Being a student of economics, I really thought that the dumb idea of 2008 would be the economic stimulus package put forth by the US Government. After reading this article, however, I see that I have been mistaken.
There is a movement, and by movement I mean something that’s going to walk about 2 feet and then fall on its face, developing for fans to take over Liverpool FC. The basic idea is that it will be a shareholder principle with 100,000 people each investing £5,000. This is assuming, of course, that Hicks and Gillett would sell the club for £500mil.
The first problem with this is that £5,000 is a lot of money to just give away to your favorite football club on the HOPE that you will own a piece of it. In American dollars, that is close to $10,000. Where I’m from, that would be a decent down payment on a small house. Now, let’s say that a group of fans got together in America and said, “Hey, let’s go buy the New England Patriots. It’ll only cost $10,000.” Do you think, out of all of America, you could find 100,000 people with an extra $10,000 to piss away, to invest in it? I’m not going to say no. I’m going to say maybe, but doubtful. England, however, is much smaller than America and there is lots of competition in England between football clubs. So, let’s just assume that the only people who would be seriously interested in investing in Liverpool would be people who actually live in Liverpool. That’s a population of roughly over 800,000. Do you think 1/8 people in Liverpool are ready to shell out that kind of money?
The second problem is the portion of ownership. If I did have £5,000 to invest in something, I would not necessarily want the whole pie, but a small piece of it at least. If there are 100,000 people investing in equal amounts, it means that you will own a whopping .001% of Liverpool FC. That’s not a slice, that’s not even a fucking crumb.
Say it did at work out. They find 100,000 people and Hicks and Gillett agree to sell so the club is now in the hands of the fans. A year later, Rafa comes to the board of fans and says, “I’m going to need £20 mil for a couple new signings.” Where does this new money come from? Does the club just turn into a bottomless pit that we occasionally shovel money into? Is there ever a return on the investment? You can’t blame the American owners for saddling the club with debt to make it better. That’s how businesses work. You go and borrow someone else’s money, you don’t use your own. You use your own money in a business when things get tight and you need to keep it afloat.
The idea of fans owning clubs is great, but let’s not get wrapped up in the internet sensation that has taken over Ebbsfleet United. That is, after all, a League 2 team and as popular as the idea was, they were only able to muster up 20,000 people giving £35 to buy in.
So please, if you have that much money to throw away, just email me and I’ll set you up with my PayPal details and you can send it to me. I guarantee that you will have invested in a great weekend full of liquor, drugs, and fornication with prostitutes. You may have even invested in some morning after pills or possibly shots of penicillin, but at least, you’ll know what you’re getting.
Speaking of fornication with prostitutes, I hear that a certain midfielder down the road from Liverpool is now passing along his women to a certain Scotsman as sloppy seconds.
I might have made that last part up, but if I didn’t—you heard it here first.