Monday, February 04, 2008

Liverpool FC Fans Plan 'Gains Global Support'

A proposal for fans to seize control of Liverpool is gaining support from around the world, according to one of the main figures behind the plan.

Share Liverpool FC have proposed 100,000 supporters contribute £5,000 to a fund which will be used to buy the club and fund a £300million stadium.

The scheme was launched at a press conference at the University of Liverpool yesterday, when a website - - was unveiled as the focal point of initial discussions over the project’s feasibility.

One of the main figures behind the plan is football business lecturer and Liverpool fan Dr Rogan Taylor, who revealed: “Already I have enquiries from all round the world, from Norway to California - the fanbase of this club stretches all over the world.

“I think there is a broader appeal for this idea than any initially imagined. Of course, if the owners do not want to sell then there is nothing you can do to force them sell.

“But if you have two businessmen, faced with a takeover from a group backed by 100,000 supporters with a vested interest in the club, then they would have to look at it.

“At this stage it is just a test of the market, to see if there is a hunger for it, how far it is, how widespread and what is the intensity.”

Taylor explained that any takeover would not feature a majority shareholder, ruling out the involvement of Dubai International Capital group.

“This is not a pipe dream. We are serious and it is something we believe we can do,” Taylor told BBC Radio Merseyside.

“At the moment we want fans to just visit the website and give us an indication of how they feel.

“Once we get a feeling of how things lie we will decide how to progress but we can guarantee it will be a one member, one vote scheme.

“Nobody will ever own more than one share and they will have that share forever and be able to pass it on to their children.

“We’re not asking for money at this stage - we’re just testing the water and seeing if there is enthusiasm and commitment for the idea.”

Also involved in the Share Liverpool project is Phil French, formerly of the Premier League and now chief executive of Supporters Direct, and Kevin Jaquiss, from law firm Cobbetts, who has headed some of the country’s most successful sporting legal cases.
A statement on detailed that plans would be similar to the membership system run by a number of clubs in Europe.

The statement said: “We propose a model of ownership similar to that at Barcelona. This club is owned by their ’members’ where over 100,000 fans have bought single ’member’ shares, which entitle them to elect a board who will run the club until the next election.

“Is structure makes its sale to the next sporting conglomerate that fancies a Premiership football club a legal impossibility.

“The shares can never be sold - the club can never be sold. Let’s stop Liverpool Football Club becoming a trinket any rich man might like to wear around his neck. This club is close to the hearts of millions of people all over the world.”

Benitez Trying To Motivate Alonso

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is urging Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso to raise his game.

Rafa Benitez has explained why he left Xabi Alonso out of the Liverpool squad for Saturday evening's 3-0 victory over Sunderland. Alonso did not not even make the bench for the Reds' first League win of 2008.

Benitez had Javier Mascherano back from suspension and paired him with captain Steven Gerrard in central midfield, bringing in Brazilian Lucas for a rare start.

And the Liverpool boss urged Alonso to improve his level of performance if he wants to reclaim his place.

Alonso was dropped after playing the full 90 minutes against West Ham last Wednesday, when Liverpool lost 0-1.

"Xabi needs to step it up. When you are not 100% fit, you want to play every game because you need to play more games to build up your fitness,” Benitez told Liverpool's official website.

"But if Gerrard, Mascherano or Lucas are playing well, it means there is competition for places which is good for the team.

"Xabi knows he needs to work harder if he wants to have a place in the team.

"Mascherano was back from suspension and he gives us balance in the middle and Gerrard can be more free going forward.

"Lucas was playing really well the other day so we had three midfielders, and we needed to have wingers or strikers on the bench. That's why Alonso was not in the squad on Saturday."

MP Gives His Backing To Liverpool Fans’ Buyout Plans

An early-day motion has been tabled in the House of Commons welcoming Rogan Taylor’s “Share Liverpool FC” concept.

MP John McDowell has signed the motion supporting the idea of 100,000 Liverpool fans putting in £5,000 each to take over the club.

The Liverpool-born MP said: “The Share Liverpool FC initiative could be an absolutely huge development for football in this country, and if it succeeds will show that there is an alternative route to the corporate takeover of clubs with all the attendant dangers for the clubs and fans.

“Football is rightly the property of those who go every week, commit their life’s savings and every second of their time and energy for the club they love.”

In response, Rogan Taylor said: “It gives us a lot of heart to hear this kind of encouragement and backing for our proposal. The website is receiving a tremendous number of visits and in a few days we should be able to put some figures on just how many fans have signed: Count me in!”

Asked about Saturday’s post-match Kop demonstration, Mr. Taylor said: “I knew it was coming. I would not like it to be confused with the shareholder group proposal, but I understand how they feel.

“With our proposal, you can sort the issue out for ever and the club can never be sold again.

“At the moment, we are renting the club from the Americans, but with this idea fans can own the club themselves – like you own your own home and do not have to pay rent.”

Hundreds of fans stayed behind on Saturday to call for the American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett to leave the club.

Skrtel Takes Slovakian Prize

Three weeks after concluding a dream move to Liverpool FC, defender Martin Skrtel has been named as Slovakia's Player of the Year.

The 23-year-old left FC Zenit St. Petersburg to join his new club but did enough in Russia in 2007 to convince a jury to name him as his nation's premier player, three years after being named as Slovakia's most promising young prospect at the same ceremony.

"I am grateful for this award," said the Handlova-born defender.

"I had a fantastic year but winning the Russian title with Zenit was more important for me."

Skrtel finished as runner-up to 1. FC Nurnberg forward Robert Vittek last year, and added: "This is my most valuable individual success."

Torres Goals Cost Liverpool

According to the News of the World, Liverpool striker Fernando Torres is costing the club £10,000 for every goal he scores.

The newspaper have revealed that one of the conditions of the deal that took him to Anfield from Atletico Madrid was that his old club are paid £150,000 for every 15 goals he scores in England.

Torres moved to Liverpool for a club record fee of around £22 million last summer, becoming the most expensive Spanish player of all time.

And fortunately for Atletico, the Spanish international has been on a red hot scoring streak of late and has scored 18 times in all competitions this season.

"I'm keeping everyone happy," said Torres. "Liverpool get the goals and Atletico get the money.

"I honestly did not think I would score as many goals as I have so soon. But things have gone well for me.

"Now I just want them to go better for the team in general so we can win the league or a cup to reward everyone's hard work."