Who will “own” Liverpool this time next year? George Gillett and Tom Hicks, still? Just Gillett? Just Hicks? DIC? Who knows what’s really going on, when the motives and money behind each venture remain opaque.
I can offer you, though, two updates on the supporter-led efforts to rescue a vestige of Liverpool FC from the mess they’ve become embroiled in. The Share Liverpool FC plan was to find enough fans willing to put up £5000 each to raise £500m. So far, it’s had a pretty promising start. They’ve received around 10,000 expressions of interest with almost £50m pledged. They’ve also been endorsed by from two prominent former players, Phil Thompson and John Aldridge.
Anfield Road explains how it’s coming together.
SLFC now has an 18-strong steering group in place, which includes experts in areas such as finance and law. The financial director of Ethel Austin is one, alongside a senior partner from Price Waterhouse Cooper. One of the representatives of the Liverpool Supporters’ Union, Spirit of Shankly, has also taken up the offer of a place in the committee.
Dr Rogan Taylor has played a big role in getting this scheme off the ground, and has been delighted – if a little snowed under – with the response so far. He said: “This puts Share Liverpool FC on to a proper footing. We have brought together the different skill sets in areas such as finance, law and marketing that are needed if we are going to succeed in this venture.”
It seems unlikely they’ll raise enough to buy the club outright — but as I speculated initially, it looks like they may well be able to raise enough serious capital to buy a significant share of the club and get a seat on the board.
Meantime, the other main supporter venture to assert some kind of control comes in the form of AFC Liverpool, a new venture we reported on last month (see our interview with the founder, Alun Parry).
Since first floating the idea of founding a new non-League cub based on supporter control, Parry has received a strong and positive response for the most part. He told me yesterday that “We are in discussions with the [North West Counties] league. We haven’t yet undertaken a press campaign yet we have several hundred emails registrations. We are talking with clubs about groundshare. And we are squarely aiming to be up and running for the forthcoming season. We do need financial support though so it’s key that those who are keen on AFC Liverpool back it and make it viable.”
AFC Liverpool are now offering membership for just £10, which is of course something affordable for the ordinary supporter, unlike Share Liverpool FC.