Deloitte report delivers financial wake-up call for Liverpool
Liverpool have found themselves struggling behind their top four rivals despite being ranked as the seventh-richest club in Europe by football finance experts.
The Reds currently owe £237 million to the Royal Bank of Scotland but have moved up one place in Deloitte's Football Money League, recording revenue of £184.8 million for the 2008/09 season - a 13% increase from the previous campaign.
Broadcasting rights rose by 5% to £74.6 million whilst the Merseyside club's new sponsorship deal with banking giants Standard Chartered, which will take effect this summer, is set to bring in an estimated £12.5 million income per annum.
The appointment of Ian Ayre as commercial director saw the Anfield outfit leap over Arsenal and Chelsea, in 5th and 6th place respectively, for incomings of £67.7 million.
Liverpool also netted an estimated £70 million after finishing runners up in the Barclays Premier League and reaching the quarter-final stage of the Champions League but continue to struggle to match the ticket and hospitality sales of their competitors.
Despite reaping £42.5 million in match day sales, the club are languishing behind Chelsea (£74.5m), Arsenal (£100.1m) and Manchester United (£108.8m) - emphasising the importance to expand their capacity and corporate facilities as early as possible.
Plans for a 76,000-seater stadium in Stanley Park have been on hold whilst club owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks continue to search for an investment of £100 million to reduce the deficit owed to RBS and American bank Wachovia.
James McKenna, spokesman for fans' group Spirit of Shankly, said "Whilst we all welcome the Liverpool brand getting stronger, the increase in revenue will leave many wondering where the money is actually going.
"Fans would expect to see an increase in revenue bringing an increase in player purchasing power - if we look at the last three transfer windows and the net spend, this is simply not the case.
"It's all well and good increasing the money coming in, but when it is going out the other side to pay down debts, it is of no benefit to the club.
"If the owners stuck to their promises at the beginning, not to burden the club with debt and to build a new stadium, the club would be moving forward and doing well on and off the pitch.
"As things stand, whilst the revenues have increased, so has the debt, and the future is still not certain for the club."
Yesterday, representatives from both Liverpool and Everton met with city council officials to discuss plans for a 'football quarter' which would see both Goodison Park and Anfield renovated with the North West Development Agency keen on a concrete plan of action.
NWDA chief executive Steve Broomhead said: "We welcome the meeting. People are beginning to look at the opportunities again. Both clubs need solutions, either singly or jointly."http://www.clickliverpool.com/sport/liverpool-fc/128213-deloitte-report-delivers-financial-wake--up-call-for-liverpool-fc.html