Ayre rules out Liverpool sales

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre insists they will not be forced to sell their top stars despite reporting poor financial results.

Last Updated: 05/03/13 at 09:06 Post Comment   

Ian Ayre: Adamant Liverpool won't be forced to sell stars

Ian Ayre: Adamant Liverpool won't be forced to sell stars

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Liverpool's debt has increased to £87.2million after they posted a loss of £40.5m in their annual accounts.

The financial situation at Anfield has fuelled speculation that the club may be forced to cash-in on some of their top assets including Luis Suarez.

However, Ayre is adamant the club are under no pressure to sell anyone and that they will be looking to bolster the squad in the summer.

"We won't be selling anyone because of the financial position,' said Ayre. "If we are selling anyone, it will be because they are deemed by the manager to be surplus to his requirements and if that happens we will be replacing them and bringing new players in as we always do.

"There's no panic on our part. We feel that we are making progress and improving all the time.

"Our aspiration for the next couple of years, as the rules will dictate, is to break even and then to make a profit beyond that."

The Reds' debt rose by £21.8million in the 10 months between August 1 2011 to May 31 2012 - a restructured accounting period designed to bring alignment with the football season.

However, the loss of £40.5million was less than the £49.3million made the previous year and done against the backdrop of no Europa League action, although Liverpool did get to two cup finals, winning one.

With Brendan Rodgers' side currently seventh in the Barclays Premier League and European football far from a certainty next season, Ayre is convinced off-field performance - turnover rose by £5million - will help bridge any gap.

"It's good to see that even in a year where we have a downturn in fortunes by not playing European football, we can bolster our revenues by performing in other areas," he said.

"It shows that we have a very strong and growing business that sits behind the football club.

"And as we approach things like Financial Fair Play and that type of environment, that puts us in a very strong position."

The figures do not include the record £25million-a-season six-year sponsorship deal with kit manufacturers Warrior, which came into effect last summer and could net the club a similar amount through associated merchandising.

"We've had record sales of their products throughout this year," Ayre told liverpoolfc.com.

"We've also seen new sponsors come on board, notably Chevrolet and Garuda Airlines.

"If you have got a successfully performing team and you have got an infrastructure which we now have and the business ability to deliver revenue, then both of them coming together would be a fantastic solution for the football club all round."

Some of the deficit was as a result of investing heavily in the transfer market - and the costs associated with bringing in the likes of Stewart Downing (£20million) and Jordan Henderson (£16million) in the weeks preceding the accounting period - while offloading other players at a loss.

But with the club's owners Fenway Sports Group firmly focused on the impending arrival of Financial Fair Play, Ayre stressed there was necessary work to be undertaken.

"The key message for me is that we are continuing to transition to the point we have been working on for several years under this ownership - which is to continue to improve revenues and manage our cost base effectively," he said.

"The biggest cost base without doubt is player trading and player wages - but these accounts demonstrate that we are still working hard to improve that."

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