With news filtering through that former Chief Executive Rick Parry received a £4.295m payout after being sacked by Liverpool last season, according to their recently released accounts, the startlingly huge amount is the final kick in the teeth from a man who by and large failed horribly in his job at the club.
Parry is a passionate Liverpool man, a close confidant of former Chairman David Moores who had worked on at Liverpool since 1992. But his replacement as CEO Christian Purslow has seemingly done more in his one season at the club than in Parry’s intervening 16 seasons. The £4.295m paid out, a huge sum of money and one the club can ill-afford at present, is one of the highest ever paid out to a sporting administrator.
Purslow negotiated a rather hefty £80m four- year sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered Bank, a deal that dwarves the £6m a year one that Parry negotiated with former long-term sponsors Carlsberg. The sponsorship deal was made with not only one eye on the massive influx of cash year on year but with an eye on trying to exploit the Asian, African and Middle Eastern markets.
Purslow went onto openly state as much saying “Many branches in these countries will effectively be a shop window for Liverpool football club and a means of attracting more supporters to the cause.”
Liverpool, no matter what your opinion on the club or your personal bias, is without a doubt a huge club steeped in history and for that reason alone they should have a bigger presence abroad in Asia and beyond.
Man Utd in that respect are the frontrunners and the financial savvy displayed by figures such as David Gill has reaped huge dividends over the years. Chelsea too have a fantastic presence in the US, and for some reason, under Parry’s direction at the club, Liverpool have failed to capitalise on their brand abroad much to the detriment of the club, in this aspect Parry failed when it was in fact easier to succeed.
Purslow has pulled the strings behind the scenes in a lot more efficient way than Parry ever did already. The signings of JonJo Shelvey and Raheem Sterling bode well for the future and show a shift towards signing talented English players, something which the youth academy has most recently been geared towards with former Barcelona youth team coach now at Liverpool Rodolfo Borrell stating “”We have to fight to make English players arrive. If in two or three years one of our players does make the first team, I think he will be English.” Before adding that “The rest of the players who are not English, they must be massive, massive quality.”
This has to be tempered with the knowledge that not only with the academy and youth team products transfer policy muddled at best with Borrell mentioning that “The reality of what we found here was unacceptable. The under-18s had no centre forward, no balance. They had no tactical level, no understanding of the game”, but the balance of the first team under Parry’s guidance has been a mixed success at best.
It’s well documented that Parry signed Robbie Keane from Spurs for £20m last season when Benitez would have preferred the money be spent on Gareth Barry. Keane never fitted in at Liverpool and was soon sent packing back to White Hart Lane at a reduced fee just six months later.
Managers will always have their fare share of bad transfer dealings, Fergie’s recent dealings have been poor, Wenger’s have left a lot to be desired and Benitez too has had more than his fair share of failings, but under Parry’s tenure, the sheer amount of playing talent, and I use the word talent loosely in some cases, coming through and exiting the Anfield revolving door has been huge and shows a lack of structure and long term planning.
Whilst it would be harsh to blame Parry for all of this, as CEO for over a decade, he must shoulder his fair share of the blame. The feeling also persisted that Parry is a poor negotiator and can’t close deals when rivalled by serious competition, a point that saw Benitez move to see Parry ushered out of the club due to his frustration with Parry’s ineptitude.
This can be highlighted by the first sign of trouble in the Parry-Benitez relationship as Parry failed to sign AC Milan defender Khaka Kaladze on a free despite Benitez’s insistence that time was of the essence, but Parry was told budget constraints ruled out such a swift move and Kaladze simply signed a new deal at the San Siro.
This may be a somewhat biased account and I don’t profess to be an expert in fiscal matters, but with Purslow in charge, I’d be confident that Liverpool will have a new owner by the start of next season such is his intelligence and diligence in carrying out his duties. Had Parry shown the same qualities and less of the naivety that has dogged Liverpool over the past two decades, then perhaps Liverpool would have been able to compete on an equal footing financially as other world leaders in the market and as their prestige would suggest and should command.
The fact that Parry failed to exploit foreign markets when other clubs could see them developing years before is nothing short of ridiculous. The club has traditionally just lazily traded on its name and whilst headway may be made under Purslow now, it does seem too little too late. The lack of structure in the academy, the poor sponsorship deals carried out and the mixed transfer policy make Parry’s tenure a failure in all respects and makes the latest revelations about his huge payout all the more unpalatable and harder to digest as a result.
What does everyone else think – Is Parry’s failure all the more sickening now the figures of his severance package have been released? Will Purslow success where Parry failed?
Written By James McManus