sendu á hann 23 spurningar sem þeir söfnuðu saman frá lesendum sem hann er að vinna í að svara og hefur núna sent svar við fyrstu níu spurningunum. Afar áhugavert að lesa þetta og stórgaman að sjá með svona greinilegum hætti muninn á nýjum og gömlum eigendum. NESV eru allavega að reyna að vinna sér inn traust stuðningsmanna og svonalagað skemmir ekkert fyrir þeim: (ýtir á Continue reading ? hér fyrir neðan til að lesa svörin)
(ATH: Snemma í ummælum er að finna íslenska þýðingu á þessum svörum og um leið gott dæmi um frábæran lesendahóp hér á kop.is)
So on to the questions, all these have come directly from fans on the site. I have tried to group them into themed areas to make things easier. I guess the first theme is Why Liverpool?
1. Given that financially there are far more reliable investments. What motivates you to invest in and buy sports clubs?
We are an organization filled with people who are driven to compete at the highest level. There certainly are better investments than sports clubs, but we know that everything we do has meaning to large numbers of people. And what we do has meaning for us. We wake up every day thinking about what we can do improve our chances of winning a championship. It’s incredibly interesting and we really enjoy working together toward a common goal.
2. What was your motivation, individually and as a company, for buying Liverpool FC? Was there one thing that sold the club to you?
We kept seeing the similarities to purchasing the Red Sox in 2002. They’ve been recounted in the media. But the most important issue for us was the ability to compete at the highest level in the world’s biggest sport. Liverpool FC provides that opportunity. I believe almost any sports fan would purchase a club, if they had the means. We had the means – both financially and with regard to organizational strength – to run one of the most coveted sports clubs in the world. It’s a privilege.
3. It’s naiive to think you made the decision to buy Liverpool FC without the input of any “football people”. Care to name-drop those who advised you during your due dilligence?
We did our own due diligence. We don’t know English football, but we do know the sports business. It’s been a very steep learning curve – but one that has been rewarding and interesting. The structure of football in Europe is totally different from what we are used to. It’s fascinating and challenging. Now we are lucky enough to be meeting football people who can give us input. Our biggest responsibility is to bring in the right people to the club on and off the field.
The next group of questions are unfortunately your inheritance from the previous owners.
4. How have NESV funded the £300m acquisition?
This simple answer is that we paid cash for LFC and left £37 million of stadium debt in place – even though there is no stadium in place – just a lot of expensive plans etc. We view stadiums as separate from clubs. They are separate entities.
We have some very successful partners – some of whom are big EPL fans – and we are well-financed internally. But NESV has always had debt from the first day we purchased the Red Sox. We have some partners who look at Internal Rate of Return and almost demand that we have debt as a consequence. Debt increases IRR.
I recently read the New York Yankees have $3.5 billion of debt, but I’ve never heard a Yankee fan complain about it. I’ve never heard a Red Sox fan complain about the usage of credit. Credit is probably more acceptable in American culture than elsewhere. But you have some people that are good at borrowing money and poor at investing beyond that. There are others – and we feel we are in this camp – have lines of credit etc., that are good at running businesses prudently and invest in those businesses.
In nine years of operation our partnership has yet to make a profit distribution. We’ve only made tax distributions. We’ve invested a quarter of a billion dollars into Fenway Park. We’ve invested in players – second among thirty MLB clubs – over the last nine years. We’re invested now in LFC and there is work to be done on the stadium front there as well. Other than the stadium debt mentioned above, there is no debt on LFC. This has greatly reduced interest payments which I believe were running close to £40 million per annum.
5. Is there a contractual commitment that non of the acquisition debt will be placed on the club?
No, none was needed.
6. How does NESV intend to extract money to make a profit on this transaction?
That’s a good question. With the club struggling, money I can’t foresee any profits being “extracted.” Hopefully someday LFC will be worth more than it is today.
7. What is the capital structure and cashflow of NESV, and how does it service its debt?
It’s a private company and we do not release financial information. LFC, however, does release financial information annually.
The next batch are all about your plans for the club now that you have your feet under the desk…
8. All of the questions I would want answered are to do with things he really needs to reflect on awhile. I’d be interested at this stage however, to know what his five key milestones for the next three years would be.
We are focused on getting the club positioned to win trophies within the Financial Fair Play rules that are being imposed next year. That means off the field we are intent on increasing LFC revenues worldwide. On the field we have to be smarter. Arsenal and ManU have depth that is young and capable. We do not. We have a lot of work to do there. A lot of work. And we will, but we have to be smart about it.
9. Liverpool FC needs a sustained period of stability. Liverpool supporters will be patient as long as we can sense that we are moving in the right direction. How long are you planning on staying? Are we a long-term (10 years+) or a shorter term project?
Long-term. Everything we do is for the long-term.
10. Mr. Henry & co. – Liverpool Football Club has one of the largest fanbases in the world with passionate Reds in every corner of the globe. With the greatest of respect, the sport of baseball in which your team has achieved great success is a major sport in Northern America but is not comparable to Liverpool Football Club or the Premier League in terms of fanbase / viewing figures etc etc. How do you plan to market the club globally and expand and enhance the club’s profile worldwide in the future?
This requires a long answer. Perhaps I should take a break and answer this and the other questions in the next installment.
© RAWK and SaveLFC 2010