Great news for anyone who supports Liverpool, the Texas Rangers, or the Dallas Stars: (Or all 3!)
Hicks to sell Liverpool
Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have confirmed that they are looking to sell the club after appointing British Airways chief Martin Broughton as chairman on Friday.
Hicks and Gillett have been at the club since their 2007 takeover but have come under plenty of scrutiny throughout that time, notably from fans disappointed by their apparent reluctance to invest heavily in the squad. They also promised to move the club into a brand new ground in Stanley Park as part of their purchase three years ago, but a lack of funding meant the building work never began.
With Rafael Benitez's side unlikely to qualify for the Champions League next season, Hicks and Gillett have decided to officially put the club up for sale, though the loss of potential revenue from not participating in Europe's premier club competition could make the club a less attractive proposition to potential buyers.
A statement on Liverpool's official website from Gillett and Hicks read: "Owning Liverpool Football Club over these past three years has been a rewarding and exciting experience for us and our families.
"Having grown the Club this far we have now decided together to look to sell the Club to owners committed to take the Club through its next level of growth and development.
"We are delighted that Martin Broughton has agreed to take the position of Chairman, working alongside the club's excellent senior management team.
Delightful. Just to give you an idea of the problems with payroll - and how they mirror the Rangers and Stars, here are the Liverpool payroll figures as they compare to the other big boys in England....
The race for fourth place intensifies on Sunday as the Rafael Benítez's side face Fulham and Manchester City host Birmingham. Trailing City by four points and having played a game more than them Liverpool are faced with sobering prospect of their place in the league hierarchy coming into line with their place in the financial hierarchy.
Under the American owners, the club's progress has been stalled, like the engines on the diggers waiting to build a new stadium in Stanley Park. Never exactly a club that embraced modernisation, off the pitch Liverpool have been on pause as the rest of the league progressed. It has got to the stage where Benítez cannot even guarantee that the "spine of the team" – and for that read Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres – will be at the club next season. Two seasons ago Liverpool's wage bill – and this more than transfer fees is the true arbiter of success – was £10 million behind Arsenal, £30 million behind Manchester United and £80 million behind Chelsea. That gap will have grown and Manchester City will have also overtaken them, withTottenham catching up fast. In terms of tradition, status and success in recent seasons Liverpool are obviously one of the big four but in financial terms they have been falling further behind the curve by the season.
On Thursday night, Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, and Frank Arnesen, Chelsea's director of football, sat in the Anfield directors' box, casting their eye over Benfica's rich crop of talented young players, including the tremendously gifted (although poor on the night) Angel di Maria. They were like the middlemen with mobiles who represent billionaires in the auction room. In fact that's exactly what they were.
"It is not easy to compete with them," Benítez said. "I always say that we have to do almost everything perfectly. If we make a mistake in the transfer window it is extra difficult for us to manage. You can see other teams with players who cost £15m or £20m and they don't play but for us, it is more difficult to manage." The obvious example in Liverpool's case is Alberto Aquilani, whose £17 million signing has been used as an example of Benítez's inadequacy in the transfer market. The failure of Aquilani to replace Xabi Alonso is exacerbated by the thinness of Benítez's squad. Manchester United have signed Mexican striker Javier Hernandez and Chris Smalling of Fulham for fees that could total £19 million ahead of next season and neither is expected to come into the first XI. "No, we can't do this," Benítez said.