LFC – The next Leeds?

Competing in the Champions League, reaching the semi-final stages. Doing well in the Premier League. An ownership of the football club, that has borrowed heavily against its success, reliant on its continued appearance in the lucrative Champions League and on money from ever-increasing television deals to service the debts. It sounds awfully familiar. But this isn’t Liverpool Football Club in 2009. It’s Leeds United, 2001. 8 years ago. Yet it seems lessons haven’t been learnt by those who run football clubs, building them up ‘artificially through debt’.

On Tuesday night, Liverpool Football Club play Leeds United. Two great teams of English football, both with a long history, both successful and winning trophies throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. But the circumstances in which Liverpool now play Leeds United, could hardly have been imagined back in 2001. Whilst Leeds United now reside in League 1, looking for promotion to the Championship, Liverpool find themselves looking to take the next step in the league, from challengers to title winners, and for a European Cup Final appearance. Just like Leeds United did 8 years ago. The reason they aren’t – The financial mis-management of their football club. Leeds failed to qualify for the Champions League. They couldn’t afford to repay their loans. Players were sold to meet the repayments. Eventually they were relegated, having sold many of the star players. The stadium and training ground soon followed.

Liverpool Football Club can be the next Leeds United. Some may believe it is far off, never to happen to us. Ask Leeds fans – I’m sure they never expected to be where they are now. The management of LFC claim we are able to comfortably service our level of debt. Whilst we all urge them to define ‘comfortable’, it won’t be comfortable to service them if we don’t have Champions League income. Other clubs are spending heavily to become part of the top four – Manchester City and Tottenham to name just two, whilst we only spend what we make from players sales. It inspires little confidence in those running our club. If we don’t qualify for the Champions League, what happens next summer? Do the owners invest heavily, ensuring it doesn’t happen again? Or do they re-finance the present debt, with a player sale required to provide the equity needed?

We all have our own answers, our own opinions. But it’s fair to say that Liverpool Football Club can be the next Leeds United. Will they? Under the present ownership, it is much more likely.

So on Tuesday night, at Leeds United, make yourself heard. Make sure your voice, your opinion, is heard on how Tom Hicks and George Gillett are taking us closer to a financial cliff edge. Banners need to be seen, chants aired. Tell the world Tom and George aren’t wanted here. We don’t believe their promises, and we don’t want to hear their lies.

LFC – The Next Leeds? Maybe.

Yanks Out? Definately!

Spirit Of Shankly