28 February 2008

John Aldridge: Why I’m backing fans bid to buy Liverpool

Feb 28 2008
by Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo

JOHN ALDRIDGE today called on Liverpool fans worldwide to join him in an audacious attempt to buy the club.
The Reds legend has pledged £5,000 to buy a share in the ambitious Share Liverpool scheme set up by University of Liverpool academic and lifelong Liverpudlian Rogan Taylor.
Aldridge believes the dream of supporters owning the club can be come reality, as long as fans believe it themselves.
He said: "As someone who was fortunate enough to play for the club and who loves the club dearly, it hurts me to see it in the kind of turmoil it has been in recently.
"That's why when Rogan told me about his plan I thought it was a fantastic idea. It's all about putting power in the hands of the fans and that could only be a good thing.
"I've pledged and I would call on all Liverpool supporters around the world to do the same.
"I know £5,000 is not an insignificant amount of money but the beauty of Share Liverpool is groups of fans can get together to buy a share between them, you don't have to be rich to buy a share.
"If we get together and buy the club outright it would be a dream come true. It would put the power in the hands of the people who love the club most and it would also make the club incredibly powerful because there would be no profits or share dividends going elsewhere.
"Every penny generated would go back into the club. How many other clubs in Europe could boast that kind of spending power?"

Having played in Spain with Real Sociedad, Aldridge witnessed at close quarters how the Barcelona model helps make the Catalan giants one of the most powerful clubs in Spain and beyond.
And, even though he concedes that the Barcelona members never had to fork out hundreds of millions of pounds to buy their club, Aldridge reckons the comparison with Liverpool still applies.
"That is an important difference," he admitted. "But when you look at what a fantastic club Barcelona is it should inspire everyone who loves Liverpool to at least try and do something similar.
"It can't be a coincidence that Barcelona are always in the running for the biggest prizes. That comes down to the way the club is run, from the members upwards.
"Like Barcelona, Liverpool is a very, very special club and I've no doubt our fan base is big enough to get the number we need.
"Liverpool is one of the best supported clubs in the world, right up there with the likes of Man United, Barcelona and AC Milan.
"When you have such numerical strength anything is possible."

Aldridge concedes there are those who will be sceptical and he readily admits it is an ambitious project which could fall short of its target.
But he also believes it is worth testing the water to see if Liverpool's fans can pull it off. Having met the newly formed steering committee at the weekend his hopes were boosted that the fans really can own the club.
"The people on the committee are very, very impressive," said Aldridge, who played 104 games and scored 63 goals in a red shirt.
"I met them on Sunday and I have to say the whole set-up surpassed my expectations. I met top people from the legal, financial and marketing worlds and, most importantly, every single one of them is a lifelong Liverpudlian.
"All credit to Rogan for that because to start from scratch and come up with such an impressive set of plans and the right people to put them into practice is some achievement.
"I would urge people not to be sceptical because believing in the idea is half the battle. "It might not end up happening but there is definitely no harm in trying.”
When the Share Liverpool website was set up last month it crashed because of the sheer weight of numbers trying to register interest.
Despite that early glitch, more than 9,500 people have already pledged £5,000 with a further 9,000 asking for further information.
It is these promising early figures which have fuelled Aldridge's belief that Share Liverpool could yet reach its target of attracting 100,000 supporters to pay £5,000 each in order to raise £500m to buy the club.
"If you look at those figures you have to be impressed," he said.
"This is something that only started a month ago and already there are more than 9,000 people who are saying they want to be a part of it.
"All of that suggests to me that this is do-able and when you support a club like Liverpool you know anything is possible because we have seen enough footballing miracles to realise that this the case.
"It would be great if former shareholders got involved.
"If we all support it then we might just make it happen."
utusanlFC :
The problem for us here in Malaysia is the huge different in currency exchange. 1 pound is equivalent to RM7. That means 5,000 pounds is a bomb to us = RM35,000.00 (Though Malaysia is a fast developing country (also formerly colonialised by the Great British Empire!) , our per capita income is roughly RM2,700 per month and it means - RM35,000 to most of us is a whole year income). Can Share Liverpool organisers reduce it to may be 1,000 pounds for country like us? They are many in Asia that can't produce those money... We would love to support the effort. Though at the moment, we can't afford it.

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