AP News

Liverpool debt rises to $130M as team struggles


Liverpool's owners have incurred "painful" financial results stemming from their investment in players who have failed to re-establish the club as a European power.

The debt of the team, owned by the parent company of the Boston Red Sox, rose by one-third to 87.2 million pounds (about $131 million), according to figures released Monday. The club lost 40.5 million pounds (about $61 million) during the 2011-12 season.

"I take comfort in the fact that the work we have done, some of which costs us a lot of money in this period and beyond, looks pretty painful at the time," managing director Ian Ayre said. "But as long as you invest in it and manage it in the right way, then hopefully it bears fruit as we go forward."

Liverpool is seventh place in Premier League, 10 points behind fourth-place Chelsea for England's final berth in next season's Champions League. Liverpool has not played in Europe's top club competition since 2009-10.

The results show winning last year's League Cup, which ended a six-year title drought, had minimal financial impact. The cost of firing manager Kenny Dalglish was included in 9.5 million pounds (about $14 million) of "exceptional payments" during the 10 months ending last May 31.

Revenue increased by 5 million pounds (about $7 million) from the 184 million pounds (about $275 million) reported for 2010-11. Man United's revenue by comparison in 2011-12 reached 320 million pounds (about $480 million).

Heavy spending before the 2011-12 season — including more than $50 million on Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson, didn't result in an upturn on the field.

Ayre accepts the club must "improve revenues and manage our cost base effectively."

Owner John Henry's Fenway Sports Group, which bought the team from fellow Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. in 2010, injected 46.8 million pounds (about $70 million) into the club last season.

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Rob Harris can be reached at http://twitter.com/RobHarris


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