Soccernet 31 Jan 2008
A group of Liverpool supporters will today unveil an ambitious plan to buy the troubled Anfield club from its US owners. A group calling themselves Share Liverpool FC aim to create a stakeholder base of 100,000 fans to raise enough cash to oust Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
It comes after weeks of worry about the financial future of Liverpool, sparked when the pair took out a £350 million re-financing loan.
There have also been tensions between the owners and club manager Rafa Benitez, who last year criticised them over their financing of transfers.
Rogan Taylor (picture), a Kop season ticket holder and a director of the Football Industry Group at the University of Liverpool, is leading the buy-out campaign.
He said: 'It is time to answer the concerns that football fans have about the patterns of ownership developing at our major football clubs.
'Thousands of Liverpool fans have already demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs.
'Large amounts of debt is often laden onto newly-bought clubs and the fans know that in the end, it will be them who will have to pay it off through increased ticket prices and other schemes.
'In such a case, why not simply buy the club yourselves?'
The model proposed by Share Liverpool FC will be a `member-share' scheme, aimed at raising £500 million to purchase the club from Hicks and Gillett and build a new stadium.
The group have pointed to Barcelona as an example of how the system works. Barca currently has more than 150,000 culis - members who own the club.
Mr Taylor added: 'What many don't realise is that there are other ways of financing and taking ownership of big clubs.
'In Germany and Spain, most top-level football clubs are simply `Not For Sale'. They are owned by many thousands of `member fans'.
'The Champions League has been won on six occasions in the last 15 years by clubs owned and run in such a way.'
The plan will be unveiled at 5pm tonight at the School of Management of the University of Liverpool.
The launch will also be attended by Phil French, former director of communications and public policy at the Premier League and now CEO of Supporters Direct, which advises supporters' groups about how to gain a shareholding in their club.
Kevin Jaquiss, of the Supporters' Trust, will also attend.
Liverpool FC did not want to comment.
I am ready and willing to participate in the plans. I hope they have allocations for international supporters to do so.