When Liverpool were sold back in 2010, the club were on the verge of administration off the pitch and scraping the bottom of the barrel for signings on it. Now, Liverpool are in Europe with new main stand, world class manager, probably the best squad they’ve had in the Premier League era—and are even turning a profit.
With the release of club financials for the year ending May 31, 2017 today, Liverpool announced that the club made an after-tax profit of £39M last year, following a £21M loss the year before. Along with this, the club announced plans for future investment—including pledging to spend more to strengthen the playing squad.
With secondary expansion of Anfield expected but not imminent, the major new expense over the next year will be the start of work on the new, £50M training ground. The club also noted it “will look to invest” more in players this summer—the reported net investment on the playing side during the reported financial period was £91M.
The difference, between both spend and the club’s overall health, comparing when Fenway Sports Group arrived and now is inarguable. In the financial year they took the club over, total revenue was pegged at £62M. Now, it has risen to £364M. Growing Premier League revenues have helped, but so too has FSG’s management.
“With the full support of this ownership group, we have significantly improved the club’s financial position over the past seven years,” read a statement from Andy Hughes, LFC’s chief operating officer. “These results further demonstrate our solid financial progress—despite the ever-rising costs in football.
“During the seven years, we have seen operating profits one year and losses in others, a situation which can be attributed, in the main, to player trading costs and the timing of payments. What is important is the underlying trend that has continued with the aim of strengthening our financial position with profits being reinvested back into the club and players, allowing this long-term stability to become a reality.
“We continue to work up design, capacity and economic viability options for Anfield Road working with an architect to help with that process. This follows the same comprehensive process we followed with the Main Stand expansion. Performance on the pitch and the reinvestment in our squad is always a priority, and following the club’s record signing last month we will look to invest again in the summer.”
The owners’ desire to grow the club sustainably has at times frustrated fans looking for a quick-fix to Liverpool’s problems following the mismanagement of Tom Hicks and George Gillett that preceded it—and the underfunding of the David Moores years that preceded those. The results, though, would seem to speak for themselves at this point.
Liverpool aren’t where they want to be yet as a club, not quite, but they’re stable. They’re in Europe. There is investment in the squad and club infrastructure. There is a world class manager who is supported—including when he chooses not to buy players and some fans find reason to blame the owners in that. And there’s every sign now they will be able to take that next step.