Friday, October 8, 2010

Broughton Not A Man Who Will Sit Back And Listen, Lashes Out At ManCity

LIVERPOOL chairman Martin Broughton threw off his old low-profile image last night and claimed that Anfield’s prospective new owners would be better than any sheikh or sugar daddy.

In a deliberate reference to cash-laden Manchester City, Broughton claimed John Henry’s New England Sports Ventures would provide ‘rational’ leadership in a bid to make the club great again.

City’s £326 million spending spree since Sheikh Mansour took control is not the model they are looking to replicate at Liverpool.

The battle for control of Liverpool will be settled in the High Court next week with co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett in danger of being booted out of Anfield after blocking the sale.

NESV, the owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, have had a £300 m bid accepted by the Liverpool board which will reduce the club’s debts to just £37 m.

That figure will instantly help Liverpool fall in line with UEFA’s new financial fair play rules which come into power in 2012 whereby no club can play in Europe if it spends more than it earns.

City posted losses of £121m recently – the second highest in Premier League history – and Broughton maintains Liverpool will be run prudently.

“Another important aspect is financial fair play,” he said. “The financial fair play rules come into effect pretty soon. Taking a rational, commercial approach to success is absolutely the right way forward.

“I couldn’t help notice that Manchester City’s wage bill for last year was exceeding its revenue. That is going to be very difficult under financial fair play.

“They might be able to sort it out before then, but we were not looking for someone who was going to put us in that position.

“We were looking for somebody who was going to see this as a commercial business that can be commercially successful.”

NESV will not operate like Sheikh Mansour or as Roman Abramovich did in the initial years at Chelsea, although cash will be available for under-fire manager Roy Hodgson to try to salvage his Anfield reign.

Liverpool are in the relegation zone following a dismal start to Hodgson’s tenure and he welcomed NESV’s likely ascension to power.

“It’s very positive and, of course, I’m delighted,” said Hodgson. “It’s been going on a long time and I know how hard the board have worked to set things up.

“We know what we’ve got to do, we know we need some new players, we know we need investment, and we know we are weak in certain areas of the team. These things have been the case since I arrived at the club and we haven’t had a chance to put things right.

“What I ask of the fans is their patience, their trust and their belief, because we will get it right – there are no doubts about that. The club will be in a healthy situation if the sale goes through.”

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